Batman: The Enemy Within Episode One Review

On August 2, 2016 TellTale invited yet another famous character into it’s house of storytelling: Batman. Over the course of 5 months, fans were given 5 episodes that delivered a unique and original story that still felt true to the caped crusader’s legacy. One year later, TellTale returns to the DC universe to try and capture lightning in a bottle again and quite frankly, this capturing lightning in a bottle stuff looks pretty easy, at least when TellTale and Batman are involved. Move over Thomas Edison, TellTale is back with another adventure in Gotham and if episode one is any indication, fans are going to be treated to yet another great season.

Several months after the events of season one, we find our hero being introduced to The Riddler, a criminal from Gotham’s past that’s been missing for decades. It seems time has had quite the effect on our famous baddie because out are the days of Jim Carey trying to steal people’s minds with virtual reality and in is a Riddler with death traps you might see out the movie Saw. Hope you don’t like your fingers because everything this man builds, in someway, is cutting them off. No seriously, it’s kind of his thing. After this first introduction ends with no real resolution, Batman is introduced to another famous DC character, Amanda Waller.

The head of a government agency called… well, “The Agency”, (not the most original name) Waller comes in and shakes up the relationship between Batman and Commissioner Gordon as she and her group come to the famous city ready to declare all of  Gotham her jurisdiction. Doing my best to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say that where this season’s story appears to be going, it’s a safe bet to say that Amanda Waller is going to be a character that TellTale fans will be talking about for quite a while.

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After the The Agency introduces itself to Batman, they force themselves into a meeting with Bruce Wayne, and it’s here where TellTale’s Batman sets itself apart from other games staring the Dark Knight. Having the chance to craft your own Bruce Wayne and then dealing with those choices is very rewarding. My personal opinion has always been that Bruce Wayne should be a good looking womanizer with so much money it fills a swimming pool that he dives into every morning before breakfast. I’m still looking for that diving board, but even without it, I still feel like I’m crafting my own Bruce Wayne.

After Bruce’s meeting with The Agency the story (no spoilers don’t worry) proceeds to hit it’s highest note, only to follow that up with it’s lowest. Without giving away what happens, the event feels like such a classic ending to the first episode of a TellTale series that I actually had a hard time focusing on the scenes that followed. As the story progressed, I spent more time wondering how they could possibly top it rather than focusing on what was going on in front of me. It doesn’t help that I’m also immediately placed in a scene with a character that I’ve just met. The moment is saved however when an old friend from season one appears: John Doe. The dynamic between Bruce and the man that will one day become the Joker is truly fascinating. Players know the future of this character, yet TellTale offers the option to treat him how they wish. With all of the interesting changes we saw to famous characters in season one, I’m tempted to think that when the Joker reveal finally does come, it won’t be what we’re expecting.

After John Doe exit from the episode, things once again slow down, this time by introduction of a riddle. The bad guy is the Riddler after all. I’m not sure how many people have ever asked for a Jigsaw vs Batman fight but for the 5 of you that did, wish granted. Thankfully this moment, if you can answer the riddle correctly on your first try, doesn’t last too long and it’s after this moment where things pick up and stay up for the remainder of the story.

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It’s near the end of episode one, picture above not related, where players are reminded that the game does in fact have combat. Bookending the episode with two great action sequences, the combat feels fast and fun. It’s a TellTale game so quick time events are to be expected but unlike previous games where the QTE’s have made players feel like they’re button mashing or seeing the same prompts over and over again, Batman spices things up in a way that will keep most players on their toes. As episode concludes on it’s final note, it will leave players with a lot to think about and ask. Most importantly, when’s episode two?

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