Review: BATMAN: THE ENEMY WITHIN – THE TELLTALE SERIES (2017)

How far into the darkness are you willing to go?

Batman - The Enemy Within

Batman: The Enemy Within – The Telltale Series – They really need to come up with better names for their titles! – is an episodic point-and-click adventure role-playing video game developed by Telltale Games. It is the sequel to 2016’s Batman: The Telltale Series. The player assumes the role of both Batman and Bruce Wayne, and must navigate the character through the questionable morality of Amanda Waller’s The Agency and stop the mysterious new enemy in “the Pact”.

Is It Worth?

You can definitely skip this one if you didn’t play the last Telltale Batman game or if you aren’t some hardcore Batman fan who follows his adventures across different media. This is not to unequivocally dismiss the game, it still offers some great moments, but considering the plethora of games out there, I’m sure you’ll find something better.

A little about the Gameplay

As Bruce Wayne continues to rehabilitate his reputation post the events of the previous game, Batman continues his patrolling of Gotham’s streets. The game opens up with the introduction of The Riddler by giving him a facelift in the sense that it establishes that he was one of the first super-criminals of Gotham City. The return of the Riddler to Gotham City also brings in Amanda Waller’s The Agency to town. A shady organization tasked with the handling of metahumans by any means necessary, Waller extends the Agency’s help to Batman. Throughout the game, the player is given the choice to align themselves with either Waller or stick by Gordon and his force. At the same time, the game also brings in other members of Batman’s rogue gallery – Bane, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Joker – and even acts as the origin story for the Clown Prince of Crime.

Speaking of the gameplay, if you’re familiar with the Telltale Games formula, you’ll be right at home here. I wrote the exact thing last time and it still holds true. Except maybe a few spots here and there, the mechanisms are not altered much.

The Good

1: While, yes, the game does not offer any binary choices, there is no “good” or “bad” choice, yada yada yada, just like the last time… What I noticed during my gameplay of Batman: The Enemy Within is that no clear black and white choices really bring out the thin line that Batman walks on. This has maybe got more to do with how immersive video games can be in general rather than this title in particular, but it is also an indication of how strong the writing needs to be if want the audience have such an experience. I follow Batman’s adventures in comic books, films, cartoons, etc. so the idea that this character must make some tough choices on the job isn’t new to me, but when you are in control of the character, you really experience that first-hand.

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Pick a friend, Bruce.

2: While it is called Batman: The Enemy Within: The Telltale Series: The Sequel to 2016’s Batman: The Telltale Series: From The Studio That Made You Cry With Their Walking Dead Game, the game is much more a Bruce Wayne game than it is a Batman game, at least for me. Perhaps this was the result of the choices I made throughout my gameplay, but I ended up spending much more time as Bruce Wayne and to be honest, I quite enjoyed playing as Bruce Wayne – interacting with the rogues not dressed as “flying rodent”, defusing situations so as to not raise suspicion about my secret identity and such.

3: Solid voice acting by everyone involved really raises the game. While Mark Hamill will always be the voice of Joker for a generation of Bat-fans (yup, I’m calling you guys that now), Anthony Ingruber does a great job. His voice oscillates between nervous and psychotic, yet finds the perfect balance to mirror the character’s growth throughout the game’s story.

The Bad

1: Although, like I mentioned earlier, the developers do make some minor adjustments to the game mechanisms, – for example, in this iteration, fights are no longer a series of quick time events, thankfully – the changes are so subtle they are unnoticeable. In my opinion, the core Telltale formula is getting stale and the studio must bring out something fresh and different. They have been resting on their laurels and basking on the glory of their success for far too long now. Things are not looking good at the moment, though. (Update: damn.)

2: I know that Batman is flawed character. You need help if you’re a billionaire and you think that the best way to fight crime in your city is to dress like a giant bat and punch people in the face. Now that being put out there, I’m getting a bit tired of stories that feel like an arm-chair psychoanalysis of Batman. Is this the new “what if Superman went mad”? This is not looking back at the character through nostalgia coloured glasses, – I’m not asking for the return of casanova Batman: bursting into a lady’s room shirtless, punching out her dad before kissing her – but this particular wave of story idea has been ridden to death, in my opinion. (I could be wrong. I most probably am. Who knows, someone will come out with a fresh take on this idea and I’ll rave about it everywhere.)

Although on second thought, perhaps I am asking for more shirtless Batman. Especially if it means more dialogues like “Are you man—or fiend from hell?”

Conclusion

Play this if you liked the last Telltale Batman stuff.

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Review: BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY (2011)

Review: BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY (2011) DLC: HARLEY QUINN’S REVENGE

Review: BATMAN: ARKHAM ORIGINS (2013)

Review: BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT (2015)

Review: THE WALKING DEAD (2012)

Review: THE WALKING DEAD DLC (2012): 400 DAYS

Review: THE WALKING DEAD: SEASON TWO (2014)

Review: THE WOLF AMONG US (2014)

Review: BATMAN: THE TELLTALE SERIES (2016)

About Amandeep Singh Virdi

My name is Amandeep Singh Virdi and I love video games among other things that include comics, films, music, and pro wrestling. Follow me @thatvirdiguy on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, whatever.
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