[Review] Batman: The Telltale Series

batmanepisode1

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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Batman and Harley Quinn

Double Jump Kris MiiThe last few days of May… Where is 2017 going?

I hope everyone has a lovely Memorial Day this week! Amid video games and comic books, please enjoy some time with your family and good friends.

 

This summer, there is a new direct-to-video animated Batman movie slated to be released.

I grew up watching the animated Batman series due to my uncle having taped the majority of the episodes on VHS tapes. When I wasn’t bothering said uncle to play Ocarina of Time or Super Mario RPG, I was probably wearing out the VHS tapes in order to watch Batman and Robin.

Aside from the fact that it’s Batman, this movie also brings Kevin Conroy and Loren Lester back as the voices of Batman and Nightwing, and I’m so excited! They’ve done some of the best work as their voices, in my opinion. Melissa Rauch, from The Big Bang Theory, will be Harley Quinn and, while she’s obviously not the original voice actress, I don’t think she sounds too bad as the character.

Seeing the animated series again not only brings about a wave of nostalgia, but it also reminds me of the Batman video games out there. Rachel has played Arkham Asylum, but our XBox decided to call it quits before I could get a chance to do so. I have also yet to play Batman: The Telltale Series that is chilling on my Steam account. I definitely need to check out that game soon!

Are you interested in the Batman movies? Who out there remembers VHS tapes?

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Dive into Another World: MMORPGs

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday and new year, everyone! Here’s hoping that everyone is planning great things for 2017, both for personal and gaming goals!

Rachel and I have been hard at work trying to improve this blog, to figure out bigger and better ways to connect to fellow gamers and writers. Because, honestly, isn’t that the point of gaming? Socializing and excitedly freaking out with your fellow nerds?

(Real talk, I’ve never understood where that old stereotype of gamers hanging out in the basement of their parents’ house alone came from.)

This year I would love to try my hand at more MMORPGs. Although they’re not required to enjoy the games, Rachel and I are comparing prices and reviews of microphones and headphones for such games so we can, you know, possibly communicate with other gamers (outside of the game’s chat system, of course).

I’m not entirely sure where to start. I used to play City of Heroes when it had been around, having tons of fun flying around, kicking butt, and teaming up with other players when I could. Back then, I was like Batman, working better alone if only due to my computer being just barely able to run the game. It wouldn’t have been fair to join a team of fellow superheroes only for my system to lag during an important battle.

Rachel and I were thinking of Lord of the Rings Online, figuring that it was a familiar enough franchise for us to dive into and play with each other. Star Trek Online is another world I would love to join. I would love to try perhaps World of Warcraft down the line, that kind of fantasy world being right up my alley. Overwatch is still on my list to play, too.

What about you out there — any MMORPGs that you enjoy playing? Any recommendations, for games or equipment?

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Dream Loot Crate

 krismii
So there’s this awesome thing called Loot Crate, a monthly subscription service where you get a box full of geeky items that range from t-shirts and socks to bobble heads and magnets to towels and comics. Each box contains four to six licensed items from multiple franchises all centered around the month’s theme. While they have the generic Loot Crate, they also offer Loot Anime, Loot Pets and, of course, Loot Gaming.

rachmii
We’re excited to share what would be in our “Dream Crate.” This is a crate created by us that we would love to see in the future. We can add anything we want to it. Kris and I came up with a bunch of different themes. Since there’s two of us, we thought we’d talk about two of our ideas. The themes would be Justice and Sweet Treats.

krismii
With Justice, what comes to mind for us is our favorite heroes and all their awesome gadgets and costumes. I want to open up a Justice-themed Loot Crate box and have Link pop out! If I can’t have the guy, I’d love his hat, bracelets or necklaces of the medallions from Ocarina of Time, plushies of Sheik, Epona, and a cucco. A Batman mask and cape, replicas of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ weapons (or even a real-life Shellcycle!), a poster of the Pokemon champions and legendaries, and an art book or comic filled with pictures and lore of the Fire Emblem franchise are just a few other items that I would love to see from a Justice-themed Loot Crate.

