Towards the end of last year, we reviewed Batman: The Telltale Series, awarding it a 9.5/10. We praised it for a multi-layered plot, the ability to play as Bruce Wayne, and difficult decisions. Following praise from fans regarding the same aspects - and likely, decent sales - Telltale Games decided to release a second season for the series, dubbed Batman: The Enemy Within.

The announcement was made last month, and the first episode, titled The Enigma, was released just a couple of days ago. Read on for our full review of the episode!

Specifications

Although the Steam page for Batman: The Enemy Within doesn't list the recommended specifications required to play the game, it does note the minimum specifications, which can be seen below:

  • OS: Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz
  • Memory: 3GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GTS 450+ with 1024MB+ VRAM (excluding GT) - LATEST DRIVERS REQUIRED
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 15GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX 11 sound device
  • Additional Notes: Not Recommended for Intel integrated graphics

For my playthrough of the game, I used my Dell Inspiron 15-5558 laptop, featuring the following specifications:

  • Display: 15.6" non-touch, 1366x768 resolution
  • OS: Windows 10, 64-bit
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-5200U CPU, ~2.20 GHz
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 5500, NVIDIA GeForce 920M (2GB VRAM)

Just to see how the game played on an integrated Intel HD graphics card (despite the warning), I tested it first on the Intel HD Graphics 5500, and as expected, performance was deplorable. Hence, for the purpose of this review, I switched to the dedicated Nvidia GeForce 920M graphics card.

Story

The second season of Batman kicks off one year after the events of the first season. After defeating the main villain of the previous title - I won't mention the name of said antagonist in case you haven't played it yet - relative peace prevails in Gotham. Despite being "one of the most dangerous cities" in the world, as mentioned in-game, the crime rate has considerably decreased.

But, as always, this is the calm before the storm, which comes in the form of the Riddler, who appears to be the primary antagonist for this episode. After a deal with international business tycoon Rumi Mori goes wrong, Batman is thrust right into action, as he unsuccessfully attempts to apprehend the criminal mastermind.

While this is a considerably generic start to the series, the mood is considerably grittier than its predecessor. Although a masked villain whose identity is virtually unknown poses a serious amount of threat, an antagonist who doesn't have any fear of the authorities and doesn't feel the need to protect their identity is arguably more disconcerting. This is exactly what the Riddler brings to the table.

As an inherently intellectual individual who intentionally leaves clues at his crime scenes to challenge the authorities, the Riddler is exactly the villain that the first episode needed to shift gears and raise the stakes. Furthermore, Telltale made the right decision in introducing the elusive super-villain just a few minutes into the story.

While I won't go into story details for fear of spoiling the game for readers who are yet to play it, I feel that it is necessary to point out that the title contains considerably more violence than its predecessor. It doesn't shy away from torture chambers and amputation of different body parts; two set pieces related to Riddler's "Torture boxes" are particularly memorable . However, the pixelated blood and cartoonish graphics means that it can be played by a younger audience as well.

Batman: The Enemy Within brings back various characters from the previous season including a PTSD Alfred, an ever-intelligent Lucius Fox, loyal commissioner Gordon, and John Doe - or the "Proto-Joker", as Telltale likes to call him - among others.

The season also introduces some new characters such as the director of the mysterious organization "The Agency", Fox's daughter Tiffany, and Agency agent Iman Avesti.

All these characters, old and new, bring interesting dynamics to the table. How you interact with them will impact your relationship with them. A rather humorous example of this is that if you treat the Joker / John Doe like a friend, he'll start calling you "Brucie".

While the main plot of this season seems quite straight-forward at the start, Telltale isn't showing its hand just yet. Near the end of the episode, it becomes apparent that there's more to it than meets the eye. Some very interesting reveals, hints, and cliffhangers at the end of the episode have left me aching for the next episode.

