Telltale Games took the character that’s had every take imaginable done on it and managed to create something comic book fans had not seen before. Batman: The Telltale Series season one mutated the nucleus of the Dark Knight while still managing to keep it recognizable. From turning the Waynes into Gotham’s behind the scenes crime family to casting Vicki Vale as the series villain Lady Arkham; this was a bold rewriting of the rules. True to Telltale lineage, this was also a world where you decided what Batman’s essence would be. Were you an Adam West caped crusader who fought crime with a gentle touch or did you go Frank Miller Dark Knight Returns to brutalize criminals leaving them broken in hospital beds? Where season one was about establishing the new Wayne order and figuring out who you were as Batman/Bruce Wayne; season two will bring a bigger mystery to audiences along with an expansion into more of the DCU.
Batman: The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within (STEAM PC)
Episode One: “The Enigma”
Developed by: Telltale Games
Published by: Telltale Games
Available on: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Mac. (available on mobile platforms later on)
Batman: The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within is the follow up to Telltale’s Bat debut. The first (of five) episodes, “The Enigma”, brings a Riddler more vicious and evil than we’ve seen in any medium. Edward Nygma returns to Gotham after years away to carry out a series of murders through death traps that would make the Saw movies jealous. In this world, Batman and The Riddler have never faced one another but Nygma had previously operated without being caught by the GCPD. Batman will have to solve the enigma of Riddler’s motivations. Standing in his way, however, is Amanda Waller. The DCU’s shadowy black ops figure who runs a special task force in charge of capturing The Riddler.
Riddler and Waller are new faces to this series, but one major returning player is Telltale’s version of the Joker…Jon Doe who you first encountered during Bruce’s stay in Arkham Asylum. Your all important decision in season one determines if you owe him a favor he’ll be coming to collect in a very Dini-an way. He’ll be a mystery of his own this time around as your choices continue to shape his relationship to Bruce Wayne and who he’ll end up being at the end of season two. Doe won’t be alone either as his entrance brings word of a mysterious group of “friends” he’ll try to get you to meet. Plus by the end of episode one, you’ll be told of a major fan favorite coming to the next episode.
While it may seem like Telltale are weaving an exorbitant number of threads, the studio manages to balance them perfectly in the super sized first episode. Most of your choices in “The Enigma’ focus on your relationships to Gordon, Waller, Joker, and Lucius Fox’s daughter who’s just started working for Wayne Enterprises. It’s left up to the player as to which ones take priority as once again you’re asked to chose between playing as Bruce Wayne or Batman each going down different avenues of the narrative. There’s a bit less decision about what type of Batman you are in this first episode as now you’ll be firmly rooted in your personality. It’s a natural evolution of all the savagery or mercy choices you made in season one.
Visually, Telltale Games nailed what it meant to see an interactive comic book on screen with their first Batman game. They continue to keep the same level of care for the art in this first episode of season two. Color palette choices, art deco scenery, gorgeous action moments that look like they could have been drawn up by Jim Lee are all here. Expanding upon that is a new action choice where Batman, at certain points, must choose a cable hooking sequence which shoots from his gauntlets to stop a falling object or take down a group of armed thugs. One thing season one was hindered by were mechanical hiccups such as system crashes, missing assets, and audio problems. Usually, a great story can get you to ignore most of those issues, but you need to take into account these games aren’t technical behemoths and should run smoothly at launch. So far we’ve yet to encounter any of that in season two’s opening. Even running the game on a Surface 3 tablet with STEAM didn’t bring up any notable technical problem to speak of. In fact, the game actually ran admirably on such an under
One thing season one was hindered by were mechanical hiccups such as system crashes, missing assets, and audio problems. Usually, a great story can get you to ignore most of those issues, but you need to take into account these games aren’t technical behemoths and should run smoothly at launch. So far we’ve yet to encounter any of that in season two’s opening. Even running the game on a Surface 3 tablet with STEAM didn’t bring up any notable technical problem to speak of. In fact, the game actually ran admirably on such an under powered device. At no point in my play through was a forced to restart my system or horrified by a floating set of teeth and eyeballs. Things could be different for other systems at launch but based on this initial experience, the game should run smoothly on any console or device you choose.
With an ever expanding catalog of licensed IP, Telltale Games have managed to put an overzealous amount of care into each world they tell a story in. As critics, it’s a duty to point out flaws with products and even looking at this through the eyes of someone who may not enjoy comics; there was never a point in “The Enigma” which made me wish for a fast forward button or gave me a chance to pick up my phone to answer a text message. Even Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy game has a bit of a warming up to period. That’s simply not the case here. While the studio hasn’t always succeeded in their storytelling goals, Batman: TTS – The Enemy Within shows what happens when the studio leaves something better than they found it by giving you a Batman moment to rival the death of Jason Todd, the end of No Man’s Land, maybe even The Killing Joke. If you’re looking for the next great Batman story that’s not a DCU mega event crossover full of cash grabbing tie-ins (sorry tangent), chances are you’ll find it here.