rachmii
There are so many different items that could go with Justice and I would definitely want all the ones you included. For me, I would love anything Ace Attorney. An “Objection!” decal sticker, Apollo Justice’s bracelet or Maya Fey’s Magatama necklace. I wouldn’t mind having Professor Layton’s hat either. I would especially want a mug just like prosecutor Godot. It could have him on it with a quote or something. I would treasure that always! I would love anything from Luigi’s mansion. A ghost plushie, a Poltergeist 3000 replica, a cute figurine of Luigi from the game, or a Dark Moon paper weight. I don’t really know what I’d use a paper weight for, but I’m sure it would look pretty! The mansion would be nice too, with all the money inside. I’m going to add onto your TMNT list (because I didn’t think of them) and I would definitely add socks and pillows. I wouldn’t mind having a pillow in the shape of a Donatello head and having a comfy pair of socks with their happy faces and pizza.

krismii
Ahh, the Phoenix Wright franchise is perfect for this crate! Godot’s coffee and Maya’s burgers would also work for our food-inspired Sweet Treats theme as well. Mugs, aprons, and oven mitts decorated with the characters and catchphrases like, “OBJECTION!” would definitely encourage me to cook more, haha! Recipes from different games would be cool, too, like Princess Peach’s (rather, Toadstool as she was known then) cake recipe from Super Mario 64. Bottles for red potions, LonLon milk, or chu jellies from the Legend of Zelda, or poffins recipes from Pokemon for either you or your dog would be other great additions!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Cookie cutters! Cookie cutters everywhere! Cookie cutters of everything from all the games! Seriously, though, I’d be a master baker. Recipes would be nice, but having a copy of Rosana Pansino’s Nerdy Nummies cookbook would be cool. I would love to have utensils and appliances based on games. A Gameboy fridge would be cool. It’s the right shape and they’re making smartphone fridges, so all the tools are right there! Speaking of Ace Attorney again, I’d love to have an apron from Tres Bien, a restaurant location from one of the games. And what about the Gourmet Shy Guy in Paper Mario? I’d love to have a pillow or plushie of him. Oh, and anything Yoshi. He gobbles everything up!

krismii
Kirby too! Remember his final Smash in the Smash Brothers game, where he gathers everyone into a giant pot? Let’s just have a plushie or figurine of him with his little chef hat and everything! A chef hat with Kirby on it would be awesome too! A book full of Harvest Moon recipes would be another item for my Sweet Treats list. To go along with cookie cutters, cake molds of characters like Link and Mario would be great! Oh, I could go on and on about all of these…

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I could go on and on as well. Sadly, I know some of these items are unrealistic, but that is why it’s called a “Dream Crate.” This may or may not happen, but it’s always fun to dream about!

If you guys could have anything in a Loot Crate, what would they be? Let us know!

Friday Favorites: New Games

Double Jump Kris Mii

Since starting this blog, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t play as many games as I thought I did. I mean, I’ve been gaming since I was old enough to pick up a controller, but my gaming tends to be limited in my favorite franchises. The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon, with the occasional Mario, games dominate most of these posts.
In recent years, video games and everything that’s associated with them (story, art, characters, software, etc.) became more important to me, and I’ve been trying to find different games to try. Below are some of my favorite “newer” finds.

4. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Alright, so this series isn’t exactly new, but it’s definitely a gem. We had found it on the Wii’s Virtual Console and, having never heard of the series, had decided to give it a go. Gaming wasn’t exactly a serious pursuit at that point, but it was a key game in opening up my mind to everything gaming could be — the writing, the characters, the stories themselves are amazing, and were an inspiration to keep following this art form.

That, and this series was played not only with Rachel but also with our elder sister Lisa. Lisa’s not a big gamer at all, but to be able to share this series with both my sisters will always make it special to me.

