Last year saw the release of Batman: The Telltale Series, a game that was eager to stray from established lore and provide a fresh take on Batman. By the end of the season I found myself left with an impressive, if glitchy, game that told a fantastic Batman story. Following up on this in less than a year, Telltale brings us Batman: The Enemy Within. Looking to continue their success by once again plunging into the Batman mythos, does The Enigma start things off on the right foot or are we looking at another Telltale failure?
Picking up a year after the first season ends, The Enigma starts with Batman aiming to take down a criminal arms dealer. Things quickly go south when Gotham's first supervillain, The Riddler, returns to once again cause havoc. While Riddler is the biggest threat in town, other plot threads are beginning to show their way through. The Gotham City Police Department is having their authority overruled by a mysterious government organization named The Agency led by the ever charming Amanda Waller, while the mysterious John Doe has gotten out of Arkham Asylum and is intent on collecting a favor from Bruce Wayne that may see him getting mixed up with a criminal gang.
Much like the first season, Batman: The Enemy Within is not afraid to mess with Batman lore and change its characters to create an interesting blend of classic and new. The Riddler sees the biggest changes, with Telltale's version seeming closer to the Saw series' Jigsaw. He plays deadly "games" with his victims that can see them escaping if they play their cards right, but likely short a few non-essential body parts. He claims he was wronged and is seeking a justice of his own, but clearly there's something twisted about his version of justice. Riddler isn't the only character to see changes, as the series' version of Joker, known as John Doe, is also an interesting take on a classic. This is a Joker that still has no clue what he's doing, a nervous wreck who's at the bottom of the food chain and is more reliant on Bruce Wayne to help him between his fits of impulsive actions. It's an interesting dynamic, one I can't wait to see play out in future episodes.
Since The Enemy Within is the second season, the choices you made in the first season will still be playing out here. If you don't have your save data on hand, you can go through a surprisingly in-depth save file creator that lets you repick your major decisions from the first season, though starting with a default file is also an option. You will, of course, be making choices here too. A big system of the game is a character's relationship with Bruce Wayne/Batman, to the point where a new pop-up in the corner tells you when a character's relationship with you has changed. Each decision may cause Commissioner Gordon to trust Batman a little less, or cause Lucius Fox's daughter Tiffany to reconsider that offer to work for Wayne Enterprises. Much like the first game you will also be deciding if you should be showing up to events as Bruce or Batman, which can drastically change how an event plays out.
One of my favorite features from Batman: The Telltale Series was the investigations, which offered puzzles where Batman had to connect various objects in the environment to each other to try and pin down how an event happened. The Enigma sees these returning, with one having you piece together one of Riddler's death traps by seeing how another person failed the trap. It's not difficult, but it provides a nice slice of adventure-lite gameplay to The Enigma that I was happy to participate in.
Naturally there's also quick time fights for you to partake in. They work exactly like you'd expect, with you pressing on-screen prompts and watching the fight that results. The finishing move system from the first season has been eliminated, but its contribution was pretty minimal and I didn't exactly miss it. Thankfully the genuinely impressive fight choreography has been carried over. Each fight was a visual treat, especially when it involved Riddler taking on Batman. Telltale has really learned from the first season, and the way the camera would follow weapons being used or make cuts to the most dramatic angle for the action.
One issue I had with the first season was the amount of glitches I encountered during it. While The Enigma is only one episode, I found it thankfully glitch and slowdown free. Hopefully, that can be continued through the rest of the season. Troy Baker continues to do a fantastic job as Bruce Wayne, but there's a pair of real stand out with Robin Atkin Downes as The Riddler and Anthony Ingruber as John Doe. Both turn in some fantastic performances that really help deliver the game's story.
I came away from Batman: The Enemy Within's first episode, The Enigma, completely blown away. I'm a fan of Telltale's games normally, but I feel like this first episode raised the bar for what they provide. From an intriguing plot that provides an extremely unique take on Batman, to exciting fight scenes that were keeping me on the edge of my seat, I loved every moment I spent in this episode. This is a strong start for Batman's return, and I can't wait to see what's next.
Our Batman: The Enemy Within review for Episode 1: The Enigma was conducted on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the developers. The game is also available on Xbox One, and PC via Steam and GOG. The game is coming soon to iOS, and Android devices.
The Enigma provides both an extremely strong start to Batman: The Enemy Within and one of the best single episodes that Telltale has made in a long time.(Review Policy)
- Smart Plot with Interesting Twists on Batman Lore
- Investigation Scenes
- Great Fight Scenes
- Fantastic Voice Acting
- Finishing Move System Removed From Combat