Publisher: Athlon Games, Inc.
Developer: LCG Entertainment, Inc.
Release Date: 12/17/2019
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The superhero video game renaissance all started with Batman. After the Hollywood superhero films grew up and became an epic universe taking over the entire industry, the video game versions feel a little more nuanced and personable. Rocksteady really hit it off with the Batman: Arkham series and the game just got better from there. Telltale took the storytelling of the superhero comics and turned it into an epic original story.
The Enemy Within follows right after the end of the first game with Bruce having defeated Lady Arkham, The Penguin, and Catwoman. The Enemy Within feels more epic has a larger overarching story and has more villains in place. We get Bane, Riddler, Harley Quinn, The Joker, and Mr. Freeze all wrapped up into one big Batman package. The story from Telltale is one of the most unique and interesting I have seen in the Batman universe to date. It feels tightly knit and has resolution at the end instead of spiraling out of control into a million different spin-offs. Main characters can die, and Batman can even break his own code if you choose.
This game is probably one of the only Telltale adventure games that cut out all the fat from the choices part of the game. Even the dialogue option has meaning and makes a difference towards the end goal. There are larger moments that can turn the story around and fewer twists and surprises in this game, but the overall story is a slow burn rather than starting and stopping as in the first game. Some episodes are slower-paced, sometimes too slow, and this game really has too few action sequences and mini-games for my taste. I like the story, but some of the cut scenes can be nearly 20 minutes long with very little input. Again, this is another “interactive movie” with very little gameplay outside of some quick-time events and even less puzzle solving.
What we get is an origin story that doesn’t go too far back. We get to see how The Joker became insane and hated Batman, how Harley became a psycho herself and the relationship between Batman and Catwoman grows or falls apart depending on how you play. We also get to see how Riddler became the way he did, and one thing I need to point out is this game feels more like it can happen in today’s world. Less magic and fantasy stuff from the villains. Everything looks and feels like it can be explained somehow in today’s world which I love. All the villains are just normal humans with a slight scientific twist to them.
I will say we don’t get a backstory on Bane or Mr. Freeze really. Mr. Freeze isn’t used all that much and Bane is just an annoying bully through the whole thing. We do get a new entity called The Agency which is an original faction used in the game to counter-balance The Pact (all the villains) and it’s up to you to decide how The Agency is towards Batman. Amanda Waller is a love-or-hate kind of character, and mostly one-dimensional, but we get to see Lucious Fox’s daughter Tiffany, and the game eventually plays into the psychological aspect of Joker and Batman’s relationship like the comics do.
At the end of the day, we really feel like we know Batman, Alfred, Joker, and Harley all too well. Telltale did an amazing job of getting you inside their heads and making you really feel like you’re controlling Bruce’s fate and story. While the game is too light on gameplay, and a little slow-paced, I couldn’t stop playing as I wanted to see what happened next. I really weighed my choices and felt at the end everything from the first game to the end of this one was satisfying and meaningful. This is clearly the best Batman game to play if you want an amazing story.
The Shadows Edition adds some enhanced visuals, better textures, lighting, and a noir style that I played the game in that makes everything black and white except certain colors like red, green, and various accents of the character’s iconic colors. The game’s upgrades look great and I didn’t run into any bugs like I usually do with Telltale games.