Telltale Games’ vision of Batman’s origins and interactions with the denizens of Gotham City has been nothing short of exciting, a welcome change from the same old tired song and dance we’ve all been spoonfed before. I didn’t always agree with the changes made to familiar players from the Batman universe, but I appreciated the willingness to push forward and make something new and interesting out of familiar characters instead of treading the same water.
When the first season concluded, I knew I wanted to see more, so I was ecstatic to jump into Batman: The Enemy Within, the second season of Telltale’s Batman saga. Having completed the first episode in its entirety, I can safely say it stands as one of this story’s best so far, a satisfying beginning to what looks to be an explosive new season.
New Story, New Faces
This season finds Batman back to “normal,” for all intents and purposes, after his run-ins with Cobblepot, Lady Arkham and Harvey Dent. This season assumes you played the first one when you go to suit up as Batman again, but if you didn’t it’ll let you configure your back story to your liking. From there, the story starts with Bruce Wayne keeping an eye on one of Gotham’s ne’er-do-wells, monitoring him as the Riddler makes the scene after some fanfare. He’s an older, rougher Riddler with lamer jokes than ever before, and the permeating sense that he’s old news, come back to “claim” Gotham with his own series of puzzles. He’s kind of pathetic though, like your favorite punk band from the ‘80s doddering around on stage screaming about anarchy while clad in dad socks and sorts.
Bruce makes short work of him as Batman, and it even seems like he’s going to win the scuffle once and for all, until Riddler does some damage of his own before bowing out, leaving Batman with a hexagonal puzzle box. It holds its own series of secrets, as Batman entrusts his pal Lucius Fox to help him decipher after introducing Fox’s daughter Tiffany and resident obnoxious teenager.
From Lucius’ introduction as she sends her drone creation in while Batman and Fox converse to her insinuation that the pair “need” her to figure out what the puzzle box is for, I found myself wishing Tiffany would make herself scarce.
Unfortunately, it looks like Tiffany is a character who’s in it for the long haul. Without spoiling any major happenings, an unfortunate set of events occur that remove a major player from the game. It was not a decision by Telltale I was happy with, but it appears it’s something I’m going to have to live with for now. On a positive note in terms of gameplay, it sends the message that no one is safe during The Enemy Within, a dynamic that was unexpected but appreciated. That kind of immediacy gives another dimension to the game that Telltale hasn’t always implemented, so knowing no one around me is safe from a narrative decision to remove them from the game raises the stakes considerably.
That’s why I felt so on-edge during a later scene in the game where Commissioner Gordon tags along to a particularly devious plot laid by the Riddler that involves sleuthing out just how a member of Amanda Waller’s Agency passed away while trying to solve it. At any moment I felt that Gordon’s life was in danger, and thus it forced me to pay special attention to the choices I was making at all times. The episode’s final face-off with the Riddler and Agency member Agent Avesta seems to offer no truly acceptable solution to a puzzle presented to you, forcing Batman to go question his morals and everything he stands for.
My favorite interactions, however, had to be with John Doe, who returns to seek out Bruce and see if he’ll “return” the favor if you had agreed to do one for him back during your stint in Arkham Asylum. The season will purportedly let you shape your “own” John Doe through your interactions with him, and because I’m a woman of my word I was kind to John and agreed to do the favor he asked of me. The first episode doesn’t exactly let you know what meeting his “friends” entails, but it’s bound to be something sinister, and I can’t wait to see what happens.
Aside from improvements to the story overall, the first episode looks and feels much better than other Telltale Games I’ve played recently, with a marked upward shift in dialogue choices, graphics, and quality.
I’m intrigued by the way you can now track relationship progression as you play, making it simpler to figure out where you stand with your favorite characters you may have annoyed at one point or another — for instance, I think Amanda Waller of the Agency can go kick rocks, but I want my main man Gordon to be proud of me. Luckily, my play through reflects this so far.
Overall, the first episode of The Enemy Within has been a thrill ride for me, constantly testing me and forcing me to make split-second decisions. I’m anxious to see who’s coming next, with a tease to Dr. Harleen Quinzel, or our girl Harley, in the next episode possibly. I’m very ready to see how Batman navigates the oncoming storm that’s going to unfold across the season.
Brittany Vincent is an Editor at GameRevolution. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.
A PC copy of Batman: The Enemy Within was provided by its publisher. Batman: The Enemy Within is also available on PS4 and Xbox One.