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Found 35 results

  1. Trust. Everything revolves around that word in Fractured Mask. With threats closing in from all sides, should Bruce Wayne expand his inner circle or insist on carrying on alone? Relationships take big steps forward (or backwards) based on that question, but that focus comes at the expense of a looming threat still struggling to get off of the ground. Episode 2 saw Bruce Wayne infiltrating and reluctantly working with The Pact, the super villain alliance led by Harley Quinn Maintaining Bruce’s cover at all costs becomes increasingly tricky with Harley becoming wise of a mole within the ranks. Conspiring against the group keeps the tension high with some close calls with the skeptical Bane and Quinn. The Pact returns from last episode’s mission one member short based on who players chose to abandon during the conclusion. Not that it matters, as the missing party immediately reappears without anything close to an explanation. Disappointing, as keeping that character out of the picture for longer could have led to an interesting shake-up in the ranks. No matter who got ditched, Bruce’ standing with them takes no significant hits, making the whole thing feel like a missed opportunity. Fractured Mask tugs the curtain back a little bit more on the villain’s endgame but there’s still not enough shown to feel threatened. Being as we’re over halfway through the season, this worries me. Fractured Mask feels like the point where their scheme should become at least mostly clear. Instead, we’re still putting together vague pieces or the larger puzzle. I’m not sure Telltale can reveal the plan and resolve it in two episodes. Or, at the very least, pull it all off in a way that feels satisfactory. Catwoman slinks back into the spotlight and remains an alluring temptress who’s fun to be around and tough to say no to. Though the song and dance with her isn’t much different than in Season 1. However, choosing whether to let Selina in or keep her at arm’s reach takes the relationship to meaningful highs and lows. Tiffany Fox and Bruce Wayne’s tense stand-off takes an unexpected turn to a much needed payoff. The same applies to Amanda Waller and Jim Gordon’s feud with the latter party in particular reaching a boiling point that could lead to something promising. The underlying story of Alfred’s fragile emotional stability takes a few sad baby steps forward. The background is a suitable place for that subplot for now and I look forward to see how that pans out. John’s road to...whatever he may wind up becoming takes an important pit stop in his first encounter with Batman. It just feels right to see him finally interact with the persona he’s destined to tangle with, especially with the intriguing angle their going with. As a fan of the Bat and eager to learn from him, the dialogue allows players to potentially mold John’s ultimate opinion of him for the day they likely face-off. Players who humor John’s almost innocent infatuation with Batman are treated to a cute and surreal scene involving Batman teaching him some pointers. Once again, Telltale does a good job of presenting plausible alternative outcomes to John’s journey to keep players guessing. A solid puzzle segment early on serves as the most substantial gameplay contribution from Telltale. Beyond combat encounters and the introduction of a new but simple investigation type, it seems the most interesting mechanics died with the Riddler. Given how well his modus operandi fits Telltale’s gameplay style I can’t help but question taking him out of the season so quickly. Conclusion: Fractured Mask features good moments but stands as the weakest installment thus far. I wouldn’t call it bad, only that it comes and goes without the punch of previous installments. Adding layers to the established character drama, while entertaining, takes precedence over fleshing out the primary threat. I can’t help but feel that particular aspect could wind up being a mess. Here’s hoping the next episode proves me wrong.
  2. Trust. Everything revolves around that word in Fractured Mask. With threats closing in from all sides, should Bruce Wayne expand his inner circle or insist on carrying on alone? Relationships take big steps forward (or backwards) based on that question, but that focus comes at the expense of a looming threat still struggling to get off of the ground. Episode 2 saw Bruce Wayne infiltrating and reluctantly working with The Pact, the super villain alliance led by Harley Quinn Maintaining Bruce’s cover at all costs becomes increasingly tricky with Harley becoming wise of a mole within the ranks. Conspiring against the group keeps the tension high with some close calls with the skeptical Bane and Quinn. The Pact returns from last episode’s mission one member short based on who players chose to abandon during the conclusion. Not that it matters, as the missing party immediately reappears without anything close to an explanation. Disappointing, as keeping that character out of the picture for longer could have led to an interesting shake-up in the ranks. No matter who got ditched, Bruce’ standing with them takes no significant hits, making the whole thing feel like a missed opportunity. Fractured Mask tugs the curtain back a little bit more on the villain’s endgame but there’s still not enough shown to feel threatened. Being as we’re over halfway through the season, this worries me. Fractured Mask feels like the point where their scheme should become at least mostly clear. Instead, we’re still putting together vague pieces or the larger puzzle. I’m not sure Telltale can reveal the plan and resolve it in two episodes. Or, at the very least, pull it all off in a way that feels satisfactory. Catwoman slinks back into the spotlight and remains an alluring temptress who’s fun to be around and tough to say no to. Though the song and dance with her isn’t much different than in Season 1. However, choosing whether to let Selina in or keep her at arm’s reach takes the relationship to meaningful highs and lows. Tiffany Fox and Bruce Wayne’s tense stand-off takes an unexpected turn to a much needed payoff. The same applies to Amanda Waller and Jim Gordon’s feud with the latter party in particular reaching a boiling point that could lead to something promising. The underlying story of Alfred’s fragile emotional stability takes a few sad baby steps forward. The background is a suitable place for that subplot for now and I look forward to see how that pans out. John’s road to...whatever he may wind up becoming takes an important pit stop in his first encounter with Batman. It just feels right to see him finally interact with the persona he’s destined to tangle with, especially with the intriguing angle their going with. As a fan of the Bat and eager to learn from him, the dialogue allows players to potentially mold John’s ultimate opinion of him for the day they likely face-off. Players who humor John’s almost innocent infatuation with Batman are treated to a cute and surreal scene involving Batman teaching him some pointers. Once again, Telltale does a good job of presenting plausible alternative outcomes to John’s journey to keep players guessing. A solid puzzle segment early on serves as the most substantial gameplay contribution from Telltale. Beyond combat encounters and the introduction of a new but simple investigation type, it seems the most interesting mechanics died with the Riddler. Given how well his modus operandi fits Telltale’s gameplay style I can’t help but question taking him out of the season so quickly. Conclusion: Fractured Mask features good moments but stands as the weakest installment thus far. I wouldn’t call it bad, only that it comes and goes without the punch of previous installments. Adding layers to the established character drama, while entertaining, takes precedence over fleshing out the primary threat. I can’t help but feel that particular aspect could wind up being a mess. Here’s hoping the next episode proves me wrong. View full article
  3. After The Enigma laid the table cloth for what’s to come, The Pact continues to set the silverware. More than anything else, the second episode cashes in on the development of Joker-in-progress John Doe by smartly flipping the roles of his most iconic relationship. The Pact injects a big dose of villainy with a few new faces, most notably one Dr. Harleen Quinzel. But this ain’t your 90s afternoon cartoon Harley Quinn. Keeping in line with Telltale’s penchant for shake-ups, Harley debuts as an established, independent, and intelligent killer. While she still retains her sick yet charming sense of humor, Quinn is far from the ditzy sidekick role she typically assumes. In fact, The Pact marks the first time I’ve ever felt genuinely intimidated by Harley. The change works surprisingly well, largely because of how Telltale managed a skillful switch-a-roo in her relationship with John Doe. Basically, John assumes Harley’s original role. Completely infatuated with Quinn, he aims to impress however possible. After establishing John’s new origin and behavior, his characterization (side note: his sad innocence actually made me feel sorry for him) pays off by making him a believable second-fiddle to Harley. This dynamic, along with your friendship with John, comes to a head during an edge-of-your-seat mission involving the twisted pair and the player. I won’t go into details, but trying to navigating the minefield of both psychos’ temperaments while completing a high-stakes task stands as The Pact’s defining moment. Maintaining Bruce’s increasingly blurry code of conduct is a demanding balancing act that The Pact does a nice job of showcasing. Chiefly, during the aforementioned mission and especially in Bruce’s tumultuous dealings with Tiffany Fox. The latter takes a profound leap forward in a couple of different ways, both of which I’m anxious to see the result of. On the opposite spectrum, Jim Gordon and Amanda Waller’s feud stagnates, lessening the tension. Their story remains the same “we don’t like/trust each other” thread without any real development. Speaking of Waller, The Pact fumbles out of the gate by not logically following-up on last episode’s cliffhanger i.e. Batman not flat-out asking Amanda “So how did you find that out?” Gameplay in general takes a backseat to dialogue choices outside of the action-packed opening chapter. That sounds worse than it actually is, as conversations largely keep you guessing and demand attention to details and consistency with your answers. My contradictions were called out several times in a great touch of realism. In classic Telltale fashion, a Bruce-focused chapter towards the end teases potential failure, yet seems difficult to actually pull off. Based on the seemingly concrete conclusion, that suggestion of variance mostly feels like smoke and mirrors. The same might be said of how players choose to assist John in making a good impression with Harley. I went out of my way to screw that up for him, but the result didn’t differ from if I’d been an ideal wingman. Granted, that could be a facade on John’s part and potentially bite me in the butt later, but at the moment I’m a little bummed how similarly that subplot pans out here. Conclusion: The Pact’s firm middle section is the strongest aspect of an otherwise decent block-building episode. I loved the Harley Quinn stuff, and it plays beautifully into John’s slow burn towards his awakening, so to speak. Maintaining Bruce’s integrity becomes easier said than done, leading to some painful choices and intense moments. The non-answer to The Enigma’s big question bugs me. For logic’s sake, I hope that gets resolved sooner than later. Overall, a solid installment that introduces more fascinating pieces for the story to come. Batman: The Enemy Within - The Pact was reviewed on PlayStation 4. It’s also available now for Xbox One, PC and will launch later for iOS and Android.
