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Batman The Telltale Series + The Enemy Within. The first games I beat this year!

The first games I beat in 2021 are the two games that make up the Batman Telltale series. I want to preface this by saying that I am a huge Batman fan. He’s my favourite superhero and has been since I was a young kid. I used to watch all of the different cartoon iterations of him and I’m pretty sure I was Batman on more than one Halloween. So, I may come across as a bit biased in some aspects. Anyway, here are my thoughts on the two games.

When it comes to this series, the first thing that I noticed was the music. Right from the loading screen in the first game, The Telltale Series, the music sounded very fitting. It was epic and continued to be epic throughout the entirety of the game in my opinion. I definitely noticed the music more in this game than I did in the two entries for the Walking Dead series I played.

It also became apparent right away that this was going to be a different game than the Walking Dead, which is a good thing because I went into this expecting to play the Walking Dead but in the Batman universe, and this wasn’t that. The opening action sequence was quite fun and immediately differentiated the tone of the game from the previous Telltale games I played. On the flip side, once the novelty of the experience wore off, I did find some action sequences to be quite repetitive, but I guess that’s to be expected with such a limited amount of gameplay mechanics.

In the first entry, I was shocked to find that I enjoyed playing as Bruce Wayne more than Batman. It was the first time I actually played as Bruce as most Batman games, like the Arkham series heavily focus on playing as the Caped Crusader. So, this was a, very welcome, change of pace. What I appreciated most about the Bruce Wayne parts of the game was choosing the dialogue and watching your version of Bruce play out. As someone who’s watched plenty of Batman, it was interesting to hear him speak the choices I made. Sometimes I even found myself regretting certain choices because it didn’t sound like something Bruce would actually say. I then found myself selecting choices based on what I thought he would do.

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The story itself wasn’t all too compelling, but I appreciate them trying to be original. It isn’t a story I’ve seen play out in other Batman media for those wondering, and I was actually glad they didn’t just choose to re-tell another existing Batman story. It was pretty easy to hop on board the story with my existing knowledge and familiarity with the characters too. My only gripe is that they weren’t able to capitalize on the villain potential in my opinion. They introduced plenty of candidates who are more than capable of being the big bad in a Batman story, but it felt a little overdone and maybe if they focused on fewer of them, they could’ve each been more impactful.

When it comes to the second game, The Enemy Within, the music wasn’t as strong, which was a bit of a disappointment because of how much I enjoyed it in the first game. They did do a good job of introducing more options and variety to the action scenes which helped prevent those scenes from being too repetitive. A definite upgrade from its predecessor. These changes did make the game seem more like an actual game and less like an interactive story.

A big difference between the two games is that in the first, it felt like they really played up the alter ego aspect to being Batman and the second played up the “World’s Greatest Detective” aspect of the character, at least in the first half of the game. In the first, there was a stark contrast between the Bruce Wayne and Batman sections and they both played out differently. It helped to make me experience what it may be like to have an alter ego by highlighting the differences between Bruce and Batman.

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Early on in the second game, I thought it would focus more on the detective work that Batman puts into taking down his foes. As the game progressed, however, they abandoned this in favour of just throwing both Bruce and Batman into similar situations. I found there to be too much overlap between the two characters and playing as one felt too similar to playing as the other. It’s a good thing that the premise for the story is much more compelling in the second game as this saves some of the disappointment from the blending of the alter egos in my opinion. It’s a much grander plot in the second game and there are definite callbacks to other Batman storylines which were kind of nice. They don’t re-tell an existing story but instead borrow certain aspects from them to tell their own story.

That’s pretty much where the positives end for me. The game quickly shifts from being about preventing a big heist by a group of villains to yet another re-imagining of how the relationship between Batman and Joker begins. It’s a weaker attempt compared to others I’ve seen as well. I’ll never understand why so much superhero related content heavily relies on the same villains over and over again. Yes, the Clown Prince of Crime is arguably the greatest villain of all time, but that doesn’t mean he should be shoehorned in as the main villain in every single piece of Batman material. When it became clear that this was the direction the game was headed, it began to become a bit of a drag. The second half of the game was just too long for my liking and the overall impact and use of the relationship mechanic was a lot less satisfying than I thought it would be which is a shame because my relationships with characters changing based on my decisions was an interesting new wrinkle in the Telltale formula.

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Overall, these two games were enjoyable as a Batman fan, but I feel they had so much potential to be more than just fun.


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