Batman: The Enemy Within Episode 1 Review

By Mark Delaney,
It was almost exactly a year ago that Telltale Games debuted their first ever take on arguably their biggest license yet, DC's Batman. Season one promised bold alterations to the character's decades-long lore and at times they definitely delivered that. Ultimately the season was a good first try and I was sure they'd be back for more. One year later and the studio has wasted little time in getting back to Gotham. Batman: The Enemy Within - The Telltale Series is an entertaining and once again lore-manipulating debut, although it does feel a bit too familiar at times.

Batman: The Enemy Within

Like they did with The Walking Dead's third season, Telltale opted to use a subtitle rather than call attention to the fact that The Enemy Within is in fact a continuation of an ongoing story. It's meant to allow people to feel comfortable enough to jump into the story now, but like other games from the studio, it's also best consumed as that continuation. All of your choices from the first season carry over and the relationships play out a bit differently for the first time in a while. All of those "[Character] will remember that" moments are now visualized post-episode alongside the usual statistics about your big choices.

Batman season one offered the most intensive quick-time events of any Telltale series yet. Although it may not mean much to some people, this second season actually outperforms its predecessor in that regard. New techniques are utilized in the QTEs and they are even more frequent than before in action sequences. Thankfully, this episode was able to keep up on a technical level. Of course, nearly all premieres from the lag-prone developer perform well because premieres have spent months if not longer in development. How the remainder of the season plays out will ultimately decide how well they've done with their troubled game engine this time, but for now it's safe to venture back to Gotham without fear of slowed scenes and bugged performances.

It's like riding a bike.It's like riding a bike.

The story picks up one year after the events of the first season. Then, Batman was a new player in the crime and punishment merry-go-round of Gotham. Now, he's a trusted ally of the GCPD. Even as politicians play skeptics, the citizens of the city and those that protect them are all keen on the caped crusader. Like before, Telltale's Batman is equally about Bruce Wayne and you'll spend plenty of time in a dress shirt and trousers — it's not all cape and cowl. The duality of the character feels like it's on a collision course already in the premiere, hence the subtitle of the season. A lot of that thematic material is quite rote for superhero stories in general, even as Batman's dueling personas have often been the most interesting of a crowded bunch.

Fortunately, this first episode also goes to great lengths to push the proverbial envelope with the character. Rewriting major characters' personalities, irreversibly harming Batman's close-knit family of allies, and digging deeper into the annals of Batman and the broader DC Comics lore makes this a fun premiere with more than a few surprises. It's still exciting to role-play the hero. Despite his world fame, few games have ever let us do that; once again, your Batman will truly be tested and ultimately authored by you.

Riddler is still driven by ego, but he's colder and more violent than usual now.Riddler is still driven by ego, but he's colder and more violent than usual now.

One portion of the story that The Enemy Within gets uniquely right is its portrayal of The Joker. He's only "John Doe" right now and his performance last season was mixed, but it seems the time apart has helped the studio and voice actor craft a better bad guy. The dramatic irony of watching him slowly become the Clown Prince of Crime is one of the coolest Batman plot points ever written. Batman looks on ignorantly at John Doe, unknowing that his worst nemesis is being bred before his eyes. We know where it's heading and that knowledge informs our choices whenever Doe is in a scene.

The problem inherent within the praise is that we've seen it all before — we saw it last August. The Enemy Within's premiere makes moves similar to last year's premiere: a villain reimagined, another teased, several easter eggs for the well read fans, some fantastic original music, and a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. It's become mechanical for the developer-publisher, an assembly line of emotional cues. That familiarity leaves us on a fence and we're forced to climb down as players, reviewers, fans, to pick a side. Do you have faith that the rest of the season will continue to up the ante or will it play the same cards as before?

As is nearly always the case with Telltale, just playing through the episode will net you all six unmissable achievements for 200 gamerscore.

