Batman The Telltale Series Episode 1: ‘Realm of Shadows’ Review
While the title of this series, and furthermore the episode, would lead you to believe that Telltale's newest series would be focusing on Gotham's Dark Knight, Episode 1: ‘Realm of Shadows’ really sinks it's teeth into the psyche of Bruce Wayne. It allows us to really see what the man behind the mask is feeling and the tough choices he has to make as a public icon, CEO, Gotham's most eligible bachelor, and heir to the Wayne family legacy. It's a nice change of pace from how media has told their Batman centric stories in the past.
Since we're spending more time in Bruce's shoes in this first installment, the pacing takes a little hit, becoming a bit inconsistent. The game starts out quick, throwing quick time events at you left and right, making this one of Telltale's most "action" feeling games thus far. For the better part of the game though, you'll be spending a lot of time talking with other business tycoons, mob bosses, and other important people in Wayne's life. While it is all interesting to hear, it does start to feel like you're sitting through a business or economics class after a while. Luckily, once you make it through the middle hump, the game ramps up once again with some spectacular use of Batman's detective skills and battle prowess.
Telltale isn't known for having the most impressive tech behind their engines, but I would be hard pressed to say that the comic look of this latest iteration of their engine really does look superb in Batman's world. I really appreciated that they took the extra step in helping us to make this version of Batman our own by choosing the finer details of his gadgets. The engine however still isn't perfect. The frame rate seems a bit slow in the beginning of new scenes, but it does seem to catch up over time. Unfortunately, the game did crash on me once during my 2.5 hour play through.
Episode 1 nailed the balance between each dialog choice. You can be as brutal as BvS's Battfleck, as just as the Batman animated series from the '90s, or somewhere in the between-- Nolan's Batman. This is a solid first entry in what looks to be a great 5 story arc.
*Reviewed on Xbox One