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Review: Batman: The Enemy Within - The Telltale Series (Xbox One)By ringlord71 At 14.04.2018 12:30

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As all rollercoaster rides seems to go, The Enemy Within opens with the return of an old villain in Telltale's Batman lore, The Riddler. While this tosses up many questions due to the lack of mentions in the first season, Riddler is regarded as Gotham's first ever masked villain. Telltale does nail his introduction, however, with an epic opening sequence that asks a whole myriad of questions, upon which sets the season up. The Riddler is the first of a series of new villains who make their way into Gotham, with perhaps the greatest villain of the season, Amanda Waller, being one of them.

Her arrival with the Agency in the opening episode is brought about by The Riddler, as he is in possession of a certain something she is quite interested in retrieving. While Riddler begins to cause problems around Gotham, Batman does his best as both the masked vigilante, as well as in Bruce Wayne form, in a bid to clear him out and make the city safer again. Jim Gordon is as reliable as ever; however, the two are in straight confliction with Amanda Waller, and the governance she tries to use to control matters of the Agency's concern.

From the opening episode, Waller proves to be the true key villain to this piece, as her manipulation to control both Gordon and Batman reaches a level that not even Batman expected it to. As the season progresses, Batman must also use the mask of Bruce Wayne to infiltrate Riddler's group of evil villains, called the Pact. The group of villains consist of Harley Quinn, the icy Mr. Freeze, and the luchador-looking Bane. This group of villains are all against the Batman for obvious reasons, which is what makes Bruce Wayne's infiltration even more thrilling.

Bruce Wayne is pivotal to this season's overall mission, as he is still trying to keep his hidden identity a secret from the public. What makes his whole situation worse in the Pact is that Waller discovers his masked moniker and uses that over him to get him to do her bidding. Putting him in a further tough spot is his friend from season one, John Doe, and his ever-growing need to find his place in Gotham. While he does not always have the best ideas, or even the best applications, the entire way through his heart is in the right place, as he honestly tries to put Gotham's safety ahead of anything else.

John Doe really takes the biscuit in his character development, as Telltale really tries to position John Doe as exactly how he is portrayed. While the obviousness of him becoming The Joker is there the entire way through, the story never shoehorns him down that path just for the sake of it. While there are many twists and turns throughout the season, John Doe is not one of them. Watching his progression is fascinating and seeing how everything influences him as the season moves forward makes dealing with conflicts even more thrilling.

The rest of the villains have ample screen-time for the season. While Harley Quinn is the self-appointed leader of the Pact, it is clear from the get-go that the group is not the "three best friends" as first thought. Bane is the dominant one of the group and feels like he should be the leader of the Pact, while Mr. Freeze is happy to just focus on his things and support the Pact anyway that he can. Watching Bruce Wayne bumble around this group undercover begins as a fun and thrilling journey, which slowly deteriorates into a boring slog mid-way through the season.

It is not until Amanda Waller really raises the stakes that Bruce Wayne's position in the group becomes close to being compromised, forcing the friends he has made around him to make some dire life-altering decisions. The ripple effect is felt by everyone this season, including even poor Alfred, who is suffering from the shakes after his kidnapping by Lady Arkham in the finale of last season. His constant worrying about Bruce Wayne, as well as his importance in Bruce Wayne righting his moral compass, is a key highlight of The Enemy Within, and it is a great reminder that each action and decision will have consequences.

Shadowing Amanda Waller are two more agents, Iman Avesta and Vernon Blake, who are sent to make life even harder for Bruce Wayne. In the meantime, Wayne Enterprises' head of R&D, Lucius Fox, brings his daughter in to work for her first day, as she slowly enters the foray of experiments and weapons development that her father even hides from her. This adds a new and interesting dynamic that throws the young Tiffany Fox into some life-altering moments that change the way she sees the world.

The fight scenes have taken a step forward, as Telltale experiments with the use of some cool and unique camera angles, while introducing multi-layered elements to the fights. Now, during certain fight sequences, rather than just following the button and joystick prompts on the screen, specific action prompts will appear giving Batman a choice during the midst of the battle. While neither choice drastically affects the story, it is still a cool new toy that can certainly be expanded upon in the future, perhaps with broadened fight paths.

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[i]Batman: The Enemy Within[/i] is a blast of a follow-up season to Telltale's Caped Crusader, as Bruce Wayne plays a pivotal role in trying to bring down the villainous group known as the Pact. With The Riddler, Harley Quinn, Bane, and Mr. Freeze in tow, Wayne works with John Doe, while Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, Catwoman, Lucius and his daughter Tiffany Fox provide the support. To make matters unstable, though, is the arrival of the mysterious Agency, led by Amanda Waller, as she keeps her motives hidden from all, while governing the protection of Gotham in a way that she sees fit, much to the chagrin of Jim Gordon. While the story's pacing begins to weaken and slow at the midpoint of the season, the rollercoaster races through to the finish line at the backend, as a memorable season of Batman comes to a painful and emotional close.



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