Telltale has sort of been famous for their penchant for releasing their games on as many platforms as possible. The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Batman, among others, have all been released on systems as varied as the PS4, PC, and mobile phones. Now, with the release of the Nintendo Switch, they have a new platform to release on, but its one that offers a genuine upgrade over the rest thanks to its hybrid home console/handheld nature. But is that enough to warrant buying the latest version of Batman: The Telltale Series?
The story of Batman has been told, retold, reworked, and told again so many times that it’s impossible to count. The character is simply an icon in the entertainment industry, so if you want to tackle him you’d better have a unique vision. Telltale has that for Batman: The Telltale Series, which offers some interesting story ideas throughout its five episodes.
The big focus here is actually less on Batman and more on his alter-ego Bruce Wayne. Players take control of both characters, depending on the situation. The action of fighting as Batman is fun, but the simple, quick-time event heavy combat isn’t anything that Telltale fans haven’t seen before. What is different is being able to play as Bruce, presenting an experience that is unique to this particular Batman game.
Batman: The Telltale Series is a fantastic game that rethinks the well-trodden universe of Bruce Wayne
Juggling your desires to push Bruce’s agenda while also hiding his nightly persona is an interesting edge to walk and Batman: The Telltale Series handles it well. Overall the game presents players with a fun, interesting, and distinct take on the character and universe. Longtime fans should definitely check it out, and if you want more on each episode then check out my review for the PC version: Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, and especially Episode 5.
So the overall game is pretty great and definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of either Batman or Telltale’s signature style. But this review is focused on the latest release of the game for Nintendo Switch. There aren’t a ton of changes, but they are significant.
The big benefit for any game moving to Nintendo Switch is that you can play it anywhere you want. Pop the console out of the dock and you’ll be playing the full Batman: The Telltale Series experience from start to finish, anywhere you go. It’s also nice to be able to get home and switch back to the console version, playing on a TV that offers bigger and better visuals.
Batman: The Telltale Series doesn’t structure itself around this feature though. The game works best when played in long segments, such as an entire episode in one sitting. Players will need to sit for at least an hour, likely an hour and a half to finish each of the five contained episodes. Doing that while away from home might not be the best idea, however if you’ve started an episode and need to leave for some reason, being able to grab the console and finish up elsewhere is pretty fantastic.
Batman: The Telltale Series does suffer in the transition to the lower power platform though. I played through the game on PC, which is the pinnacle of what it can achieve, so this felt like a significant step down for me. Textures were fuzzier, anti-aliasing isn’t as good, and the game simply feels choppy. Overall the game simply looks worse than it did on other platforms.
This is expected, with the Nintendo Switch featuring a significant power drop over its console brethren, but it feels like Telltale could optimize a bit better here. The lower framerate adds to the overall clumsy feel of the game, making for a not ideal gaming experience on a game that really isn’t pushing the boundaries anywhere else.
Look at DOOM as an example of what can be achieved on the Switch. That game definitely had a visual dropoff, but it still felt good to play. Batman: The Telltale Series is still an enjoyable experience, especially since the real draw is the story and dialogue, but it suffered a bit too much in the transition to be worth a double-dip for its mobility.
But, if this would be your first foray into the world of Batman: The Telltale Series then it is definitely worth checking out. As previously stated, the story is fantastic, with only a few quality dips throughout the five episodes. It’s surprising, fresh, and interesting, even if you’re an avid consumer of Batman media. Telltale’s gameplay formula works well here as well, letting you feel like Batman, while not really testing your hand-eye coordination or reflexes.
The dialogue and conversations are the real star though, with Telltale’s writing near the top of its game here. Each conversation feels weighty and important, even if the final outcome isn’t really altered all that much based on your choices. Those choices also impact the player a lot, though one signature option feels cheap if you don’t make what seems like the “right call”. The rest of the game sort of hinges on this one choice, and not making it will cause a few “WTF” moments where the story tries to catch up.
Batman: The Telltale Series is a fantastic game that rethinks the well-trodden universe of Bruce Wayne. Telltale takes some risks and they almost all pay off very well, making for a very different take on the character and his world. Fans should definitely check this game out, though the Nintendo Switch version does lack a lot of the polish seen on other platforms. But if you want to take your Batman experience on the go then this is your best choice.