  4. After The Enigma laid the table cloth for what’s to come, The Pact continues to set the silverware. More than anything else, the second episode cashes in on the development of Joker-in-progress John Doe by smartly flipping the roles of his most iconic relationship. The Pact injects a big dose of villainy with a few new faces, most notably one Dr. Harleen Quinzel. But this ain’t your 90s afternoon cartoon Harley Quinn. Keeping in line with Telltale’s penchant for shake-ups, Harley debuts as an established, independent, and intelligent killer. While she still retains her sick yet charming sense of humor, Quinn is far from the ditzy sidekick role she typically assumes. In fact, The Pact marks the first time I’ve ever felt genuinely intimidated by Harley. The change works surprisingly well, largely because of how Telltale managed a skillful switch-a-roo in her relationship with John Doe. Basically, John assumes Harley’s original role. Completely infatuated with Quinn, he aims to impress however possible. After establishing John’s new origin and behavior, his characterization (side note: his sad innocence actually made me feel sorry for him) pays off by making him a believable second-fiddle to Harley. This dynamic, along with your friendship with John, comes to a head during an edge-of-your-seat mission involving the twisted pair and the player. I won’t go into details, but trying to navigating the minefield of both psychos’ temperaments while completing a high-stakes task stands as The Pact’s defining moment. Maintaining Bruce’s increasingly blurry code of conduct is a demanding balancing act that The Pact does a nice job of showcasing. Chiefly, during the aforementioned mission and especially in Bruce’s tumultuous dealings with Tiffany Fox. The latter takes a profound leap forward in a couple of different ways, both of which I’m anxious to see the result of. On the opposite spectrum, Jim Gordon and Amanda Waller’s feud stagnates, lessening the tension. Their story remains the same “we don’t like/trust each other” thread without any real development. Speaking of Waller, The Pact fumbles out of the gate by not logically following-up on last episode’s cliffhanger i.e. Batman not flat-out asking Amanda “So how did you find that out?” Gameplay in general takes a backseat to dialogue choices outside of the action-packed opening chapter. That sounds worse than it actually is, as conversations largely keep you guessing and demand attention to details and consistency with your answers. My contradictions were called out several times in a great touch of realism. In classic Telltale fashion, a Bruce-focused chapter towards the end teases potential failure, yet seems difficult to actually pull off. Based on the seemingly concrete conclusion, that suggestion of variance mostly feels like smoke and mirrors. The same might be said of how players choose to assist John in making a good impression with Harley. I went out of my way to screw that up for him, but the result didn’t differ from if I’d been an ideal wingman. Granted, that could be a facade on John’s part and potentially bite me in the butt later, but at the moment I’m a little bummed how similarly that subplot pans out here. Conclusion: The Pact’s firm middle section is the strongest aspect of an otherwise decent block-building episode. I loved the Harley Quinn stuff, and it plays beautifully into John’s slow burn towards his awakening, so to speak. Maintaining Bruce’s integrity becomes easier said than done, leading to some painful choices and intense moments. The non-answer to The Enigma’s big question bugs me. For logic’s sake, I hope that gets resolved sooner than later. Overall, a solid installment that introduces more fascinating pieces for the story to come. Batman: The Enemy Within - The Pact was reviewed on PlayStation 4. It’s also available now for Xbox One, PC and will launch later for iOS and Android. View full article
  5. Telltale Games has revealed the release date and trailer for the upcoming part two of Batman: The Enemy Within. Titled 'The Pact,' the second episode of the five episode series focuses on the aftermath of a mysterious assassin's latest handiwork. Explosions across Gotham shake the city to its very core. Batman attempts to track down the culprits behind these misdeeds, but finds himself up against a foe that might even stump the Dark Knight himself. Meanwhile, John Doe traps Bruce Wayne in a complicated scheme - and the only way out is to follow it through. Beginning with episode two, Telltale will be launching all episodes on all platforms simultaneously. We reached out to Telltale for clarification on whether that simultaneous release schedule will extend to other Telltale game series or if it is limited to The Enemy Within. We will update with an answer. Episode Two 'The Pact' launches October 3 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac. In addition, the first two episodes of the series will become available on iOS and Android-based devices that same day. The boxed version, which Telltale has taken to calling the 'Season Pass Disc,' will also release in stores on October 3. The disc unlocks all previous episodes as well as all future episodes as they release.
  6. Telltale Games has revealed the release date and trailer for the upcoming part two of Batman: The Enemy Within. Titled 'The Pact,' the second episode of the five episode series focuses on the aftermath of a mysterious assassin's latest handiwork. Explosions across Gotham shake the city to its very core. Batman attempts to track down the culprits behind these misdeeds, but finds himself up against a foe that might even stump the Dark Knight himself. Meanwhile, John Doe traps Bruce Wayne in a complicated scheme - and the only way out is to follow it through. Beginning with episode two, Telltale will be launching all episodes on all platforms simultaneously. We reached out to Telltale for clarification on whether that simultaneous release schedule will extend to other Telltale game series or if it is limited to The Enemy Within. We will update with an answer. Episode Two 'The Pact' launches October 3 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac. In addition, the first two episodes of the series will become available on iOS and Android-based devices that same day. The boxed version, which Telltale has taken to calling the 'Season Pass Disc,' will also release in stores on October 3. The disc unlocks all previous episodes as well as all future episodes as they release. View full article
  7. “Expect the unexpected” would have been an appropriate tagline for Batman’s first season. By the series’ end the Wayne Family name stands forever tarnished, a perennial ally turns becomes a major foe, and Harvey Dent’s scars may only be mental. The surprises keep coming in The Enemy Within. An eventful premier throws players for a loop right out of the gate with big shocks, difficult choices, and gut-punching consequences. A year removed from the triple threat of the Children of Arkham, Penguin, and Two-Face sees Gotham on the mend. Bruce Wayne’s reputation appears largely repaired. Batman’s publicized partnership with newly appointed police commissioner Jim Gordon resulted in dramatically reduced crime rates. But that delicate peace breaks when a dangerous shadow from Gotham’s past reemerges: The Riddler. I dug Telltale’s menacing take on this classic foe. Armed with a question-mark shaped sickle, this Riddler almost finds as much pleasure in slicing throats as perplexing victims with cruel conundrums–almost. He remains the long-winded, insufferable show-off, but now displays a nice, gritty edge. Riddler’s new character wrinkle as Gotham’s first costumed crook plays perfectly into his trademark narcissism and superiority complex. Believing himself better because he came first (among other reasons), his additional source of arrogance makes punching his teeth out all the more satisfying. Riddler’s penchant for puzzles works well with Telltale’s mechanics and dialogue choices. One neat segment involves unraveling one of his death games. Gameplay in general gets a good showing in The Enigma. Combat now presents slightly more dynamic options, like selecting multiple interactive points during battle. Last season’s worthless finishing move meter has thankfully been dropped. I never put the controller down for too long–always a positive for a Telltale title. Like Season 1, juggling the public perceptions of Bruce Wayne and Batman can create genuine decision-making crises. Choices feel less about right and wrong and more about which path might backfire less painfully. This creates a series of tricky moral tightropes to walk across. Batman’s relationship with the debuting Amanda Waller acts as a great example. Waller plays an exciting role acting as the controversial figurehead behind the Suicide Squad and leader of the shadowy government bureau known simply as The Agency. Her organization takes over Gotham’s authorities in pursuit of Riddler. Despite Waller and Batman sharing mutual goals, The Agency’s dubious history makes her difficult to trust. More importantly, a collaboration with her might chip away at Batman’s fragile relationship with Gordon. Do you jeopardize Gordon’s favor by working with Amanda in the name of the greater good? Or do you keep her at a distance and risk creating a powerful new adversary? Armed with years of comics history, I thought I knew that answer from the outset. As the episode progressed, though, my stance shifted in unexpected ways. Doing the “right” thing feels less obvious than ever, and I burned trusted bridges doing what I felt was necessary. Chalk that up to how Telltale skillfully paints choices with thoughtful coats of morally grey. Additionally, The Enigma reminded me to consider suspending any prior Batman knowledge because things don’t always play out as predicted. Bruce’s uneasy dealings with the pale, green-haired “John Doe” highlighted that point. The first conversation with this enigmatic figure had me biting my lip with nerves the entire time, unsure of how to react. His underlying insanity keeps you on edge, but his apparent need for approval from Bruce generates sympathy as well. Could it be he just needs someone good to lean on and perhaps guide him? Somehow, Telltale turned the no-brainer of “how to deal with The Joker” into a complicated dilemma. His arc thus far seems to signal a potentially different outcome than what I’m expecting. I look forward to seeing this simmering story reach its boiling point. A new on-screen indicator of a character’s shift in feeling gives immediate and helpful feedback during relationship milestones. I liked receiving validation that my current path may be working, as well as knowing exactly when I may have messed up with someone. A new post-game report card explains how big choices resulted in your current standing with someone, offering some good food for thought. I walked away from The Enigma pondering how to best improve certain relationships using the info given. Additionally, this provides a helpful reference to mix things up in future replays. Choosing a path can be a fun roller coaster overall, but I took umbrage with one scenario towards the end. Without spoiling, somehow the choice of saving lives led to Batman seemingly becoming more vilified than if he allowed someone to die on his watch. Other characters failed to see the big picture, and that questionable writing almost made me scream at my TV. Telltale continues to drop bombshells with a couple of shocking developments involving pivotal characters. These surprises do a nice job of keeping your emotions on guard. Exciting narrative threads emerge from these moments. One in particular concerns a potentially awesome new ally. I also love that The Enigma features its own self-contained arc, kind of like an episode of a Batman TV show. A central thread begins and ends here, providing an immediate sense of closure and giving the long-term stories some breathing room. The Enigma attempts to do a lot as a pilot and, impressively, accomplishes much of it with relative ease. Conclusion: The Enigma starts Batman’s second season on the right foot. Boasting several jaw-dropping moments, intense conversation scenes, a great villain, and promising story developments, there’s a lot to love here. Tack on a healthy dose of interactivity, and you’ve got the answer to the riddle “how do you open a new season with a successful bang?” Batman: The Enemy Within - The Enigma was reviewed on PlayStation 4. It’s also available now for Xbox One, PC and will launch later for iOS and Android. View full article
