Telltale: Batman – Realm Of Shadows Episode 1 Review
I have been a fan of the Telltale way of storytelling in games ever since I played through and experienced The Wolf Among Us. I’m also a fan of similar games that tell stories in a similar way to the ones Telltale releases such as Life Is Strange or Until Dawn. Upon hearing that a new Batman game was being made and also hearing that it would be coming from Telltale, I couldn’t help but be excited to check this game out and when it finally released, I was sure to get my copy of the game as soon as I could. Not only was one of my favourite companies releasing a new game, but I was also going to get a new Batman game, a character that I am also a very big fan of.
After playing this first episode twice now, do I consider it a good choice to purchase it though?
The short answer is yes!
Being a fan of story driven video games, I was really looking forward to seeing a great Batman story be told here and was not only wanting it to be something good, but I wanted a Batman story that was different, something I hadn’t seen or heard before and that’s exactly what I got.
In a lot of film and video games of the past, Batman stories are often focused around the hero, it is of course called Batman and why shouldn’t they be focused around that character? But for quite some time now, I had really been wanting something that was focused around the Bruce Wayne character, it’s such an interesting side to the Batman narrative, which I think hasn’t been explored so much in the past. In Telltale’s Realm Of Shadows, much of the story is centred around Bruce Wayne (although the Batman side does get quite a few scenes as well).
The story takes place during the Harvey Dent campaign, he is running for Mayor and a party is being held at Wayne Manor. Bruce is playing the part of kingmaker and is endorsing Harvey Dent. All is going well, that is until Carmine Falcone turns up to the party, uninvited and unwelcome and things kind of unravel from there. It’s interesting to watch the story unfold and we see Bruce go through quite a lot of things during this first episode and they’re all interesting, character building moments.
The story is fairly well done, however at times it does tend to really repeat the “death of the Bruce’s parents” quite a lot, it’s okay to mention it, it’s part of the character. But it does get brought up quite a lot in this episode. Where things are most interesting are with the variety of characters. We get to see things from Vikki Vale, Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Dent, Alfred and Selina Kyle and they’re all very well done. There are some very interesting character dynamics in Realm Of Shadows and I look forward to seeing the story unfold as the rest of the episodes get released in the future.
The story is told through a choice based method, you choose what Bruce or Batman says at certain points and depending on what you say, it will have either a minor impact on the story in the game or a massive one. Having replayed the story twice now, the most important moment that seems to bring the most change to the story is at Bruce’s party when Falcone turns up. You are presented with a choice to either shake his hand or not to, this has vast consequences on how people perceive you in the story. Having seen both outcomes from this decision, I have to say it really does change the tone quite a lot depending on what you choose there and I love that!
The graphics are nice, but they do not seem much improved when compared to Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us, in fact it looks like the game could have been made and released in the same year by the look of it. It would have been nice to see some improvement there, especially since it’s been so many years, but if you love this Telltale look then you’ll likely love what you get with this Batman game. If you don’t, it may look a bit dated in some parts, even though it is animated.
The animated characters do like nice though and I really enjoyed the colouring, character design and the settings in this game. All the character models look great and the world is well created and also very interesting to look at. The only issue I have is with the Batman character, his eyes are whitened out when he’s got the mask on and they seem to glow, which to me looks a little strange in the game. Almost like he’s Raiden from Mortal Kombat 4, which is weird.
Overall, Telltale’s Batman – Realm Of Shadows Episode One was a solid start to a new episodic video game series. I loved the variety of characters in the first episode and really appreciated a Bruce Wayne centred story, it’s both different and interesting. If you’re a Batman fan, or a Telltale fan, this game is definitely worth looking into if you can this week.