Welcome back to the gaming world, people of 2018! Flushed with eShop money and no idea what to spend it on, I decide to make the jump into Telltale Games’ work, having never seen or played one before. With their slow introductory on the Switch, I perused all of the two titles I could find; Minecraft and Batman. Having told myself I was a fan of Batman for many years (often disheartedly as I leave movie theatres), I decide to let this be the very first TTG game. I didn’t know what to expect given that the only thing I knew was “there was going to be some tough choices to make”. Little did I know that choices and split decisions were the cruces of the game, and with it being dished on Bruce Wayne’s plate, left me begging for season two.
For those who are in the same boat as me, the season one that I played introduces many of the iconic Batman character (sans Robin) you can imagine, often with a new spin or re-imagining of the character. The Danny Devito-esque villain, the Penguin, has been etched in my mind thanks to Tim Burton, yet what I got instead was surprising and left me in loops of trying to reestablish what I remember characters as. Harvey Dent, who many will know as the eventual Two-Face, makes a strong left turn on how he’s handled in both his relationship with Bruce Wayne and with the world. I suppose writing a whole paragraph on why I was shocked to re-organize my thoughts on the Batman world as told by Telltale is a bit silly, but it’s a blessed forewarning; don’t expect the same old story.
Though yes, the pearls do break and hit the floor at some point in this game.
The controls of the game vary from scene to scene, though what you can do is tied thematically to the situation of the scene. Combat scenes clear you of moving but instead preps you to be ready for a fast-paced button prompt to dodge a punch or send a knee into a face. Conversations focus almost entirely on dialog choices, running down a ladder of decisions that will affect people’s friendship with you or how people begin to look at Batman. Investigations leave you to rummage the area and investigate clue pieces, occasionally linking evidence area to form a bigger picture of the nightmares that unfolded there. By design, it felt like every choice I made had an impact on the game, even if there are times it didn’t matter and it was smoke and mirrors.
Spread across five episodes, each part usually introduces a new titular character or plot point, giving a fresh slap of paint to a building art piece. In addition, there’s usually a game-changing decision to make that decides the fate of the chapter’s end. I had to decide between taking on two separate villains in different parts of town, both of which were trying to ruin you at the same time. Stop one saves me in some fashion, while the other devastates your future. It was almost traumatizing to pick because I knew I was screwed either way and I had to calculate which was least damaging. I had to pick between saving two people very important to me. I regret my pick, but I know I would regret it if I picked the other person, too
There are some hardships that come with this game, with one, in particular, that would dissuade me personally from buying the game for the Switch in the first place. Namely, I was stricken with memory save issues that were so bad that if I chose to leave after a checkpoint anywhere in an episode, even if the icon clearly showed it saved the game for me, I would have to start the entire chapter over. We’re talking up to an hour and a half of lost game time, folks. Even after beating the episode it would save my choices but then claim that I never played the episode and prompt me to do so. Essentially I was forced to play in 1.5-hour chunks or risk losing a ton of progress and choices I made. That aside, there are a lot of jenky scene transitions of models and foliage loading in a bit too late to escape my eagle eyes, leaving me annoyed that they miscalculated the load time that the Switch takes compared to the console or PC counterparts.
The music was decent and the voice acting, and although occasionally corny (I’m looking at you, Selina Kyles), Telltale did an amazing job with the voice acting on everything. I can only imagine how much work is put into the voice work, considering the one playthrough I only reflected one of the four choices of dialogue that was presented to me, making me curious to retry and play the scenario differently. With credits in tow for the last time, however, I’m ready to let this game sit for a bit until I give it another go.