  8. “Expect the unexpected” would have been an appropriate tagline for Batman’s first season. By the series’ end the Wayne Family name stands forever tarnished, a perennial ally turns becomes a major foe, and Harvey Dent’s scars may only be mental. The surprises keep coming in The Enemy Within. An eventful premier throws players for a loop right out of the gate with big shocks, difficult choices, and gut-punching consequences. A year removed from the triple threat of the Children of Arkham, Penguin, and Two-Face sees Gotham on the mend. Bruce Wayne’s reputation appears largely repaired. Batman’s publicized partnership with newly appointed police commissioner Jim Gordon resulted in dramatically reduced crime rates. But that delicate peace breaks when a dangerous shadow from Gotham’s past reemerges: The Riddler. I dug Telltale’s menacing take on this classic foe. Armed with a question-mark shaped sickle, this Riddler almost finds as much pleasure in slicing throats as perplexing victims with cruel conundrums–almost. He remains the long-winded, insufferable show-off, but now displays a nice, gritty edge. Riddler’s new character wrinkle as Gotham’s first costumed crook plays perfectly into his trademark narcissism and superiority complex. Believing himself better because he came first (among other reasons), his additional source of arrogance makes punching his teeth out all the more satisfying. Riddler’s penchant for puzzles works well with Telltale’s mechanics and dialogue choices. One neat segment involves unraveling one of his death games. Gameplay in general gets a good showing in The Enigma. Combat now presents slightly more dynamic options, like selecting multiple interactive points during battle. Last season’s worthless finishing move meter has thankfully been dropped. I never put the controller down for too long–always a positive for a Telltale title. Like Season 1, juggling the public perceptions of Bruce Wayne and Batman can create genuine decision-making crises. Choices feel less about right and wrong and more about which path might backfire less painfully. This creates a series of tricky moral tightropes to walk across. Batman’s relationship with the debuting Amanda Waller acts as a great example. Waller plays an exciting role acting as the controversial figurehead behind the Suicide Squad and leader of the shadowy government bureau known simply as The Agency. Her organization takes over Gotham’s authorities in pursuit of Riddler. Despite Waller and Batman sharing mutual goals, The Agency’s dubious history makes her difficult to trust. More importantly, a collaboration with her might chip away at Batman’s fragile relationship with Gordon. Do you jeopardize Gordon’s favor by working with Amanda in the name of the greater good? Or do you keep her at a distance and risk creating a powerful new adversary? Armed with years of comics history, I thought I knew that answer from the outset. As the episode progressed, though, my stance shifted in unexpected ways. Doing the “right” thing feels less obvious than ever, and I burned trusted bridges doing what I felt was necessary. Chalk that up to how Telltale skillfully paints choices with thoughtful coats of morally grey. Additionally, The Enigma reminded me to consider suspending any prior Batman knowledge because things don’t always play out as predicted. Bruce’s uneasy dealings with the pale, green-haired “John Doe” highlighted that point. The first conversation with this enigmatic figure had me biting my lip with nerves the entire time, unsure of how to react. His underlying insanity keeps you on edge, but his apparent need for approval from Bruce generates sympathy as well. Could it be he just needs someone good to lean on and perhaps guide him? Somehow, Telltale turned the no-brainer of “how to deal with The Joker” into a complicated dilemma. His arc thus far seems to signal a potentially different outcome than what I’m expecting. I look forward to seeing this simmering story reach its boiling point. A new on-screen indicator of a character’s shift in feeling gives immediate and helpful feedback during relationship milestones. I liked receiving validation that my current path may be working, as well as knowing exactly when I may have messed up with someone. A new post-game report card explains how big choices resulted in your current standing with someone, offering some good food for thought. I walked away from The Enigma pondering how to best improve certain relationships using the info given. Additionally, this provides a helpful reference to mix things up in future replays. Choosing a path can be a fun roller coaster overall, but I took umbrage with one scenario towards the end. Without spoiling, somehow the choice of saving lives led to Batman seemingly becoming more vilified than if he allowed someone to die on his watch. Other characters failed to see the big picture, and that questionable writing almost made me scream at my TV. Telltale continues to drop bombshells with a couple of shocking developments involving pivotal characters. These surprises do a nice job of keeping your emotions on guard. Exciting narrative threads emerge from these moments. One in particular concerns a potentially awesome new ally. I also love that The Enigma features its own self-contained arc, kind of like an episode of a Batman TV show. A central thread begins and ends here, providing an immediate sense of closure and giving the long-term stories some breathing room. The Enigma attempts to do a lot as a pilot and, impressively, accomplishes much of it with relative ease. Conclusion: The Enigma starts Batman’s second season on the right foot. Boasting several jaw-dropping moments, intense conversation scenes, a great villain, and promising story developments, there’s a lot to love here. Tack on a healthy dose of interactivity, and you’ve got the answer to the riddle “how do you open a new season with a successful bang?” Batman: The Enemy Within - The Enigma was reviewed on PlayStation 4. It’s also available now for Xbox One, PC and will launch later for iOS and Android.
  9. Telltale Games announced a couple weeks ago that we would be getting another episodic series based on Batman. Today, they released the official launch trailer for Batman: The Enemy Within along with a few key details about what players can expect from the five-part series. Episode one, titled 'The Enigma,' releases next week on August 8 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac. Those looking for an Android or iOS release will have to wait until early October. The episode focuses on the return of The Riddler, a sadistic villain with a love for constructing brutal puzzles that torture his victims. Batman's investigation is complicated by the arrival of a federal agent and the appearance of the Joker. To accomplish his mission, Bruce Wayne will have to navigate a web of deceit and decide who to trust when he dons his cape to become Batman. Telltale Games has put an effort into making The Enemy Within welcoming to those who never played the first series as well as veterans. Players can come in completely blind or carry their decisions over from Batman: The Telltale Series for smooth continuity. The multiplayer Crowd Play feature will be available to players who want to play as a family or group, allowing multiple people to vote on what course of action should be pursued. Troy Baker returns as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman alongside Anthony Ingruber who voiced the mysterious John Doe in the previous series. The physical disc will hit store shelves on October 3 for Xbox One and PS4 (expect to see the Android and iOS version around this same time). The disc will contain the first episode and allow for downloadable access to all future episodes. View full article
  10. Telltale Games announced a couple weeks ago that we would be getting another episodic series based on Batman. Today, they released the official launch trailer for Batman: The Enemy Within along with a few key details about what players can expect from the five-part series. Episode one, titled 'The Enigma,' releases next week on August 8 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, and Mac. Those looking for an Android or iOS release will have to wait until early October. The episode focuses on the return of The Riddler, a sadistic villain with a love for constructing brutal puzzles that torture his victims. Batman's investigation is complicated by the arrival of a federal agent and the appearance of the Joker. To accomplish his mission, Bruce Wayne will have to navigate a web of deceit and decide who to trust when he dons his cape to become Batman. Telltale Games has put an effort into making The Enemy Within welcoming to those who never played the first series as well as veterans. Players can come in completely blind or carry their decisions over from Batman: The Telltale Series for smooth continuity. The multiplayer Crowd Play feature will be available to players who want to play as a family or group, allowing multiple people to vote on what course of action should be pursued. Troy Baker returns as the voice of Bruce Wayne/Batman alongside Anthony Ingruber who voiced the mysterious John Doe in the previous series. The physical disc will hit store shelves on October 3 for Xbox One and PS4 (expect to see the Android and iOS version around this same time). The disc will contain the first episode and allow for downloadable access to all future episodes.
