Video Games

Batman: The Telltale Series, A True Choose Your Own Adventure

Though I’m a little late to the game, having just finished Batman: The Telltale Series, I couldn’t help but wonder why these types of titles aren’t more prevalent in today’s video game world.

Released in August of 2016, the game was separated into five episodes, the last of which debuted in December. Me, being the random gamer that I am, decided to wait until after all episodes were released before buying the disc.

Overall, it was worth the wait.

Produced in the vein of other popular Telltale titles like The Walking DeadGame of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us (still waiting on that sequel, Telltale), Batman becomes a choose-your-own-adventure type of game that brings back memories of these:

Published in the 1980s and 1990s by Bantam Books, Choose Your Own Adventure let you decide how the story was told.

Published in the 1980s and 1990s by Bantam Books, Choose Your Own Adventure let you decide how the story was told.

Told over a series of five episodes, players are both Batman and Bruce Wayne, and must make decisions that will affect how the game progresses and how the overall narrative will be told.

If you’ve played Telltale games before, you know the decision-based gameplay outweighs the action, but here, there are enough of both to keep most gamers entertained.

What Works?

The villain. That's all you're getting from me. (Copyright Telltale Games)

The villain. That’s all you’re getting from me. (Copyright Telltale Games)

The biggest success of the game is the overall story itself. For Batman fans, this feels like a whole new tale (probably because, for the most part, it is) and introduces characters every fan knows and loves, but adds at least one new wrinkle to each of them.

Bruce Wayne’s entire decision to become Batman is called into question due to the sins of his father. Couple that with a flailing Gotham City so deep in the bowels of corruption, there seems like no escape.

Mayor Hill and Carmine Falcone get new life as co-conspirators, Harvey Dent is Gotham’s white knight trying to save the day by dethroning Hill…but even he has his demons.

Add in a childhood best friend to Bruce (Oswald Cobblepot) who’s return seems to be more than a friendly reunion, an intrepid Vicki Vale snooping around Wayne’s business dealings, and of course, everyone’s favorite cat burglar plays a vital role.

What Doesn’t?

Batman: The Telltale Series version of the Joker (Anthony Ingruber), or John Doe. (Copyright Telltale Games)

Batman: The Telltale Series version of the Joker (Anthony Ingruber), or John Doe. (Copyright Telltale Games)

This one’s a little harder to describe.

Each episode plays fast and even with every new twist, you still might feel a bit unsure of where the game is taking you. Character redesigns from what we’re familiar with may also be a bit unnerving and hard to accept at first.

For one, Penguin comes off more like a mix of Robin Lord Taylor’s portrayal on Gotham mixed with a bit of Nolan North’s Arkahm franchise version. It’s not bad, but it just feels a bit off.

Then there’s Joker. His presence is never really felt, but if we were to believe that Batman is in his early years, this version might work on the most basic of levels.

The villain reveal isn’t really that great, but it is different, and a bit of a risk, so kudos for that.

Will We Stay Faithful Fans?

The Penguin (Jason Spisak) takes Vicki Vale (Erin Yvette) hostage.

The Penguin (Jason Spisak) takes Vicki Vale (Erin Yvette) hostage. (Copyright Telltale Games)

The game ends with a bit of a stinger that leaves it open-ended if there will be a sequel.

If there is, I’ll play it because it’s Batman and the idea of choosing what happens next is something we don’t get a lot of with today’s games.

 

three-stars

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One thought on “Batman: The Telltale Series, A True Choose Your Own Adventure

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