So the episode Batman: Realm of Shadows, which happens to be the first of the series, has been released and it seems impressive. This is not the first time Telltale is offering us something that would raise our expectations, what with The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead.
Among all the major superhero adaptations, Batman seems to be the one having the hardest luck as of yet, and what Telltale has to offer gives us a sigh of relief.
Sure there is the usual moaning over the death of the parents of the man behind the mask and maybe a bit too much, which is tiresome except for those for whom this is the first meeting. But where it gains is the decision to bring Bruce Wayne under the limelight instead of the usual caped crusader it has been so far.
For in this game we get to see three faces of our troubled protagonist in his last resort to recover a city he loves and which is on the verge of total degeneration.
We get to see the political side of our hero for the first time in such detail, when we see the handsome multi-millionaire Bruce pitching his support for district attorney Harvey Dent, who is on a face-off with the corrupt Quincy Sharp.
We still don’t know that Dent is Two-Face at this point and the people of Gotham, who are otherwise disillusioned, still stop to think twice about what the prestigious son of the Wayne’s do. It is already tricky for him when in comes mobster Carmine Falcone.
Falcone wants assurance from Wayne that his organization will remain untouched even in the future as it is now under Mayor Sharpe.
Then there is Batman as a hot-headed man, ‘well more hot-headed than usual’ who is in the super-defensive mode now that his city is endangered. This is better crafted with less talking, something which was reached almost painful limits with Bruce Wayne, who at times appears to be a separate person altogether.
The art is cool as are the villains. They are much different from the portrayals in the comic books and some have their courses changed entirely.
The most prominent change took place in the backstory of Oswald Cobblepot, who is a childhood friend of Wayne’s, though there was a break soon after the introduction of this man. In Episode 1 there is not much trace of him as the Penguin.
Similarly, many doubt whether Harvey Dent will ever appear as Two-Face.
What follows can be known through the game, but these intricacies have been used to their full potential through the usage of the Cowl’s holographic interface, which gives it the appearance of a path-choosing graphic novel.
It runs a simulation in the PS4 platform letting us choose what to do next. And it is significant that choices play such an important role in a world where the lead is famous for making choices as the world’s best and the most tech-savvy detective.
Sure the precision is there; we get to see our man deducing things from a bullet shot and matching it with the hole it created. We get to see him using his gadgets with the same surety.
And we also get to see him getting flummoxed by Selina Kyle, Catwoman, the thief who herself does not know what she wants. Batman does a search in his swanky Bat-computer on this mysterious lady he came across, only to find that it is a mysterious lady whom he had come across some time back as well. Sigh!
Making this seemingly infallible man fall to the players is a marketing strategy which comes under the nice coating of making the gamer develop a God-complex maybe over one of his/her favorite characters. But beneath it there is much responsibility involved.