Summary

Telltale is the master of the season debut. They've been building fantastic first episodes for years now. From there, their games have gone in all sorts of directions. Sometimes they've stayed superb, while other times they've fizzled out. The first episode of Batman: The Enemy Within is yet another great debut that does most of the things you'd want it to do. Fans of the last season or the hero in general will no doubt enjoy this first of five episodes. Some part of us can't help but worry that this one will follow too closely in the footsteps of its predecessor, which would mean it won't end as impressively as it has begun. Still, we're choosing to remain optimistic.
4 / 5
Batman: The Enemy Within - The Telltale Series
Positives
  • Improved QTEs
  • More captivating character "rewrites"
  • Huge moments and fun teases
  • New additions to the choice and relationship stats
Negatives
  • Follows too closely to last season's formula
Ethics
The reviewer spent just over two hours back in Gotham, solving puzzles and punching faces. He gathered all six achievements along the way for 200 G. An Xbox One copy was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
Mark Delaney
Written by Mark Delaney
Mark is a Boston native now living in Portland, Oregon. He has written for GameSkinny, Gamesradar and the Official Xbox Magazine. He runs the family-oriented gaming site Game Together.
Posts on this article have been added to a thread in the Editorials and Features Forum.
  • WillCBlogsWillCBlogs234,008
    Posted on 09 August 17 at 23:36Permalink
    Couldn't wait for my first impressions huh Mark? laugh
  • NateCCRNNateCCRN261,670
    Posted on 10 August 17 at 00:09Permalink
    Very nice review. Can't wait to get to it.
  • EinhanderEinhander332,535
    Posted on 10 August 17 at 00:12Permalink
    smile
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 00:41Permalink
    I'm very much impressed by this game. Will go back to the original Batman as I never finished that beyond the first episode.
  • SashamorningSashamorning1,702,650
    Posted on 10 August 17 at 02:26Permalink
    Feels like this one came out a little too quickly after the last one...

