Batman: The Enemy Within Review – Telltale finds a new take on the classic characters of Batman and Joker.

Batman: The Enemy Within is a direct sequel to Batman: The Telltale Series. It also allows players to transfer their save files and continue with their choices from the first game.

This time around Bruce Wayne faces a new story with new villains and a plot to attack Gotham yet again. However, rather than just finding ways for Batman to face off with a rotating list of enemies, The Enemy Within takes the time to examine the character of Batman and try to understand what makes him tick.

The core of The Enemy Within also will focus on the major loose end from the first season in the form of green-haired and white-faced “John Doe”. While John Doe pushes towards his eventual end goal of The Joker, The Enemy Within continues to examine his evolution as well as the way Bruce Wayne treats him The story also takes many risks with both characters and their relationship helps to create a compelling narrative.

Rather than just make John Doe become the Joker with the player helplessly standing by, the player’s choices help to make meaningful decisions in the game and try to steer the direction of many of the characters in the game including the Joker, and it gives the player a chance to have Batman attempt to befriend John Doe or turn his back on him. This culminates in a few spots in the story that have different outcomes, the largest being the final chapter.

At the same time, this brings a major issue with Telltale games to the forefront. With a diverging story like The Enemy Within, the only way to truly see “all” the possible results would be to replay the game at least twice ensuring to make the opposite choice each time, and while such an endeavor is a little extreme in the case of a ten-hour story. Missing out on half of the finale of the game and large variable sections of the game continues to be disappointing. Yet replaying a ten-hour story with unskippable scenes for maybe a couple of hours of additional content is not an appetizing offer.

Still, the story presented in the Enemy Within is entertaining and while John Doe is at the core of the experience, much of the story actually revolves around a new group of villains which includes many fan favorites, including Harley Quinn.

Similar to Batman and John Doe, Harley Quinn is different from the way the comics, movies, and animated series have presented her before. Rather than a result of the Joker’s manipulations, Harley Quinn is actually a unique and fully formed villain before running into John Doe. This is a rather major change to the character, but it’s one that allows Telltale to look at her character and her relationship with Joker and change the rules to produce a fresher result rather than one that has been explored elsewhere.

The Enemy Within seems to delight in finding new and unique stories to explore as well as examining pre-existing characters with new perspectives. There are multiple scenes and moments in every episode of the second season that create meaningful choices for the player. The decisions result in different stories and different results, yet as mentioned the largest issue is players will likely not understand how unique their version of events is without exposing all the possible changes, and with the final decision matrix shown after each episode only hinting at different opinions, the choices that actually will matter gets lost in a shuffle of decisions that likely have minimal importance.

While much of The Enemy Within is set up like a storybook, there are still a few technical considerations for the player. The unskippable cutscenes are particularly egregious especially if a player misses a choice they wanted to make. Players can exit to the main menu and start over but sitting and seeing the same or similar dialogue each time creates a feeling that very little matters in the storytelling. The inability to skip scenes or even single lines makes the process feel staler.

Quick Time Events also pop up and while they are part of the formula and gameplay, they amount to a “press button to continue the story.” in cases, with a couple being “instant death” if missed. It can add a little excitement to an action set-piece but it usually ends up feeling like a way to make players feel like they have more agency in the story than they actually have.

There’s one final thought on The Enemy Within. Where the first game made players experience life as Batman and battle against dangerous villains, The Enemy Within seems to spend much of its time with Bruce Wayner rather than Batman. And while the reason for that fits the story being told, it’s a shame that the story’s focus is far more on Bruce and John Doe, rather than the persona most players are expecting to be front and center, The Batman.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and after playing the entire season, I think the story that exists in this game is excellent. But it also feels like a completely different game than the first, and one that is more focused on the Joker than Batman. That’s not unwelcomed and perhaps the best reason to play The Enemy Within as it’s a new take on the classic story most fans will have seen before.

As a final note, I will say I played the game with Shadow Mode that was an additional DLC purchase. I personally feel this should have been included as a free upgrade, however, the experience really enhanced the visuals of The Enemy Within and I’m glad I chose to play it in that mode.

Ultimately, I enjoyed Batman: The Enemy Within, the focus on new stories, new characters, and new experiences made the game feel unique and interesting, even if it was unable to rise above the Telltale formula. While I likely will not return for a second playthrough, it’s still an enjoyable story that even fans of the original comic books, movies, novelizations, and television shows can look forward to experiencing.

I give Batman: The Enemy Within an arbitrary

8/10

If you enjoyed this review and want to see more from me, including more in-depth reviews of select games, check out my youtube channel at youtube.com/c/KinglinkReviews

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