Batman: The Enemy Within exceeds my expectations at every turn. Every time a new episode comes out, I find myself glued to the game for its two-hour runtime, and I'm always so excited to see how everything turns out. What Ails You is the newest episode in Telltale's series, and it features even more of Batman doing Batman related things. With a rogue's gallery of evil doers, mysterious viruses, shadowy organizations, and the creation of an all time classic villain, should Batman be on the case or is it time to call in a sick day?
Fractured Mask ended with a rather difficult choice. Bruce could either admit he was the one who stole Harley's laptop or shift the blame to Catwoman to save his own skin. The person Bruce lays the blame on ends up trapped by The Pact, while the other goes to assist them with breaking and entering into the mysterious SANCTUS laboratory. No matter your choice Bruce does eventually show up to stop The Pact. Things go about as well as you'd expect, and Harley Quinn is now on the loose in Gotham City with a mysterious virus. Combine this with John Doe's slowly deteriorating sanity, and Amanda Waller's insistence that the end justify the means, and Batman is in for one insane night.
The characters continue to be the real highlight of the episode. In particular, John Doe is easily one of my favorites. It's clear he's supposed to be the Joker, but what kind of person he ends up becoming is entirely based on if Bruce or Harley manages to influence him more. Classic Joker is possible here, but even more horrifying is the chance to turn Joker into some sort of perverse vigilante. A character with the moral code of the Punisher and the methods of the Joker is terrifying to actually watch in action. What Telltale has done with this character is honestly impressive.
Not to speak less of any of the other characters you'll be seeing here. Batman: The Enemy Within still contains what is hands down my favorite version of Harley Quinn across all DC media. She's smart, deadly, and honestly compelling to watch the strange inverse they gave the Harley/Joker relationship. Bane and Mr. Freeze are closer to their original versions, but still have just enough changed to keep me on my toes and be excited whenever they were on-screen. It's not just the villains either. Alfred dealing with PTSD from the events of the first season manages to captivate and make me care about the character all the more.
Each of these moments are, naturally, surrounded by choices. You can't get more than a couple of lines into a conversation without having to take a stance on something. Do you explain to Tiffany why designing guns for Batman isn't okay? Will you invite Amanda Waller's lieutenant to join the Batcrew? Sure, I'm certain that we'll all end up at the same general point by the end of The Enemy Within, but What Ails You does a fantastic job making it feel like each choice I make has led to this point and every consequence will continue to matter.
There continues to be a great eye for cinematography in the series. A heist early in the episode was awesome, allowing several characters a chance to show off their powers. When things take a turn for the worse, seeing each character betray each other was equally compelling. A late episode trip through a demented fun house was also neat, as the camera zoomed out erratically or focused slightly off-center to really give the feel that this place was twisted. Telltale has really stepped their game up here.
I think my only real disappointment with the episode is the lack of any investigation scenes. I really enjoyed them in Batman: The Telltale Series, so the total lack of them in What Ails You, and the general lack of them throughout the series, is a real disappointment. They served as a surprisingly fun brain teaser, a way to insert some light puzzles into the narrative of the episodes in a logical way. Having them removed is a real shame. Is it a massive impact? Not really. This is still a narrative that I'm absolutely coming to love, I just wish that same quality effort was extended into the gameplay.
Still, it's Telltale and I'm very used to their narrative-heavy two-hour episodes. Batman: The Enemy Within has genuinely been one of their strongest series, and What Ails You is easily my favorite episode since the first. I'm so excited to see how this season ends, and I hope there are plans to spend more time in this weird version of the Batman universe. I'd love to see more strange takes on Batman norm.
Our Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 4: What Ails You review was conducted on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the developers. The game is also available on Xbox One, PC via Steam and GOG, iOS, and Android.
What Ails You manages to be the best episode of Batman: The Enemy Within so far. It sets up the series finale to be something I absolutely can't wait to see.(Review Policy)
- Interesting Story
- Great Takes on Batman Lore
- Compelling Choices
- Fantastic Fight Scenes
- No Investigations