[Review] Batman: The Telltale Series

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Title: Batman: The Telltale Series
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform:
PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Category:
Graphic Adventure
Release Date:
Original episode was released August 2016
How we got the game:
Bought it on Steam

krismii
Batman was one of my first loves when I was introduced to the Geek Life. With the comic books and the animated series, Batman turned into one of my favorite superheroes. Seeing the release of the Telltale Series, I was always interested in the point-and-click graphic adventure. After having it downloaded on Steam for… longer than I intended, I finally got around to sitting down and playing it.

gameplay

I’ve never played a Telltale Series game before and, considering all of the titles they have out, I was interested in seeing how they pulled it off. Part action, part graphic adventure, Batman: The Telltale Series was definitely fun with its gameplay.

The game is split evenly between Batman and Bruce Wayne, with the player taking their roles during the game. While the game looks similar to a visual novel, the player’s input in the many critical choices affects the branches of the game’s narrative.

Part of the gameplay involves the player making quick decisions, whether it is during an action sequence or when speaking with NPCs of the world. Case in point were the multiple choice responses peppered in throughout the narrative. When responding to key points in the story to the NPCs, you are given only a few seconds, measured by a bar beneath the response choices. If you failed to respond, it was taken as mere silence, which is also a valid response to these situations. The first few questions I had to answer, I nearly panicked that I couldn’t try to carefully think through and pick the best response. Instead, I had to answer quickly and let the chips fall where they may!

The action sequences generally involve the player reacting quickly to hitting a certain key or button, a mouse-click, or even a combination of keystrokes to perform actions. Successfully performing these actions during a fight scene will fill up a Batman symbol found in the bottom-left corner of the screen — once the symbol is filled, Batman can perform a final move to completely take down the opponent he is facing to move onto the next scene.

During investigative scenes, you check evidence and the surrounding area, using a technique called linking to “link” pieces of evidence together to help piece the story of what went down in the area. I was actually really impressed with this part of the gameplay, finding it intriguing as we moved around as Batman to investigate. Seeing his gadgets do their thing was fun, too!

It’s not combat-heavy and relies more on quick reflexes and thinking, allowing you to manipulate the story and enjoying the narrative you help to weave.

graphics-music

The graphics aren’t bad at all. The semi-realistic graphics of the people and the settings are pretty good, even if sometimes the faces of the characters can look a little… derpy. I really enjoyed the images of the Gotham, the settings of Wayne Manor, City Hall, and the other scenes. I thought they were well done.

The music was fun as well, the tunes fitting into the story well. Fight and investigative scenes were accurately punched up with the music, keeping you focused and getting you amped up when necessary.
storyThe game begins with Batman investigating a break-in at Gotham City Hall. Aside from mercenaries, he meets Catwoman stealing a drive, which Batman takes before she can escape. He returns to Wayne Manor as Bruce, hosting a campaign party for D.A. Harvey Dent running for mayor against the current, corrupt mayor of Gotham. Among other party guests, the infamous mobster Falcone makes an appearance, who offers Bruce a spot in his crime family in exchange for “help” in getting Harvey elected.

This prologue effectively introduces the major players to episode one.

The story does well going back and forth between the Bruce Wayne and Batman personas, giving equal play time for both “characters.” While Batman is focused on decrypting the drive that Catwoman had attempted to steal, Bruce Wayne is stuck playing politics for Harvey Dent and Falcone. During the investigation, Falcone appears to be the link between the two faces of the titular character.

With this link, accusations against Bruce’s parents come to light, accusations that painted the Waynes not as benevolent benefactors to the city but as one of the biggest crime families of Gotham. While Batman confronts Falcone for his part in stealing and delivering a chemical weapon, Falcone delivers evidence of the Waynes being involved with Falcone and his crime organizations. Episode one ends with Bruce demanding answers from Alfred, his closest confidant and the Wayne family butler and friend.

The story continues with episode two, with Bruce digging up the secrets of his family’s past. The Telltale Series does well playing in Batman’s universe, but the story itself does not tie in with any other existing Batman lore. I’m definitely intrigued by the beginning of this game and am looking forward to continuing the story of this game with the next episodes!

replay-value

Batman: The Telltale Series had great replay value, especially if you want to exhaust all the different important choices you can pick throughout the game. Not only are the episodes themselves different due to the choices, choices in previous episodes can affect the outcome of future episodes.

That, and it’s Batman. What’s not to like?

Batman: The Telltale Series gets…
5-lives
5 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Undertale [Game Review]

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Title: Undertale
Developer and Publisher: Toby Fox
Platform:
PC, Playstation 4, future release for Nintendo Switch
Category:
Role-playing
Release Date:
Sept 2015 (PC), August 2017 (PS4), 2018 (Switch)
How I got the game:
I bought it on Steam.

krismii
When this game first came out a couple of years ago, I really wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s popularity surged, but it wasn’t until we saw a Let’s Play of the game last year that I was actually interested in playing it. I finally got the game on Steam a little while ago and then, lo and behold, the game got announced for the Nintendo Switch this year!

gameplay

Undertale is a role-playing game where you play as a child who has fallen Underground, a dark place filled with Monsters. It’s in a top-down perspective, and you move about the overworld, navigating the land while interacting with other characters and, usually, solving puzzles. Depending on how one solves the objectives of the game determines the kind of ending one will receive.