Gameplay

Before playing Batman: The Enemy Within, I was dreading that I would have to go through the same old action scenes where I have to click or rely on two keys: "E" and "Q". Thankfully, Telltale has upped its game with the introduction of enhanced combat controls, that add more depth to the gameplay. Regarding keys, the company has introduced two new combinations: "Shift" + "Q" and "Shift" + "E". I have to say, this makes combat slightly more complicated and is a welcome change.

Moreover, you'll also have the opportunity to try different combat maneuvers during quick-time events (QTE), which makes fights all the more fun. There are a couple action sequences in which you have to press multiple keys before executing a move as well. Lastly, there are now more cursor movements supported too, including rotating it clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Similar to the previous title, Batman: The Enemy Within does not only rely on the player putting on the cowl of the Dark Knight, it also allows them to approach certain situations as Bruce Wayne. This was a notable positive that I noted in my review of the first season of the game, and it remains a high point in this season as well.

Batman: The Enemy Within also allows players to lie a bit more. Choosing between telling the truth or a lie is a fascinating option and impacts the dialog and your relationship with other characters as well. Wrong decisions can lead to the death of seemingly-major characters too.

Detective scenes that require you to "link" pieces of evidence, in order to decipher what events transpired at a crime scene form a highlight in this season as well. It's particularly exhilarating seeing all the pieces of the puzzle come together right before your eyes.

Apart from all the aspects mentioned above, Batman: The Enemy Within offers the same gameplay options as all of Telltale's predecessing titles. In most cases, players have to choose a response in a limited amount of time, and you can interact with some objects in the environment. Crowd-play is supported as well.

If you sign in from your Telltale account, you can import your save files from the previous season. However, if like me, you haven't created an account yet, but remember your major decisions from the first season, you can manually choose those options, as they will impact your current storyline too.

Presentation

I feel like I mention this in every Telltale review that I write, but just in case you haven't played any of the publisher's titles before, I'll reiterate: the graphics in Batman: The Enemy Within follow the signature art style of Telltale Games. It isn't graphically intensive, and in fact, many people consider the company's graphics engine to be dated, the cartoonish visuals blend in well with the DC Comics franchise's comic-book origins.

I have to say, the voice acting in superb. I would particularly like to commend Troy Baker, who does a stellar job voicing Bruce Wayne / Batman once again. Other members of the cast give a top-notch performance as well, which keeps the series grounded in realism in a fictional universe.

One rather weird thing I'd like to mention is that although my graphics card - despite being rather low-end - easily transcends the minimum requirements of Batman: The Enemy Within, I did experience some performance issues and dips in frame rate during my playthrough of the game. Thankfully, however, this is not a game-breaking issue and is slightly less noticeable than the graphical glitches present in the previous game.

Lastly, the environment in the title is superb and is very engrossing. Throughout my playtime, I was fully absorbed in Batman: The Enemy Within, as it provides as atmosphere that is fictional, yet has roots in reality, with corrupt businessmen, criminals, and some relatable characters.

Final Take

Overall, The Enigma is the perfect premier episode for the second season of Batman and the Caped Crusader's latest adventure. Once again, the plot contains some exhilarating set pieces, is multi-layered, perhaps even more so than its predecessor, and features some strong performances from its voice actors.

If it wasn't for the minor graphical hitches that I experienced during my 2.5 hours of playtime, I might have awarded a higher rating to the episode.

If you liked the first season of Batman, I absolutely recommend that you play this title. If you haven't played it but are a Batman fan, I would advise that you play the first season before trying your hand at this game, because if you don't, you likely won't understand some of the more intricate details and references mentioned in the title. The same advice goes for people who aren't Batman fans but enjoy games in which decisions matter.

All in all, if you have $25 to spend, you can't possibly go wrong with Batman: The Enemy Within. You can purchase the Season Pass for Batman: The Enemy Within for $24.99 on Steam, PlayStation 4, or the Xbox One.

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The review of the first episode, The Enigma, of Batman: The Enemy Within was conducted using a Steam code for a season pass provided to the reviewer by Telltale Games.

 

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