Our latest chapter opens with an intense scene, which bodes well for Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 2: The Pact. Unfortunately, the rest of the episode just never manages to maintain that momentum and left me hoping that Episode 3 can right the ship as too many characters are crammed into this episode with too little payout for decisions that are made during the chapter.
If you read my review of the first chapter, you know that it starts things off with a bang – both literally and figuratively. It was a great start for the second season and continued a lot of the themes I enjoyed from the first season of Telltale’s interpretation of Batman. Throughout season one and the kick off to season two, Telltale Games deserves credit for shaking up our expectations of both the titular character as well as the other characters around him. There is also a tightrope act that has you balancing the life of Bruce Wayne against that of Batman, and that duality that is such a big part of the comics is better represented in this series than any of the more action-oriented Batman titles out on the market.
That is why Episode 2: The Pact left me more frustrated than usual with the Caped Crusader’s adventures. In Episode 1 I appreciated that Telltale did something that few other games or even the source material had seldom done for me: they made The Riddler actually seem like a potentially terrifying villain. However, adding Harley Quinn, Bane and Victor Fries / Mr. Freeze to the mix so quickly seems like a bad idea. Teasing them out a little at a time would have been well and good, but here they don’t really get a chance to grow into whatever unique vision Telltale Games has for most of them.
The dialog does not hold up quite as well as usual either. There’s some pretty heavy foreshadowing of things to come that almost had me rolling my eyes during some of the conversations. Perhaps there is some misdirection at play and I’ll come back to better appreciate this episode for having ‘tricked’ me a bit, but I suspect that is not going to be the case.
All is not lost in The Pact, however. The actual premise that sees Bruce Wayne as front and center as his alter ego while interacting with villains usually reserved for his Batman persona is an interesting one. The choices never felt particularly meaningful, but there were a handful that did a nice job of putting me on that aforementioned tightrope that balances Batman’s persona versus that of Bruce Wayne. These moments were too few for my liking, but they were certainly interesting and served as the high points of this episode for me as it left us with yet another cliffhanger (seriously, I almost feel as though Telltale Games goes to the dramatic cliffhanger well a bit too often for each episode. Obviously we know another chapter is coming, so maybe allow a bit of breathing room in between chapters to let the dust settle now and again?) that teases what I hope will be a better third chapter.