Batman: The Enemy Within has just hit its halfway mark. The first two episodes have seen Batman dealing with various classic villains adorned with new twists. The season has managed to keep things interesting so far, and Fractured Mask seeks to continue the trend. Has the season really kept up its quality, or is the game fractured as well?
At the end of the last episode, we learned that Catwoman was also part of the mysterious criminal organization known as The Pact and that they had gone to great lengths to recover the body of The Riddler so Catwoman can scan his eyes and recreate his retinal information. The group is using this to try to break into a mysterious organization called SANCTUS, who has a headquarters hidden somewhere in Gotham. It's up to Bruce to discover why the criminals want to take over SANCTUS, all while avoiding an attempt to find a mole in their group and keep his friends out of trouble.
A large part of this episode involves Bruce trying to build up a new support group to assist him, or pushing them away to keep going at it alone if that's more your thing. Chances to get characters like Catwoman and Tiffany Fox to join up with Bruce are important, serving both to provide the players the opportunity to involve innocents further in Batman's work and deciding if that's justifiable or not. Putting your best friend's daughter into the line of fire because she can provide some of the best tech support in Gotham City? That left me thinking for a bit.
Of course, it's not just recruiting a team, as Batman needs to work with both the Agency and the Gotham City Police Department in taking down the various villains. Naturally, they refuse to work with each other and nearly every scene that involves talking to Commissioner Gordon or Amanda Waller has the other one at their throat. The internal conflict keeps spiraling to the point that it makes me wonder that, with friends like these, why Batman even needs enemies. Well, if Batman shows up anyway, as this is the second episode in a row where Batman mostly sits the game out and only appears pretty rarely. Still, that worked well for Batman: The Telltale Series and I've enjoyed Bruce's time in the limelight.
This also serves to highlight the strengths and advantages Batman: The Enemy Within has over Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series. Both the external and internal conflicts are genuinely interesting, and I found myself excited no matter which one came up. It helps that the two compliment each other instead of feeling like two separate and unrelated plot lines. I could see how each plotline would affect the other, requiring me to tailor my decisions so I could work with both. Ignoring Batman's need for a team could prove disastrous in the future, but so would trying to assemble this team of people who are vulnerable to threats. It's a really well-done balancing act of compelling stories.
While The Pact may have toned it done some, Fractured Mask went and brought back action scenes. A fight between Bruce and Catwoman is a real highlight here, with Bruce being cuffed to a chair and needing to swing it around while performing impressive acrobatic stunts. Another round with Bane is also offered, though this is more to continue showing off Bane's impressive strength. The fights serve as eye-catching visual spectacles, even if the quick time events are getting old. I do wish the investigations were getting more focus, as I feel like the light puzzles are a good way to add gameplay elements while still sticking to what Telltale does best.
We're over halfway through Batman: The Enemy Within and the season hasn't lost any momentum. Each episode ramps up the excitement, and I'm extremely interested to see where the series is going. This is a take on Batman that genuinely feels unique and compelling. Batman's new journey keeps getting more wild, and I can't wait to see where it ends up.
Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 3: Fractured Mask was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the developer. The game is also available on PC, Xbox One, iOS, and Android devices.
Batman: The Enemy Within's third episode continues the forward momentum from the first two, leading to another episode where I've been engrossed in Batman's drama.(Review Policy)
- Strong Plot Continues to Move
- Interesting Choices
- Great Fight Scenes
- Lacks Investigation Scenes
- Could Use Some More Batman