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Batman: The Enemy Within

10 Aug, 2017

Well, what do you know… This is not a bad game. At all. I say that with more than a pinch of surprise, seeing I found season one to be thoroughly depressing.

Thumb In an unexpected twist, TTG puts in a subtle Monkey Island reference..

While mechanics have been carried over from that series -- and pretty much any other Telltale game, really -- The Enemy Within feels like a completely fresh new game. Characters no longer are dour parodies of the source material, and now actually have some depth to them. Bruce Wayne is downright likable. The Joker is creepy (more about him in a bit). Amanda Waller has an imposing presence. And there is no Cobblepot.

Picking up some time after season one ended, we get The Riddler as the apparent antagonist, which is a fitting choice. Telltale still makes what at its heart is adventure games -- this time we even get something akin to puzzles -- and having a character whose main agenda is destruction through riddles suits the genre.

Of course, it is suggested early on that there is more going on here than Riddler causing chaos. Who is behind it all? A good bet would be Joker -- currently only going by John Doe -- but that could also be a red herring.

Speculations aside, I am quite liking this take on the quintessential Batman villain. On the lam from Arkham and with a stalker-ish Bruce Wayne obsession, The Joker is downright creepy. And sort of amusing -- note his smiley-face text message to Bruce flashing by the screen. There are layers to the character that should prove to be interesting through the season.

(Side note on technology: Is it really necessary to use words like “bat computer”. Can’t we just call it a “computer” now?)

More so than the first series, you can choose between playing mainly as Bruce or as Batman. The character choice you make branches the story out in almost a Fate of Atlantis kind of way. I doubt the endgame will be hugely different, but the variation in locations and characters you interact with ups the replayability factor.

Thumb Funeral, Joker style.

The cinematics has a decidedly Dark Knight-trilogy feel to them, though nice as this look artistically, the engine is starting to show its age. Technically, things look pretty dated. The atmosphere doesn’t suffer too much from it, and the soundtrack is, as always, excellent.

Honestly, I’m surprised how much I like this episode. I couldn’t stand the previous season, yet I feel The Enemy Within is shaping up to be Telltale’s best series since Tales from the Borderlands. Fingers crossed the quality will hold up throughout the next episodes.

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