Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 1 Review

Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1 Review

The biggest problem with Telltale titles, is the fact that the first episode of each of their series commonly feels underwhelming. Game of Thrones, The Wolf Among Us, and even the excellent Tales from The Borderlands, all did very little in order to persuade the players of the inaugural episode to either stick with the series, or alternatively purchase the season pass outright. However, Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within, has broken this unfavourable trend, and has managed to launch with an episode which is both satisfying within itself, and open ended enough and intriguing in order to hook you in for the long journey.

The introduction to the second season of Telltale’s Batman series titled The Enigma, as the name infers revolves around Edward Nigma, also known as The Riddler. And from the start, until the very end the main plotline of the title revolves around him and his illicit endeavours. And this is exactly why this particular episode is so great. It begins strongly with Riddler’s initial crime, continues throughout the episode with a thorough investigation, and ends with an explosive finale. And it is not only fun to play, but also extremely satisfying, as by the end of the 6th chapter of the episode, each and every player will have closure on what Riddler has done, why he did it, and how his criminal career has come to an end.

There’s a tremendous amount of narrative based content within the Riddler investigation alone, however, just like in the comic books, films, and other games starring the caped crusader, Batman: The Enemy Within – The Enigma, also features a plethora of underlying plotlines which will surely develop within future episodes. And this is because the initial episode of this particular series, has planted a bag full of seeds, which will surely hook many.
Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1 Review

Within the first episode you’ll have a chance to meet some of Bruce Wayne’s old friends, such as Lucius Fox, his daughter Tiffany, commissioner Gordon and Alfred. However, on top of that you’ll also come across a cast of other vibrant characters who are of grave importance to the story, yet are not as famous as the above fictional personas. Characters such as Amanda Waller who runs the Agency, an undercover federal investigation bureau who within the confines of this particular story is in charge of the GCPD. At the current time, she is just a side character, but will surely develop into somebody of immense importance, just like John Doe.

There’s a lot that could be said about the potential future of the series, but unfortunately it cannot be done without spoiling the story of the first episode. In fact, each and every single one of the aforementioned characters is just as important as the man, Bruce Wayne himself. It’s like every single person within the story is a lead character of their own personal tale. Some are on the path of vengeance, others seek retribution, whereas some are still a mystery – and even alone, they all present the player with enough to get him or her invested not just in the character, or the episode, but the series itself.

As you can see, story-wise, Batman: The Enemy Within – The Enigma is immensely successful. However, the impressive development of the narrative has only managed to fix a single issue which is synonymous with Telltale products. But unfortunately, there’s still a handful of negative factors which plagues this particular game, just like all the other Telltale titles.

Just like all the Telltale games which came before it, Batman: The Enemy within suffers from a number of technical issues which persist throughout. Worst of them all, just as always, is the inconsistent framerate. And while it is not as bad as in Telltale’s Game of Thrones, it still has a tremendous impact on the story as whole. And this issue is especially baffling when you take into the consideration the fact that on the technical level, Batman: The Enemy Within is not a masterpiece. It is still based on the same old tired Telltale formula, the graphical presentation is nothing to write home about, and worst of all, this particular title suffers from an unusual amount of jagged edges. Even the bat computer situated within the main menu, looks like it has been cut with a blunt saw.Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1 Review

Mechanical flaws of Batman: The Enemy Within are to be expected, as they are all just par for the course when it comes to Telltale, and it is unlikely that the developer will commit to overhauling the engine in order to improve the performance of their titles. However, by now I was hoping that they’d learn to avoid some of the common design, and direction related mistakes. But as it turns out, I was wrong.

Batman: The Enemy Within features some questionable design choices, which have an impact on the overall experience. The game disallows one from rotating the camera even slightly, forcing you to sometimes look for objects which are completely covered. This can lead to irritation; however, the title is at its worst when it forces you to play from a long-distance perspective, as it makes it borderline impossible to notice some objects, even on a 44’’ TV. But fortunately, instances where this happens are few and far between, and hopefully they’ll be even rarer as the series continues.

Ultimately, Batman: The Enemy Within is an excellent title, even when one takes into the consideration all the technical and mechanical gremlins which exist within it. And it is simply because it does all that a game of this genre and type should do. It delivers a consistent, and satisfying story within a single episode, but it doesn’t forget to tend to any and all future events. In fact, in its structure it is similar to The Sopranos, as this particular TV series has carried itself in the exactly the same manner, from one episode onto another, all the way to the finale. And if comparing Batman: The Enemy Within to arguably the greatest TV show of all time isn’t enough to persuade you that this is an excellent game, then nothing will.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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