Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1: The Enigma (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 18.08.2017

Review for Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1: The Enigma on PlayStation 4

The last 15 years have really proven to be good for Batman fans. Already a universe touched by some of the best writers alive, there's been so many different takes on the masked vigilante that there's bound to be at least one that anyone would like. Telltale brings their unique mixture of choice-driven narrative and QTE action sequences to Gotham City for a second season, and this one is already lining up to be one of the developer's better series to date.

Taking place the year after Season One, The Enemy Within drops the hero into a rather elaborate plot by a figure of Gotham's past, the Riddler. Once a terrifying criminal mastermind who haunted the streets of Gotham, the Riddler has returned to unleash his particular brand of injustice on the city. Also new to the series is Amanda Waller and the Agency, a group of FBI-esque agents whose methods of crime fighting lean a bit on the side of unethical.

The events from the previous season are still ringing throughout the universe, and Telltale again proves they are masters of tying plots together. While it wouldn't be necessary to have played the first season, there are a lot of references the player is going to miss out on entirely if they haven't, or at least have to piece together themselves. It's should be pointed out, though, this isn't an issue; just a friendly warning. The opening moments of The Enigma try to catch the player up on the events of the first season, while the rest of the game makes reference to those events, ensuring anyone trying out the Batman universe has an idea of what has already transpired.

Screenshot for Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1: The Enigma on PlayStation 4

The story behind The Enigma is genuinely amazing. Telltale nailed the beats here, making every chapter feel interesting and purposeful. The story doesn't falter with unnecessary filler scenes, and every character Bruce encounters is fascinating. One scene early on runs a bit too long, but it's alone in this. The pacing is fantastic for the most part, and by the end, the story enters territory that is both imaginative and unpredictable.

One complaint falls into the episode's abrupt conclusion. The last five minutes seem designed to both tie everything up and set up the remainder of the season, and it doesn't seem to be enough time to realistically get all of that done. What is left is a rushed conclusion that, while still interesting, just doesn't have the impact it could have had if it had more time to really grow.

Screenshot for Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1: The Enigma on PlayStation 4

The biggest disappointment here is the man himself, the Riddler. It's important, mind you, to judge this Riddler not against his many variations across the multimedia landscape over the years, but as his own entity. The reason he is such a let-down is that his riddles just aren't very enticing. A handful of riddles will need to be figured out throughout the game, and they all seem very basic. While it would be ludicrous to give players something extremely abstract, the riddles just feel a bit pedestrian.

Amanda Waller also fits neatly into the "manipulative antihero" archetype she seems to be designed for. Other members of the agency, like Iman Avesta, are much more interesting characters, though Waller succeeds at being almost instantly unlikable. However, she is unlikable in a good way, as she does the job she is intended for with a great deal of precision, and is clearly an issue that will need to be dealt with. Other Agency members, like Blake, are thankfully relegated to the background, as they are unlikable in all the worst ways.

Screenshot for Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1: The Enigma on PlayStation 4

Playing the experience is arguably more intense than other Telltale games of past, as the full controller seems to be utilised. Even the puzzles feel more cerebral here, though they don't venture far beyond cautiously tricky in terms of difficulty. In fact, only one puzzle in the episode felt out of place, and it's a fairly minor ordeal later on. - so while the riddles themselves feel rather simplistic, the puzzles outside of those feel well conceived, even if they aren't especially challenging.

Combat is, for lack of a better word, fantastic. It feels almost effortless, and thanks to a decreased load time, even failure doesn't sting quite as bad. Telltale has clearly gotten a better handle on QTEs over the years, and they do a sublime job making it feel as though one is controlling the Bat. While in other titles, it can occasionally feel like the responses don't always matter, here everything feels like it's streamlined directly into the player's hands. Mistakes result in failure, not clunky response times or lagging graphics. In terms of actual gameplay, this is arguably some of Telltale's best work to date.

Screenshot for Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1: The Enigma on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It's going to be an exciting season if The Enigma is anything to go off of. While some of the characters aren't as interesting, the story is going in a really exciting direction. Thanks to the reworked technical side, this is one of the most fluid and enticing Telltale titles to date. Hopefully, the rest of the season measures up as well as this episode has.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

Telltale

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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