Batman: A Telltale Games Series - Episode 1: PS4 Review
Developed by Telltale Games
Batman: A Telltale Games Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows has arrived on the scene with quite a lot of expectation behind it.
Given how successful Batman's iterations have recently been thanks to Rocksteady and the Arkham series, the idea of a storytelling click and point with the traditional Bat-background was an intriguing one.
And fortunately, for a set-up chapter, the Telltale Games iteration of Batman delivers to a tee, mixing up both character and action with equal aplomb.
Feeling more like Gotham in terms of a rise of villains, this sees Bruce Wayne negotiating the world of politics and mobsters, while his alter-ego spends the night trying to crack the mob's influence in the form of Falcone, a big league gangster who's blighting Gotham. Throw into that mix, a Harvey Dent led campaign to clean up the city, the arrival of one Selina Kyle on the scene and the release of a certain Oswald Cobblepot and it's pretty clear that Bruce Wayne's got a lot on his plate.
As for the plot itself, the way Telltale Games teases out the first part of the franchise is commendable. While trying to work out loyalties and crack cases, the majority of this first chapter is focussed more on Bruce Wayne - even if it begins with a Batman led interlude that sees the Bat kicking some ass in a more traditional way.
But that's the disarming thing about Batman: A Telltale Games Series - it plays with your expectations of what a Batman game could do. By focussing more on Bruce and having you spend time as the detective rather than chaining together a combo list of smackdowns, it becomes more engrossing and feels more layered.
The detective mode of the Batman crime solving is also clever too. Using Batman's senses at the scene of a crime, he can link together pieces of evidence to help tell the story of what happened; it's a clever touch that uses shades and shadows to recreate a scene and gives some edge to the more pensive side of the crime solving that's been missing from other Batman games.
Ultimately, Batman: A Telltale Games Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadow is about set up. It offers enough tantalising looks into the seedier side of the Batworld to help tell a story's foundations. And while the end suggests a lot of what may have been presented in Episode 1 is not what it first seems, the intrigue and mystery is something akin to some of Batman's most famous stories.
Here's hoping the following chapters build on the promise.