The best thing about Batman: The Enemy Within so far is how many different relationships you’re forced to manage. Playing as both billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and the Caped Crusader himself, Episode 3: Fractured Mask picks up where previous instalment The Pact left off, with the square-jawed suit right at the heart of Gotham’s most dangerous crime ring.
At this point, relationships are ridiculously complex, and this makes for some even more complicated moral decisions. Naturally we don’t want to give too much away, but you’ve got John Doe (also known as the Joker) idolising Bats but also befriending Bruce. Then you’ve got Commissioner Gordon trying to incarcerate Wayne, and unwittingly asking his alter-ego to help apprehend him. And the return of Selina Kyle’s Catwoman adds more to the bubbling broth, as the mysterious Agency encourage you to continue your undercover operation at all costs – even if personal affections are coming to the fore.
It’s the most tangled, complicated web we’ve seen in a Telltale title for some time, and while this particular episode does feel like it’s treading water a touch ahead of the big conclusion, it’s still brilliant being in the shoes of Bruce and trying to juggle all of these different relationships in order to reach your overarching end goal.
Perhaps the only disappointment here is that the likes of Mr. Freeze, Bane, and Alfred are relegated to the sidelines, as Catwoman, John Doe, and Harley Quinn hog most of the screentime. This is fine, though, because the subplot with Selina is a nice deviation – and the dynamic between the naïve Joker and the domineering Quinn is as enjoyable as ever. As always with these games, it does funnel you down a very particular narrative path, but the illusion of choice is the most important part – and there are plenty of pressure moments in this instalment.
Episode 3: Fractured Mask doesn’t quite hit the same highs as its immediate predecessor, but the tangled web that Telltale’s cast in Batman: The Enemy Within is getting increasingly intriguing with each episode. This particular instalment may pump the brakes slightly in order to include necessary setup for the impending finale, but it feels meaningful, and the scenes with Selina and Bruce are particularly engaging.