Dear readers …
Today we are gathered here to begin a new journey down Telltale turf and this time, we are starting the new season of Batman, titled “The Enemy Within”. Now I myself played the first season and I have to day I was left pleasantly surprised by this game’s variety. I like how every Telltale game has its own vibe and its own way of presenting choices and gameplay to the player, and here it’s no different, however, I feel like Batman is one of their series with the most variety when it comes to choices. Stick with me ‘till after the story section and I shall elaborate more on this very subject.
So where did we left off from season one? In season one, we discovered our family’s dark past, which was quite the heavy blow to Bruce. Also, Gotham was assaulted by the so called Children of Arkham, led by the ruthless and cunning Lady Arkham, however, just like he always does, Batman, managed to pull it off and defeat the Children, with the help of Catwoman and let me tell you that I am one who adores their relationship. It’s definitely not one of those open, fluffy, lovey-dovey crap that makes me want to return my dinner to the table in a more fluid manner. It’s kind of subtle, and you can feel the passionate magnetism between the two, yet still catchy and playful, thanks to Catwoman herself. I’m not really pleased that she had to go at the end of season one, even if I am glad we parted on great terms, however I cannot wait for her to return now. Also, as per usual, me not being exactly the DC fan or any of their own franchises for that matter, I do love Batman for one reason – I love his villains. So varied, so well written, I can truly never get enough of them. This is the reason why I was looking forward, very much so, if I might add, to the Suicide Squad movie, even if it didn’t turn out to be what I wished it to. Anyways, last season we dealt with Lady Arkham mainly and we did get to meet the early version of the Joker, going by the name John Doe, so I am thrilled that we get to meet more villains here as well.
I wasn’t the one reviewing season one, however, I will happily take you on this journey with me now, while I eagerly await Guardians of the Galaxy’s next episode.
Let’s begin with a mention of save importing. Now, if you had read my Walking Dead – A New Frontier Review of Episodes 1 & 2, I mentioned there that the game features not only the option to import a save from the previous season, but to tailor your own save file on the spot, with choices you wish to have made, without having to use the default set. I myself love that, because you feel like a sense of engagement to the previous game, even if you might have not played it. I myself imported my save from the first Batman, however, this was more evident in TWD:S3 where I didn’t have access to my old seasons’ save files, so I could effectively recreate the important choices this way. From another point of view this is good, because if you lose a save file or it gets corrupted somehow and unusable, you can still tailor the Batman you had so lovingly nurtured to life in the previous season. So this feature is a definite plus for me.
The main menu is lovely as always, however, one thing I cannot figure out. You know how you usually have the choices menu, where you get to see all your choices. In Batman, there is a new feature where it tracks your relationship with people and tells you what it is and what you did to achieve that relationship. However when I go to the menu, titled Relationships & Choices (or something along those lines), I only got to see my choices and can’t seem to figure out how to review my relationships. Even so, it’s a nice thing to have (given if I can figure out how to view it) and I love that they put this relationships thing as a feature, so one more plus to Telltale.
Also from the menu, you can revisit the Batcave, whenever you want and the thing that caught my eye there, not only the codex, but we have mementos from the villains we faced in season one (you know, Lady Arkham, Two-Face, Penguin… loving the detail). I just hope we get more reason to return to the cave more often, not only whenever the story desires us t0.
So, the story…
I have a feeling, the way things played out in episode one, that we will get to see a new villain each episode, while there will be one “mastermind” at the end of it all (and I kinda probably can guess already who it will be), however I am very much down to that, since I expressed how much I enjoy Batman’s villains. So in episode one we got to deal with The Riddler and let me tell you that he is probably the worst villain I would have to face in terms of design, because let’s be real, I couldn’t solve his riddles even if my life depended on it. However I did manage to solve the one to get out of his lair, even if it was kind of easy to guess. I was even kind of bummed it wasn’t something more challenging. Also, the sarcastic riddles at the end of the episode, which had obvious answers, I kind of wish they were real riddles as well, something to get my mind going real hard and as an episode finale, after all, this is The Riddler we are talking about. Other than that he had a great design, I also texted a friend telling him that The Riddler looks like an older version of him, so … yeah :D. So, anyways, without giving away too much, The Riddler is back in town and as one of the old fishes in the game, we get to deal with him. He always seems 2 steps ahead of everyone, even if he did screw up at the end, however as Batman put it, his arrogance really did get the best of him. I have to say, there was one major surprise in this episode, which I did not expect to happen, and I’m not going to talk about it, lest I spoil something, however I’m really eager to see how it will affect future episodes. Also we got to see John again (a.k.a Joker). Honestly, I love this guy. There is something in him, which makes me want to say awww~. This interpretation of the Joker is still playing nice and even if I do suspect that he might be at the bottom of all the crap happening in Gotham, which is to come, I still have a sense of twisted trust in him, I don’t really know why. Maybe because there is something so honest in his lunacy. Can I even say that, even if inappropriate, the card he got Bruce was ADORABLE!!! Also I am very excited because they mentioned Dr. Harleen Quinzel and if we get to see her or, by any chance Harley Quinn in the making, I’m gonna experience extreme joy.
