Put on the mask of Bruce Wayne and navigate Gotham politics in Batman Episode One: Realm of Shadows.
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: Xbox One (Version Reviewed), Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC, iOS, Android
Release Date: August 2, 2016
I knew the story of Batman was in good hands when I saw the title screen, which had a nice homage of comic book covers including some of the newer ones. Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1: Realm of Shadows is a great addition to the Telltale catalog. For those unfamiliar, the games play out as a story which you can influence based on decisions you make while conversations or action sequences are occurring. Telltale added a new “Crowd Play” feature which allows you to play the game as a hive mind, either with friends or a larger group inputting what decisions they want the character to make.
The story of episode one dealt with Harvey Dent’s political campaign and his dealings with crime boss Carmine Falcone. As most people know, Harvey Dent becomes the famous Batman villain Two-Face. I couldn’t help but feel like maybe I could save Harvey. Every choice I made was directly trying to prevent Two-Face from taking over Harvey, and I really hope that Telltale lets you impact whether he turns into the chaotic villain or remain his sane self. There was one moment that I really liked where Telltale put a little spin on another well-known Batman villain. The villain’s origin story is tweaked somewhat to make it more personal for Bruce Wayne. I’m excited to see where that goes in the upcoming chapters.
The graphics are perfect for comic book setting stories, as Telltale chooses to make their episodic games cell shaded illustrations over realism. Most of the gameplay was through the eyes of Bruce Wayne, which is also where the game really shined. The action scenes playing as Batman were fun, don’t get me wrong, and a great use of Telltale’s button pressing combat style, but navigating the politics of Gotham, I felt more on edge than when a criminal was lunging at me with a weapon. I was nervous the whole time I played as Bruce Wayne.
The codex on the Bat-computer is a nice touch for those looking to enhance their Batman knowledge or for those that want to get a feel for where the world of Batman is currently at, such as James Gordon is only a Lieutenant, so we’re still early in Batman’s career.
…The choices seemed a bit, well, boring
One of the few negatives of the game were the detective scenes. They didn’t quite feel like the world’s greatest detective when I was linking pieces of evidence together to build a story when I could pretty much just take a look at the scene and understand what happened. Also, the choices seemed a bit, well, boring. I’m willing to overlook that as this is episode one, and maybe those choices will have a bigger impact later on, but I didn’t feel the anxiety I wanted to as the clock ticked down.
Overall, Realm of Shadows is an excellent start to Batman: The Telltale Series. An engaging story coupled with the thrill of playing out most of the game as Bruce Wayne and smooth graphics. I’m eagerly awaiting episode two.
A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.