Jennifer
Aug 11, 2017
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Review platform: This game was reviewed on Xbox One with a review code provided by the publisher
Release date: Aug 8, 2017
I played through the first season of Telltale’s Batman and was eager to jump into the second. Left with a few unanswered questions, I wanted to see where they would take it while putting their own unique twist on the Batman mythos. Episode One: The Enigma introduces the Riddler as you can probably guess from the title. Though he is the focus, there are other threats looming, and Telltale makes sure to throw in some twists and turns along the way, ensuring that players never know what’s coming.

Even though it’s a brand new season, The Enemy Within does not forget past events. Telltale prides itself in tailoring your experience based on your choices and outcomes, and it’s evident in small details throughout the first episode. Alfred, traumatized by his previous kidnapping at the hands of Lady Arkham, now exhibits symptoms of PTSD and anxiety. Other characters notably remark about what Bruce went through in the first season and there are subtle signs that their emotions have been affected by the terror that reigned through Gotham.



The marketing gearing up for The Enemy Within really pushed the Riddler as a major nemesis this season, and I’m a bit disappointed as to where they took his character. It leaves room for a bigger conspiracy and unknown threats, but I would have liked to see his character utilized in a different way. Not only that, but he seemed to just be a deranged villain with no real substance to him. At least John Doe, who we know is the Joker, grasps the player’s attention in unsettling and mysterious ways.

The Riddler isn’t the only addition this time around. Amanda Waller, Director of The Agency, makes her first appearance in Telltale’s world. Like much of her iterations, she’s ruthless, intimidating, and authoritative. Not letting anyone walk over her, she commands the room the moment she enters it. It’s evident from their interactions that Commissioner Gordon is not fond of her, and as Batman you’ll need to carefully navigate your relationship with her lest you get on her bad side. No matter what, she knows a lot more than she lets on, which is made apparent by the episode’s ending.

Going back to John Doe, he’s back and as creepy as ever. After leaving Arkham—he says he was released and is cured—he seeks Bruce out for reasons that are unclear. He’s taken a bit of a liking towards Bruce, and it’s hard to say whether he’s just playing with him or is genuinely drawn to him. Knowing Joker, he’s likely using Bruce for some ulterior motive—which is hinted at during a particular scene—but his unpredictable personality makes for interesting interactions to witness. Also, the ending of the episode hints at another character related to Joker appearing down the line, and I can’t wait for this person’s introduction and to see what it means for the story.



Once again, Telltale focuses a great deal on Bruce Wayne himself, outside of the Batman persona. With overlapping social circles and relations, the line between Bruce and Batman is getting harder to walk, and Telltale strives to portray that struggle with care and tension. In similar fashion to season one, the revelation at the end aims to turn Bruce’s life upside down.

Batman consistently had the best fights from any Telltale series, and season two continues with that trend. Scanning an area and then taking out multiple enemies as the Caped Crusader using a slew of gadgets at your disposal is fun and satisfying. Nothing is this episode lived up to the bar fight with Bruce and Selina during the first season in my opinion, but they were entertaining nonetheless.

Something I noticed while playing is that the game now takes note of when your relationships with characters change. Instead of the usual “(Insert character) will remember that” line that occasionally pops up, you now see “Your relationship with (insert character) has changed.” I like this approach more as it is a better indicator of where you stand with certain people. Your statistics after completing the episode also reveal what kind of relationships you fostered, whether they’re strained or flourishing.



It may come as a surprise to anyone who has played a Telltale game, but The Enigma actually ran well. I’d even say it’s one of the best Telltale episodes to date in terms of performance. I didn't encounter any lag or have to deal with a frozen screen. Nor did a come across that weird glitch from season one that caused some of the screen to render black. I don’t know if I was just extremely lucky, but I was impressed with how smooth my experience was.

Summary

Batman: The Enemy Within is off to another strong start to Telltale’s take on the series. Not everything quite worked, like Riddler’s role within the story, but I have faith that everything will be explained in the coming episodes. The introduction of Waller could mean trouble, but it’s that ‘could’ that makes me excited to see where the story goes. With powerful allies and enemies on the chess board, and pieces that have yet to come into play, Telltale is gearing up to push Bruce past his limits.
Our score: 8/10

Great - A solid game that may have minor flaws, but strongly complements its genre.
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