Telltale has garnered a respectable reputation for their character driven adventure games. Since their 2012 title, The Walking Dead, Telltale has had a relative winning streak of critically beloved licensed games. According to their Metacritic scores for Batman Episode 1: Realm of Shadows , it looks as if Telltale’s critical streak is still intact.
The consensus among reviews is that Telltale’s take on the Dark Knight’s mythos is fresh with choices that carry emotional weight. Gamespot writes “Many of the choices in Episode One aren’t matters of life and death, but they still weigh heavy.” Gaming Age also writes “Once I completed the first episode, I quickly regretted some of my decisions, thus really putting me into the role.” For a Telltale game, accolades like this are important. The choices that most Telltale games present may have a reputation for having no factor in the outcome in the story, but they also help publications such as Gamespot and Gaming Age stay invested in the story and characters.
Andrew Reiner of Game Informer found the game to be most interesting when playing as Bruce Wayne. Below is a quote from his review:
For one fluttering bat-second, I thought Telltale Games had a shot at telling a Batman story without Batman. The mask. The gadgets. The cape. None of it mattered at that moment – my focus was instead on the debonair Bruce Wayne, who appeared to be manipulating Gotham’s political landscape liked a skilled puppeteer.
Common complaints from critics are the game’s emphasis on quicktime events. Game Informer writes “Quicktime events are fired off in rapid succession, almost becoming comical in how many times button commands flash onto screen.”
Interestingly, there is a huge disconnect between critics and Steam user reviews. According to the Steam Store page, the game has garnered mixed reviews with many “Not Recommended” scores. Common complaints from Steam users include crashes, aspect ratio problems, framerates as low as 10fps, bugs, and a resolution slider that doesn’t seem to respond. While Telltale’s games are somewhat known for their technical issues, user reviews of this magnitude are relatively unprecedented for them.
This isn’t the first time a PC port of a Batman game has been lambasted for poor optimization. Warner Brother’s Batman Arkham Knight was famous for its 30fps cap, graphics that were inferior to its console counterparts, and patch that did little to help the issues with the game. Fortunately, Steam users can refund the game if they have problems.
Batman Episode 1: Realm of Shadows is currently out for iPhone/iPad, PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. However, most of the reviews out now are for the PC version.