    Oh look, Life Is Strange is dropping in 3 weeks.
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 02:51Permalink
    Maybe i missed it but will there be a physical release for this game?
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 03:13Permalink
    TearsOfAClown9 said:
    Maybe i missed it but will there be a physical release for this game?
    Medium states "Physical and Digital" on the TA page, so presumably yes.
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 03:40Permalink
    I just recently got into the Telltale games. Starting off with the Batman (season 1), then Borderlands, and now playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. These games are so much fun, plus the achievements are a breeze. I bought the season pass to this when it came out, can't wait to start it.
  • quorumzquorumz304,776
    Posted on 10 August 17 at 05:02Permalink
    I loved the episode, very well written and done. So much better then the guardians of the galaxy crap :)
    Quorumz
  • neeker75neeker75915,892
    Posted on 10 August 17 at 06:22Permalink
    Very enjoyable Episode 1. Seems like there'd be a villain in every episode until the final reveal of John Doe in the final one.
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 08:21Permalink
    LifeSuxPlayHALO said:
    I just recently got into the Telltale games. Starting off with the Batman (season 1), then Borderlands, and now playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. These games are so much fun, plus the achievements are a breeze. I bought the season pass to this when it came out, can't wait to start it.
    you should check out the various movie ones they have in your into tht sort of thing. harry potter. { 2 games} indiana jones, lord of the rings, back to the future,the new jurrastic world
    budah
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 08:58Permalink
    I actually loved the formula from the first game so if that's the only negative for this I'm excited for it. I normally wait til the entire thing is out before purchasing these days though.
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 12:16Permalink
    morphable freak said:
    LifeSuxPlayHALO said:
    I just recently got into the Telltale games. Starting off with the Batman (season 1), then Borderlands, and now playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. These games are so much fun, plus the achievements are a breeze. I bought the season pass to this when it came out, can't wait to start it.
    you should check out the various movie ones they have in your into tht sort of thing. harry potter. { 2 games} indiana jones, lord of the rings, back to the future,the new jurrastic world
    I got extremely excited at the sight of a Harry Potter Telltale game, but I am finding nothing on TA or even on Telltale's website...Can you point me in the right direction?
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 12:55Permalink
    Z Squared91 said:
    morphable freak said:
    LifeSuxPlayHALO said:
    I just recently got into the Telltale games. Starting off with the Batman (season 1), then Borderlands, and now playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. These games are so much fun, plus the achievements are a breeze. I bought the season pass to this when it came out, can't wait to start it.
    you should check out the various movie ones they have in your into tht sort of thing. harry potter. { 2 games} indiana jones, lord of the rings, back to the future,the new jurrastic world
    I got extremely excited at the sight of a Harry Potter Telltale game, but I am finding nothing on TA or even on Telltale's website...Can you point me in the right direction?
    The commenter is doing what a lot of people do in confusing Telltale games with TT Games, the team behind the LEGO games. Most of the named properties are LEGO games, though there are Telltale productions of Jurassic Park and Bwck to the Future, but they're more puzzle oriented than the more recent stuff.
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 13:22Permalink
    N0T PENNYS B0AT said:
    Z Squared91 said:
    morphable freak said:
    LifeSuxPlayHALO said:
    I just recently got into the Telltale games. Starting off with the Batman (season 1), then Borderlands, and now playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. These games are so much fun, plus the achievements are a breeze. I bought the season pass to this when it came out, can't wait to start it.
    you should check out the various movie ones they have in your into tht sort of thing. harry potter. { 2 games} indiana jones, lord of the rings, back to the future,the new jurrastic world
    I got extremely excited at the sight of a Harry Potter Telltale game, but I am finding nothing on TA or even on Telltale's website...Can you point me in the right direction?
    The commenter is doing what a lot of people do in confusing Telltale games with TT Games, the team behind the LEGO games. Most of the named properties are LEGO games, though there are Telltale productions of Jurassic Park and Bwck to the Future, but they're more puzzle oriented than the more recent stuff.
    Ah okay, that makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification. I feel like it's only a matter of time before Telltale adds the Harry Potter universe to their collection...one can hope, at least.
  • Stevo6483Stevo6483187,884
    Posted on 10 August 17 at 14:37Permalink
    ^ I was going to say.... most of them are Lego games. Was half expecting Star Wars to get a mention.
    Stoke me a clipper, I'll be back for Christmas... Whatever!
  • Posted on 10 August 17 at 15:13Permalink
    Z Squared91 said:
    N0T PENNYS B0AT said:
    Z Squared91 said:
    morphable freak said:
    LifeSuxPlayHALO said:
    I just recently got into the Telltale games. Starting off with the Batman (season 1), then Borderlands, and now playing the Guardians of the Galaxy. These games are so much fun, plus the achievements are a breeze. I bought the season pass to this when it came out, can't wait to start it.
    A Telltale Harry Potter game would be awesome! ...I'm definitely going to go through all the Telltale games, except maybe The Walking Dead. I never got into the show so I feel like I'd be completely lost if I played the game.

    you should check out the various movie ones they have in your into tht sort of thing. harry potter. { 2 games} indiana jones, lord of the rings, back to the future,the new jurrastic world
    I got extremely excited at the sight of a Harry Potter Telltale game, but I am finding nothing on TA or even on Telltale's website...Can you point me in the right direction?
    The commenter is doing what a lot of people do in confusing Telltale games with TT Games, the team behind the LEGO games. Most of the named properties are LEGO games, though there are Telltale productions of Jurassic Park and Bwck to the Future, but they're more puzzle oriented than the more recent stuff.
    Ah okay, that makes more sense. Thanks for the clarification. I feel like it's only a matter of time before Telltale adds the Harry Potter universe to their collection...one can hope, at least.
  • EvcEvc509,230 509,230 GamerScore
    Posted on 11 August 17 at 13:40Permalink
    Loved the first episode, best thing is, there is NO LAG whatsoever. Game plays smooth unlike last seasons game and other Telltale games. Played on PS4 as well, no lag.
  • Posted on 12 August 17 at 11:04Permalink
    Itzz Sh0wt1m3 said:
    TearsOfAClown9 said:
    Maybe i missed it but will there be a physical release for this game?
    Medium states "Physical and Digital" on the TA page, so presumably yes.
    Gamestop has the physical release listed for October 3rd.
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