Batman: The Enemy Inside, Telltale’s newest installment in its Batman collection, doesn’t waste time in reminding the participant of what Telltale brings to the almost eighty-year custom of Telling Tales About Batman. The very first dialogue choice within the recreation is one which asks the participant to state Bruce Wayne’s emotions on the implications of dwelling a double life.
By inhabiting Bruce Wayne in a roleplay-based recreation, the participant is nearly at all times enjoying a personality who’s themselves enjoying a personality. Bruce is so seldom amongst individuals who know the entire of his identification that enjoying him is to play three folks: Bruce Wayne, billionaire son of Gotham; Batman, the hyper-competent vigilante; and Bruce Wayne, the man who’s each of these and neither of them.
After which there’s the opening scene in The Enemy Inside, the place you’re Bruce Wayne as James Bond, infiltrating a fellow billionaire’s on line casino with augmented actuality contact lenses and the voice of a (former) MI5 operative within the microphone in your ear. (That’s Alfred, in fact.)
It’s been the higher a part of a yr since I dived into my last episode of Telltale’s Batman series, and the sport’s selections in the way it differs from comics canon can nonetheless take me unexpectedly. Bruce affectionately calls Alfred “Al.” Thomas Wayne is a identified felony. I’m unsure I’m ever going to have the ability to navigate conversations between Bruce Wayne and the sport’s pre-Joker character, John Doe, with out my selections being affected by the burden of realizing the place that story goes.
However now that we’re into the second season of the collection, we are able to additionally observe variations between Telltale’s final replace and this one. A number of staple characters have been given a much-needed visible facelift — most notably James Gordon — who has settled into the function of police commissioner and the function of carrying a correct mustache.
The mechanics have been given a shakedown as nicely, and not using a deliberate struggle sequence in sight. As a substitute, the participant makes the identical selections — would you want to make use of your grapple gun to slam an indication put up into a man’s again, or simply punch him within the freakin’ face? — as timed choices on the fly. Telltale kicked up the depth of one of many remaining fights within the first season by switching from sedately deliberate selections to timed picks from contained in the struggle sequence. It was as satisfying there as it’s right here. In different phrases, I bought to tear a roulette wheel off a desk, use it as a defend after which bash a mook with it.
Along with shaking up previous concepts, The Enemy Inside additionally introduces some new issues to its mechanical and narrative software belt. The Riddler makes an early and violent debut within the recreation with an attention-grabbing new backstory, and with our new large villain, there’s a brand new large ally … possibly. Amanda Waller has introduced her mysterious authorities job drive, identified solely as The Company, to Gotham on a hunt for the Riddler. Certainly, we’re in one thing of an Amanda Waller renaissance as of late, along with her that includes in a minimum of three concurrent franchises in television, movies and video games.
Her presence in The Enemy Inside units up the primary clear theme of your selections by way of the episode. Will you’re employed extra intently with Gordon or with Waller, who guarantees higher crime preventing assets? The framing is made most clear within the episode’s most consequential alternative, the place gamers as soon as once more have the choice to interrogate a suspect as Bruce Wayne or as Batman.
And talking of narrative selections and character mechanics, in case you’ve performed a Telltale Sport, you’ve cried salt tears at “_____ will keep in mind that.” Now, meet your new greatest pal/emotional punch within the intestine:
“Your relationship with _____ has modified.”
All the large selections in Enemy Inside are about Batman’s relationships along with his allies, a transfer that feels designed to harm me, personally, as somebody whose favourite Batman collection ever was the one about his relationships with his allies. On the finish of the episode, alongside the standard abstract of how your main selections aligned with the remainder of Telltale’s enjoying viewers, the sport additionally offers you a rundown of the dominant emotion that you simply left main characters with, whether or not it was loyalty, vengeance or one other nuanced choice.
I appreciated that, as a result of each time “Your relationship with _____ has modified” appeared on the display I second guessed each alternative within the previous dialog. Had I ruined their view of me by mendacity? Worse, had I ruined it by telling the reality? Telltale is not any stranger to mixing up the “will bear in mind this” components for an additional emotional or humorous punch, however “your relationship has modified” simply exhibits how a lot the writers are enthusiastic about how you can information the participant’s emotions.
Whereas The Enemy Inside positively continues the Telltale Batman development of constructing you’re feeling such as you’re making weighty selections as Bruce Wayne, it additionally continues a development in Batman video games of very straightforward detective work. Examine the crime scene for all of the reticles, actually join a couple of dots and growth, you’ve escaped the Riddler’s dying lure. Even the precise riddles that he poses to you’re intentionally easy, and the participant is guided by onscreen quicktime directions on fixing a puzzle field.
Maybe a working puzzle field problem is an excessive amount of to count on of a Telltale recreation. Maybe I’m betraying an excessive amount of of my long-time affection for level and click on puzzle video games. However holy enigmas, Batman, it’s the goddamn Riddler. Is it an excessive amount of to let the participant really really feel good for beating him?
Enemy Inside additionally looks like quite a lot of arrange for a hook that arrives in virtually the final scene — which is cheap for a primary of 5 episodes. However I discovered my thoughts wandering by way of quite a lot of the gameplay, questioning when this may get round to wrapping up.
Batman: The Enemy Inside makes incremental enhancements on a profitable components — and the introduction of a brand new, relationship-focused alternative mechanic was an enormous hit. It would drag right here and there, but it surely units up for giant issues to come back in additional installments. If Enemy Inside is something like its predecessor, slightly endurance will repay.
Batman: The Enemy Inside was reviewed utilizing a remaining reviewable Steam code supplied by Telltale Video games. Yow will discover further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage here.