We keep talking about how Telltale Games have rewritten a lot of Batman’s mythos in interesting ways. Turning the Waynes into Gotham’s most notorious crime family, giving you the chance to keep Harvey Dent from horrible disfigurement, and pulling different strings on a new kind of relationship with the Joker. Episode three Batman: The Telltale Series – The Enemy Within sends players down some dark roads and sets off proverbial landmines in your relationships with pivotal characters in a middle point containing a strong finish but a muddled road getting to it.
BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES – THE ENEMY WITHIN “Fractured Mask”
Developed by: Telltale Games
Published by: Telltale Games
Available: November 21st for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, STEAM PC
(Review Key Provided by Publisher)
So far in Telltale’s second volume of the Dark Knight’s adventures, Batman has had to deal with one of the most deadly versions of the Riddler ever envisioned. That’s just the tip of the spear as the finale of chapter one also introduced a shadow coalition of his most famous rogues working together in search of a superweapon. Bane, Mr. Freeze, and John Doe (The Joker) formed an uneasy alliance led by Harley Quinn. Telltale’s Harley is radically different from anything we’ve seen in comics and film. We’re accustomed to a quirky, often empathetic victim, who’s fun but probably never been described as scary. In this world, she’s a ruthless and violent mastermind who’s more than a formidable challenge to Batman’s cunning. Even her relationship with the Joker sees her leading him by the leash instead of being his punching bag.
Depending on your choices so far, episode three “Fractured Mask” has you playing through a Bruce heavy episode. He finds himself in deep with the underworld while his relationship with Gordon and Lucius Fox’s daughter Tiffany is hanging by a thread. You’ll need to decide if the mission should be completed at all costs or do you need to be brought back into the light. Being Telltale’s world, there will be consequences no matter which direction you take him down. As you go deeper into the underworld to uncover the secrets left behind by the Riddler, you’re faced with some pivotal choices.
My playthrough has me at odds with Gordon who is now looking to arrest Bruce Wayne, even calling on Batman to be the one to bring him in. Up until episode three, I also wasn’t on the best terms with Tiffany but “Fractured Mask” gives you a choice that potentially lets you 180 it in your favor if your Batman is in line with Michael Keaton and to me, all Batmans should be like Beetlejuice.
As far as the overall story goes, the episode nudges things along but not by much. It’s more about giving players a chance to rectify decisions from even the previous story you might have second-guessed. Particularly when it comes to Catwoman. In season one my choices were all about keeping Selina at arm’s length. Here I could have pulled her in closer, maybe even saved her from the GCPD. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe the need to cram in choices was prioritized over storytelling in this round.
My choice to make things right with Catwoman may have also gotten me killed as probably the best part of episode three is the cliffhanger you’re left with. It’s the epitome of a sudden stop, but damn is it effective in making me want episode four already. Telltale has had some issues with middle chapters in most of their games. Ask most screenwriters and they’ll tell you the middle of a story should be a turning point that reinforces the promise or mission of its main character. Sure there are some great dialogue moments between John Doe and Batman, particularly if your Batman has the patience to teach Batarang throwing. It just has an overall lull which at times made me forget what the point of Bruce Wayne going rogue was.
In order to appreciate any Telltale title, you have to be invested in the story. Batman is probably their best example of allowing players to paint their version of the narrative. I love the challenge of keeping my Batman in-line with my Michael Keaton version of him. Especially through the moments you’re basically being taunted into going full Affleck on characters. Episode three is going to give you a lot of decisions to make, but don’t count on seeing any payoff in the short term. On it’s own episode three isn’t the most impressive but as part of the overall series adds some value to it. Think of it as wanting the entire trade paperback versus just buying a single issue.
6.5/10- Batman: The Telltale Series- The Enemy Within Episode Three emphasizes too much on tending to relationships versus moving its gripping overall narrative along significantly. As with most of their middle chapters, it suffers from a pacing issue, but redeems itself in the very last moments setting up a can’t miss episode four.