  11. Telltale’s Batman kicked off with a promising, but so-so, pilot and goes home with a triumphant bang. City of Light combines dramatic storytelling with an increased focus on gameplay to conclude Bruce Wayne’s struggle on an overall high note. The final episode impresses right out of the gate by presenting two vastly different opening chapters (determined by the player’s final choice in Guardian of Gotham). Both introductions kick things off in high gear with tense conversations and high-octane action. I also enjoyed seeing how the effects of the previous episode’s ending ripple throughout City of Light. These differences chiefly affect Batman’s tech and provide worthwhile differences in gameplay, including a neat little costume makeover midway through. After playing every chapter in the series twice, City of Light’s playthroughs feel the most unique from one another. Villain arcs wrap up in satisfying, if bittersweet, fashion. It feels liberating to finally knock off adversaries after being pressed under their thumbs for so long. I especially enjoyed the dark revelation to Catwoman’s story, which manages to surprise even a wised-up fan like myself. Lady Arkham, however, left me wanting a bit more in terms of development. Although City of Light illuminates her shadowy origin in a chilling segment, key questions I’ve been pondering in regards to her rise to power remain shrouded in mystery and feel like plot holes. On a positive front, Telltale succeeds at hammering the idea that she’s ultimately a disturbing, twisted reflection of the type of person Bruce Wayne could have potentially become. In a tale centered on Bruce’s identity crisis – both as a Wayne and under the cowl– Lady Arkham stacks up as an appropriate foil. Her climatic encounter with the Bat ends in spectacular fashion as well. Witnessing the strained bond between Alfred and Batman has been a highlight throughout the series and comes to an emotional head. Their relationship has been severely tested; Alfred blames his lack of honesty regarding the Wayne family’s sinister past for causing many of Bruce’s current woes. He’s not completely wrong, but I always did my best to mend that crumbling bridge. That love endures nerve-wracking trials in the third act that, while ultimately leading to the same outcome regardless of making a pivotal choice, leads to one of the series’ more touching scenes. Speaking of choices, do yours matter in the end? Yes and no. In traditional Telltale fashion, the story wraps up largely the same with notable differences peppered about to highlight your decision-making. However, City of Light’s final decision, as well as an ominous favor promised to a certain character, are seemingly poised to pay off in a potential second season. If a sequel comes to pass – and I expect/hope it will – I don’t mind Telltale leaving these enticing threads dangling as they’ve already got me itching to see more from this universe. If not, then they’ve left some large narrative holes, to say the least. A lack of engaging gameplay hindered previous entries in the series. That’s not the case in episode five. City of Light showcases everything Telltale’s Batman has to offer with the most interactive sequences yet. The latest detective puzzles require increased deductive effort making them more fun to unravel. Even a fresh (albeit simple) spin on the concept appears when Batman must locate a missing ally. Unlike certain previous gameplay activities, nothing here feels uninspired or tacked on. Fast-paced and frequently occurring fight sequences entertain more so than in any other episode. Frustratingly, enduring technical flaws occasionally mar the fun. A stuttering frame rate and hard crashes to the home screen make the experience feel like it’s held together by bat guano at times. One especially bizarre (and humorous) bug caused an NPC to become invisible save for his floating eyes and teeth, sucking much of the gravity from an otherwise violent combat segment. Conclusion Technical flaws and a strange, underwhelming final scene aside, City of Light closes the book on Telltale’s captivating Batman saga in good form. A wonderful balance of high drama and interactive thrills kept me glued to the screen in a way that hadn’t happened since the stellar Children of Arkham. It’s been a lot of fun watching Telltale successfully shake-up Batman’s mythos while simultaneously making a Bruce Wayne-focused experience genuinely enjoyable. City of Light is a fine conclusion that inspires hope for a sequel. Batman: Episode 5 was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android View full article
  12. Review: Batman Episode 5 - City of Light

    Telltale’s Batman kicked off with a promising, but so-so, pilot and goes home with a triumphant bang. City of Light combines dramatic storytelling with an increased focus on gameplay to conclude Bruce Wayne’s struggle on an overall high note. The final episode impresses right out of the gate by presenting two vastly different opening chapters (determined by the player’s final choice in Guardian of Gotham). Both introductions kick things off in high gear with tense conversations and high-octane action. I also enjoyed seeing how the effects of the previous episode’s ending ripple throughout City of Light. These differences chiefly affect Batman’s tech and provide worthwhile differences in gameplay, including a neat little costume makeover midway through. After playing every chapter in the series twice, City of Light’s playthroughs feel the most unique from one another. Villain arcs wrap up in satisfying, if bittersweet, fashion. It feels liberating to finally knock off adversaries after being pressed under their thumbs for so long. I especially enjoyed the dark revelation to Catwoman’s story, which manages to surprise even a wised-up fan like myself. Lady Arkham, however, left me wanting a bit more in terms of development. Although City of Light illuminates her shadowy origin in a chilling segment, key questions I’ve been pondering in regards to her rise to power remain shrouded in mystery and feel like plot holes. On a positive front, Telltale succeeds at hammering the idea that she’s ultimately a disturbing, twisted reflection of the type of person Bruce Wayne could have potentially become. In a tale centered on Bruce’s identity crisis – both as a Wayne and under the cowl– Lady Arkham stacks up as an appropriate foil. Her climatic encounter with the Bat ends in spectacular fashion as well. Witnessing the strained bond between Alfred and Batman has been a highlight throughout the series and comes to an emotional head. Their relationship has been severely tested; Alfred blames his lack of honesty regarding the Wayne family’s sinister past for causing many of Bruce’s current woes. He’s not completely wrong, but I always did my best to mend that crumbling bridge. That love endures nerve-wracking trials in the third act that, while ultimately leading to the same outcome regardless of making a pivotal choice, leads to one of the series’ more touching scenes. Speaking of choices, do yours matter in the end? Yes and no. In traditional Telltale fashion, the story wraps up largely the same with notable differences peppered about to highlight your decision-making. However, City of Light’s final decision, as well as an ominous favor promised to a certain character, are seemingly poised to pay off in a potential second season. If a sequel comes to pass – and I expect/hope it will – I don’t mind Telltale leaving these enticing threads dangling as they’ve already got me itching to see more from this universe. If not, then they’ve left some large narrative holes, to say the least. A lack of engaging gameplay hindered previous entries in the series. That’s not the case in episode five. City of Light showcases everything Telltale’s Batman has to offer with the most interactive sequences yet. The latest detective puzzles require increased deductive effort making them more fun to unravel. Even a fresh (albeit simple) spin on the concept appears when Batman must locate a missing ally. Unlike certain previous gameplay activities, nothing here feels uninspired or tacked on. Fast-paced and frequently occurring fight sequences entertain more so than in any other episode. Frustratingly, enduring technical flaws occasionally mar the fun. A stuttering frame rate and hard crashes to the home screen make the experience feel like it’s held together by bat guano at times. One especially bizarre (and humorous) bug caused an NPC to become invisible save for his floating eyes and teeth, sucking much of the gravity from an otherwise violent combat segment. Conclusion Technical flaws and a strange, underwhelming final scene aside, City of Light closes the book on Telltale’s captivating Batman saga in good form. A wonderful balance of high drama and interactive thrills kept me glued to the screen in a way that hadn’t happened since the stellar Children of Arkham. It’s been a lot of fun watching Telltale successfully shake-up Batman’s mythos while simultaneously making a Bruce Wayne-focused experience genuinely enjoyable. City of Light is a fine conclusion that inspires hope for a sequel. Batman: Episode 5 was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android
  13. Review: Batman Episode 4 - Guardian of Gotham

    There’s an axiom for Batman stories: when Joker gets involved, things get real. Even with a relatively minor role, that rings true in Batman’s fourth installment. The Clown Prince of Crime’s menacing presence adds increased tension and chaos to an already tumultuous plot and shines as the main attraction in an otherwise middling episode that sets the table for the grand finale. Bruce’s genuinely unnerving first encounter with his future archenemy opens the game on a high note. After awakening as an inmate of Arkham Asylum following his drug-induced beatdown of Oswald Cobblepot, Bruce finds an unlikely ally in the yet-to-be-named Joker. Known simply as “John Doe,” he eagerly helps Wayne in an escape attempt, but clearly has hidden motives for doing so. Cooperating with Joker feels uneasy and even chilling at times. I actually worried about upsetting the psychotic clown. My concern heightened after witnessing Joker’s trademark viciousness and talent for observation and perception – he knows a lot more than he presumably should. I loved the feeling of unease throughout the opening segment. Additionally, catching glimpses of other soon-to-be adversaries like Mr. Zsasz and Ventriloquist makes for cool teases of what might come in the future. On another, perhaps more personal level, Joker creates an interesting dilemma in decision-making. Years of familiarity with the character taught me not to trust a single word he says, nor entertain any kind of partnership with him. Within the context of the story, though, Bruce lacks that insight. Choosing whether to roleplay an uninformed Wayne or to follow my instincts as an educated Batman fan created a stimulating (and maybe unintentional on Telltale’s part) inner conflict. The lingering effects of the Children of Arkham’s rage drug add a twist to early conversations. Bruce flies off the handle at any moment, making his responses largely unreliable. Although a neat wrinkle that effectively sells the drug’s effect, the anger-induced dialogue may also annoy players aiming to maintain a “paragon” protagonist. During my “nice Batman” playthrough, I got into an altercation with angry citizens. I opted for the “I don’t want any trouble” line only for Wayne to violently threaten to run down the mob with his car, much to my horror. Unless you’re already playing the jerk, here’s my advice: keep your trap shut until you’re cured. Thankfully, that occurs sooner rather than later. Major decision-making has highs and lows. On the latter spectrum, two of New World Order’s major choices - housing Lucius Fox/Catwoman at Wayne Manor or keeping him at Wayne Enterprises/shooing her out of Gotham - culminate into nothing of note. Fox’s role plays out practically the same regardless of where he’s situated. The difference lies in whether or not Lucius provides a new gadget, which merely acts as an alternative, yet insignificant, final blow in a brief skirmish later on. Catwoman’s surprisingly minor role renders the option for her to stay meaningless. Why open the mansion to Selina if nothing substantial comes out of it? On the positive side, a tense negotiation with a fully transformed Two-Face in a “Bruce or Batman?” moment provides sufficiently altered outcomes, including an entire conversation scene exclusive to one path. The immediate follow-up to last episode’s big revelation regarding the identity of the Children of Arkham’s leader, Lady Arkham, results in another relative letdown. A grisly (and still ho-hum) investigation of her childhood home reveals little beyond “she’s a horrible person.” Neat story, but I gathered that much already. Players anxious to learn exactly how Lady Arkham amassed a personal army, a stockpile of chemical weapons, and combat skills to rival Batman’s (among other things) won’t get those answers just yet, unfortunately. Her absence here feels like a strange choice after such important character building. If nothing else, my favorite part of this section centers on Batman’s rescue of a young victim. Not only does it display Batman’s gentler side in a nice change of pace, but it potentially plants a tantalizing seed. Could Telltale be teasing a future Robin? After spending three installments pushing against the crushing weight of Murphy’s Law, having an episode wrap up with a (somewhat) triumphant Dark Knight provides a refreshing change. Deciding which major antagonist to neutralize is yet another hard call, and both paths result in entertaining and intensely personal boss battles. The bittersweet cliffhangers do their job of making me question ignoring the opposite road, but Guardian of Gotham concludes too abruptly for my liking. Conclusion: Batman’s penultimate episode continues to entertain, mostly due to the shot of intrigue Joker injects into the experience. However, between the lack of Lady Arkham, a few unexciting outcomes, and a seemingly shorter length, Guardian of Gotham feels a step below the previous two installments. The serviceable, bland gameplay I’ve harped about before remains such. A few technical hiccups also arose ranging from missing audio effects to hard crashes. My reservations about the hit and miss choices/aftermaths aside, the overall story continues to be a surprising and enjoyable spin on Batman lore. Telltale is doing something right since I’m very much looking forward to witnessing how everything weaves together in the final episode. Batman Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android
