Batman: The Telltale Series Realm Of Shadows - Episode One Review

In episode one of the Batman Telltale series, Bruce Wayne struggles with maintaining the reputation of his 2 identities.

Episode one of the Batman Telltale series takes off to a great start, beginning with our favorite masked vigilante as he lays the smack down on a band of thugs attempting to break into a vault inside Gotham City Hall. It’s all in a night's work for the Batman, and for those of us who are pulling the strings, it all seems fairly routine.

But aficionados of Telltale Games are privy to the way events build and unfold in these stories, using subtle foreshadowing and quick decision-making that impacts the interactions that take place. This time is no different. It was only when I finished Realm of Shadows, did I take the time to fully appreciate my own consistent moral compass and ability to call bullshit on unsavory types like Carmine Falcone.

The first person of notoriety that you’ll encounter is Catwoman, who’s up to her usual cat burglar routine. Although this time, the stolen object in question isn’t a diamond necklace. Most of your encounter with Catwoman will consist of her and Batman’s customary banter and a pretty intense action sequence. It’s enjoyable, especially since Catwoman is great at pulling one over on Batman, even when he’s sure he’s won. The great narrative and the authenticity behind the characters coupled with the adrenaline pumping action sequences lead Batman - episode one off to a wonderful start.

It’s enjoyable, especially since Catwoman is great at pulling one over on Batman, even when he’s sure he’s won. The great narrative and the authenticity behind the characters coupled with the adrenaline pumping action sequences lead Batman - episode one off to a wonderful start.

Shortly after, bruised and battered Bruce makes a fashionably late appearance to Harvey Dent’s endorsement party, which just so happens to be at Wayne manor. Dent pimps Bruce Wayne around the room in effort to get donors for his campaign and all of it feels very forced (as it should). Things start to get interesting when you get into an encounter with Vicki Vale, whom as you know, is always looking for a good story.

You’re given the option to kick her out of the party or let her stay. Since I enjoy a good dose of chaos, I allowed her to stay just as long as she promised to keep everything off the record. This was a case where I knew what the consequences would be but I made a choice based purely on the fact I was interested to see what would happen.

Just as you begin to think that this party couldn’t get anymore exciting, Carmine Falcone walks through the doors of Wayne manor. Of course, Vicki Vale is all over the situation and Harvey Dent’s best defense is, “But technically Falcone has never been caught doing terrible things and we could use his influence!” You’ll be prompted to make a slew of important decisions that will impact the outcome of episode one, and to say it’s stressful is an understatement. Typically, your choices range from two extremes with one that sits somewhere in between. Don’t let this format fool you, since there are times when you’ll be glad that you made a call that falls outside of “playing it safe”.

You’ll be prompted to make a slew of important decisions that will impact the outcome of episode one, and to say it’s stressful is an understatement. Typically, your choices range from two extremes with one that sits somewhere in between. Don’t let this format fool you, since there are times when you’ll be glad that you made a call that falls outside of “playing it safe.”

Bruce makes another appearance at Harvey Dent’s next event which reveals a hospital with a new initiative towards mental health care. During the event, a journalist accuses Wayne’s family of having ties with Falcone and the mafia. Soon after, Bruce gets a call from Alfred alerting him that the police are in his home running an investigation on Wayne Enterprises. It’s revealed that the warrant came from Mayor Hill himself and the whole situation reeks of conspiracy. You can chalk it up to political sabotage or Falcone. Either way, Bruce is determined to get to the bottom it. It’s here when I credit Telltale for their incredible storytelling and ability to deliver this unexpected turn of events without taking the story out of context. It strongly follows a format Batman comic book lovers will appreciate.

It’s revealed that the warrant came from Mayor Hill himself and the whole situation reeks of conspiracy. You can chalk it up to political sabotage or Falcone. Either way, Bruce is determined to get to the bottom it. It’s here when I credit Telltale for their incredible storytelling and ability to deliver this unexpected turn of events without taking the story out of context. It strongly follows a format Batman comic book lovers will appreciate.

In a surprising turn of events, Batman uncovers some truth behind the rumors surrounding his parents' involvement with the mob during an elaborate confrontation with Falcone. Although you bring Falcone to justice for all his crimes, this self-imposed job of playing Batman feels ultimately thankless.

Despite Bruce’s good intent and all the work he’s done, you’ll finish Realm of Shadows with feelings of bitterness, betrayal, and loneliness. But, it also leaves you on a damned good cliffhanger. Episode one of the Batman Telltale series is not only entertaining, but immersive and dynamic.

It makes great use of Telltale’s conventional gameplay features such as timed choice and action sequences, great narrative-driven story and puzzle solving elements, to put you in the shoes of Bruce Wayne, himself. I’m excited to see what the next installment to this series has in store for Batman, as well as what new details will surface regarding the history and future of Bruce Wayne.

For more great reads on Indie Obscura, check out November's indie games of the month, go on a transformative journey with our review of Owlboy, and get ready for the holidays by taking a look at these awesome indie game gifts.

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