Batman: The Enemy Within, Episode 1, starts Season 2 off right with the first 20 minutes being a wonderful introduction to The Riddler and setting the stage for an amazing story. If Telltale can keep up this pace, Season 2 will be outstanding, and it will help me to forget some of the lower points in Season 1.
I will avoid spoilers whenever possible, so read on to see why buying this episode is no riddle at all.
After a very short overview of what happened in Season 1, we have an exciting opener that mostly keeps up the momentum throughout the episode. The Riddler is not the giggling puzzler from the Arkham games. He retains the ego, but he is darker. Even if you solve his puzzles, seemingly inspired by the Saw movie franchise, they are designed to leave you broken and hurting. If you win, you still lose.
That matches how he comes across in this episode as well, and, although he is horrible and killing other people without any mercy, he is hurting as well. The reasons are never completely explained, but there are hints of revelations in future episodes.
He is a remarkable villain, both in his mind and morals. At one point, he even chastises Batman for wanting to save bad guys from his wrath. At another, he questions Batman’s commitment to justice. The Riddler is the villain that Batman could be in twenty years if he does not restrain himself.
The writing is improved in this episode as well. The story picks up after last season, and it seems like everyone is starting to return to normal after Lady Arkham, The Penguin, and Two-Face almost tore the city into pieces.
A federal law enforcement group has entered Gotham with its sites on Riddler, and they are throwing their weight around and stepping on the toes of Bruce Wayne and Jim Gordon. Whether they are ultimately good or bad remains to be seen.
Beyond the story, the dialogue seems to be better as well. Relationships can be built or broken with the new dialogue choices and doing the “right” thing could blow up in your face. There are a few places that I thought really shone and would not have happened in the first season. They may be more subtle, but it showed more care.
Speaking of care, I thought the audio was also improved. I had some weird problems in a couple of episodes last season, and this one was excellent. Even the mix of music, voices, and ambient sounds and effects were great.
The episode also felt longer than previous episodes, and I mean that in a positive way. It reminded me of a fun superhero movie in a bigger universe. Despite knowing I will have to wait for four more episodes, I did not feel cheated at the end of Episode 1. I was able to play a lot of the “good stuff” that might have been saved for episode 2.
If I had to be cerebral with you (never my strength), I would say that Episode 1’s theme is sacrifice. Is there anything that is so important that you would change who you are or what you believe? Does the end justify the means, and are a few dead innocents caught in the middle worth it if you can achieve your goals?
I look forward to seeing more of what happens to Bruce Wayne/Batman in Episode 2. If you have any interest in the game, I recommend you give the demo of the first (approximately) 20 minutes a try. For everyone else, this is the best Batman that Telltale has ever delivered, and, if you like the style of game they make, you should definitely pick it up.
Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1 has more action and character building with better writing than previous entries. The Riddler is a terrifying, yet oddly sympathetic villain, and he is a great contrast to Batman. These are the perfect ingredients in an episode that felt very contained and complete by the end while still leaving you hungry for more.
Please do not make us wait too long, Telltale.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a retail copy of the game that was bought at the expense of the reviewer. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using base PS4.