Batman: Realm of Shadows (PC) Review
- Striking comic book world with stepped up visuals from previous titles
- Good foundation for an interesting look at how Bruce and Batman co-exist
- Strong voice work throughout
Not so much?
- Occasional disconnects from the story
- Decisions seem hazy Detective mode section under-used but promising
- QTE are hit and miss and feel poorly timed in places
So, high hopes and a solid start for Batman: The Telltale Series in the form of episode 1 Realm of Shadows. Several mainstay pillars of the Batman comics are in the mix and it has a strong comic-vibe throughout as well as some solid voice work.
elltale take on another DC franchise with the first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series – Realm of Shadows. Can Telltale offer something a little different to the many version of the Bat we’ve seen over the past ten or so years?
Naturally Telltale seem to have drawn inspiration more from the comic material than the TV or Movie franchises. We’re, once again, treated to the back story of Bruce Wayne. I’m fairly sure there aren’t many people that don’t know how Bruce Wayne was turned into Batman. That said Telltale have to at least deal with the few that maybe don’t and they do so well enough with a few conversational mentions and some flashbacks. It retreads old ground, but it was always going to.
We join Batman/Bruce as he’s trying to throw his support behind corruption fighting district attorney Harvey Dent. Whilst trying to clean up Gotham through official channel with Dent, Wayne is still trawling the streets trying to rid it of criminals. As Bruce throws his financial weight behind Dent things become a little sticky for him and Batman is the only one to help him out.
The story is sporadic and slow building during this episode, partially hamstrung by the need to make sure everyone knows who Bruce Wayne is, why the Batman is necessary and that, in reality, Bruce Wayne is the disguise that Batman wears rather than the other way around.
What story is there certainly plays out well enough and I won’t go into real details here. There are, as you’d expect, certain choices to be made throughout the episode. These are handled well but you don’t get a clear idea of exactly what impact you’ve had on some leaving to a weird, almost murky, disconnect.
Visually Telltale have stepped things up and the game has a much cleaner and deeper look to the visuals. Animations too have been smoothed out and a lot of the “jerk” from previous games has gone. One thing I will say is that a lot of Telltale games are starting to get the same “look”. Not so much a similar style, more that I could’ve take a lot of the characters and environments and transferred them to other franchises. It seems to be on their mind as well as numerous opportunities are taken to stamp the word Gotham on items to help ground you in this particular world.
As with all recent Telltale titles, Batman’s first episode “Realm of Shadows” will run you about 3 hours at most. There’s also little to go back and replay for as the choices seem to have such an uncertain outcome.
The Batman sections are not as compelling as the Wayne ones for the most part and the detective mode section is a little basic to really be called a puzzle.
That said the episode makes a solid foundation that, hopefully, Telltale will build upon. They’ve established Gotham, the Waynes and additional characters – now they need to give us a compelling reason to care and move forward. As it stands, I felt a moderate amount of disconnect throughout the episode, which is unusual for one of their titles.
Their attempt to spice things up with more action and QTE combat sequences both works and doesn’t. Often resulting in some blind panic as prompts come thick and fast. These worked well in Tales from the Borderlands but seem to have not found their rhythm here.
So, high hopes and a solid start for Batman: The Telltale Series in the form of episode 1 Realm of Shadows. Several mainstay pillars of the Batman comics are in the mix and it has a strong comic-vibe throughout as well as some solid voice work. All of which gives rise to me having high hopes for Episode 2.