Moments of brilliance.
Telltale games seem to be hit and miss, especially with me. Wolf Among Us is still one of the best story-driven titles I have ever played, while Walking Dead simply bored me to tears. The latest effort from the studio had my name written all over it. Their take on the Dark Knight was both unique, and interesting. Familiar villains taking on new roles, and the focus on Bruce Wayne and his relationship with his parents definitely felt fresh. Sadly, the game has just as many faults as it does bright moments, making it an uneven experience.
I have given thoughts on each episode individually, but to sum it up the series has been inconsistent at best. Episode one started off interesting, the second one felt short and rushed to the table. Episode three was by far the most interesting from start to finish. Episode four has its moments, but drags far too often, and the final episode starts out interesting but drags through the middle act, only to close quite positively. Also, that teaser for season two likely has me on board, just due to my fanboyism.
MSRP: $24.99 (Full Season) $4.99 (Per Episode)
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC, 360, PS3
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
The biggest problem with Batman is its technical issues. The game suffers from lots of slowdown and a poorly optimized engine. Things just don’t run smoothly, ever. Character animations are also extremely stiff, taking me out of the experience. The stiff walking animation for Bruce when investigating is just awful and slow, making those segments of connect the dots all the more tedious.
The best parts about the game are the combat sequences, and unlike Wolf Among Us, the engine manages to hold up well enough to allow me to make my inputs on the controller. These sequences are easily the most “fun” part of the game itself.
As I said, the new take on familiar characters is where the game gets interesting. Some of these work, for example Penguin is a much more interesting character than he has ever been, but the main villain feels really shallow for most of the game. The finale finally sheds some light on their motivations, but it feels really shoehorned and rushed to top off the episode. Also, some of the arcs just feel awkward for fans of the Batman. There are some things he simply wouldn’t do under any circumstance available, which is disjointing for fans of the series.
In the end Batman feels like a rough start, and if I wasn’t such a fan of the characters, I am not sure I would come back for more. However, being such a huge fan I find myself wanting to see where it goes, warts and all, which is something Telltale seriously needs to address. This engine has been chugging along far too long, and instead of acquiring new licenses for properties, it might be time to take a break and build a new engine, one that can handle these grand narratives they are trying to build.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.