When encounter enemies, the battle mode will trigger. The battle mode involves controlling your character’s soul, which is represented by a red heart. In each battle, as the heart, you must avoid attacks from the enemy that attack you similar in a bullet hell shooter. Various elements to the battles are introduced further in the game, such as different obstacles to dodge and conditions for controlling the heart.

Players have different options in battle. You can either choose to attack, act (such as talking to, mimicking, or even flirting with an opponent), use an item, or mercy, which allows players to either flee from the battle or spare the opponent if the time is right to do so. Depending on the players actions will sway the battle and, ultimately, the ending of the game. It is possible to beat the game without harming any enemies.

Undertale also employs metafictional elements. When a player replays the game, dialogue and certain sections of the game will be altered depending on the previous play through. How the player interacts with the game’s characters — by slaying, sparing, or befriending them — determines how the end of the play through will go. A player can achieve a True Pacifist run, Neutral runs, or a Genocide run, and subsequent play throughs will be effected by the ending of the previous play through.

graphics-music

Undertale’s graphics are pixel-y and charming, reminding me of older video games from the NES and SNES days. Despite that, every character — whether they were major, minor, or just background — was distinct in its looks, dialogue, and even sound. When characters spoke, their words typed out to distinct sounds, giving the characters voices without voice actors.

The game, being set in a place called the Underground, was filled with dim colors, dark blues, grays, and some red-hot areas. Some spots were a little spooky, or tried to be, but the music was always coupled well with the areas, such as a relaxing waterfall setting or the snowy town at night. I was very impressed with the quality of music and sound effects, especially since the composer was also the developer and publisher.

storyUndertale’s story opens up with a child falling into Mount Ebott, which brings them to the massive Underground that is populated with Monsters. The first character that the player encounters is Flowey, a sentient flower that explains the basic mechanics of the games before attempting to kill the player. The player is then saved by Toriel, a kind, goat-like, maternal monster who teaches the player how to navigate through puzzles and how to end battles without killing.

Once the player leaves Toriel’s home, you explore the vast Underground while meeting many other new characters, such as Sans and Papyrus the skeleton brothers, Undyne the Head of the Royal Guard, and Alphys the royal scientist. The player’s main objective is to get home. Along the way, you learn about how the Monsters came to be Underground.

Long ago, there was a war between humans and Monsters. Humans, with their stronger souls, pushed the Monsters Underground, sealing them with a barrier. Despite their magic, Monsters are not strong enough to break the barrier. However, if the Monsters collect enough human souls, they will grow powerful enough to break the barrier. As the child, you learn that that is what Asgore, the King of the Monsters, intends to do.

And you are the last needed human soul.

As you explore the Underground and meet other characters, your interactions with them will determine the outcome of the adventure. Many Monsters will want your soul for their king, and it is up to the player to either befriend or kill them. When it comes to escaping the Underground, it is up to you on whether or not you want to help the Monsters… or just yourself.

replay-value

With the charming graphics, awesome music, and quirky characters, Undertale is a game that I would boot up multiple times just to visit the characters over and over. Along with the fact that there are different endings with metafictional elements, Undertale has some great replay value.

…Although, because I enjoy the characters so much, I’m not sure if I really want to do a Genocide route! I prefer the happier endings, haha!

Undertale gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Fight Or Flight Method In Video Games

krismii
When it comes to playing video games together, Rachel and I tend to have different play styles… We like to compare them to our Player One or Player Two syndromes, but they can also be commonly compared to one’s Fight or Flight instinct. We’ve further proven this when we tried playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds together.

rachmii
When Kris and I play games together, I typically run and hide. In The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures for the Gamecube, Kris would kill the enemies and then I would nab the force gems before she could get to them. We had to take turns playing PUBG because we only have one copy of the game, but I know Kris would end up carrying our team if we played together in a duo.

krismii
Well, we’ll have to see about that. While I was eager enough to find a weapon and try my hand at earning some kills, it was Rachel that was able to loot faster with her wish to find decent hiding spots, haha! Rachel did tend to have the luck when it came to random drops during the few times we played. I wanted to explore the areas, yes, but I was concerned about enemy fire.

rachmii
I was concerned about enemy fire as well. I was lying in the grass for a while at some point. I heard a motorcycle and someone nearly ran me over because they didn’t see me. I didn’t know what direction they were coming from either. When they passed me I stood up to shoot them from behind, but I suddenly forgot the controls and froze in fear and panic. Most of the rounds I played, I made it in the top 20 or teens because I just sat and hid only moving when the blue was closing in.

krismii
That motorcyclist completely missing you was hysterical, not going to lie. I didn’t do too badly in the ranks either, but Rachel definitely got farther than me. I at least got some hit points in, which I was proud of. The only game I can think of that we didn’t follow our usual M.O. for Fight or Flight was in Minecraft. When we played Minecraft together, Rachel was mining and bashing enemies while I was crafting and taking care of the base while trying to find wolves to tame.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yeah, you were actually proactive and attacked people when you spotted them. I panicked and hid like I would in real life. Minecraft is interesting that we switched our usual roles. Then again, Minecraft is more cartoony and the controls are easier and less to handle. You get a sword and hit people as opposed to finding various guns and bullets having to load, aim, shoot, and reload.

krismii
It was interesting, yes. For the most part, we have our roles down pat and, even though our usual methods were switched in Minecraft, we almost always work well together. It’s probably why we always sabotage others when it comes to Mario Party games when we can’t actively be on a team together, haha!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I guess it all depends on the game, mechanics, and the situation you’re put in! Either way, it’s fun.

What’s your gameplay style? Fight or Flight? Let us know in the comments below!

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