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Batman: The Telltale Series (Seasone One)
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: Digital - August 2, 2016; PS4, XBox One - September 13, 2016; Nintendo Switch - November 14, 2017

Synopsis: The billionaire and the bat: enter the fractured psyche of Bruce Wayne and discover the powerful and far-reaching consequences of your choices as the Dark Knight. In this gritty and violent story, you'll make discoveries that will shatter Bruce Wayne's world, and shake the stability of a corrupt Gotham City to its very foundations. At your disposal is the sophisticated genius of Wayne and the fearsome skills of the Batman. What happens next is entirely up to you.

Also available on PC!

About Batman: The Telltale Series:

Batman - The Telltale Series is an episodic game series licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and based on DC's iconic character. Rendered to look like a living, breathing comic book, Telltale's vision of Batman features an award-winning cast of talent, with select names including Troy Baker in the role of Bruce Wayne, Travis Willingham as Harvey Dent, Erin Yvette as Vicki Vale, Enn Reitel as Alfred Pennyworth, Murphy Guyer as Lieutenant James Gordon, Richard McGonagle as Carmine Falcone, Jason Spisak as Oswald Cobblepot, and Laura Bailey as Selina Kyle.

The series opens with Bruce Wayne discovering his father was in fact a ruthless crime boss, forcing him to question everything he thought he knew about his identity. As both Bruce and Batman, players must negotiate harsh political realities and prevent Gotham City from descending into chaos while digging into the truth about the Wayne family's sordid past.

Batman - The Telltale Series is rated M (Mature). The series is published by Telltale Games in partnership with Warner Bros.


Batman: The Telltale Series - Season One
Review by James Harvey

The creative team at Telltale Games takes some pretty big risks with the established Batman mythos in Batman: The Telltale Series, nearly all of which pay off in this gripping premiere installment of the choice-driven series. The first season of this new Telltale series - which consists of five episodes released over a short period of time - is engrossing and captivating, though occasionally kneecapped by glitchy graphics. Even with a few small issues, the overall experience is an exciting (and likely divisive) new take on the Caped Crusader.

Taking place in the early years of Batman's career, the Dark Knight finds himself embroiled in politics and corruption as some devastating truths about his parent's murder bubble up to the surface. At the same time, Bruce Wayne is throwing his support (and money) behind District Attorney Harvey Dent in his bid to become the city's next Mayor. Of course, this being Gotham, things are always a bit more complicated. Crime boss Carmine Falcone wants to wants to worm his way into Gotham's political offices, and is willing to financially back Dent, which would guarantee a win, but for a price. And while Batman has to deal with this issue in his Bruce Wayne guise, his cowled identity isn't having it any easier as a new threat to the city rises in the form of the Children of Arkham.

Please note this review will be as spoiler-free as possible to retain the narrative's key plot twists.

Batman: The Telltale Series is able to conjure up a fresh spin on the universe, one that admittedly took me by surprise. Granted the ability to basically run with the property as they see fit, save for making sure some key aspects remain untouched, Telltale makes sure not to waste the opportunity. They use a familiarity with the basic origins of Batman and his cast - picked up from movies, comics or TV shows - to really pull the rug out from under the audience. And, after all the shocks and surprises are revealed, even in the final moments of the season, it still manages to keep you on the edge of your seat, tensed up and wondering if there is still one more surprise to be had.

While the game takes a lot of risks and makes some pretty big changes to the established Batman lore we know, its still done in a way that feels organic. Catwoman is there, as is Harvey Dent, Alfred, The Penguin, and Commissioner Gordon. Some of the characters only differ slightly, while others end up totally different from the get-go. There is one major Batman character here, who shall remain nameless due to spoilers, who is giving a risky overhaul that ends up paying off in spades. You'll know it when you see it. It's remarkable how, in choosing which character to tweak and alter, how they're able to come with fascinating new takes.

The compelling story and changes to the Batman mythos are all sold by the dynamic voice acting on display. Troy Baker is excellent as Batman/Bruce Wayne. While the artificially modified voice design used for Batman (think of the voice distortion effect used by Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) does take a little to get used to, it's a logical decision used by this tech-heavy take on the Dark Knight. Laura Bailey is fantastic as Catwoman and Travis Willingham is pretty riveting as Harvey Dent. Murphy Guyer and Enn Reitel also do admirable work as James Gordon and Alfred Pennyworth, respectively, and Jason Spisak is great as this game's spin on Oswald Cobblepot.

The gameplay is standard for a Telltale title, featuring an episodic, adventure-type narrative driven by choice. However, given that it's a Batman game, the game publisher tosses in a few more quick-time-events to heighten the tension of the action beats. Players watch as the story unfolds before them, and make what they consider to be the right choice for certain characters when prompted. As a result, said choices could alter the outcome of certain plot threads and character interactions. While this won't make any drastic changes to some of the game's major story beats, it will alter the path players take to get there and possibly to the physical appearance of some characters, too. Some of the major choices are made by deciding whether you want to approach the situation as Batman or Bruce Wayne, a nifty idea that adds a bit of replay value.

Much like the gameplay, the art style is standard for a Telltale game. Batman: The Telltale Series features a cel-shaded, almost comic book/animated design. The look is decent, though definitely feels somewhat dated compared to how far graphics can be pushed on game consoles nowadays, especially when it comes to texture quality and effects. Everything looks good, but not great. That said, character and environment design is really solid. Every member of the cast is easily identifiable and the design of the Batman costume is top-notch. However, you'll likely hit more than a few animation glitches along the way. Characters not rendering properly, appearing in wrong areas of the screen or animations being poorly timed are the major glitches you'll hit. It's nothing game-breaking, just mostly momentarily distractions.

If Batman: The Telltale Series is your first Telltale game, worry not about controls and mechanics. The game will guide you through everything you have to know. You may stumble a couple times, but it's easy to pick up.

Batman: The Telltale Series is off to a great start with its first season. The compelling story works perfectly with Telltale's episodic release calendar, cobbling together riveting cliffhangers that definitely leave players itching to get to the next episode. Along with the game's stellar voice cast and character design, it's a game that really hits it out of the park on nearly all fronts. However, some technical and animation glitches do hold the game back a little. The story is just so good however, from start to finish, that it's impossible not to recommend. It just yanks you in and doesn't let you go through every twist and turn. Batman: The Telltale Series comes Highly Recommended!

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