If you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you can be forgiven for not knowing who Telltale Games are and what they do with big-name licences. If you’re one of those people, allow me to briefly explain. Telltale make games that are very reminiscent of ‘choose your own adventure’ books we all had as kids – well, us 80’s kids, anyway. The games feature only a small amount of action compared to the decision-based stories they tell.
Batman is one of the most recent franchises that Telltale have adapted and I believe is probably one of their best to date. Not only does Batman: The Telltale Series capture what makes the character so interesting, but the choice based replies allow for the most wonderfully realised versions of Bruce Wayne we’ve seen for a long time. In fact, at some points in the game, you can actually choose whether to tackle them as the Dark Knight or as Bruce, which is an intelligent master-stroke.
It would be remiss of me to say that Batman: The Telltale Series just follows the same routines as previous games, but of course, when it comes to the dialogue choosing and decisions that will impact the story you’ll have seen it all before. Where this game stands out is in how it makes you truly feel like you are The Batman.
Plotting how to enter action situations via pre-choosing pathways sets up the comic book action wonderfully and exploring crime scenes actually pulls Batman into being a great detective again. Piecing together information feels substantial rather than by the numbers and away from the slow paced investigation, Batman moves fluidly with QTE button prompts. This latter point does come with a slight personal niggle in that my hands aren’t big enough to react quickly enough to button presses, at times.
When played on the TV, Batman: The Telltale Series is a great experience, but for me, the game truly came alive in handheld. Allow me to diverge slightly… when I was a kid I watched the Tom Hanks film, Big. In one scene he pitches the idea of an electronic comic book that allows the reader to choose what happens as they read. The idea fascinated me and now it has been realised. Sure, Telltale technically did it a long time ago with The Walking Dead, but on Nintendo Switch it really feels like the comic book has come to life.
The screen size allows for a genuine approximation of a comic book, while still being truly portable. It looks stunning, sounds amazing and delivers a fantastic Batman experience. The unfortunate price tag must be looked at, however. On all points, Batman: The Telltale Series is a must have for fans of Telltale, Batman and narrative-driven games. But, it needs to be more accessible. I can’t help but feel that Telltale is pricing themselves out of the market by charging so much for a game that is much cheaper elsewhere. Yes, it’s a great game and it shows what can be done with the Switch in terms of showing off narrative in a portable experience, but the naïve pricing is a sore point.