Telltale’s take on Batman lore ended with a bang a little less than a year ago, and The Enemy Within picks up the baton from its predecessor without pumping the brakes. Episode 1: The Enigma once again puts an emphasis on Bruce Wayne, as the Riddler returns to Gotham with his trademark brand of brain-teasing supervillainry in tow.
Those tired of the developer’s story-telling formula will not find much to shake them from their slumber in the Dark Knight’s newest tale. This is standard episodic adventure stuff, with the illusion of choice allowing you to shade the narrative as you wish. As always you’ll be forced to make some impossible decisions here, and while it’s true that you’ll be funnelled down a fictional path, the studio’s still really good at putting you on the spot.
A new mechanic means that you’ll be alerted to changes in your relationship with other characters, so you’ll know exactly when you’ve rubbed someone the right way – or charmed them into your line of thinking. Quick-time events now also come with their own set of options, allowing you to choreograph fight scenes the way you see fit.
But otherwise this is the same old stuff, so it’s the story that’s forced to take centre stage. Fans of the first series will recall how Telltale twisted established Batman lore by casting the Caped Crusader’s father as a criminal, and it continues to subvert a familiar universe with John Doe – the Arkham escapee who you may know better as the Joker. The green-haired goon sees Bruce as a buddy but Bats as a nemesis, so it’s going to be fascinating to see how this story plays out.
And that is the best thing about Telltale’s take on Batman: billionaire playboys have just as much pull as masked vigilantes in hockey pants. As in previous episodes, you can choose whether to resolve problems as a charming CEO or hard-hitting superhero, and the story-telling is arguably at its best when you leave the cowl in the Bat Cave.
The introduction of a (potentially shady) government organisation named The Agency promises to get more out of both characters, as Batman’s relationship with the kindly Commissioner Gordon is strained. And there are revelations at the end of the episode that will leave you on the edge of your seat, eagerly anticipating the next instalment. Hopefully the developer can keep things moving in a reasonable timeframe without sacrificing performance, as this episode runs much better than any of its predecessors did.
At over two hours, Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 1: The Enigma is meaty instalment which picks up as strongly as the previous season left off. As a self-contained story, the Riddler’s unique brand of psychotic behaviour makes for a satisfying arc – but it’s the bigger picture involving Bruce and the deranged John Doe that promises plenty for the remainder of this series, and we’re excited to see where it goes.