Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 3-Fractured Mask (Xbox One)
Bruce is caught in a bit of pickle. The return of an old flame, and frenemy, throws him off his guard as he works feverishly to uncover the end goal of The Pact's plot to bring down Gotham. Working from within, Bruce and Selina must put their past aside for the greater good of Gotham. Meanwhile, Bruce must contend with keeping John Doe's true nature from emerging as John edges closer and closer toward insanity in his quest to earn Bruce's friendship and Harley's affections.
-More dialogue and investigation sequences
-Excellent character development
-More meaningful, but less frequent combat sequences
November 21st, 2017
Xbox One, PS4, PC, iOS,
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Rating: M for Mature
Coming out almost exactly a year after Batman: The Telltale Series, the second season of Telltale’s exciting take on the Dark Knight’s harrowing adventures, Batman: The Enemy Within has arrived. While the first season started off rather lackluster but eventually built its way up to a satisfying and exciting conclusion, this new season sets an exhilarating pace right from the start. While trying to remain as spoiler-free as possible, I will say that decisions from the first season have already been implemented in a massive way in just the first episode of The Enemy Within.
Much like in season 1, there is coarse language, violence, smoking, drinking, and just a little bit of gore. The Batman universe, whether in games, TV, movies, or comics has always been much darker and grittier than most of the rest of the DC universe and things are no different here. Episode 3 is a bit tamer than the episodes before it as Bruce is still undercover trying to bring down a new criminal group from the inside. There is language, your standard superhero violence, and some sexual tension between two key characters.
Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 3, “Fractured Mask” picks up right where “The Pact” left off. While working undercover for the Agency, a secretive organization run by Amanda Waller, Bruce Wayne is reunited with an old frenemy from his past. This is perhaps where the best use of choice from season 1 comes into play as things Bruce said to Selena Kyle during season 1 do come up in dialogue here. How their relationship, and that of their alter-egos, play out over the course of the episode is entirely up to the player.
Meanwhile, Batman is introduced to John Doe for the first time. Does John know his secret identity as he dangles a carrot for Batman in the form of an item that both he and Bruce Wayne need, an item that John Doe has promised to deliver to both identities? This question is lingering over every interaction between Bruce and John in “Fractured Mask” as the two develop a closer relationship; Bruce is trying to help John woo Harley Quinn while simultaneously staying undercover in the hopes of uncovering the groups nefarious plot. While I like seeing John and Bruce’s relationship play out, Telltale seems to be dragging their feet when it comes to letting John cut loose and become the iconic Batman villain we all know him to be. It is difficult to tell where they want to take the character this season and I hope they explore in more detail how Bruce’s choices can affect the type of villain John is becoming.
Action sequences are scant in this episode with a few more opportunities for Bruce to prove himself to his new “team,” and Batman squaring off against Catwoman in a scene reminiscent of the very first episode of season 1. With less of a focus on combat, investigation sequences and relationship building are the key focus in this episode. This shift in tone offers a nice change of pace for what started as an action-packed season. It is a thrill knowing that every word and action from Bruce and Batman could severely impact his relationship with long time allies like Commissioner Gordon and new friends like Tiffany Fox and Amanda Waller. This episode even allows players to decide whether or not to let Bruce reveal his alter-ego to a trusted confidant.
Batman: The Telltale Series has been the most consistent Telltale title to date when it comes to carrying over choices made in previous seasons and episodes. I cannot wait to see how this season ends as the cliffhanger at the end of “Fractured Mask” leaves Bruce, his allies, and his new “friends” in some uniquely terrifying, totally unexpected scenarios. I am honestly not sure how Bruce will finagle his way out of the current predicament he finds himself in at the end of Episode 3. Sadly, I will have to wait until the release of Episode 4 to continue this thrilling Batman story.
+ Some of the best character development and relationship building the series has seen to date
+ Less time spent as Batman allows players to explore a different, more cunning side of Bruce Wayne
+ Player choice is used brilliantly as relationships that were developed in Season 1 pick up exactly where they left off
- It is unclear where Telltale is going with John Doe as a character
- Less time as Batman means less time getting to smash goons' faces in