PS4 Review: Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 1: Realm of Shadows

Can Telltale deliver the Batman experience we deserve?

I couldn’t believe my eyes when it was revealed that Telltale was working on a Batman series. I’ve always loved their work and Batman just happens to be my particular favourite comic book hero, so the two merged together sounds like magic waiting to happen. Episode 1: Realm of Shadows has just launched, but is it as good as I hoped?
The episode begins in true Telltale fashion with Batman engaging enemies through QTEs, all while being lectured by Alfred about having room in the Batsuit for Bruce Wayne. We are then introduced to familiar characters like Harvey Dent, Vicki Vale and Carmine Falcone. Dent is running for mayor and is a close friend of Bruce, but Falcone wants Bruce in his pocket so he can help get Harvey the mayor’s job. You can choose to be courteous to Falcone or not, it’s hard to tell what ramifications either choice will have but neither can be good for Bruce or Harvey.

Batman crosses paths with Catwoman/Selina Kyle who steals an important piece of data and is chased across Gotham by Batman, once again through QTEs that result in some pretty amazing scenes between the two.

Telltale has taken the gore and gritty side from The Walking Dead and applied it here too. The crime scene that Batman investigates is full of some pretty nasty corpses, one of which has their face burned off. Batman uses his gadgets to reconstruct the crime scene, which makes things a lot clearer.

You will spend a lot of the episode playing as Bruce as his family name begins to be accused of corruption. He will also meet up with an old friend called Ozzy who turns out to be none other than Oswald Cobblepot AKA The Penguin, who is actually quite skinny and doesn’t seem to walk like a penguin. Judging by the conversation between the two, it’s hard not to see the Penguin origin story emerging down the line.
You’ll also be interviewed by Bruce’s future love interest, Vicki Vale who seems like an ally at this point, but that could all change in future episodes. Bruce can also either give evidence to either Vicki or Jim Gordon. Another incident happens when Bruce meet Harvey for a coffee to find Selina there and quickly works out that Bruce is Batman based on his scars from their first encounter. A lot of seeds have been planted already in the first episode and the final section pits Batman against Falcone’s thugs and the man himself.

As with all Telltale games, choices will impact future conversations and situations. In what way? It’s impossible to tell at this point, it could be that some characters will ally with you or be against you in a future episode, or it could mean someone lives or dies. Would Telltale kill off certain characters? We know they haven’t been afraid to do so with The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, so I wouldn’t put it past them…

There are a few performance hiccups now and then, but nothing that I found hindered the experience of the game. The voice-acting is superb with great talent like Troy Baker as Batman at the helm. Now if memory serves Troy Baker did the voice of Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins and I’m fairly sure I heard a Joker laugh in a trailer…could he be doing both the voices of Batman and Joker? That would be mad, but brilliant.

The Verdict

It’s hard to establish what paths the plot will take based on the first episode, but there are a lot of them already in motion. Telltale has once again turned on the magic with this first outing, giving us an introduction into the world they envision for both Batman and Bruce Wayne. Time will tell if the decisions I’ve made will help or hinder me, but one thing is certain…I cannot wait for Episode 2!

Score: 9.0