  14. There’s an axiom for Batman stories: when Joker gets involved, things get real. Even with a relatively minor role, that rings true in Batman’s fourth installment. The Clown Prince of Crime’s menacing presence adds increased tension and chaos to an already tumultuous plot and shines as the main attraction in an otherwise middling episode that sets the table for the grand finale. Bruce’s genuinely unnerving first encounter with his future archenemy opens the game on a high note. After awakening as an inmate of Arkham Asylum following his drug-induced beatdown of Oswald Cobblepot, Bruce finds an unlikely ally in the yet-to-be-named Joker. Known simply as “John Doe,” he eagerly helps Wayne in an escape attempt, but clearly has hidden motives for doing so. Cooperating with Joker feels uneasy and even chilling at times. I actually worried about upsetting the psychotic clown. My concern heightened after witnessing Joker’s trademark viciousness and talent for observation and perception – he knows a lot more than he presumably should. I loved the feeling of unease throughout the opening segment. Additionally, catching glimpses of other soon-to-be adversaries like Mr. Zsasz and Ventriloquist makes for cool teases of what might come in the future. On another, perhaps more personal level, Joker creates an interesting dilemma in decision-making. Years of familiarity with the character taught me not to trust a single word he says, nor entertain any kind of partnership with him. Within the context of the story, though, Bruce lacks that insight. Choosing whether to roleplay an uninformed Wayne or to follow my instincts as an educated Batman fan created a stimulating (and maybe unintentional on Telltale’s part) inner conflict. The lingering effects of the Children of Arkham’s rage drug add a twist to early conversations. Bruce flies off the handle at any moment, making his responses largely unreliable. Although a neat wrinkle that effectively sells the drug’s effect, the anger-induced dialogue may also annoy players aiming to maintain a “paragon” protagonist. During my “nice Batman” playthrough, I got into an altercation with angry citizens. I opted for the “I don’t want any trouble” line only for Wayne to violently threaten to run down the mob with his car, much to my horror. Unless you’re already playing the jerk, here’s my advice: keep your trap shut until you’re cured. Thankfully, that occurs sooner rather than later. Major decision-making has highs and lows. On the latter spectrum, two of New World Order’s major choices - housing Lucius Fox/Catwoman at Wayne Manor or keeping him at Wayne Enterprises/shooing her out of Gotham - culminate into nothing of note. Fox’s role plays out practically the same regardless of where he’s situated. The difference lies in whether or not Lucius provides a new gadget, which merely acts as an alternative, yet insignificant, final blow in a brief skirmish later on. Catwoman’s surprisingly minor role renders the option for her to stay meaningless. Why open the mansion to Selina if nothing substantial comes out of it? On the positive side, a tense negotiation with a fully transformed Two-Face in a “Bruce or Batman?” moment provides sufficiently altered outcomes, including an entire conversation scene exclusive to one path. The immediate follow-up to last episode’s big revelation regarding the identity of the Children of Arkham’s leader, Lady Arkham, results in another relative letdown. A grisly (and still ho-hum) investigation of her childhood home reveals little beyond “she’s a horrible person.” Neat story, but I gathered that much already. Players anxious to learn exactly how Lady Arkham amassed a personal army, a stockpile of chemical weapons, and combat skills to rival Batman’s (among other things) won’t get those answers just yet, unfortunately. Her absence here feels like a strange choice after such important character building. If nothing else, my favorite part of this section centers on Batman’s rescue of a young victim. Not only does it display Batman’s gentler side in a nice change of pace, but it potentially plants a tantalizing seed. Could Telltale be teasing a future Robin? After spending three installments pushing against the crushing weight of Murphy’s Law, having an episode wrap up with a (somewhat) triumphant Dark Knight provides a refreshing change. Deciding which major antagonist to neutralize is yet another hard call, and both paths result in entertaining and intensely personal boss battles. The bittersweet cliffhangers do their job of making me question ignoring the opposite road, but Guardian of Gotham concludes too abruptly for my liking. Conclusion: Batman’s penultimate episode continues to entertain, mostly due to the shot of intrigue Joker injects into the experience. However, between the lack of Lady Arkham, a few unexciting outcomes, and a seemingly shorter length, Guardian of Gotham feels a step below the previous two installments. The serviceable, bland gameplay I’ve harped about before remains such. A few technical hiccups also arose ranging from missing audio effects to hard crashes. My reservations about the hit and miss choices/aftermaths aside, the overall story continues to be a surprising and enjoyable spin on Batman lore. Telltale is doing something right since I’m very much looking forward to witnessing how everything weaves together in the final episode. Batman Episode 4: Guardian of Gotham was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android View full article
  15. Review: Batman Episode 3 - New World Order

    Batman Episode 2: Children of Arkham’s final action sequence challenges players to make what feels like an impossible choice: Prevent Harvey Dent from facing the wrath of the villainous leader of the Children of Arkham or rescue your adversary-turned-crucial ally Catwoman from being overwhelmed by a gang of thugs. Two significantly different conclusions result from this fork in the road, creating potential for two unique storylines in the third act. Unfortunately, though New World Order features its fair share of captivating moments, seeing these two roads wind back together into the same, basic outcome is disappointing. This narrative setback lies with Harvey Dent, who takes a starring role in the latest chapter. Players with even a casual knowledge of Batman lore likely know of the terrible fate that awaits the Mayoral candidate, and I’d wager few expected him to survive the series with his sanity (and good looks) intact. I’m bummed out that he didn’t. While Harvey’s destined trip to the dark side makes sense in the scenario where players choose to value Catwoman’s well-being over his, seeing him still go down that same road in the opposite outcome feels shoehorned and illogical. Harvey appears perfectly sane in the previous episodes, but even after saving him, he goes completely off the deep end and it feels mostly out of nowhere. Telltale’s explains this away as the stresses of his recent near-death experiences taking their toll, but speaking in third-person with a monstrous voice seems like one heck of a mental leap in just a couple of scenes – especially when, again, he didn’t get hurt! That stinks because prior to going full crazy, Dent’s increased paranoia and his admiration of Batman causes him to believe that brutal justice may be the only method of remedying Gotham’s woes. I wish Telltale had just left him with that fascinating and, more importantly, unexpected state of mind instead. Still, even though I was dissatisfied with how Harvey evolved into his new role over the course of that particular playthrough, I have to praise Telltale for making me feel sorry to witness his downfall – a sympathy which is a crucial element of the character. Dent’s woes add yet another misfortune in the towering pile of them for Bruce Wayne/Batman. “Can things get any worse for him?” becomes a question you’ll regularly ask throughout the episode and you won’t like the answer. After the atrocities committed by his father were exposed to the city, Bruce’s position at Wayne Enterprises is in serious jeopardy. The Children of Akrham, along with their mysterious leader, plot a city-wide disaster. Telltale does a great job of painting the group as a nigh unstoppable threat after revealing the scope of their reach. Penguin continues to tear apart Bruce’s family legacy, easily becoming one of the most despicable villains of any game this year. The way his unbearably smug, confident demeanor masks a remorseless psychopath show shades of Game of Thrones’ Ramsay Bolton (except with an actual backstory to validate his actions), and after the stunt he pulls in New World Order, I genuinely cannot wait for Batman to finally beat the tar out of him. New World Order isn’t the rapid-paced bloodbath that the second installment was, and it’s a slower-paced entry in general, although not to the degree Realm of Shadows was. Only one segment, a meeting with Lucius Fox, felt close to dud. A few important story splits present themselves; some feel inconsequential (for example, choosing to assist Dent or a police officer), others are seeds that won’t see a larger payoff until later episodes. Even so, the decision-making feels increasingly tense thanks to the twists and turns that have occurred thus far. I’m second-guessing several of my actions here thanks to options that feel like necessary risks or lesser evils in no-win situations. Based on Dent’s arc, these differing paths will likely weave back together into the same limited aftermaths, but at least I’m enjoying the act of deciding. New World Order wraps up with the most jarring shocker in the series yet – a conclusion that also makes me nervous going forward. Batman’s story could reach new heights of intrigue or run off the rails depending on how Telltale explains this left-field revelation. Telltale mostly nails the storytelling aspect of Batman, but the studio continues to struggle with making the actual gameplay fun and engaging. The clue-connecting detective mini-game returns with Batman investigating a criminal lair, requiring slightly more critical thinking than in its first appearance (i.e. not very much). Sadly, living in the boots of the World’s Greatest Detective doesn’t get any more robust than that. Outside of the straightforward combat, the only noteworthy activities worth mentioning are staring at a table of equipment and eating Catwoman’s bagels. Those aren’t exactly riveting diversions. Narrative content has always been the entire appeal of Telltale titles, but it’s frustrating to witness the bright gameplay potential for a Batman story go underwhelm so far. Conclusion: New World Order isn’t quite the rollercoaster that Children of Arkham was, but it acts as an exceptional midpoint that does a fine job of advancing Telltale’s gripping Batman narrative. Bruce Wayne’s life hangs by a thread, making the more numerous branching options feel like crucial decisions. The plot sits on a potentially slippery slope between Harvey Dent’s arc and the surprising conclusion, but if Telltale can pull these threads off, players could be in for fantastic developments in the chapters to come. While I gave it a pass in Children of Arkham, gameplay needs to step up in a huge way. Thus far it feels largely forgotten and/or overlooked, failing to live up to the vision Telltale painted for it when the series was announced. Telltale’s Batman Episode 3: New World Order was reviewed on PlayStation 4, and is now available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android
  16. Batman Episode 2: Children of Arkham’s final action sequence challenges players to make what feels like an impossible choice: Prevent Harvey Dent from facing the wrath of the villainous leader of the Children of Arkham or rescue your adversary-turned-crucial ally Catwoman from being overwhelmed by a gang of thugs. Two significantly different conclusions result from this fork in the road, creating potential for two unique storylines in the third act. Unfortunately, though New World Order features its fair share of captivating moments, seeing these two roads wind back together into the same, basic outcome is disappointing. This narrative setback lies with Harvey Dent, who takes a starring role in the latest chapter. Players with even a casual knowledge of Batman lore likely know of the terrible fate that awaits the Mayoral candidate, and I’d wager few expected him to survive the series with his sanity (and good looks) intact. I’m bummed out that he didn’t. While Harvey’s destined trip to the dark side makes sense in the scenario where players choose to value Catwoman’s well-being over his, seeing him still go down that same road in the opposite outcome feels shoehorned and illogical. Harvey appears perfectly sane in the previous episodes, but even after saving him, he goes completely off the deep end and it feels mostly out of nowhere. Telltale’s explains this away as the stresses of his recent near-death experiences taking their toll, but speaking in third-person with a monstrous voice seems like one heck of a mental leap in just a couple of scenes – especially when, again, he didn’t get hurt! That stinks because prior to going full crazy, Dent’s increased paranoia and his admiration of Batman causes him to believe that brutal justice may be the only method of remedying Gotham’s woes. I wish Telltale had just left him with that fascinating and, more importantly, unexpected state of mind instead. Still, even though I was dissatisfied with how Harvey evolved into his new role over the course of that particular playthrough, I have to praise Telltale for making me feel sorry to witness his downfall – a sympathy which is a crucial element of the character. Dent’s woes add yet another misfortune in the towering pile of them for Bruce Wayne/Batman. “Can things get any worse for him?” becomes a question you’ll regularly ask throughout the episode and you won’t like the