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Review: Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 2: The Pact (PlayStation 4)By devidise At 08.10.2017 00:19

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Continuing right where it left off during the first episode, the audience gets to see the conversation play out between Batman and Waller. Waller's true intentions come out, and while they may not be what was first thought, it does a really good job of moving the story along. Upon meeting a new villain, whom long-time fans will recognize almost immediately, the Bat is quickly injured beyond what even he can handle.

Telltale's games have a tendency to lose control of their plots from time to time, and The Pact is one example of how they can avoid that. Every moment of screen time feels important, choices seem to matter, even if perhaps they won't matter right away, or even in this episode. The new characters mix in perfectly with Bruce Wayne, who is also joined by returning characters like John. John seems to be moving in a direction of further instability, and if Telltale intends to turn him into the Joker, they're doing an amazing job of keeping that build up organic and fun.

Time to make a bold claim. One new addition is Harleen Quinzel, who might be the best incarnation of the character ever produced. Harley Quinn is a double-edged sword for Batman fans. She is often revered as a strong female villain, but one that spends a lot of her time getting beaten up by the Joker, developing a crippling case of Stockholm Syndrome that makes her character hard for some to stomach. Telltale has reversed the roles, making her the dominating spouse, though the pair aren't together here. Her accent is subtle and her costume feels very toned down - at least for her. This results in a darker, almost coming from the shadows Harley, where she is normally more ostentatious.

Waller isn't quite as involved this episode, and more of the episode is spent developing and showing the relationship between John Doe and Bruce Wayne. Bruce will meet several new enemies to contend with, all while contending with some serious injuries that will hopefully get addressed again as the series continues. The Pact sets up some amazing stuff that will be nice to see come to fruition as the episodes tick down to the finale.

In terms of gameplay, this is still a standard Telltale affair, though there are some minor differences to previous episodes released by the adventure gaming juggernaut, the primary one being that the player's action QTEs are much more spread out than normal. While the episode opens with a fantastic action sequence, this episode is more about Bruce Wayne than the Batman. Much of the episode is spent making choices, which again feel more weighted here, and during the last half, there's a lot of exploring environments. Where The Pact succeeds is keeping these moments compact, fluidly running them into new moments of interest before they run their course.

There are some minor moments that hold the episode back a little, however. On one occasion, when exploring an environment, Bruce got stuck trying to find a path and ends up looking like the guy at the party who spilled juice on you, and can't get to the paper towels. At one point, during a cut-scene, the player has control for all of two seconds, which seems trivial, but breaks the scene up in a really daunting way. Imagine watching a movie, and someone stopping the film halfway through, throwing you the remote, and telling you to press play. It doesn't destroy the whole experience; it's just kind of weird.

The Pact is filled with weird little moments like this that break the gameplay. One choice early on is actually three variations on the same choice; the only difference is how bad you will feel about it. These moments are few and far between, and this is some of Telltale's best work, bar none. Even when the player is treated to long periods without QTEs or even making choices, this does such a good job of setting up the rest of the season, and the waiting is going to leave you desperate for more.

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Final Score
[i]Batman: The Enemy Within: The Pact[/i] is Telltale at its best. A fluid, competent, charming story, mixed with smart integration of QTEs and action sequences, will leave the audience chomping at the bit for more. There are some moments that don't feel quite as tight, and will remind you that, yes, this is a game. Those moments don't detract from the fact that this is such a solid instalment that it may be some of Telltale's best work.

8

/10

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