Batman: The Enemy Within - Review
The Bat is back in town.
Many a schoolyard argument can begin about which superhero is the best; an argument only made more difference since the proliferation provided by the Marvel and upcoming DC Cinematic Universes. But we will settle it once and for all - Batman is the best and the first episode of the second series of Batman: The Telltale Series helps to show why.
After a solid, if uninspiring, first outing in the first season of Batman the Telltale Series the new season drops you pretty much straight into the action. While watching an arms dealer at his casino, a familiar face from Gotham's past interrupts proceedings to exact revenge for the dealer reneging on a deal and taking the clientele hostage at the same time.
Bruce Wayne dons the Batsuit and is off to save the day as only Batman can.
Where season one had a few choices to make interrupted occasionally by action, season two has you sneaking up and disarming armed goons from the get-go. You communicate with the new police commissioner, Jim Gordon and keep him up to speed with the goings-on inside the casino and plan his attack.
How you handle the hostage situation and the Riddler can have significant consequences. The mysterious government "Agency" muscle in on the GCPD investigation of the Riddler, but are they to be trusted or are they a new foe?
The decisions come thick and fast, and there seem to be more decisions in this episode that will have a longer-term effect on your relationships with other characters.
In Series one, there were only a few choices that felt like they were weighty decisions: do 'A' or do 'B', save person 'X' or save person 'Y'. These are the decisions that you felt that there was a sacrifice to be made by not choosing the other option. Telltale don't put a timer on these decisions because they know that you will need to think about them - Will you do what you would usually do, will you do differently, or do you ask yourself "What would Batman do?".
Episode one of The Enemy Within seems like it contains more of these choices and feels like a more engaging story as a result. Your decisions count and combined can take the story in a different path to that of your friend's experience.
Telltale have become masters of this form of interactive storytelling. It can be hard to call them games because the flow of the story can be linear and there is little you can do to change certain critical moments in the story, but your actions and reactions can significantly change the world in which these events occur.
How far will Bruce Wayne go to beat the criminals? How far can he go to keep his alter-ego in the shadows? What can he do to overcome the Riddler and his threat to the victories that Batman and the GCPD have had over organised crime?
The Enemy Within shows Telltale are more comfortable in their Batman universe and use this confidence to tell a story that deals with grief, loss, responsibility and love. It promises to bring you on a journey that you will happily invest in and do everything to keep the citizens of your Gotham city safe.
Verdict (in progress)*.
More interactive action sequences
More weighty decisions
Confident storytelling by Telltale.
Difficult to predict how conversation choices will pan out (for example, is this a grumpy answer, a threatening one or a friendly one?)
Episode 2 is fairly short and does not advance the story much.
Batman: The Enemy Within was reviewed on Xbox One, It is also available on PlayStation 4, Steam and GOG.com *Episode 2 releases on 26. September 2017, this review will be updated until the conclusion of the series when we will give our final verdict.