Episode One: The Enigma
It is titled, The Enemy Within and features my favorite Batman villain (after The Joker)
The second episode of the Telltale Series has been completed and things got intense really quick. Picking up shortly after the events of the previous episode, Bruce Wayne is on the ropes emotionally as his family legacy is in question. The real kicker is: his family legacy is actually not that grand. Thomas and Martha Wayne were in cahoots with the corruption in the city. A grisly scene featuring Thomas torturing Oswald’s mother just to gain their land so he can build Wayne Enterprises on it. This has shown Telltale is not messing around when it comes to establishing their own Batman mythology. Usually the Wayne’s are depicted as being above all the corruption and upstanding citizens. Their murder being a random act of violence.
Now that no longer stands in this version. Their murder was in fact orchestrated as it was implied that they were trying to accumulate more power than others were comfortable with. Now we are dealing with a Batman who mostly based his legacy on a presumption that his parents were good people and victims of a mugging. So what kind of hero will Batman be going forward? We have already seen the repercussions of the death of his parents as he struggles with an innate violence within him. But this is something that can be played with. But it’s clear that Bruce Wayne will arguably now have to be much more of a hero with the revelation about his parents.
Not just a hero as Batman but as Bruce Wayne as well. The game frequently plays with the fact that he can’t just rely on being Batman to make a difference in the city. That Bruce Wayne may even be a more important figure going forward than Batman. So it will be interesting to see how the developers continue to create their own mythos for Batman now that the revelations about his parents continue to come out. Episode 3 cannot come soon enough.
Bruce Wayne/Batman – The one constant in any adaptation of Batman. If you’re familiar with the character, he won’t be too dissimilar from what you’ve seen. The major difference is that this version is younger so he’s not as hardened. He seems much more willing to play both personas instead of focusing mainly on being Batman. He doesn’t seem to have the “lazy billionaire playboy” thing going on. Bruce Wayne seems very active in his company and his community.
Harvey Dent – Harvey Dent is something of a change. Here he is depicted as being physically taller and bulkier than Bruce Wayne. While traditionally Harvey Dent has been portrayed as an altruistic District Attorney, here he something different.While he is still portrayed as being a good man and wanting to do a good job, he seems to be much more lenient with criminals. While usually Harvey Dent is portrayed as being the opposite and that being a factor in him becoming Two-Face, here he muses to Bruce that he will have to work with Carmine Falcone. There is also a “slave to PR” element added to him.
Oswald Cobblepot – The biggest change is this character here. Oswald Cobblepot is also known as The Penguin. The Penguin is typically portrayed as older, shorter and fat. Here he is the not only the same age as Bruce Wayne but also a childhood friend of his. The criminal element is still there but now he is depicted as something of a brawler. However some things are always constant and he has a long criminal history. He also hints that he has big plans for the city and that anyone standing in his way will pay the consequences.
The first episode of Batman – The Telltale Series has been released. Telltale Games has become synonymous with storytelling in video games…sometimes to the actual detriment to gameplay. So how does this gel with Batman who is a character known for being a great detective as well as a great fighter? Solid.
The game is very much about Bruce Wayne and Batman and how both personas of the same man affect the city? Bruce Wayne is pointedly called a “kingmaker” at one point. Batman is feared and hated in the city except for Lieutenant Gordon who is his sole ally within the Gotham City Police. Though Bruce would like to think his personas are not that tied together, the first episode proves differently.
The plot of the first episode revolves around mob boss Carmine Falcone and his influence over the city. Bruce Wayne wants his friend District Attorney Harvey Dent to become the next mayor while Falcone wants to be included. Dent is the shining knight of the city and so this does not sit well with the criminal element that has prospered in the city. What happens in the ensuing events I will not spoil but the Wayne family legacy is something Bruce Wayne and Batman will have to work on by the end.
The universe of this Batman is familiar yet different at the same time. Harvey Dent, the future Two-Face, is someone who wants to change the city but makes it clear he’s willing to play dirty to get things done. Oswald Cobblepot, the future Penguin, is here a tall and skinny man who was once a childhood friend of Bruce’s. His appearance is small but he outright days he is up to something. Bruce Wayne and Batman both meet Salina Kyle and Catwoman and their relationship is already filled with sexual tension. Gordon and Batman are allies but it’s clear the rest of the police do not share their trust of Batman. Bruce Wayne also meets reporter Vicki Vale who proves to be an ally in both his personas.
The gameplay is familiar to those who have played a Telltale Game before. This one is a bit more action heavy than predecessors but not much as one might think from a Batman game. The more methodical aspects are played up as players are given options to be more physically violent or more intimidating. It is all up to player choice as per usual in a Telltale Game.
Overall it is a solid first episode in a five part series. There is enough mystery and intrigue that makes me wish that the second episode was already out. Telltale seems perfectly suited to handle a Batman game.
Telltale Games is the studio developer who is behind such recent adventure games as The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us. The Walking Dead in particular was such a critical darling that it put the studio on the map and people eagerly anticipate what their next title would be. So it came as a welcome surprise that they would be tackling Batman.
Since Telltale Games are known for their adventure gameplay and story and less on action, many wondered how they would tackle Batman. Details soon came out that It would explore how both Bruce Wayne and Batman go about saving the city. There are certain things that Bruce Wayne can do that Batman can’t do and vice versa. The duality of Bruce Wayne/Batman is rarely ever given depth in video games.
The plot seems to be based loosely off of Batman: Year One. We see a James Gordon who is only barely graying at the temples. Harvey Dent, who will become Two-Face, is running for District Attorney. Batman is encountering Catwoman for the first time. The main advesary appears to be mob boss Carmine Falcone. These were all elements in Year One. Though it doesn’t appear to be Batman’s first year as he has a decked out arsenal already. It will be interesting if this only pertains to the first episode or the series as a whole.
Telltale Games has earned my trust when it comes to their gameplay and storytelling. It will be interesting to see how they create their own Batman mythos. No doubt if this game is a success then we will be seeing more adventures with this Batman. The first episode will be released August 2nd.