by Preston Dozsa
previewed on PC
Tales of the Dark Knight
Batman is one of the few popular comic book characters to receive numerous video game titles over the years. From NES platformers to the modern Arkham series, Batman has been well represented in video games, with a bevy of great games that showcase the Caped Crusader at his finest. But can the same be said for Bruce Wayne?
Batman: The TellTale Series seeks to shed light on Batman’s billionaire alter ego while still paying close attention to his nightly crusades against crime. At E3 this year, I saw the first 30 minutes of the game’s first episode of a planned five, and it looks to explore both sides of the character in such a way that what Bruce Wayne does during the day impacts what he does in the night.
Batman Begins, Again
Those 30 minutes could be divided into two halves. The first featured Batman stopping a heist late at night. Here, Batman silently took out armed guards one by one through quick time events. For those who have played previous TellTale Games titles, the action is very similar, though it looked to me like the commands required were both faster paced and longer than those in earlier games. Once the armed guards were mostly dealt with, Catwoman appeared to steal a high tech gadget before attempting to escape across the rooftops, resulting in a chase sequence.
It is through this chase that it became apparent that TellTale’s Batman will take place early in Batman’s career, as the two bantered as if they had only just met. The arrival of Commissioner Gordon and a police force seeking to arrest Batman further confirmed this. I welcome this choice of setting, as this allows for TellTale to explore a Batman who is still trying to figure out how he can best operate as a masked vigilante, with all the consequences that it entails.
Life Beyond The Mask and Cape
Following the end of the chase, the second half of the demo began, with Bruce hosting a party to promote Harvey Dent’s campaign for Mayor of Gotham. This was easily the highlight of the presentation, as the player has the choice as to how Wayne will act in front of high society. While our presenter chose to be a more polite and respectful Bruce, options were present to play as the prototypical billionaire playboy that many representations of Batman have come to show. Of course, that all went out the window when the party was interrupted by Carmine Falcone, where the most interesting choices were shown. As Falcone is a known mob boss, you have to choose whether to be polite and friendly with him - in full view of members of the media and Gotham’s high society - or to be cool and unwelcome despite the benefits it could bring to Harvey’s campaign. After a tense conversation with Falcone in private that saw the mob boss utter a vague threat at Bruce, the demo ended.
Characters Brought To Life
Apart from the gameplay, the most noticeable aspect to Batman was the voice acting. Troy Baker is instantly recognizable as Batman/Bruce Wayne, even though Batman’s voice sounds like it goes through a voice modulator, with the voice acting in general sounding great. Laura Bailey’s Catwoman, Travis Willingham’s Harvey Dent and Richard McGonagle’s Carmine Falcone were also strong, and I hope that the high quality voice acting continues throughout the series.
Activate the Bat Signal
If the 30 minutes I saw of the game are a sign of anything, it’s that Batman is in good hands at TellTale. For those who are looking forward to playing as Bruce Wayne, Batman will release later this summer, with all of the episodes released by the end of the year.