3. Assassin’s Creed

I haven’t played this game yet, but it is there on my to-do list. This game series always seemed interesting to me and it was bought on a whim when Rachel and I were looking for more games for our PlayStation 3. Hopefully it’ll be a great game and open some more doors for us, genre-wise!

2. Batman: Arkham series

I was supposed to play the first game of this series a couple of months ago, back when Rachel and I were challenging each other to play a game that the other hadn’t played before. Because our XBox 360 died, I still haven’t been able to give this game a shot. However, Rachel has played it, and it was definitely not the kind of game I would ever think of my sister playing. Seeing her try out the combat-heavy, dark-themed Batman game was awesome — like the Phoenix Wright series, the Arkham franchise opened our eyes to new games and styles of play.

1. Minecraft

 

Rachel touched upon this game already on this blog, and this probably won’t be the last time you hear about it from us, haha! When Minecraft first came out, I honestly thought it seemed a bit silly and didn’t see much of a point to it. Sure, there are some people who can create some fantastic pixel art with the block style of the game, but it wasn’t until Rachel and I watched some streams of the game from our favorite YouTubers that we got interested enough to try it.

Of course, our first go-round with the game, the XBox 360 version, wasn’t that great, but after getting our desktop and then a gaming laptop, Minecraft was always one of the first games we wanted to try out. The game has been great so far, even if it is just Rachel and I trying to survive (and failing at times) in the world!

What are some of your favorite newer games?

Virtually Endless Possibilities

Double Jump Kris MiiSee what I did in the title there? I’m very punny.

Virtual reality video games are rising on the market, and imagining what beloved franchises can do with the technology is amazing. What kind of games do you hope for on the virtual reality market?

 

The other day I found a video showing off Minecraft on Samsung’s Gear VR. The video itself wasn’t anything too special — it was a video showing exactly what we would see on a computer monitor or television screen, and watching it from a monitor didn’t really help — but it did get me wondering as to what kind of games I would like to play in virtual reality.

Pokemon and the Legend of Zelda were automatic additions to this “VR Wishlist” I was writing in my head. Exploring the vast worlds in those franchises would be heaven, with Pokemon having the cities and wildernesses to trudge through, finding and battling Pokemon in exciting fights. Seeing the gorgeous landscapes of Hyrule across your vision before taking sword in hand to defend it is every Zelda fan’s dream!

Other franchises I was thinking of included superhero-centric ones, such as Batman. As I learned today, Batman: Arkham VR is actually a thing. As a kid, growing up to be Batman was one of my dreams, and being a detective in gritty Gotham sounds exciting with the help of VR!

…Until, of course, we see Killer Croc come charging at us from a dark alley or something.

Not too keen on the idea of traversing through the Legend of Zelda’s Water Temple with VR either… Or encountering a giant Dragon-type Pokemon in a dark cave…

Huh. Well, I suppose the point of virtual reality is immersion, right?

Friday Favorites: Anticipation

Double Jump Kris MiiIt’s still Friday, right?

Rachel and I have a good friend who was looking to sell her one-year old, only-used-for-six-months gaming laptop for a very reasonable price, and I offered to take it off her hands. While Rachel and I have a desktop that’s supposedly dedicated to gaming, it’s mostly used for art projects. As such, I’m excited at the prospect of having a gaming laptop, and am looking forward to the games I’ll be installing on it!

 

3. Overwatch

I had been intrigued with this game since it was first announced, and am still intrigued after seeing plenty of play-throughs and streams of it. I’ve not really played many shooter games, but this one looks pretty damn good, and I’m itching to try it.

2. No Man’s Sky

This particular game I’ve heard plenty of interesting… things. It looks gorgeous from every trailer I’ve seen and the idea of it is amazing, but there have also been many negative reviews thrown at it as well. We shall see.

1. Batman: The Telltale Series

I gushed about this game a couple of weeks ago, and I’m positive it’s the first game I’m going to set up on the new laptop. I heard some very positive reviews about it, and it’s Batman. ‘Nough said.

What games are you looking forward to playing?