Batman: The Enemy Within — Episode 1 review: A great story continues…

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Batman-The-Enemy-Within-Episode-1-review

The first episode of Batman: The Enemy Within definitely sets the tone for what should be a fantastic second season of the series.

TA-ratings-95I’ve always enjoyed Telltale Games episodic adventures. Whether it’s been Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead and everything in between, the story telling has usually been fantastic. I finally got around to finishing up Batman: The Telltale Series first season, and I have to admit, Telltale Games did a bang up job on that one.

Our Batman: The Enemy Within — Episode 1 review, “The Enigma,” takes a look at the first episode of the second season of one of the more recent additions to the Telltale stables. Hopefully, it can live up to the standard Telltale set in the first season… if you haven’t seen it yet, check out the trailer below then keep reading for the full review — including hidden spoilers, a new feature here at Techaeris!

Story

I’ll have to admit that while we’ve reviewed Telltale Games in the past, I find that I enjoy them much more when I’m able to binge play them after all episodes are released. On that note, Batman: The Telltale Series was off to a great start, and really set the stage for what was looking to be a great story. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep up as future episodes were released but once I heard Batman: The Enemy Within was coming, I jumped back in and holy hell, I have to say what a fantastic story! If you haven’t played it yet, you’ll want to, especially considering this one picks up right where the first season left off.

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Alfred and Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Batcave.

Now for the new spoiler feature! If you have played the first game, or don’t care about spoilers, feel free to check them out below.

Batman: The Telltale Series Spoilers

What I liked the most about the first season of Batman: The Telltale Series was the fact that it was more or less a prequel story to what most people are familiar with. Sure, any comic reader will know all about the alternate realities and alternate storylines that almost every superhero faces.

In the case of this one though, I really liked how Telltale’s writers took some liberties with Bruce Wayne’s parents and tying how Thomas Wayne amassed his fortune by having ties to the mob. Not only that, we got a look at Gordon before he became Commissioner (nothing really new), but the really fun twist was when Bruce met John Doe (who we all know is the Joker) while committed to Arkham Asylum, and the fact that Vicki Vale was really the badass Lady of Arkham.

As I mentioned above, I’ve really enjoyed the story telling in Telltale Games’ games so far, but I think that the writing in Batman: The Telltale Series‘ first season was probably the best so far.

As with most Telltale Games, you can choose to continue by using the choices you made in the previous season or you can start fresh. Batman: The Enemy Within seems to have a darker start than the first season had, and has a somewhat brutal start. To be honest, though, it definitely fits in with some of the Batman canon, especially The Dark Knight series.

Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 1 Spoilers

This is by no means a full story re-iteration, but rather a quick look at some of the key points of Batman: The Enemy Within‘s first episode.

The second season of Telltale’s Batman game starts with crime being down after the defeat of the Children of Arkham, and Gordon is finally the new Commissioner. Unlike the season one build up, the Riddler is introduced right off the bat (no pun intended) as the villain Batman will be facing off against. As it turns out, he’s an old Gotham nemesis from Thomas Wayne’s time.

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The episode sets up The Riddler as the villain straight away.

After almost defeating the Riddler, Batman is left with a riddle box to solve which of course, as Bruce Wayne, he hands off to Lucius Fox which unfortunately results in Fox’s death… and the twists just keep on coming! This, of course, doesn’t go over well with Tiffany Fox, Lucius’ daughter who had just started working at Wayne Enterprises. Throughout all this, The Agency is introduced — a sort of covert CIA/FBI operation with no oversight. The Agency quickly moves in trying to muscle the investigation away from Gordon and the GCPD, but, of course, are more than willing to work with Batman on this.

Of course, John Doe returns and offers Bruce his help. It’s still a fun twist as we all know that John Doe is the Joker, and even though Bruce isn’t overly cozy with the idea, the old saying “is the enemy of my enemy my friend?” definitely comes to mind.

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“John Doe”

With Bruce finding out the location of the Riddler, the last chapter of the episode is set up with a pretty major showdown. Of course, it was a trap and soon Batman is given the impossible choice of answering the Riddler’s riddles. Answer correctly and a sonic blast is emitted, harming an Agency agent. Get it wrong and one of two other Agency agents being held captive will be killed.

