Contains spoilers for Batman: The Telltale Series – Season One and Batman: The Enemy Within: Episode 1
Hot off the heels of Telltale Games’ first season of Batman: The Telltale Series, which concluded the five-episode series last December, comes a brand-new season along with a brand-new storyline, titled The Enemy Within. Episode 1, The Enigma, picks up a year after the events of Season One. If The Enigma is any indication to the direction of the rest of the season, The Enemy Within may be even better than its predecessor – and more violent.
The Enigma’s story works as a re-introduction of sorts to the Riddler. Gone are the days of the bright green suit and iconic bowler cap. Instead, Edward Nigma sports a far darker green color scheme, complete with an ominous hood in an attempt to mask himself. Perhaps the most notable detail about Telltale’s version of Riddler is his extreme brutality. He slashes throats using his question mark styled scythe and traps victims inside of “murder boxes”. This iteration of Riddler has been missing from Gotham for some time. He was very active in the past, around the time Thomas and Martha Wayne were still alive. He has suddenly shown up again to the city’s surprise; along with the mysterious and ruthless government agents, The Agency, led by the one and only Amanda Waller, who have been on the Riddler’s tail for years.
Returning to the light after appearing in Season One is John Doe. Fans know John is the Joker, but Batman doesn’t – yet. After Bruce Wayne promised to owe John Doe a favor in exchange for helping him escape Arkham Asylum, John has now come to collect. In an uneasy and uncomfortable temporary partnership, Bruce convinces John Doe to aide in the hunt for the Riddler after finding out Doe has a score to settle with Mr. Nigma. The threat of what’s to come from John Doe in the future make him a very compelling character. While he is mentally disturbed at this point in the story, he is not quite at the same level that the Joker is. That looming shadow of who he will become one day and how your interactions with him alter certain events have meaningful weight.
As usual, Telltale has produced a story with a great cast. The characters, dialogue and choices are always their strong point and The Enigma is no different. In fact, I believe that this episode may be a showcase of some of the best Telltale has to offer. The main cast members are largely the same as last season, sans the villains. Fighting alongside Batman are Alfred Pennyworth, Lucius Fox, and the newly promoted Commissioner Gordon. Each of them are still reeling from and dealing with the events of Season One. Treating them with respect and showing compassion will always be a good move as the game now takes extra note of their attitudes toward the personas of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Aside from returning favorites, new characters are introduced into the fold that are just as compelling. Most notably Amanda Waller, leader of The Agency. Whenever Bruce is dealing with Waller, there is a shroud of mystery around her regarding her methods and decisions, sure to be a point of intrigue in future episodes.
The Agency has come to Gotham in pursuit of the Riddler, and has also took over the investigation into him. It’s up to Batman and Commissioner Gordon to work with Waller just enough to help with the case, but keep enough distance so that she doesn’t hamper their own efforts. There are some very emotional moments in The Enigma, especially considering a pivotal moment concerning a certain character. It’s the relationships you have built through the previous season and the superb storytelling and writing from Telltale that make these events have a sense of realness to them. Be prepared to make some tough decisions in this one.
On the technical side, The Enigma is probably the best running Telltale game I’ve ever played. In any other series, I would experience stutters and temporary freezing, and more often than not, every time decisions were made. I’m extremely happy to say that is no longer the case, at least not with this episode. This episode not only had flawless pacing, but it looked better than its preceding season. This first episodes shows more attention to detail. It still sports Telltale’s distinct graphical style, but the characters look more defined and lifelike.
Telltale looks to tell us a truly classic tale that seems to already exceed last year’s Batman effort. With their trademark dialog, storytelling, feeling, and outstanding quick time events during Batman’s fights, The Enigma delivers a more than worthy start to Batman: The Telltale Series – Season Two: The Enemy Within. For more on Batman, including reviews to the next episodes, stay tuned to Geeks + Gamers!
Tony’s Score: 10/10