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A worthy sequel in Telltale’s Batman series

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    Batman: The Enemy Within – The Telltale Series

    Rating: 4.0 – Great

    A worthy sequel in Telltale’s Batman series

    While I really did like 2016’s Batman game from Telltale, I didn’t expect it to get a sequel so quickly. I thought the game was surprisingly well done in comparison to some recent outings from Telltale, but apparently it must have been well-received enough to warrant getting a sequel less than a year later. And so here we are now, with Batman: The Enemy Within having finished its fifth and final episode, completing a second season for the Telltale Batman story.

    The story does continue with events from the first game, so I do recommend playing that first if you haven’t. For those that are unfamiliar, Telltale games generally operate on choice-based story progression. You are given a variety of choices to make throughout the game, and these choices impact the story at large. Generally, in more recent outings the impact that the choices have revolve more around the relationships you have with other characters. This is most prevalent with the transition from Batman to Batman: The Enemy Within, in particular with a character like Alfred. What transpired in the first game will affect the relationships you have with these characters in this new game.

    However, there’s definitely tons of new elements to be found in Batman: The Enemy Within. While season 1 revolved more around having a central villain with Lady Arkham, this season has more of a crew of villains. Sometimes different episodes have more of a central villain, such as the first episode largely revolving around Batman going up against the Riddler, but for the most part the season features a group of recognizable villains. Luckily, this season doesn’t really lose its narrative focus, though, because it’s largely centered on Bruce Wayne’s inner demons (hence the subtitle of the game). As Bruce, you’re secretly infiltrating this group of villains to try to gather intel. Bruce is forced to cross some dark lines in the name of a greater good, but it becomes worrisome what this does (as well as his crusade of being Batman) for his own character. Also, if you’ve played the first game, you’ll know that Bruce met a character named John Doe, who is very obviously the precursor to becoming the Joker. Well, Batman: The Enemy Within explores the friendship between Bruce and John even further, and leads to some very interesting consequences. I feel like the story of Batman: The Enemy Within really shines, and is definitely the main drawing point of the game. While it falters at certain points, Batman: The Enemy Within tells a strong story.

    I’ve played a lot of Telltale games in the last 5 years, and their gameplay formula has remained largely unchanged in that time. So…honestly, I’m kind of tired of describing it in every single review. Sure, certain games tweak specific things, but for the most part it centers entirely around three gameplay types: point-and-click, story choices, and quick time events. It might sound lazy, but if you need more of an in-depth explanation of the gameplay, I’m going to point you to my review of the first Telltale Batman game. To be honest, if you haven’t played the first game you should play that first anyway, so it’d be better to read reviews for that first instead. And if you have played the first game, then you know what the gameplay is like. The gameplay for Batman: The Enemy Within is pretty much identical to the first game. This might bother some, but I’m completely fine with it when it comes to Telltale games because I play them for the story, not for the gameplay. The formula works, so I’m not going to complain. I just want to mention that the choices themselves aren’t some of the more interesting ones that Telltale has come up with, but their overall impact on the story is. Depending on how you play the game, your final episode can be entirely different from someone else’s.

    The main thing that always needs to be criticized with Telltale games is their performance. Their games never seem to run well, and even though I’ve come to expect it by this point, it’s still disappointing when you see the game majorly lagging. It’s not as bad in Batman: The Enemy Within as it’s been in some of their other games, but it does still suck. Other than that, the game looks pretty good. I’ve always been a fan of Telltale’s style of cel-shaded graphics, and it still looks good in the Batman universe. The music and voice acting are also pretty well-done, but again it’s all to service the story.

    The final thing that usually needs to be discussed with these games is their length and replay value. As per most Telltale games, Batman: The Enemy Within runs for five episodes. The episodes are between 1.5-2.5 hours each, so you’re looking at a game that’s going to be around 10 hours total. People sometimes complain that Telltale games are too short, but I think that the length works perfectly for a game like this. As for replay value, the only kind that’s here is if you want to select different choices to see how they’ll play out. Things can really play out differently in Batman: The Enemy Within, so this is especially true for this game.

    All in all, Batman: The Enemy Within is a worthy sequel to the first game. There were points where I liked it better or worse than the first game, but all around I’d say that they’re pretty on par with each other. If you haven’t played the first game yet, I’d suggest starting there, but if you did play the first game then this is an easy recommendation for you. Since the games are pretty similar to each other, I’d say that if you liked the first game, you’ll also like this. And if you didn’t, then you probably won’t like this either. My personal opinion is that Batman: The Enemy Within is a pretty great sequel though.

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