So basically the whole episode is us dealing with The Riddler, as well as this new thorn in my side, in the face of The Agency and dayum Waller … I just wanted to punch that woman straight in the face, so annoying. I did have a “daaaaww” moment with agent Avesta and I do feel for her. Honestly Telltale knows how to setup sentimental moments … good on you Telltale, good on you. I also jest when I see how people are so mean to Bruce and kind to Batman, which is more or less ironic. Other than that, we do warm up to Gordon and I love how they hold up like bros in front of Waller. Well you know what they say, bros before h… yeah you get it. So I’m not actually going to say much more about the plot, because I don’t wish to spoil anything more and trust me, Batman: The Enemy Within is turning out to be quite an interesting tale so, right off the bat here from the story section, though I will say it later as well, but I strongly recommend for everyone to get a copy and experience it firsthand. So interesting…
Anyways, before wrapping up, we gotta pass gameplay turf as well.
As usual, like there was in the first season of Batman, one major aspect that sets the personality of gameplay are crime scenes, where by exploring objects and linking them together, we get to solve crimes and figure out what happened and how to proceed. I love this and it’s so unique. I remember mentioning this, that in every Telltale game there is something different as a gameplay feature that sets it apart from the rest and in Batman, this is it.
Also I love the fact that you get to choose how to attack. You know, I get it, it’s no big deal whether you’re going to kick someone, or punch him, however, like I always love saying, this shows attention to details and I myself love the small details and in Batman they are very well polished … you know, might as well choose how I get to pummel bad guys. And also I did notice some options are slightly more punishing than others (for example when we got to deal with The Riddler’s right hand man … or was it left … second in command, we had the option to tase him or just tie him up. I’m sure this would have made a difference if we choose to talk to him later. Attention .To. Details. Loving it.
The final thing is those moments (much like in season one as well), where we get to choose how to deal with situations, either like Bruce or like Batman. This opens up new parts of the story, that we do no revisit the other option. You know how it goes in some games (for example I do remember one such moment in The Wolf Among Us), where you go to one choice, then revisit the other one, slightly altered to react to the choice. Well these choices are a one-time thing … you either go to one or the other, so you gotta pick carefully and I love that. Even if the outcome might not be so different, I still love the presence of decision-making. We choose how to reach our goal, considering in mind reputation for either Bruce or Batman and how we might affect others.
So we are down to the verdict. Batman: The enemy Within starts very strong. If the beginning is so strong, I bet I’m going to enjoy the finale. A steadfast 9/10, because I do have some minor things that got to me. Like I said The Riddler’s riddles were kind of bland … well, okay, not bland, they were okay, but they were too easy. I would have liked something to challenge my brain more. And trust me, if they are easy for me, then they are really easy. As well as those sarcastic ones at the end, would have liked them being real riddles, not only word games of sarcasm. Also, his puzzle box, I would have liked something more challenging, not directly passing it to Lucius … ahem. However, other than that – combat was on par, very dynamic, loving it and the choices around it; the QTE are not that straining and the game slows motion when you have to click, which looks so dope, I have to say (on top of helping my slow reflexes); music – great … not Guardians great, but still okay. I can’t really think of anything I wanna pick at, so I definitely enjoyed this episode very much so. I can surely say, even if you’re not a Batman fan, go pick the game up – a very interesting experience and very well worth every cent.
The episode itself spans about 2 hours long, which I believe is longer than your typical Telltale episode, so I very much enjoyed that (think is something characterized for Batman, I do believe the game’s episodes were longer than usual, or maybe that’s just the feel I’m getting … but I believe they are, because Tales from the Borderlands had that feel … feel only, so I can differ). In any case, I will definitely be eagerly awaiting what comes next in store for Batman…