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Late to the Game(s): Being Batman

Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

If you have Amazon Prime, and you haven’t been checking in on your Prime Gaming offers, now’s the time to do so. In addition to fantastic in-game freebies, there are currently six free games to claim, download, and play as much as you like. 

They’re mostly low budget and indie game titles that you haven’t heard of unless you are deep into video games and gamer culture. But there is one exception to that rule – a game starring one of the most popular characters in comics, from a studio which has arguably done more to advance games-as-narrative than any other. 

We’re talking of course about Batman and developer/publisher Telltale.

Telltale had some issues a few years ago. Despite critically acclaimed games, featuring content licensed from popular franchises like the Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Jurassic Park, and even Borderlands – the popular RPG shooter from Gearbox – they were at risk of shuttering their studio. 

Thankfully for all of us, that is behind them, and the company is making games again, with their trademark focus on storytelling and narrative choice. 

Playing a Telltale game, for those who haven’t played games from the developer before, isn’t the same as playing most of the games you’ve probably played. You don’t necessarily plan or execute your combat moves using button inputs like in most video games. Instead, combat is broken up by a series of quick time events, or prompts to push specific buttons on the screen in the sequence they appear. Successfully doing so will lead to success in combat. Failing to do so will lead to failure and – in some instances – a need to repeat the encounter. 

It can be tricky to hit the correct button at the correct time, but no one plays Telltale games for the fighting or combat mechanics. What the Telltale games do well, arguably as well as anyone else in the gaming space today and better than most, is tell wonderfully compelling stories. Stories that you, as the player, get to shape as you move along. In any given situation, you – as Batman – get to choose your own dialogue options from a menu of choices. What the prompt says, though, and how your character expresses the content of that prompt, can sometimes be a little different than what you expect. The choices you make, however, do have an impact on how the story turns out, so it isn’t like you can just mash any button you like and expect to have the same story experience. The story, and some outcomes, will change based on your decisions. You can also choose not to pick an option. In that case the game chooses an option for you once time runs out. 

Whether you choose yourself, or let the game choose, those decisions will continue to impact your story as you move from one chapter to the next – the Telltale games are episodic in nature, like the television series, films, and comic books they often draw on for source material. With new releases this means waiting for each chapter to drop. 

For already released games like Batman, however, you can sit down and binge the entire game, like a Netflix series. It’s easy to do too. 

If you are a story driven gamer, like I am, you’ll be enthralled by the tale that unfolds, and the way you can influence the story. If you aren’t a story driven gamer, and are instead more interested in combat mechanics, these games might not be your cup of tea, but they are still worth a try. 

There is a reason, after all, that Batman has fascinated readers, television viewers, and film-goers for more than 80 years now. The character is complex, fascinating, and thought provoking – the perfect protagonist for a studio that’s main focus is on storytelling. 

If you have Prime, Batman – The Telltale Series is worth your time. 

Batman – The Telltale Series is rated M for Mature gamers 17 and older. Parents of young children should be advised that game content includes violence, blood, adult language, sexual content, and the use of drugs and alcohol, and may not be suitable for younger gamers without adult supervision. 

For more information, and to claim your copy, visit gaming.amazon.com/home

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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