answer. After the atrocities committed by his father were exposed to the city, Bruce’s position at Wayne Enterprises is in serious jeopardy. The Children of Akrham, along with their mysterious leader, plot a city-wide disaster. Telltale does a great job of painting the group as a nigh unstoppable threat after revealing the scope of their reach. Penguin continues to tear apart Bruce’s family legacy, easily becoming one of the most despicable villains of any game this year. The way his unbearably smug, confident demeanor masks a remorseless psychopath show shades of Game of Thrones’ Ramsay Bolton (except with an actual backstory to validate his actions), and after the stunt he pulls in New World Order, I genuinely cannot wait for Batman to finally beat the tar out of him. New World Order isn’t the rapid-paced bloodbath that the second installment was, and it’s a slower-paced entry in general, although not to the degree Realm of Shadows was. Only one segment, a meeting with Lucius Fox, felt close to dud. A few important story splits present themselves; some feel inconsequential (for example, choosing to assist Dent or a police officer), others are seeds that won’t see a larger payoff until later episodes. Even so, the decision-making feels increasingly tense thanks to the twists and turns that have occurred thus far. I’m second-guessing several of my actions here thanks to options that feel like necessary risks or lesser evils in no-win situations. Based on Dent’s arc, these differing paths will likely weave back together into the same limited aftermaths, but at least I’m enjoying the act of deciding. New World Order wraps up with the most jarring shocker in the series yet – a conclusion that also makes me nervous going forward. Batman’s story could reach new heights of intrigue or run off the rails depending on how Telltale explains this left-field revelation. Telltale mostly nails the storytelling aspect of Batman, but the studio continues to struggle with making the actual gameplay fun and engaging. The clue-connecting detective mini-game returns with Batman investigating a criminal lair, requiring slightly more critical thinking than in its first appearance (i.e. not very much). Sadly, living in the boots of the World’s Greatest Detective doesn’t get any more robust than that. Outside of the straightforward combat, the only noteworthy activities worth mentioning are staring at a table of equipment and eating Catwoman’s bagels. Those aren’t exactly riveting diversions. Narrative content has always been the entire appeal of Telltale titles, but it’s frustrating to witness the bright gameplay potential for a Batman story go underwhelm so far. Conclusion: New World Order isn’t quite the rollercoaster that Children of Arkham was, but it acts as an exceptional midpoint that does a fine job of advancing Telltale’s gripping Batman narrative. Bruce Wayne’s life hangs by a thread, making the more numerous branching options feel like crucial decisions. The plot sits on a potentially slippery slope between Harvey Dent’s arc and the surprising conclusion, but if Telltale can pull these threads off, players could be in for fantastic developments in the chapters to come. While I gave it a pass in Children of Arkham, gameplay needs to step up in a huge way. Thus far it feels largely forgotten and/or overlooked, failing to live up to the vision Telltale painted for it when the series was announced. Telltale’s Batman Episode 3: New World Order was reviewed on PlayStation 4, and is now available for Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android View full article
  17. Review: Batman Episode 2 - Children of Arkham

    What a difference an episode can make. The first installment of Telltale’s Batman series, Realm of Shadows, was a solid, occasionally dull, introduction to a re-imagined Dark Knight. Children of Arkham improves upon its predecessor in nearly every way, delivering a thrilling second act chock full of shocking revelations, genuine surprises, and excellent pacing. If Episode 1 was designed to get players on the rollercoaster, Episode 2 straps them in and launches them full speed on an incredibly fun ride. The conclusion of Realm of Shadows saw Bruce Wayne in dire straits. His parents, hailed as beacons of virtue in the otherwise baleful Gotham City, have been accused of having alleged ties with the mob, tarnishing the Wayne’s reputation as well as endangering the election of Bruce’s friend, Harvey Dent. That left a huge dangling carrot: was Thomas Wayne associated with organized crime? Children of Arkham wastes no time clearing that fog, and the sinister truth surrounding the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne is a genuine eyebrow raiser that sets the bar for more big surprises throughout the episode. One major improvement is the pacing. The story unfolds at a satisfyingly brisk tempo, with scenes delivering information concisely without meandering, a weakness in the prior installment. As a result, a whole lot more goes down in the story, but it never feels like developments are being rushed or crammed in. This also makes Episode 2 fly by compared to Episode 1. Like watching a gripping episode of your favorite TV show, you’ll be surprised (and disappointed) at how quickly the credits seem to arrive. The higher stakes add urgency and weight to decision-making. Telltale casts a large spotlight on how players choose to cultivate Bruce Wayne’s complicated (and potentially strained) relationships with Catwoman and Harvey Dent, as well as the fallout from how Batman chose to deal with Falcone in Episode 1. Thankfully, these decisions actually do result in wildly different outcomes that are poised to affect both Batman and Bruce Wayne, either positively or adversely, for the rest of the series. Two particular forks in the road caused me to pause the game and seriously consider my selection, one of which is a Sophie’s Choice-style final decision that creates the most significant ripple effect of the series so far. After witnessing both endings, I’m excited to see how each paths play out. I’m enjoying how characters are handled thus far, especially Bruce and Catwoman. Particular praise goes to Telltale’s re-imagining of Penguin, whose gritty makeover as a revolution-obsessed fanatic feels like something Christopher Nolan would have done if he ever got his hands on the character. The take is different enough to give this story its own identity, but Cobblepot retains enough classic Penguin traits (he’s still a crime lord and despises the Wayne family) to keep him from becoming completely unrecognizable. Harvey Dent remains a total tool bag and, surprisingly, the weakest character of the series, but at least Children of Arkham’s more urgent tone forces a more serious, tolerable performance. Gameplay takes more of a backseat role this time and, honestly, I didn’t mind at all. With a story this engaging, I’m perfectly fine with gameplay being short and sweet if it means keeping the narrative rolling. Detective work takes the bench this round, and activities like scanning a city map for the source of a signal require such minimal effort that it feels more like obligatory busywork than anything creative or exciting. Combat remains one-note, and the finisher meter feels even more like a needless afterthought. If nothing else, a slickly choreographed fight sequence involving Batman and Catwoman provides a neat combat showpiece. A few technical hiccups, such as sound effects randomly cutting and occasional slow-down, rear their ugly heads now and again and can greatly detract from the experience when they do. Conclusion: Children of Arkham picks up the pace and raises the stakes. Lighter gameplay means you’ll be watching more than participating (and when you are interacting, it’s nothing exhilarating) but the tumultuous events that unfold compensate by seizing your attention and never letting go. That’s a trade-off I can accept in a narrative-focused adventure. While the first episode merely piqued my interest by the end, this follow-up has me flashing a bat signal telling Telltale to deliver Episode 3 ASAP. Telltale's Batman Episode 2: Children of Arkham was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is now available for Xbox One and PC. It’s also coming soon to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android.
  18. What a difference an episode can make. The first installment of Telltale’s Batman series, Realm of Shadows, was a solid, occasionally dull, introduction to a re-imagined Dark Knight. Children of Arkham improves upon its predecessor in nearly every way, delivering a thrilling second act chock full of shocking revelations, genuine surprises, and excellent pacing. If Episode 1 was designed to get players on the rollercoaster, Episode 2 straps them in and launches them full speed on an incredibly fun ride. The conclusion of Realm of Shadows saw Bruce Wayne in dire straits. His parents, hailed as beacons of virtue in the otherwise baleful Gotham City, have been accused of having alleged ties with the mob, tarnishing the Wayne’s reputation as well as endangering the election of Bruce’s friend, Harvey Dent. That left a huge dangling carrot: was Thomas Wayne associated with organized crime? Children of Arkham wastes no time clearing that fog, and the sinister truth surrounding the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne is a genuine eyebrow raiser that sets the bar for more big surprises throughout the episode. One major improvement is the pacing. The story unfolds at a satisfyingly brisk tempo, with scenes delivering information concisely without meandering, a weakness in the prior installment. As a result, a whole lot more goes down in the story, but it never feels like developments are being rushed or crammed in. This also makes Episode 2 fly by compared to Episode 1. Like watching a gripping episode of your favorite TV show, you’ll be surprised (and disappointed) at how quickly the credits seem to arrive. The higher stakes add urgency and weight to decision-making. Telltale casts a large spotlight on how players choose to cultivate Bruce Wayne’s complicated (and potentially strained) relationships with Catwoman and Harvey Dent, as well as the fallout from how Batman chose to deal with Falcone in Episode 1. Thankfully, these decisions actually do result in wildly different outcomes that are poised to affect both Batman and Bruce Wayne, either positively or adversely, for the rest of the series. Two particular forks in the road caused me to pause the game and seriously consider my selection, one of which is a Sophie’s Choice-style final decision that creates the most significant ripple effect of the series so far. After witnessing both endings, I’m excited to see how each paths play out. I’m enjoying how characters are handled thus far, especially Bruce and Catwoman. Particular praise goes to Telltale’s re-imagining of Penguin, whose gritty makeover as a revolution-obsessed fanatic feels like something Christopher Nolan would have done if he ever got his hands on the character. The take is different enough to give this story its own identity, but Cobblepot retains enough classic Penguin traits (he’s still a crime lord and despises the Wayne family) to keep him from becoming completely unrecognizable. Harvey Dent remains a total tool bag and, surprisingly, the weakest character of the series, but at least Children of Arkham’s more urgent tone forces a more serious, tolerable performance. Gameplay takes more of a backseat role this time and, honestly, I didn’t mind at all. With a story this engaging, I’m perfectly fine with gameplay being short and sweet if it means keeping the narrative rolling. Detective work takes the bench this round, and activities like scanning a city map for the source of a signal require such minimal effort that it feels more like obligatory busywork than anything creative or exciting. Combat remains one-note, and the finisher meter feels even more like a needless afterthought. If nothing else, a slickly choreographed fight sequence involving Batman and Catwoman provides a neat combat showpiece. A few technical hiccups, such as sound effects randomly cutting and occasional slow-down, rear their ugly heads now and again and can greatly detract from the experience when they do. Conclusion: Children of Arkham picks up the pace and raises the stakes. Lighter gameplay means you’ll be watching more than participating (and when you are interacting, it’s nothing exhilarating) but the tumultuous events that unfold compensate by seizing your attention and never letting go. That’s a trade-off I can accept in a narrative-focused adventure. While the first episode merely piqued my interest by the end, this follow-up has me flashing a bat signal telling Telltale to deliver Episode 3 ASAP. Telltale's Batman Episode 2: Children of Arkham was reviewed on PlayStation 4 and is now available for Xbox One and PC. It’s also coming soon to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, iOS, and Android. View full article
  19. Today, the Dark Knight rises once more. The second episode of Telltale's caped crusader focuses on the corruption of Gotham City; shady dealings that seem to have played a role in the death of Thomas Wayne. Players face a pivotal choice: Will Bruce Wayne wear the mantle of Batman or billionaire in his pursuit of the truth? As part of Telltale's promotion for their Batman series, the developer has put together an interesting behind the scenes video detailing the process their voice actors go through to bring their characters to life. Catching glimpses of voice acting greats like Troy Baker (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Laura Bailey (Selina Kyle/Catwoman), and Travis Willingham (Harvey Dent) playing off of one another feels like a real treat. They all bounce of one another and come up with ways to fine-tune their performances. It's really quite interesting and a must watch for anyone who has a glimmer of interest in the voice acting business. Telltale's Batman Episode 2: Children of Arkham can now be downloaded for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Episode 2's release date for last gen consoles or mobile will be unveiled later this month. Curious about the Batman Telltale series? Check out our review of Episode 1: Realm of Shadows.
