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Batman: A Telltale Series Review

February 16th, 2017 by

batman tt 001I always wanted to be Batman as a child. To be fair, I wanted to be Spider-Man when I was five, then an astronaut when I was six. As I got a bit older, I became a tad more realistic. So I decided to be a stuntman, The Fall Guy made it look fun. Then, the slow realisation dawned on me, I hate exercise, and heights, and being on fire.

I settled on Batman aged 7. I liked black and yellow, they worked well together. Then,years later, Val Kilmer. I didn’t want to be Batman anymore. I was twenty at the time, probably best I stopped dressing up, especially at kids parties. But over the years, I continued to play a good few batman games including Batman the movie, Batman Returns, Batman the caped crusader, the Arkham series, and LEGO Batman.

So now we have Batman, the point and click adventure. Beg your pardon? A point and click action game? How would they manage the Visceral kung fu of the black caped flying rodent?

Through the tried and test use of the QuickTime event of course.

God I hate QTE’s. You spend all the time looking at the screen prompts rather than the action itself. Because of the limitations of the Telltale engine, this is the only option when it comes to fighting which in the past has made it a bit boring and frustrating in previous games. But they do a better job in this one.

I always wait for a full season of a Tell Tale game to be available before playing. I am one of those people that try to play only one game at a time, either until I complete it or I get bored. The main reason is that I am prone to forgetting the control scheme if I haven’t played it for a while.   Take any open world game , for example, press the button to get in a car and end up accidentally punching a defenceless pensioner, sparking a 30 minute chase and loss of many police lives.

I am the same with TV programs, forgetting what’s been happening and have to watch the last 10 minutes of the previous episode. Especially Game of Thrones, I haven’t got a clue what’s going on in that most of the time, but I still love it. It might be something to do with the violence, nudity and little people.

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I do also have another bad habit in playing these games. If I feel like I have made a bad decision, I load up a previous save game and try it again. This means that in the past my progress has sometimes been a slow and painful one. I tried not to do it here and I even made a decision half way through that made me feel I should have done something different. But I suppose that’s the whole point.

But could this be the game that brings me back to crime fighting? I have played most of the Tell Tale games; Wolf Among Us, Tales From The Borderlands and Walking Dead. The latter, I played the games long before recently tried to watch the TV series. I am on series three. I’m still struggling, it’s grim.

Why so serous?

On the subject of walking dead and it’s recently deceased cast, let’s talk about those dead parents. Lampooned numerous times elsewhere but Batman does still bloody go on about it. Like an attention seeking anti-war diabetic vegan who constant posts updates about going to the gym. Like those people on Facebook updating their statues with, “I’m not happy, such a bad day, I’m not going to say any more”, but they then don’t actually say what’s actually wrong (I’m nosey, I like to know, but don’t want to be that person who asks).

Or those memes about not caring what negative people are saying behind their backs. (Which we are, because you are an annoying insecure attention seeking narcissist) Please give it a rest. Batman is like that about his parents and he doesn’t disappoint here.

But it’s actually an important part of the story for once, not just an excuse for Bruce to post sad stories of how bad his life is.

“That’s the problem with dual identity, Robin. Duel responsibilities”

I may have wanted to be Batman as a child but I never actually wanted to be Bruce Wayne. I just found those bits of the films a bit boring, constantly waiting for Batman to turn up and kick some criminal behind. But in this game, you get to play as Bruce as much as Batman and let’s be fair, he’s a bit of a nutcase. If I dressed up in rubber and went out at night, I wouldn’t be considered a superhero, I would be classed as deviant. The game does an excellent job portraying the internal conflict and the consequences of his actions. But Bruce also does a great job of screwing up his reputation.

In terms of the story there are plenty of story twists. More twists in fact than an M.Nnight Shyamaian film about the game of Twister. It does occasionally skirt a little too close to the Nolan films with re-treads of the Harvey Dent origin story-line. But then again if you read the comics then it probably covers quite a lot of story-lines for all I know. One element that is all to overlooked in other Batman games and films for that matter is that he’s known as the Worlds Greatest Detective. Not Worlds Greatest butt kicker and here you get to experience more of the former.

That maybe down to the limitations of the engine but it does force the game to tell a story. And this is a good one. A few new mechanics have been also introduced included such as investigation of crimes scenes as well planning infiltrations all done by linking objects together. It works well but it is still fairly simple, certainly No Murder She Wrote.

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Where does he get those wonderful toys? Rumbelows?

Batman like Bond wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t for gadgets, there’s Bat-Drones, Batarangs, Bat-Computers, Bat-Smoke Grenades, Bat-Cars and Bat-Electrical-Pulse-Thingys . I just wish there was a gadget to stop my dog shitting on the carpet and eating it if I don’t get there in time. It is like the CountDown clock starts in my dogs head as soon as he has emptied his bowels. Maybe he thinks he is being helpful so I don’t have to clean up? He wags his tail after he’s done it too, “look at me! Aren’t your proud that I just ate my own shit?”.

However, this still a Telltale game so there are bound to be issues with the engine and that is still true here unfortunately. When it originally launched there was widespread stories of people having a number of issues with the game crashing or resolution problems. Thankfully most of these have been fixed with patches. However, that still didn’t stop me experiencing the odd problem of frame rate issues as well as the odd contorted head of the main protagonist, looking less like Batman and more like a severe case of polio. Get your kids vaccinated folks, Bruce’s parents died before he got his clearly.

In summary, this is the best TellTale game, that honour still goes to Walking Dead season one. But, for the story, this is one of the best versions of Batman.

As I sit here in my rubber all-in-one cat suit, I can’t help but think after finishing this game that I’m Batman.

Midlife Gamer Rating: 8/10     Format:  PlayStation 4 / Xbox One / PC     Release Date: Out Now

Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided with a review copy of  Batman: A Telltale Series for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of  a week . For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.

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