Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): PC (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox One
It has always been a little difficult to review a Telltale Games release. It’s not that they’re overly complicated games or that they’re presented in an intricate way, but rather that the meat and bones of the experience comes with the narrative, and spoiling that for gamers would be a bigger crime than anything that The Joker has ever done.
It’s the exact feeling I have when writing this review about Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within. Being a huge life-long fan of Batman, I want to talk about all the shocks and twists it brings to the DC superhero’s universe as well as its unique interpretations on much-loved characters, but doing so would just ruin the surprise for other players.
Just know this: Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within isn’t only Telltale Games’ meatiest adventure yet, but also one of its finest. Batman fans are going to love it.
Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within follows on from its predecessor, with our new adventure with the Caped Crusader taking place a year on from his exploits with Lady Arkham. It all begins with The Riddler showing up and bringing his incredibly nefarious criminal activities to Gotham, which kick starts a battle between him and the titular hero. Of course, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes (including Bruce Wayne’s intriguing relationship with the instantly recognisable John Doe) and with Amanda Waller’s Agency playing a big role in the tale, it seems like anything can happen.
Believe me, that last sentence isn’t an exaggerated one. Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within is full of shocking twists and turns that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat throughout. You never know what it’s going to do with a character next, and with the player having to balance out the crime-fighting of Batman and the playboy lifestyle of Bruce Wayne, you can always expect to make some incredibly difficult choices. It makes for a brilliant narrative experience and one that Batman fans are simply going to love.
Seriously, there’s so much I want to talk about, but doing so would just ruin the game for readers. Much like the last game, Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within has an absolute ton of brilliant ideas that are all cleverly implemented into the Batman universe, whilst the villains you encounter all feel more unique than they ever have before. Don’t worry, they still have the distinct hallmarks that have made them such pivotal members of Gotham’s rogue gallery for years, but that doesn’t mean that Telltale Games haven’t took a very different approach to their appearance or personality.
One thing that is worth mentioning though is how you shape the person that John Doe becomes. Is he going to become the villainous Joker and unleash his vicious side upon Gotham, or is he instead going to become a vigilante assistance for Batman? The choices you make affect this throughout the game, and the final episode plays out completely differently based upon them. Seriously, it’s the most complex episode of a series that Telltale Games have released so far and the choices you’ve made will REALLY affect it… you’re definitely going to have to do more than one playthrough to see everything.
It establishes that your decisions aren’t to be taken lightly though as they can affect a lot of what happens around you. This has always been the case in a Telltale Games release, but Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within makes it feel more significant than ever – not only because of John Doe, but also with how the likes of Commissioner Gordon or Amanda Waller treat you too.
That being said, it is a little guilty of letting John Doe take the prominent role throughout the game. There are other villains to encounter and they are pivotal to the story, but you just know that any encounter with the could-be ‘Clown Prince of Crime’ is going to be the highlight and that’s what the story primarily focuses on. It’s not a bad thing, but it could detract a little from the relationship you share with the other characters that are littered across the tale when you know they play a bit part in comparison to everyone’s favourite green-haired villain.
Besides being the most intricate as far as your decisions are concerned, Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within also just so happens to be Telltale Games’ meatiest adventure yet. Each episode is fairly lengthy and come in at well over two hours each, so you can expect to spend a fair amount of time as the Dark Knight. Best of all though, no episode ever felt like it dragged on – whether you’re taking part in some sneaky espionage work as Bruce Wayne or beating down thugs as Batman, each episode is packed with exciting moments that you’ll never tire of.
Of course, from a gameplay perspective it’s still a lot of the same. QTEs are joined with basic puzzle solving, whilst you’ll also have to utilise a lot of Batman’s gadgets as you progress and make different choices. Telltale Games have a set formula with their releases and that doesn’t change much here, though thanks to Batman’s fighting skills and some slick presentation, the action sequences certainly stand out as thrilling encounters. They were guilty of being a little subpar in the last game, but Telltale Games have certainly upped the ante this time around.
They’ve also improved the technical side of the game too. My experience with the original Batman: The Telltale Series was hindered by a myriad of technical issues, with crashes, graphical issues and a choppy framerate being prominent throughout. Whilst Batman – The Telltale Series: The Enemy Within still wasn’t perfect, it was a much better experience than I had last time around. In fact, I didn’t come across a single bug at all when playing through the last three episodes – now that’s progress.