  20. Today, the Dark Knight rises once more. The second episode of Telltale's caped crusader focuses on the corruption of Gotham City; shady dealings that seem to have played a role in the death of Thomas Wayne. Players face a pivotal choice: Will Bruce Wayne wear the mantle of Batman or billionaire in his pursuit of the truth? As part of Telltale's promotion for their Batman series, the developer has put together an interesting behind the scenes video detailing the process their voice actors go through to bring their characters to life. Catching glimpses of voice acting greats like Troy Baker (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Laura Bailey (Selina Kyle/Catwoman), and Travis Willingham (Harvey Dent) playing off of one another feels like a real treat. They all bounce of one another and come up with ways to fine-tune their performances. It's really quite interesting and a must watch for anyone who has a glimmer of interest in the voice acting business. Telltale's Batman Episode 2: Children of Arkham can now be downloaded for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Episode 2's release date for last gen consoles or mobile will be unveiled later this month. Curious about the Batman Telltale series? Check out our review of Episode 1: Realm of Shadows. View full article
  21. Telltale has announced that next Friday will be a big day of revelation for fans of both The Walking Dead and Batman. They will be holding a panel in the Hydra Theatre of the Grand Hyatt during PAX West. Those who attend in person will be able to ask the panel questions after the various announcements and might be walking away with a giveaway for sitting through the presentation. We don't know exactly what will be shown regarding The Walking Dead at the panel, but the earlier reveal of the third season during E3 left many tantalizing possibilities. We know that this season will feature two playable protagonists, one of which will be series mainstay, Clem. Many expect at least one of the reveals during PAX West to be the fall release date that was hinted at during the initial announcement. Telltale will also be hosting a Crowd Play event using the new in-game Crowd Play feature that they've developed to make Telltale games a more multiplayer experience. This year, attendees of the Crowd Play event will be able to cooperatively play through Batman Episode 1: Realm of Shadows before receiving an early, exclusive look at the upcoming Episode 2: Children of Arkham. Giveaways will follow this event as well, and the press release included a winky face after that bit of information. Not entirely sure how to take that, but you might want to go to the Crowd Play event if you can.
  22. Telltale has announced that next Friday will be a big day of revelation for fans of both The Walking Dead and Batman. They will be holding a panel in the Hydra Theatre of the Grand Hyatt during PAX West. Those who attend in person will be able to ask the panel questions after the various announcements and might be walking away with a giveaway for sitting through the presentation. We don't know exactly what will be shown regarding The Walking Dead at the panel, but the earlier reveal of the third season during E3 left many tantalizing possibilities. We know that this season will feature two playable protagonists, one of which will be series mainstay, Clem. Many expect at least one of the reveals during PAX West to be the fall release date that was hinted at during the initial announcement. Telltale will also be hosting a Crowd Play event using the new in-game Crowd Play feature that they've developed to make Telltale games a more multiplayer experience. This year, attendees of the Crowd Play event will be able to cooperatively play through Batman Episode 1: Realm of Shadows before receiving an early, exclusive look at the upcoming Episode 2: Children of Arkham. Giveaways will follow this event as well, and the press release included a winky face after that bit of information. Not entirely sure how to take that, but you might want to go to the Crowd Play event if you can. View full article
  23. GraniteCon 2016 Sept. 17th and 18th

    Link to Calendar Event Hello everyone! We will once again be hosting a table at the Granite State ComicCon on September 17th and 18th. Microsoft will be supplying devices to get sign ups as well as GAEM units again this year! We don't HAVE to put Xbox Ones in the GAEMS units either. I will be bringing Xbox Ones but if anyone has other systems that you would like to hook up, I'm am totally down for that. It may be good for the table to have things other than just Xbox games. Also, if you have any Xbox games you would like to play, bring them! We should have plenty of passes for everyone, but if you are planning to be there all weekend, please buy a pass to help support the Cons that support us! Volunteers needed: Sat. 9am-2pm 3 Volunteers Needed (2 Volunteers/1 Senior Volunteer/Leader) Sat. 1pm-6pm 3 Volunteers Needed (2 Volunteers/1 Senior Volunteer/Leader) Sun. 9am-2pm 3 Volunteers Needed (2 Volunteers/1 Senior Volunteer/Leader) Sun. 1pm-5pm 3 Volunteers Needed (2 Volunteers/1 Senior Volunteer/Leader)
  24. A lot of interesting things are happening with Telltale’s new Batman title. Though the first episode is now available, I had the opportunity to see it a bit early and hear about where Telltale plans to take the series in the future. “The biggest thing that you can take away from Telltale's take on Batman is that we believe that Bruce Wayne is as important as the Batman,” said Telltale’s rep as we began to dig into the differences between how Telltale was approaching the Bat compared to film or comic adaptations. “Being Bruce Wayne is political. It's personal. It's working directly with people and seeing how you influence them and actually how they influence you maybe, and how you influence the story of course. It's a Telltale series where choice matters,” the rep explained as the PC demonstration began. It is almost immediately apparent that Telltale put their M rating to good use. Their Batman series features some brutal violence; the camera lingers on a security guard with a fatal head shot wound as a mercenary team executes a night raid on city hall. “Actually, having an M-rating is really, really good for us. It opens up the ability to tell a fantastic, hard-edged Batman story, a mature Batman story,” Telltale’s rep later explains. As the mercenaries slowly check their corners and walk through the nearly deserted building (after delaying the inevitable police response, of course), they worry aloud about interference from a certain vigilante. The camera pans out to show a shadow observing them from in front of a “Harvey Dent for Mayor” billboard. “You're going to see some new combat mechanics you haven't seen before in a Telltale series,” the rep states as that shadow leaps into motion, crashing through a window into the panicked killers. To be honest, the new combat mechanics aren’t exactly a huge departure from the quick time events that have been the primary form of action in past Telltale adventures. However, there is one prominent new addition: A finishing meter. As combat progresses, a meter will fill up with each successful QTE move. Once it is full, Batman will be able to use a finishing move to take down his opponent. Interestingly, players can fail a large number of QTE without getting a game over screen as long as Batman isn’t in a situation that would obviously kill him. Fights can also be finished without performing a takedown maneuver. Sometimes failing a prompt during a fight can affect the outcome of the story, too. “It is all part of that Telltale magic.” This sequence flashes back and forth between Batman’s conflict with the thugs and the contemplative conversation between Alfred and Bruce in the aftermath. “A myth can't be killed. You, however, are flesh and blood,” states Alfred as he helps Bruce clean his injuries. The game flashes back to Batman’s first encounter with Catwoman, who has beaten the mercenaries to a their prize: A hard drive. “[The hard drive] contains some very, very sensitive data. Catwoman [is] being sent to get it, obviously these guys know what's going on. The mercenaries upstairs are being sent to get. Batman's aware of what's going on. You'll find out how this story came to be as we move forward into the actual game episode itself.” As the combat and conversation between Batman and Catwoman comes to a close and the segment of the demo focusing on Bruce Wayne begins, the demo crashes. I’m told this is due to the game’s QA testing not being complete yet. Someone asks if Batman is running on a new engine, suspecting that the performance issues and improved visuals might be attributed to new technology. Telltale’s rep explains: So everything's being updated, yeah for sure. It's not really a new engine per se. We iterate continuously on the engine we have. So I would say normally at this stage, you know, performance has been improved but [this is a] demo that hasn't gone through our full QA for retail release, that's why we're seeing these issues today. But yeah, […] as you saw we've got cloth and physics simulations going on there with Batman's cape. There are going to be, for the appropriate characters, all the hair simulation, lots of different technology we can talk about. In fact, technology that's not even visible in the demo that we have today […] will affect the next season of The Walking Dead too. Due to the nature of the build they are using, they can’t skip back to where things went wrong. I’m shown the same sequence over again. The presenter adds additional context for events, saying, “This is relatively early in Batman's career. James Gordon is still a lieutenant. This is the first time as you saw earlier that he met Catwoman. And there's some other characters that we're going to meet as well early in Batman's career. So I'm a bit beyond that kind of Year One stage if you like, he's obviously quite capable right now as Batman.” The demo crashes again. We’re shown another attempt at making it to the second section of gameplay. What was a half hour demo slowly stretches toward an hour. Finally, we make it through the glitchy section. Visibly relieved, the presenter continues, “So now as Alfred said we go from wearing one mask to another. We go from the Bat to the billionaire. This is where things get political and personal. […] The next part is a gala in support of the election of Harvey Dent as mayor, so obviously this is before Harvey becomes Two-Face.” Telltale’s focus on Bruce Wayne places additional importance on the schmoozing Bruce does during these parties. How players have Wayne act can determine how much support Harvey enjoys in his bid for the mayor’s office. Players can even choose which slogan Dent uses for his campaign. However, there’s clear conflict between Bruce Wayne’s two identities as he tries to help his friend Harvey make a good impression with the elite of Gotham. The attempts make him feel disingenuous, but the stakes escalate when Carmine Falcone arrives. Falcone, a known, but legally untouchable, criminal, knows the right people and could help rig the election for Harvey Dent, but he has little to no respect for either Harvey or Bruce. “You listen to me, kid,” Falcone explains in a tense one-on-one conversation with Bruce, “I know somewhere inside that tuxedo you understand the situation. Money gets money. The risks, the alliances, the hidden costs. Your father knew which hands to shake. And which to break.” The demo ends with threats and Carmine Falcone leaving Wayne Manor with his thugs in tow. There are things, of course, that you didn't see in today's demo that we're super proud of and