Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The two different seasons of Telltale Batman games have been excellent almost across the board with each episode. The finale for season two doesn’t disappoint either. Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 5: Same Stitch continues the trend of strong writing and creative use of familiar characters in unfamiliar circumstances to craft a satisfying conclusion to an entertaining look at both Batman and Bruce Wayne.
While these titles perhaps undersell the Caped Crusader’s physical attributes (I think the various Arkham games did a great job in bringing Batman’s superhero action sequences to life), these Telltale Games titles actually provide the most well-rounded representation of the character. As good as the Arkham titles are, they’re about Batman. They are about using grappling hooks, taking down gobs of goons with martial arts skills and driving the Batmobile at high speeds to make impossible jumps.
What the more narrative focused Telltale titles allow us to do is spend time with Bruce Wayne. They allow the man behind the mask time onscreen to make important decisions and help better reflect the difficult balance of the businessman versus the vigilante. This balancing act is one of the key components to the comics over the years, and it gets explored here in a way that has proven really effective over the two seasons of episodes. Add in a sprinkle of detective-like adventure gaming along the way, and we have a really well-rounded look at one of the most popular superheroes ever.
The challenge facing season two was the addition of a lot more characters. The first season had a few of note, but The Enemy Within introduced even more of them, and as countless superhero movies have shown us over the years, tossing too many characters in at once can lead to a bloated, overstuffed affair that is hard to follow. Kudos then to the writers at Telltale Games, for managing to keep things moving effectively throughout this season. The final episode – Same Stitch – does perhaps bring a too-abrupt end to a couple of the dangling threads. That was bound to happen, and I do wish that Same Stitch had perhaps considered making this final episode a bit longer to help accommodate everyone a bit better, but by and large the episode was satisfying. There were a ton of loose ends to tie up, and Same Stitch got to them all, even if a few could have used just a few more minutes of screen time to breathe.
Without a doubt, the focus of this season and the final episode was the unique spin put on Batman’s relationship with the Joker. He was a presence in the first season, with an important albeit brief role before taking a much more central part of The Enemy Within. Throughout the season there has been a delicate balancing act in Batman’s need to work alongside the Joker, and while I will not delve into the why and how of it, I really appreciated how many of my choices seemed to resurface here at long last in the final episode. Some choices that almost felt throwaway came back into the mix during my time with the Clown Prince. There is a strong sense that these two men made one another who they are now and will likely become in the future, and while the overall concept is familiar, how we get there in this tale is surprisingly fresh and enjoyable.
Last but not least, the fantastic voice cast really helped sell this episode and the series as a whole. There are numerous emotional scenes along the way, and the fantastic actors really helped convey these important moments. Technically speaking, this is arguably the best I have seen a Telltale title look, with smoother animations and a system that has benefited from improvement over the last year or so. Combine these presentation elements with a unique and well-written story, and we have an excellent and satisfying conclusion to what was an emotional and often introspective season for Batman fans.