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The Dark Knight may have kept Gotham save in Telltale Games’ Batman series but in Season Two it’s Bruce Wayne’s job to keep the streets clean. And those are pretty dirty streets.
In Episode 3 Fractured Mask it’s safe to assume there’s a trend for what to expect of the main story. While in Season One you were occupied getting Harvey Dent into the mayor’s office and to battle Lady Arkham to the end, this time around it gets replaced by an undercover story. Bruce Wayne is seemingly in cahoots with Mr Freeze, Bain, John Doe (better known to most as the Joker) and their leader, the moody and highly dangerous Harley Quinn. At the end of Episode 2 the unlikely gang gets joined by an old acquaintance, Catwoman.
Bruce Wayne has to keep his cover in “The Pact” to continue his work for the shady government organization “The Agency” but also has to work in the favor of some characters inside the group and their motivations almost never align.
Selina Kyle alias Catwoman shows her claws right away and lures Bruce into a spectacular chase sequence. If we treat her right, she becomes a purry cat (excuse the pun) and reveals her relatable motivations. John on the other hand is another balancing act for Bruce. Under any circumstances we aim to stop a repetition of the Harvey/Two-Face massacre but either way, it is the birth of the Joker we’re experiencing. On the other side of the law there’s Waller who wants to paint the Agency pink and make it look like a plush parade that wants to save innocent lives and Lieutenant Gordon who’s dead-on nailing Bruce into a coffin since he’s acting really suspicious.
Telltale manages to keep the story interesting by sticking to this group of characters. Despite the often serious tone or explicitly violent scenes, there’s also moments to cheer you up, such as Batman aiding Joker in his quest for love or both of them simulating an interrogation.
While Bruce has his hands full, Batman stays in the shadows (ha! ha! ha!). The billionaire playboy uses the tricks that are part of Batman’s repertoire. Apparently witnesses can’t count one and two to add up the identity of Bats, even though that als plays a crucial role in this episode. It’s nice for a change to engage in hand-to-hand-combat instead of relying on the expensive technology. The combat is also a joy to play since it has a nice flow and the visualization is superb. Sequences in which you can explore the game world are rare though. If you’re into lore you can read a lot of newspaper articles and some updates on codex entries in the Batcave.
We still enjoy the display of our decisions and our current relationship to each character a lot. Seeing the percentage of how many players chose what isn’t exactly new. But uncovering how each character feels about our decision is definitely something unique. If we warn Catwoman that the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD) is on her tail (ha!), she’ll be grateful but the “Pact” lacks a scapegoat and Waller/Gordon won’t be very pleased.
On the technical side of things we have to report a steady good development. There are only minor framerate dips and loading times are managable. Especially the nice animations are a highlight since the virtuosa in the latex suit has returned. Also we demand Laura Post to always voice Harley Quinn from now on, in any media.
Video: Let’s Play of Episode 3
Usually in the middle of a season the canvas is just being filled with more characters and story arcs. Instead Telltale concentrates in Batman: The Enemy Within on expanding the suspenseful undercover story with new twists and characters. The episode also boosts the previous standards of length and diversity. We’re excited to find out how the cliffhanger at the end of the episode plays out and can’t wait to put an end to both the Pact and the Agency.