Ever since I can remember, an action-orientated Batman has been a major focus for video games, such as the well known Arkham series. Now it's time for Telltale, the storytelling master, to offer a new take on the man behind the mask: Bruce Wayne himself.
After having played the first episode of the promising Batman: The Telltale Series, there were quite a few things that became clear to me, one of them being the fact that this story-driven game will focus as much on Bruce Wayne 'off duty' as on Batman the hero.
But who is Bruce Wayne, as depicted by Telltale?
Bruce Wayne is Someone With an Unclear Past
We all have a past, and we all know Batman's one. The canon version of Bruce's past has often been taken for granted; however, Telltale deliberately gives a sweet twist to it. Bruce might have strong memories of what happened when his parents died, but does he know everything? Or are there family secrets to unveil? Are Martha and Thomas Wayne who Bruce thinks they really are? Bonus point for Telltale here, for mastering the art of foreshadowing. Telltale doesn't give an answer for everything just yet, but it hints at a potentially controversial theory (I won't spoil, you'll have to play).
Bruce Wayne Struggles With Being Bruce Wayne
Tough choices and a good dose of drama were essential ingredients in this first episode of this Telltale game. It's not only difficult for Bruce to attend parties, maintain his own reputation, and support Harvey's campaign, but he also has an incredible amount of expectations to manage. How does he even have time to be Batman, you might wonder.
Bruce Wayne's Friends Might be Batman's Enemies
Characters like Harvey Dent and Oswald Cobblepot are surprisingly close to TellTale's Bruce Wayne, and Oswald's reinterpretation is rather refreshing and surprising on its own. The fact you are there, in Bruce's shoes, interacting with them and making choices, contributes to great character development. Supporting Harvey in the mutual dream of making Gotham a better place, and seeing Oswald - your childhood friend - heading towards the path of crime, when you kind of know already what will become of these two (or what the canon versions of them would) has a bittersweet taste. When (and if) they become villains during this series, it will be surely painful.
Bruce Wayne (as Batman) is Still the World's Greatest Detective
Telltale reminds us of Batman's true talents, and provides us with more than just mindless action. Point-and-click gameplay where you can solve puzzles and connect pieces together has proven to be incredibly fun. You can analyze crime scenes, and even craft your own strategy plan. In case you forgot, Batman is the world's greatest detective after all. This all adds to the interactivity in the story, and makes Batman: The Telltale Series even more addictive as a game. And if you think action is not included, let me tell you you'll love the fast-paced action sequences along the narrative.
Bruce Wayne's Relationship Dynamics are Interesting
The game starts with a fast-paced action sequence between Catwoman and Batman, but that's not the only angle you'll see of those. Selina and Bruce are interesting on their own, and their dialogues rather amusing, even when they are not hiding behind their masks. Selina's mysterious nature will make you wonder their true intentions, while you wait impatiently to know more about her.
Interesting and more dramatic is the relationship between Alfred and Bruce. You'll have plenty of tough choices to make, some of them might break or not your heart.
Ultimately, Bruce Wayne is Whoever You Want Him to be!
One of the strongest aspects of this game is how it gives you almost full control on the character's alignment. What type of Batman would you be? Would you resort to extreme violence if needed? Would you be honest and upfront? Would you attempt to defend your family's name? What would justice mean to you? Would you be lawful good, neutral good, or chaotic good?
What is your favorite Batman video-game?
Do you play story-driven video-games? What do you think of a story-driven Batman game? Have you tried Telltale series? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comments.