Batman: The Telltale Series, Episode I PC Review: Who is Bruce Wayne?

Batman: The Telltale Series, Episode I PC Review: Who is Bruce Wayne?

Telltale jumps into the DC Universe with its unique look at Batman.

Like many of our long-running comic book heroes, there have been a number of different versions of Batman. Telltale could've drawn on a number of different versions, including cartoon interpretations from Batman: The Animated Series or Beware the Batman, the beefy bruiser from the Arkham games, or any number of film interpretations.

Instead, the developer has crafted its own Batman, introducing its unique take on the Caped Crusader in the first episode of Batman: The Telltale Series: "Realm of Shadows". Since it's an introduction to a new Batman, Telltale has to answer the question, "Who is this Batman?"

What's interesting is that Batman: The Telltale Series is more concerned with "Who is Bruce Wayne?"

The game's story takes place earlier in Batman's career, with familiar faces having not yet reached their most iconic states. Harvey Dent is still Bruce Wayne's best friend, running a campaign to become the city's first Mayor. Selina Kyle is Dent's girlfriend and a recent transplant to Gotham City; Batman and her alter-ego meet here for the first time. James Gordon is just a lieutenant in a police force that's still coming to terms with Batman. Oswald Cobblepot is a former friend of Bruce Wayne whose rich family eventually fell on hard times. Carmine Falcone is the mob boss who runs Gotham City.

Unlike many Batman titles where Bruce Wayne is little more than an afterthought, you'll actually spend a great deal of time in this episode as the millionaire playboy. You'll navigate the world of Bruce Wayne, the parties and the politics. Episode 1 takes the time to tell players what Bruce Wayne and his family have meant to the city of Gotham: a shining example everything right with the city. It frames his vigilante crusade as a way to live up to that ideal in ways his public persona can't.

The central conflict of this episode involves stolen physical material, but it's really about questioning the Wayne family legacy. Were the Waynes perfect humanitarians? Is Bruce doing the right thing by being Batman? Is there more to the family history?

That's not to say there's not Batman action here. Telltale's new game engine more powerful, so the developer is trying some things out. You'll get larger set pieces and some rather extensive quicktime action scenes. Those action scenes and Batman's detective skills are highlighted with an all-new mechanic that lets you link objects together. On the detective side, the system lets players link together different clues to puzzle out a crime scene: nothing to tough, but it's fun. On the fighting side, the link system allows you to plan out an infiltration in pure Batman style. It's a strong addition of Telltale's repertoire.

The action scenes also have a new finishing move meter, powered by successful completion of the game's quick-time events. Since Batman doesn't really take hits from rank-and-file criminals, the finishing moves give you a reason to do your best in the fight sequences.

The voice cast is largely good, though Troy Baker's Batman is odd. His Bruce Wayne is great, but his Batman relies on a voice changer (like Ben Affleck's Batman) that gives him that Kevin Conroy growl. It sounds weird and others I spoke to who played the game didn't even realize that Batman was using a device to change his voice. Slight speed bump, but I think people will get used to it.

Where Batman: The Telltale Series is at its strongest is in the choices you have to make. Does Bruce Wayne brush off the city's biggest mobster or grit his teeth to make the city safer? Is the public version of the millionaire playboy a carefree lout or a young man struggling with the death of his parents? Is your Batman a brutal, violent monster, or a non-lethal protector?

Telltale is a master at giving players the illusion of real choice and the choices you're given here still feel satisfying. The cliffhanger for the first episode hits a strong emotional high as well, trying everything that happened in the episode together in a neat bow.

This is one of the stronger starts to a Telltale Games' series. Many of them tend to be mired in setup and while there's some of that here, the unique focus on Bruce Wayne, a strong story revolving around his family, and some great actions scenes make for a great start. I really enjoyed Episode 1 and I'm looking forward to where this Batman is headed.

Telltale wastes no time in establishing its Batman and the surprising thing is the studio is spending an equal amount of time on Bruce Wayne. The elements are familiar, but the focus is rarely this evenly split. An strong premise, sold takes on familiar characters, and great fight scenes bring this first episode to a strong conclusion. Looking forward to see what's next.


Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. See our terms & conditions.

Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

Read this next

The Rise and Fall of Telltale Games

A look into the history of a company that rose so high and fell so far.

Batman - The Enemy Within Episode 1 Review: Relationships Can Be An Enigma

Telltale Games returns to its unique take on the Caped Crusader.

USgamer Lunch Hour: Telltale's Batman: The Enemy Within [Done!]

The Dark Knight faces his greatest foe in the second season of the Telltale series.

What's The Best of the Telltale Series Games?

Mike takes a look at Telltale's history and decides which titles have been in the best in the Telltale Series.

Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 3 Coming October 25

The tale of this new Dark Knight continues later this month.

Batman: The Telltale Series, Episode II PC Review: Sins of the Father

Telltale's Batman takes a divergent turn from previous versions of the Batman mythos.

Batman: The Telltale Series Struggles To Fight Crime on PC

PC players are reporting a number of issues with the Steam version of Telltale's Batman.

More Reviews

Concrete Genie Review: A Wonderful World of Color Comes With Caveats

Pixelopus' tale of childhood is certainly easy on the eyes.

Destiny 2: Shadowkeep Review: Moon's Haunted and So Is My Playtime

The lack of new loot and a so-so campaign weighs down an otherwise solid expansion for Destiny 2.

John Wick Hex Review: Excommunicado

An amazing action series yields a one-dimensional tactics game.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint Review: Lost in the Wilderness

The Ghosts face off against the Wolves in new type of Ghost Recon.

More on PC

Wargroove Is Getting a Free Heist-Themed Co-Op DLC Called Double Trouble

Chucklefish will also introduce some new tools for custom maps and game-wide balance changes.

Monster of the Week: The Godfather of the Necromorph on Creating Dead Space's Famous Creature

Dead Space designer Ben Wanat tells us about the creation of the Necromorphs, one of last generation's most iconic monsters.

Apex Legends Is Going to Get Much-Needed Improvements to its Training Mode

You and some pals will be able to practice your grappling hook swings together.

Suspended Hearthstone Player Says He Accepts Blizzard's New Ruling

Blitzchung does wish Blizzard would reconsider its position on the casters, however.

Z1 and PlanetSide Developer Daybreak Hit With Another Round of Layoffs

Daybreak Game Company had two rounds of layoffs last year.

Fortnite Probably Isn't Dead, But Players Can't Help But Wonder What's Next

After a massive explosion, Fortnite users are left with only an eerie void and theories.