The announcement last month of a second season for Telltale’s Batman series was certainly a welcome one. The first five-episode arc of “Batman: A Telltale Series” was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and I was hopeful Telltale would give us another opportunity to don the cowl and become the Caped Crusader once more.
And if the first episode of “Batman: The Enemy Within” is any indication, this season appears poised to surpass the original both in terms of quality and surprises.
Picking up a year after the events of Season One, “The Enigma” wastes no time in introducing us to another member of Batman’s infamous rogues gallery, Riddler. It’s also quickly apparent that the series’ writers haven’t run out of ways to subvert our expectations when it comes to established characters as this version of Edward Nigma is far more violent and sadistic than any I’ve seen in the comics.
This was one of my favorite things about the first season, the fact that Telltale seemingly wasn’t beholden to any canon when crafting its Bat-universe. The writers have put their own spin on characters and events that most Batman fans are intimately familiar with, and because of that I, too, feel empowered to mold Bruce Wayne into the hero (or anti-hero) I want him to be, not necessarily the one I read about in comic books or see portrayed on the big screen.
As Batman attempts to match wits with Riddler, we begin to see some of the fallout from the events of the first season. This is one thing Telltale does exceptionally well with its series, making decisions matter not only from episode-to-episode but from season-to-season. Importing my saved game file from Season One, I find Batman now working hand-in-hand with Commissioner Gordon and the Gotham PD, Bruce Wayne missing a piece of his ear and Alfred still haunted by his run-in with Lady Arkham. I’m excited to see what other ripples my actions in Season One may have caused.
Sadly, the conflict with Riddler ends up being relatively shallow from a gameplay perspective. It’s a shame, too, as I would have loved an opportunity to test my problem-solving skills against one of the few criminal minds capable of matching Batman on an intellectual level. Indeed, a few more puzzle-solving segments would have been a welcome addition.
As it stands, Riddler is essentially a means to an end, a gateway for introducing new characters, pulling familiar faces back into the fold and setting the stage for what figures to be a much larger threat looming for the Dark Knight.
The debut episode of “Batman: The Enemy Within” continues the exceptional work Telltale began in Season One and lays the foundation for what looks to be another memorable adventure in Gotham. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.
“Batman: The Enemy Within” Episode 1
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Available for: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Rating: T for teen