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“Batman – The Enemy Within, Episode 1: The Enigma” Review

Last year, Telltale Games let us put on the cowl of the Caped Crusader to some very positive reaction. Personally, I enjoyed the noticeably different take on Batman and his lore. Now, Telltale is back with the second season, The Enemy Within, that looks to keep up inspired storyline efforts by diving much deeper into the rogues gallery. Things here start off with The Riddler.

What Is It?

Things pick up not too long after the conclusion of Season 1. Batman has been working with the newly promoted Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department in an official partnership. Crime rates have dropped dramatically and Gotham’s morale is on the rise. That is, of course, until Riddler makes a surprisingly deadly return to Gotham City.

This Riddler is more gruesome than most popular Batman media over the years. In this world, he’s considered the original costumed villain of Gotham, having run around during the heyday of Thomas Wayne and Carmine Falcone ruling the criminal underground. But Riddler was dangerous enough to even scare those two. His return brings in a new wave of challenges for Batman. First, Amanda Waller and the “Agency” are right on Riddler’s tale, causing conflicts with the GCPD. Second, Riddler is attempting to set up a band of villains, though not much is known outside of these being the most dangerous villains in the world. But that’s connected to a closely related third: a building rivalry with John Doe, aka the upcoming Joker from Season 1.

Why Should I Care?

Story wise, The Enigma starts off with plenty of bangs. With only the occasional down time, the story moves at a healthy and exciting pace. Most satisfyingly, the pace doesn’t have a standard negative impact for a Telltale game. I’ve found plenty of Telltale episodes to feel over and done with too fast, no matter how great they may be. This episode carried a different weight to it, so not only did it last nearly three hours, it nearly felt like I had played an entire game. They could have said this was the only episode and I would have been satisfied (though, admittedly, wanting more regardless). It’s dense and that works very well in this episode’s favor.

There’s a deeper sense of emotion behind much of what’s going on in this episode. That can work primarily in the game’s favor, but sometimes it’s a hindrance. The events of the episode find a way to keep you emotionally invested, especially with the type of tricky situations Riddler likes to create. However, the trademark Telltale relationship settings seem to be a lot more wild than usual. It almost seemed like no matter what I did, I was going to disturb a connection to an irrational level. In a single episode, it seemed like too much, though I can get the sense that perhaps Telltale is building out a storyline where Batman simply cannot have everything go his way.

Riddler is a nice choice for a villain, especially with the Joker starting to build up his own story. He stands as a good match for Batman–seasoned and ruthless, without ever coming across as too hokey. I loved the attitude that they put into this version. His costume design keeps a more subtle tone to it and works well for the most part, but I’m not sure about the hooded blazer. His cane speaks to his violent ways, as it’s effectively a scythe. Smartly, though we’ll have to see how this plays out, he may not be directly connected with Batman. I’d like to see him as a standalone creation that happens to clash with Batman.

What Makes It Worth My Time and Money

The Enigma kicks things off in a wildly exciting way, so The Enemy Within is certainly set up to improve upon the foundation Season 1 laid. It does a great job introducing solid characters that complicate the lives of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Telltale has found yet another way to keep the Batman character fresh and engaging.

 
 
 
 
 
Title: Batman: The Enemy Within
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Genre: Episodic Adventure
Release Date: August 8, 2017
ESRB Rating: M
Developer's Twitter: @Telltalegames
Editor's Note: A copy of the season pass was purchased by the reviewer for the Xbox One. The episode was played to completion.

Last year, Telltale Games let us put on the cowl of the Caped Crusader to some very positive reaction. Personally, I enjoyed the noticeably different take on Batman and his lore. Now, Telltale is back with the second season, The Enemy Within, that looks to keep up inspired storyline efforts by diving much deeper into the rogues gallery. Things here start off with The Riddler. What Is It? Things pick up not too long after the conclusion of Season 1. […]

Last year, Telltale Games let us put on the cowl of the Caped Crusader to some very positive reaction. Personally, I enjoyed the noticeably different take on Batman and his lore. Now, Telltale is back with the second season, The Enemy Within, that looks to keep up inspired storyline efforts by diving much deeper into the rogues gallery. Things here start off with The Riddler.

What Is It?

Things pick up not too long after the conclusion of Season 1. Batman has been working with the newly promoted Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham City Police Department in an official partnership. Crime rates have dropped dramatically and Gotham’s morale is on the rise. That is, of course, until Riddler makes a surprisingly deadly return to Gotham City.

This Riddler is more gruesome than most popular Batman media over the years. In this world, he’s considered the original costumed villain of Gotham, having run around during the heyday of Thomas Wayne and Carmine Falcone ruling the criminal underground. But Riddler was dangerous enough to even scare those two. His return brings in a new wave of challenges for Batman. First, Amanda Waller and the “Agency” are right on Riddler’s tale, causing conflicts with the GCPD. Second, Riddler is attempting to set up a band of villains, though not much is known outside of these being the most dangerous villains in the world. But that’s connected to a closely related third: a building rivalry with John Doe, aka the upcoming Joker from Season 1.

Why Should I Care?

Story wise, The Enigma starts off with plenty of bangs. With only the occasional down time, the story moves at a healthy and exciting pace. Most satisfyingly, the pace doesn’t have a standard negative impact for a Telltale game. I’ve found plenty of Telltale episodes to feel over and done with too fast, no matter how great they may be. This episode carried a different weight to it, so not only did it last nearly three hours, it nearly felt like I had played an entire game. They could have said this was the only episode and I would have been satisfied (though, admittedly, wanting more regardless). It’s dense and that works very well in this episode’s favor.

There’s a deeper sense of emotion behind much of what’s going on in this episode. That can work primarily in the game’s favor, but sometimes it’s a hindrance. The events of the episode find a way to keep you emotionally invested, especially with the type of tricky situations Riddler likes to create. However, the trademark Telltale relationship settings seem to be a lot more wild than usual. It almost seemed like no matter what I did, I was going to disturb a connection to an irrational level. In a single episode, it seemed like too much, though I can get the sense that perhaps Telltale is building out a storyline where Batman simply cannot have everything go his way.

Riddler is a nice choice for a villain, especially with the Joker starting to build up his own story. He stands as a good match for Batman–seasoned and ruthless, without ever coming across as too hokey. I loved the attitude that they put into this version. His costume design keeps a more subtle tone to it and works well for the most part, but I’m not sure about the hooded blazer. His cane speaks to his violent ways, as it’s effectively a scythe. Smartly, though we’ll have to see how this plays out, he may not be directly connected with Batman. I’d like to see him as a standalone creation that happens to clash with Batman.

What Makes It Worth My Time and Money

The Enigma kicks things off in a wildly exciting way, so The Enemy Within is certainly set up to improve upon the foundation Season 1 laid. It does a great job introducing solid characters that complicate the lives of both Bruce Wayne and Batman. Telltale has found yet another way to keep the Batman character fresh and engaging.

Date published: 08/10/2017
4 / 5 stars

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