TellTale Games took a big risk in many ways when they decided to dive into the realm of Batman. True, they had done comic characters before with “The Wolf Among Us“, but Batman is a much “holier” property. And though the first season wasn’t without faults (recall our review!) it did do a lot of interesting things. And now, the second season has begun, but does Batman: The Enemy Within hold up?
Game Name: Batman – The Enemy Within – Episode 1: The Enigma
Publisher(s): TellTale games
Developer(s): TellTale Games
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Price: $24.99 | Steam (Whole Second Season)
In a word or two? Oh yeah! The first episode in Batman: The Enemy Within is called “The Enigma” and features tried and true villain The Riddler in all his glory. But, that’s just the start of the story.
One thing that TellTale Games did is that they took the Batman universe and turned it on its head. The Waynes? Not so good. The Penguin? A dear friend of Bruce. Vicki Vale? A monster in disguise. And now, with Riddler, we find out that there were masked villains long before Batman ever showed up, and Riddler was so feared that even the underworld gave him “a wide berth”. So why is he back now? What’s the point of his games? What’s really going on? That’s the mystery of this episode, and though I won’t spoil how it turns out, it does get very compelling very fast.
The pacing was definitely an issue with the first season of Batman – The TellTale Series, here, it’s not even something you utter. Every single section of the story has a clear intent, and almost right off the bat you get an incredible action sequence featuring Batman and the Riddler. By the end? You will wish the second episode was already here.
Something that should be praised in Batman: The Enemy Within is that they’ve altered the way you talk with people, in the way that your actions and dialogue truly determine what people do and react. TellTale games always have the “*insert name here* will remember that” but rarely does it ever feel like it does. But here, you can see the ripples that you are causing, intentionally or not. And that’s great! Because especially if you play with your data from the first season (like I did) some characters and events will reflect what happened, and thus your actions will guide what you do with them. For example, Alfred is still shaken by the events of the “Children of Arkham” incident (he got kidnapped), and if you’re kind to him, he’ll show his resolve and power through the mental pain.
Another difference is the diversity of the attacks Batman can now perform. While this doesn’t drastically affect the gameplay, it is nice that you have a choice in how you take down the bad guys.
The other great addition in this episode is the introduction of numerous major characters from the Batman universe. The Riddler isn’t the only one making an intro here. We get Amanda Waller, who works for “The Agency” (this universes term for ARGUS I suppose), Tammy Fox (daughter of Lucius Fox, who again plays a big role here) arrives too, and more are shown and teased by the end of the episode. These new characters add new wrinkles to the story, which is very deep and compelling.
TellTale has said that their goal is to show how far Batman and Bruce Wayne are willing to go at times to get the job done. And though the “one rule” thing definitely applies, you will have to make questionable decisions in order to do “the right thing”. How much like your enemies will you become? Will you let emotion get in the way of justice? You may think these paltry questions, but by the end of the second or third section, you won’t be thinking that.
And then…there’s John Doe. AKA, Joker, but not exactly the Joker you are used to. This was one of the curve balls in the first season, and he once again throws a curve or two in the first episode. He’s not what you expect, which you could argue makes him more dangerous, and someone we need to be careful around. And yet, you’re cautious to deny him certain things out of fear of you know he truly is…so…what do you do?
I’d be a bad fan if I didn’t talk a little more about Riddler before going to wrap up. While the look of Riddler may make him seem more like Arrow (aka The Hood), Riddler proves he’s not one to be trifled with. His arrogance and narcissism are on full display, but he also gets sympathy in some parts as he proves he’s not exactly how he’s painted. It’s not enough to make you NOT want to catch him, but it’s intriguing. And his hate of Batman feels truly real, as Riddler, not Batman, was the standard bearer for masks in Gotham, and then that all went away. And by the end…? Well, I won’t spoil it, but you could argue he gets the upper hand…or maybe…the last laugh?
And that true final scene? Yep, that just happened…again…you’ll see.
In the end, Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 1 showed that TellTale Games not only learned from their first season but know how to improve it in great ways. I’m pumped for the next episode, and things are about to get VERY interesting.
Review Disclosure Statement: Batman: The Enemy Within was provided to us by TellTale Games for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1 Review
Batman: The Enemy Within returns us to Gotham, and shows that darkness never really goes away. Full of twists, turns, surprise arrivals and cameos, and a deeper relationship system, “The Enigma” gets us very excited for what’s coming.