In the end, I went with the choice of answering correctly (sacrifice one to save many?) and eventually defeated the Riddler. Wait a minute… isn’t the Riddler the main villain? Turns out he’s not, and as the episode nears an end, Batman finds out that someone named Harleen Quinzel — whom Telltale confirms will be in Episode 2 — is in fact behind everything. Of course, the Agency pushes Batman to help them out and when I chose to swear my loyalty to Gordon and the GCPD, the head of the Agency let it be known that she knows that Batman is indeed Bruce Wayne.

As is the case with Telltale Games’ episodic titles, each episode is left at a bit of a cliffhanger — and a wait until the next episode is released.

Gameplay

Batman: The Enemy Within pretty much has the same gameplay as other Telltale games. Watch a bit of dialogue, make a choice — or choose not to respond — which affects your gameplay, and jump into the action with QTE (quick time event) button and thumbstick use. This episode does feature a slightly refined combat system, and instead of scanning the environment and linking objects to enemies, this time you get to make a choice between two actions on the fly.

In addition, the first season had a Batmeter that filled up as you completed QTEs, but that seems to have been removed in this season, at least so far. There’s still a bit of detective work to be done at some scenes, requiring you to scan the area and then link various findings together to figure out what happened.

Crowd Play is a feature that Telltale Games introduced with the first season, and it allows others to watch while you play and make choices on their mobile devices.

Crowd Play allows people watching the same screen to be part of the story using their own mobile device or PC! By having your friends or family join a Crowd Play session, everyone gets to vote on choices made in the game. See how your choices and feelings differ from each other and compare results!

We didn’t get a chance to test it out too much aside from logging in with a smartphone, but it definitely looks and sounds like it adds an additional fun element to the game if you’ve got others around in the same room watching you play.

“The Enigma” took about 2 1/2 hours to fully play through, and like other Telltale titles leaves you wanting more. Telltale hasn’t really strayed from their past gameplay formula, and once again it works quite well here with, yet again, a couple new gameplay additions.

Graphics

As with the first season, Batman makes an excellent basis for a Telltale game given the comic style present in both. The graphics in Batman: The Enemy Within seem a bit more sharp and detailed than the first season. The style definitely fits the story and makes you feel like you’re actually playing through a Batman comic.

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The comic style suits the Batman Telltale games wonderfully.

Once again, the stuttering that was present in previous games but thankfully missing in Batman: The Telltale Series was also not present here. Great comic style graphics and smooth gameplay is the name of the game in the second season as well.

Sound

From the voice acting to the sound effects and ambient sound, Telltale has once again nailed it. With many returning actors from the first season, there wasn’t any doubt that portion of the game would be solid. The sound effects are bang on as well, as is the background and ambient music across the various chapters.

Price/Value

Batman: The Enemy Within — Episode 1 can be purchased for $4.99USD. Better yet, you can purchase the entire Season Pass for $24.99USD which gives you access to each episode as they are released. Given the usual $60+ price of games these days, the Telltale games usually offer great storytelling at a great price.

Wrap-up

Like Batman: The Telltale Series, the first episode of Batman: The Enemy Within definitely sets the tone for what should be a fantastic second season of the series. If the remainder of this season keeps pace, this will definitely be a Top Pick of 2017 contender.

Episode two of Batman: The Enemy Within will be available for download starting September 26. The second of five episodes, ‘The Pact’ launches September 26 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. Additionally, both episodes one and two will become available on iOS and Android-based devices that same day. As much as I’d like to play the rest of the game once the entire season is released, we’ll be back shortly after with our Episode 2 review.

*We were sent a review code for Batman: The Enemy Within on the Xbox One for the purposes of this review.

Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 1

$24.99 USD
9.5

Story

10.0/10

Gameplay

9.0/10

Graphics

9.0/10

Price/Value

10.0/10

Nailed it

  • Great story
  • Comic style well suited for Batman (of course)
  • Minor gameplay changes for the better

Needs work

  • Nothing really...
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