A little over a year after Telltale released season 1 of Batman we get its follow-up. This time with the subtitle The Enemy Within. I bought the game as soon as it went on pre-order so that I could review it here, or at least that’s the excuse I gave myself.
While I enjoyed season one, it had a lot of rough edges that distracted me a bit from the experience, the usual quirks you get with a Telltale game. So I was wondering, are those still here? Well, some are but others aren’t.
“The Batman clearly isn’t using his head. Break it open”
This game begins a year after the end of the previous season. There hasn’t been any kind of retcon so the consequences from the previous game are still there. It’s good that they’re doubling down on that.
The game begins with Bruce Wayne in a casino. He’s investigating an arms dealer, although he gets interrupted. By none other than The Riddler. In this continuity The Riddler was a criminal figure when Carmine Falcone and Thomas Wayne ruled Gotham, at least until he disappeared. But now he’s back and he’s trying to reclaim his former glory.
And then, as you could expect everything goes downhill from there on both for Batman and Bruce Wayne. That’s something I liked from this episode, it’s not afraid of pulling its punches or playing around with established characters.
“I save people. It’s what I do.”
Like with the previous season, Bruce Wayne is as important as Batman here. And there are still situations that we can approach either as him or as Batman. And it also gives us a wide berth about what kind of Batman we want to be, either a Frank Miller type who only cares about hurting other criminals or a more compassionate Batman, who genuinely cares about people.
The way the game deals with choices is slightly different than it used to. Conversational choices don’t say ‘X wil remember this’ anymore. After some choices a ‘Your relationship with X has changed’ and characters will treat you differently. Sure, Telltale has been doing that for a while but it was mostly a case of “Two episodes ago you did this and I don’t like it.” But they made it feel more important, I’ll explain how with Alfred.
After the whole trauma from last season’s finale, Alfred suffers from PTSD and gets hand tremors (although unlike all the screenshots that are out there, my Alfred never lost an eye) and because he’s basically Bruce’s father I kept trying to show him how much he cares about him and all that. And at the end of the episode (before the graph with the percentage of choices) you get new character related graphs saying how they feel about you and what made them feel that way.
For example, Alfred was grieving, another character was furious at me and I had a strained relationship with another. Go me!
“All blame is on you. And so are the consequences”
At this stage it’s too soon to know where this season is going, but it’s off to a stronger start than its predecessor. John Doe will be an important part of it, although I wasn’t a fan of The Riddler this episode. He feels like a cheaper version of Jigsaw and it could’ve been much more.
Telltale did interesting things with other characters like the Penguin or Vicki Vale last game. I expected something similar with The Riddler but it didn’t happen. He wasn’t that much of a challenge, in terms of puzzles. The detective sequence involved a Riddler puzzle, and because the situation was interesting I didn’t really care the interface was as annoying as last game. Though that will change in the following episodes if these segments remain the same.
When it comes to the gameplay I didn’t experience any performance issues, although it still does the same thing with the QTEs that irked me last time. If I fail to dodge then I should get some kind of penalty, not having the action continue until a real moment where failing matters.
Now the QTEs give us a choice if we’re attacking enemies. There are times you get two different options on how we deal with them. Like kicking them or using the grappling hook to punch them. While these changes are minor they add some variety to those sequences, and that’s a nice thing to have.
All in all, this is the standard Telltale fare. An episode lasting an hour and a half. I still wish they were longer, especially because the story is off to a strong start.
Angry Spaniard, adoptive Irishman. Writer, reader, tea drinker and video game player/designer.