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The Noob Recommend: Batman- The Telltale Series

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I believe I’ve already told you guys that I’m on a Batman frenzy these days. After completing Arkham Origins and City back to back once again, I felt a bit burnt out to move on to Arkham Knight. But I still wanted some more Batman goodness. Then I remembered that I had picked up Batman- The Telltale Series last sale for a meagre sum of money. I never planned on playing the game really. It was just another title in my ever-growing STEAM library. But, now that an occasion had risen up, I figured might as well get it over with. Without any expectations, I ‘cowled’ deep into Telltale’s Batman laid back, with a controller in hand and a glass of desi vodka on the table.

*Batman will remember this*

Before I tell you what I felt about the game, it’s necessary to give some context. I’m not the biggest fan of Telltale’s walking sim/visual novel games. I do love the first season of The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us and Tales From the Borderlands. As game-changing as TWD might be, Telltale proved time and time again that they’re no Lucas Arts. While adventure classics like Full Throttle, Curse of the Monkey Island, Grim Fandango, Day of the Tentacle and even lesser-known games like Still Life maintained a fine balance between gameplay and narrative, Telltale games were always visual novels first and rarely let the player be in control of the playable character. This trope seemed to get worse and worse with each new title the studio put out.

But I digress. Let’s get back to the Caped Crusader. When I first heard that Telltale was going to do a Batman game, to say I was sceptical is an understatement. Afterall, Rocksteady has given us the supreme Batman experience with the Arkham series. It was hard to imagine Batman in a Telltale formulaic title. But Telltale being Telltale, promised this;

“Enter the fractured psyche of Bruce Wayne and discover the powerful and far-reaching consequences of your choices as the Dark Knight”

I never planned on picking up the game at launch and my decision was justified. Reviewers, while praising the game’s atmosphere and presentation, picked it apart for the technical issues, especially on the PC. Telltale used the same crappy engine they’ve been using for a millennium and it showed. Other than that, it seemed like your average Telltale title. Some people liked it, others despised it. Me, I had way too many games to dig into at the time and didn’t play the game well until last month. Did it change my prejudice towards Telltale and made me appreciate their foray into the world of the world’s greatest detective? Not really.

First, credit where credit is due. Gotta give props to Telltale for trying something different with the Batman mythos. The story of this game tries to do something different from the rest of the Batman games. For starters, the game focuses more on Bruce Wayne’s side of things than Batman. It makes some drastic changes to the mythos and while a bit extreme, they’re a welcome change. The story deals with the public discovering some nasty secrets of the Wayne family and how a disgraced Bruce Wayne has to save his family and his own legacy from going down the drain.

As Batman, you’ll take on a new threat in the form of the Children of Arkham, The Penguin and Catwoman and is tasked with saving Gotham City, the worst place to live on Earth once again. There are also a numerous lot of sub-plots which add to the experience. While extremely linear and slow-paced, the main story is engaging most of the time thanks to the interesting twists made to the mythos. It also sets up the vastly superior season 2 in a very nail-biting fashion so that’s always great. Even though the illusion of choice is ever-present, I liked the fact that the game lets you play out certain scenarios as either Batman or Bruce Wayne, leading to different outcomes.

Everything else apart from the story kind of sucks. The game is 90% visual novel and 10% actual gameplay. It’s filled to the brim with QTEs (even the combat and stealth sections), the facial animations are awful, the lead performance by Troy Baker is so out of place, it’s shorter than most ‘Telltale experiences’ (around 8 hours), stutters all over the place, the presentation of Batman is less than stellar and so on. Then why did I choose to cover this ‘meh’ game in the first place?

Yes, this is The Noob Recommend and this game wouldn’t be here If I don’t recommend it. The only reason I recommend Batman: The Telltale Series is because its sequel, The Enemy Within is pretty damn good. And you need to have played this game to get the most out of that one. Plus, the game is very cheap on sale and won’t cost you more than some good beef fry. This was pretty anticlimactic, wasn’t it?

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