Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 07.08.2016

Review for Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows on PlayStation 4

While superheroes are now mainstream, it certainly wasn't always that way. Go back a decade or two and you will be hard pressed to find many people who knew who Iron Man or Daredevil were. One of the few that has always managed to be part of pop culture, however, is Batman. Like his bromance partner, Superman, Batman has managed to stay relevant through numerous iterations, from the campy Adam West to the spectacular Tim Burton incarnation and even now with Batfleck. The Arkham games are without a doubt some of the finest comic-based games ever produced and now Telltale has decided to have a crack at its own unique spin on the Dark Knight.

With so many characters, periods, arcs, and possibilities for Telltale to explore, it's great to see it hasn't decided to cover the origin of Batman. Just like Uncle Ben, audiences are sick and tired of being told about little Bruce's trip to see Zoro. This is instead something of a "Year One" else-world tale, with Alfred still chastising Bruce for his nightly trips and Gordon still having somewhat of a tumultuous relationship with the vigilant.

With so many versions of Batman, it's always great to see how each tackles the characters and key elements of the series - DeVito's Cobblepot compared to Robin Taylor's; the rubber Batsuit from Burton compared to the bat nipples of the Schumacher. Each crafts their own world and style. Telltale has some familiar elements from comics and the Arkham games, but also injects plenty of originality. Strangely off-putting is one particular design choice that some players may not be able to un-see, in that Bruce has quite the uncanny licence to Sterling Archer from the superb animated series Archer. The Batsuit is fantastic, though, taking inspiration from numerous iterations and combining them nicely into an original product. The Batmobile isn't bad, either, looking like a Lamborghini fused with elements from the Batmobile of "Batman: Year One."

Screenshot for Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows on PlayStation 4

Fans of the Caped Crusader will see some familiar faces here, with Harvey Dent, Oswald Cobblepot, Carmine Falcone, and a new thief in town with a penchant for Catsuits and whips. Notably - and in a way thankfully - absent is the Clown Prince of crime. The Joker is without doubt Batman's nemesis and one of the best villains ever made, but too often he is used when Batman has such a rich catalogue of rogues to explore. There are plenty of hints to show Harvey may be acting a bit two faced, Catwoman is always a great frenemy, and this version of Cobblepot is filled with promise.

Being a Telltale game, the usual gameplay elements are in attendance. There are conversations and interrogations to choose dialogue options from, for instance. There are plenty of opportunities to craft the story in this first episode. As Bruce, a thin line has to be tread as he tries to drum up support for Harvey, but potential assistance from crime lord Falcone could cost him his reputation or his life. Another conversation with a bitter young man who was once a friend may result in them becoming a new foe. While another conversation still has the risk of Bruce losing his secret identity. As Batman, the opportunity for personalisation is more the chance to craft the type of hero Batman will be. If he's willing to break bones or relies on intimidation, whether he will work alongside the police or put himself above them.

The fight scenes bring the usual Telltale Quick-Time Event mechanics, although they feel a little basic and lacklustre compared to the combat section seen in The Wolf Among Us or especially so when compared to the Arkham series from Rocksteady. There's also some smart inclusion of gadget-based scene investigation for The World's Greatest Detective as he recreates crime scenes with some bat gadgets. Again, it's rather brief and simple, yet shows promise for future episodes.

Screenshot for Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


The QTEs may be very lacklustre in Batman: The Telltale Series - Episode 1: Realm of Shadows, even compared to Telltale's earlier works, and the combat scenes need work, but there's plenty of opportunities to grow after this first episode. All in all, it's a solid and promising start that establishes a world via "show, don't tell," and sets up enough plot threads to keep players interested in what comes next.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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