Overview: An unexpected interpretation of a beloved character and some tense moments can’t make up for a downright boring episode.
Review (spoilers for episode one ahead): When last we left Batman, The Riddler had just been killed by an unseen assailant, Lucius Fox died in an explosion leaving his daughter, Tiffany, with a grudge against Bruce, and Amanda Waller, aside from knowing Bruce is Batman, clued him in on a gang of villains run by the enigmatic Harley Quinn. Welcome to Batman: The Enemy Within, Episode Two: The Pact.
The general story of this episode sees Bruce Wayne infiltrating Harley’s gang, and the tough choices he needs to make to keep his identity a secret while trying to find out their next move. This episode is very, very heavy on Bruce Wayne with Batman only showing up at the start. For the most part this works, though at no point does he refer to himself as Matches.
Let’s start right off with the good parts of this episode. Harley Quinn in the Telltale universe is absolutely amazing. She’s a cold, calculating leader who uses her clownish persona to keep people on their toes. She’s just as likely to share her Slurpee with you, as she is to smash you in the head with a sledgehammer. Some of the better moments this episode revolve around not knowing exactly what she’ll do next. Due to her character flip, John Doe, this universe’s proto-Joker is madly in love with her, and the feeling doesn’t seem to be mutual. It’s an interesting dynamic, flipping the two characters and I do hope the remaining episodes dig deeper into it.
While this version of Harley is a winner, the rest of the villains introduced come off as incredibly one-note. Can you guess what Mr. Freeze can’t stop talking about? Yep, his wife. Meanwhile, Bane’s appearance features a shout out to breaking Batman’s back, because of course it would, while Bane himself comes off, as usual, as a dumb strongman. No interactions with either of them point to them having any sort of dimension beyond what you’d read on their Wikipedia entry.
As for the gameplay, this episode seemed to feature even less interaction than the last. At one point I was able to put the controller down, grab a coke from the kitchen, and come back without missing a single choice or prompt. The episode boiled down to a few fight inputs, dialogue choices, a simple puzzle, dialogue choices, another fight and the end. I will give the game credit that the first fight had you making some quick decisions about how you take out mooks. But it didn’t look to have any impact outside of a few flashy scenes. As for the dialogue choices, at no point did I really feel my choices mattered, even in the moment. The end of the game noted that several relationships I had (Gordon, Waller, Tiffany) all had some sort of change, but I didn’t actually feel that in their responses to my actions. I almost felt like I was just taking a personality test, not creating a unique story.
By the end of the relatively short hour and forty minutes, I was ready for the episode to end. I won’t spoil the ending aside from the fact that the object Harley’s gang wanted to steal did not necessitate the “heist” that was performed and an appearance by another character fell flat. As of now, I’ll play episode three when it comes out, but I’m not clamoring to find out what happens next.
Batman: The Enemy Within is available on the PS4, Xbox One, PC, iOS and Android.