we're really excited that you're going to see. We've obviously got a fantastic- or what I should say is this is Batman, the world's greatest detective. So where would we be without some cool detective work? You're going to see that in the episode and in the season, in fact, in a way that Telltale has never really done […] before. We're super happy about that. And then one thing that I'm really looking forward to is there's going to be key moments throughout the season where you get to choose how to approach a situation; am I going to go as Bruce or am I going to go as Batman? Obviously that's going to have a huge effect on the season too. I asked if the series would be drawing on previous Batman storylines from comics, movies, cartoons, etc. and received a pretty intriguing answer: There's 75 years of content to pull from so obviously it's hard not to have inspiration, but we should make it really clear this a brand-new story being built from the ground up, so you will have not have seen this story before. Based on the demo that you saw today you might feel really comfortable with what you saw as like "Oh I know these characters, I kind of feel very comfortable with where this is going" but trust me, it's all going to get turned on its head so we're really looking forward to that. The demo concluded and I was left with a generally positive view of the series’ future, though with some deep misgivings about the stability of the tech. Telltale’s games have always been a bit wobbly right out of the gate, but I had never seen a build crash in an early showing, let alone crash multiple times. An interesting feature that will be included in Telltale games beginning with the Batman series onward is the ability to initiate Crowd Play. Essentially, Crowd Play makes a Telltale game into a multiplayer experience. There are two different types of Crowd Play with which players can experiment. The first is a rule of the majority, with the most popular audience vote taking priority. The second gives the player with the controller the voting information, but allows them to make the ultimate choice. Choosing crowd play when beginning a new game generates a URL that an audience can use to participate, similar to the mobile participation in party games like the Jackbox series. This could make for some really fun, unique events or game nights. The first episode of Telltale’s Batman, titled Realm of Shadows, is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It will be releasing on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and mobile in the coming weeks.
  25. A lot of interesting things are happening with Telltale’s new Batman title. Though the first episode is now available, I had the opportunity to see it a bit early and hear about where Telltale plans to take the series in the future. “The biggest thing that you can take away from Telltale's take on Batman is that we believe that Bruce Wayne is as important as the Batman,” said Telltale’s rep as we began to dig into the differences between how Telltale was approaching the Bat compared to film or comic adaptations. “Being Bruce Wayne is political. It's personal. It's working directly with people and seeing how you influence them and actually how they influence you maybe, and how you influence the story of course. It's a Telltale series where choice matters,” the rep explained as the PC demonstration began. It is almost immediately apparent that Telltale put their M rating to good use. Their Batman series features some brutal violence; the camera lingers on a security guard with a fatal head shot wound as a mercenary team executes a night raid on city hall. “Actually, having an M-rating is really, really good for us. It opens up the ability to tell a fantastic, hard-edged Batman story, a mature Batman story,” Telltale’s rep later explains. As the mercenaries slowly check their corners and walk through the nearly deserted building (after delaying the inevitable police response, of course), they worry aloud about interference from a certain vigilante. The camera pans out to show a shadow observing them from in front of a “Harvey Dent for Mayor” billboard. “You're going to see some new combat mechanics you haven't seen before in a Telltale series,” the rep states as that shadow leaps into motion, crashing through a window into the panicked killers. To be honest, the new combat mechanics aren’t exactly a huge departure from the quick time events that have been the primary form of action in past Telltale adventures. However, there is one prominent new addition: A finishing meter. As combat progresses, a meter will fill up with each successful QTE move. Once it is full, Batman will be able to use a finishing move to take down his opponent. Interestingly, players can fail a large number of QTE without getting a game over screen as long as Batman isn’t in a situation that would obviously kill him. Fights can also be finished without performing a takedown maneuver. Sometimes failing a prompt during a fight can affect the outcome of the story, too. “It is all part of that Telltale magic.” This sequence flashes back and forth between Batman’s conflict with the thugs and the contemplative conversation between Alfred and Bruce in the aftermath. “A myth can't be killed. You, however, are flesh and blood,” states Alfred as he helps Bruce clean his injuries. The game flashes back to Batman’s first encounter with Catwoman, who has beaten the mercenaries to a their prize: A hard drive. “[The hard drive] contains some very, very sensitive data. Catwoman [is] being sent to get it, obviously these guys know what's going on. The mercenaries upstairs are being sent to get. Batman's aware of what's going on. You'll find out how this story came to be as we move forward into the actual game episode itself.” As the combat and conversation between Batman and Catwoman comes to a close and the segment of the demo focusing on Bruce Wayne begins, the demo crashes. I’m told this is due to the game’s QA testing not being complete yet. Someone asks if Batman is running on a new engine, suspecting that the performance issues and improved visuals might be attributed to new technology. Telltale’s rep explains: So everything's being updated, yeah for sure. It's not really a new engine per se. We iterate continuously on the engine we have. So I would say normally at this stage, you know, performance has been improved but [this is a] demo that hasn't gone through our full QA for retail release, that's why we're seeing these issues today. But yeah, […] as you saw we've got cloth and physics simulations going on there with Batman's cape. There are going to be, for the appropriate characters, all the hair simulation, lots of different technology we can talk about. In fact, technology that's not even visible in the demo that we have today […] will affect the next season of The Walking Dead too. Due to the nature of the build they are using, they can’t skip back to where things went wrong. I’m shown the same sequence over again. The presenter adds additional context for events, saying, “This is relatively early in Batman's career. James Gordon is still a lieutenant. This is the first time as you saw earlier that he met Catwoman. And there's some other characters that we're going to meet as well early in Batman's career. So I'm a bit beyond that kind of Year One stage if you like, he's obviously quite capable right now as Batman.” The demo crashes again. We’re shown another attempt at making it to the second section of gameplay. What was a half hour demo slowly stretches toward an hour. Finally, we make it through the glitchy section. Visibly relieved, the presenter continues, “So now as Alfred said we go from wearing one mask to another. We go from the Bat to the billionaire. This is where things get political and personal. […] The next part is a gala in support of the election of Harvey Dent as mayor, so obviously this is before Harvey becomes Two-Face.” Telltale’s focus on Bruce Wayne places additional importance on the schmoozing Bruce does during these parties. How players have Wayne act can determine how much support Harvey enjoys in his bid for the mayor’s office. Players can even choose which slogan Dent uses for his campaign. However, there’s clear conflict between Bruce Wayne’s two identities as he tries to help his friend Harvey make a good impression with the elite of Gotham. The attempts make him feel disingenuous, but the stakes escalate when Carmine Falcone arrives. Falcone, a known, but legally untouchable, criminal, knows the right people and could help rig the election for Harvey Dent, but he has little to no respect for either Harvey or Bruce. “You listen to me, kid,” Falcone explains in a tense one-on-one conversation with Bruce, “I know somewhere inside that tuxedo you understand the situation. Money gets money. The risks, the alliances, the hidden costs. Your father knew which hands to shake. And which to break.” The demo ends with threats and Carmine Falcone leaving Wayne Manor with his thugs in tow. There are things, of course, that you didn't see in today's demo that we're super proud of and we're really excited that you're going to see. We've obviously got a fantastic- or what I should say is this is Batman, the world's greatest detective. So where would we be without some cool detective work? You're going to see that in the episode and in the season, in fact, in a way that Telltale has never really done […] before. We're super happy about that. And then one thing that I'm really looking forward to is there's going to be key moments throughout the season where you get to choose how to approach a situation; am I going to go as Bruce or am I going to go as Batman? Obviously that's going to have a huge effect on the season too. I asked if the series would be drawing on previous Batman storylines from comics, movies, cartoons, etc. and received a pretty intriguing answer: There's 75 years of content to pull from so obviously it's hard not to have inspiration, but we should make it really clear this a brand-new story being built from the ground up, so you will have not have seen this story before. Based on the demo that you saw today you might feel really comfortable with what you saw as like "Oh I know these characters, I kind of feel very comfortable with where this is going" but trust me, it's all going to get turned on its head so we're really looking forward to that. The demo concluded and I was left with a generally positive view of the series’ future, though with some deep misgivings about the stability of the tech. Telltale’s games have always been a bit wobbly right out of the gate, but I had never seen a build crash in an early showing, let alone crash multiple times. An interesting feature that will be included in Telltale games beginning with the Batman series onward is the ability to initiate Crowd Play. Essentially, Crowd Play makes a Telltale game into a multiplayer experience. There are two different types of Crowd Play with which players can experiment. The first is a rule of the majority, with the most popular audience vote taking priority. The second gives the player with the controller the voting information, but allows them to make the ultimate choice. Choosing crowd play when beginning a new game generates a URL that an audience can use to participate, similar to the mobile participation in party games like the Jackbox series. This could make for some really fun, unique events or game nights. The first episode of Telltale’s Batman, titled Realm of Shadows, is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It will be releasing on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and mobile in the coming weeks. View full article