Batman: The Enemy Within’s first episode left me conflicted. It was a good follow up to the surprisingly enjoyable first season, and I was thrilled to return to Telltale’s subversive interpretation of the Batman mythos. I noted that a disappointing villain and numerous bugs left me frustrated at times, but some surprising twists and greater emphasis on returning character, John Doe (The Joker), had me eagerly anticipating the second episode.
The Enemy Within Episode 2 uses the foundation established by the Riddler, to create a fun Batman story that revels in its character interactions. However, the illusion of choice we’ve become accustomed to in previous Telltale games, seems to have worn a little thin, which results in some jarring moments concerning the greater context of the world.
These scenarios are particularly noticeable given how lightly civilian deaths are being treated this season. Similarly, events that should have a lasting effect on Bruce Wayne’s image never feel like they’re being taken seriously.
Following on immediately after the cliffhanger of episode one, a desperate Bruce Wayne is forced to use his friendship with John Doe to infiltrate the Riddler’s gang. Meanwhile, Amanda Waller’s mysterious “Agency” sparks conflict in Gotham City’s law enforcement, which strains Batman’s relationship with Commissioner Gordon. These conflicts bring out the best of the “Telltale Formula”; it balances Bruce Wayne’s aloof playboy persona, with that of a masked vigilante.
The character interactions were my favourite part of the first season. Interactions with Two-Face and Catwoman are memorable because they gave unique perspective into characters who have never been explored quite so well in video games. Though, whereas episode 1 spent little time exploring this beloved aspect of the original series, the second spends us its entirety to explore the interesting character dynamics at play.
There’s just an undeniable rush of excitement in watching Bruce hang out in a bar with John or flirt with Harley. You can really tell that the writers had a blast developing these conversations, and I even found myself laughing out loud at some of the situations. Not to mention how fun it is to juggle a third persona that’s not Batman or a playboy- but a darker, thrill seeking Bruce Wayne, just looking for a bit of excitement.
Batman: The Enemy Within’s second episode takes some great steps towards becoming what I want out of a narrative driven adventure. It presents fun interactions with interesting characters who were heads and shoulders above those seen in the previous episode. I just couldn’t shake the feeling that my choices made no impact on the way the story played out.