Batman: The Enemy within is the second season of last years incredible M-rated episodic adventure by Telltale games.
It picks up one year after we last saw The Caped Crusader dealing with the likes of Falcone, Cobblepot and the children of Arkham. Bruce Wayne is still in his first years as being the Dark Knight. Which is still a bit unbelievable since he seems seasoned at this point, complete with a very high tech batsuit and a batcave (which has already had an overhaul) but whatever, that’s cool with me.
This time around the central villain is The Riddler. Gotham has been his unlawful stomping ground well before Bruce even became Batman. Then he disappeared for reasons unknown. He is older and now he’s back (also for reasons unknown). Apparently, he’s been keeping tabs on Batman and seems pretty angry. It’s a very brutal and violent take on him. He even gives Batman himself a run for his money at the beginning of the episode when they engage in a vicious fight at a casino.
Gameplay is pretty much the same, but you knew that already. Good old-fashioned point and click combined with quick time events for the action scenes. They added a couple events where you must push four buttons allocated to enemies in a certain amount of time to hit them all with a batarang. It’s something new but not utilized or exciting enough to keep things fresh.
One thing that disappointed me was the lack of riddles and puzzles! As soon as I saw The Riddler I longed for at least a few elaborate brainteasers. What we got was one ridiculously easy puzzle tailored to the story more than the gameplay. It consisted of a quick time event to figure out the answer then simply applying that knowledge to open a safe. That’s it! I’m not saying that I need 300 of them like the Rocksteady games, but a few would have been nice. I was also expecting The Riddler to… well… tell riddles. Now he technically does tell a few. But they aren’t real riddles. You will see what I mean. I don’t want to spoil. I was hoping for a few clever ones that were made for the game.
But really, I don’t play Telltale games for engaging gameplay. I don’t think that anyone does. The story is where it shines. Troy Baker is back to voice Bruce / Bats and is pretty much what you expect. It’s not really his best work but this is largely due to the monotone nature of Bruce’s voice. He gets the job done though. Amanda Waller is introduced into the series and is a central character throughout. You shouldn’t mess with her. She is voiced by Debra Wilson who you probably know most from Mad TV. This actress is more established than I thought. Check out her wiki. Lucius Fox, voiced by the always enjoyable David Fanoy, brings his tech savvy, very bright daughter, Tiffany into Wayne Enterprises as a protegee and introduces her to Bruce. She shows great initiative on her very first day and even helped Bruce figure something out. It is obvious that she is going to be important in the future episodes.
Ohhhh and then there’s the very ominous Jok…. Umm… John Doe! What the hell is he up to? What is his motive? Why was he in Arkham? Why is he so interested in Bruce? Did he know Bruce’s parents at all? Who knows. During the episode, he didn’t seem to be insane (right now) necessarily, but he is clearly hiding something.
There is a reveal at the end of the episode that might factor into the decline of his sanity. We all know that everything is leading up to his inevitable downfall as The Joker. There are numerous possibilities and judging by the elaborate storytelling history that Telltale has, it is most likely well thought out and whatever they have up their sleeve should be pretty exciting.
There’s a good balance between Bruce, Batman the detective and Batman the ass kicker. Like certain times in the previous season, there is also a moment where you get to choose who you want to be to go interrogate so and so. It gives you a bit of freedom in that sense. The fight scenes are well choreographed and very violent. You really get the sense of impact as the camera slows down right before a blow is about to connect.
I almost expected to see a big “THWACK!” or “POW!” flash on the screen. Also, Telltale’s “your choices have consequences” route in previous games have usually been gimmicky and just funnel towards one ending for the episode. While I did only play through this once, I think the choose your own adventure style of gameplay is a bit more apparent this time around with choices that really do affect the story significantly.
As soon as I booted up the game for my PS4 and donned the cowl for the first time, I immediately noticed a game engine upgrade. It is more cinematic and polished. I don’t think that I even experienced a single stutter or freeze up for the whole 2 and a half hours that it took to beat the episode. Telltale is known for their technical flaws, so this upgrade was well appreciated. The music was well done, offering typical brooding compositions that Batman fans have known to love.
In closing, while a bit disappointed with the lack of (actual) riddles and samey gameplay, this is still an adventure well worth playing. I also would have liked to see a little more evolution with John Doe in this episode. Despite my nitpicky gripes, I love Batman and I love Telltales take on not only him but the supporting characters as well. There are also two big reveals at the end which will bring the series in a different direction. I can’t wait to see what happens next!