A returning character turns Episode 3 of Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within AKA Broken Mask into an action packed and tense period in the series. The (Spoiler free) FingerGuns review;
Catwoman is back. The Pact were sucsessful in retrieving their goal but left one member behind in the field. Bruce Wayne is now deep undercover and is running out of allies. It’s a dire situation for the vigilante hero but things are about to get a whole lot worse.
One of the main themes of this episode is the relationship between Bruce/Batman and Selina/Catwoman. If you played the first season of Telltale’s Batman then any loose ends you left there will play a part here. Regardless of how you left it however, the fiery chemistry between the characters results in a few playful altercations which make up the most the most interesting aspects of this episode. There’s a well constructed tension between the pair that’s there in conversations and combat alike.
The introduction of Catwoman to the mix within The Pact has an interesting effect on the dynamics of the group, especially between John Doe and Harley Quinn. The spice of the Bats and Cat rub off on John and his nonreciprocal love interest and they become a little more chaotic and unpredictable.
John Doe is, once again, the star of the episode. He’s a charming, nieve and sensitive soul with a bizarrely twisted mentality who’s as menacing as he is fanciful. You’re never quite sure what to expect from him, switching from puppy-like frolicking to cold calculation in an instant.
Else where, Bane is once again shown to be lethal monster of a man but his Mexican wrestler-esque bravado is starting to wear thin. Then there’s Freeze who is just along for the ride at this point. He’s barely a feature of this episode and feels vastly underutilised.
Aside from the quick time combat in this episode, of which there is plenty, there’s a section of very simple puzzle solving that requires little more than exploring a room and piecing together a riddle which is a tad too on the nose. The crime scene investigation that the first season of Batman did so often and so well is really starting to feel abscent in these episodes and we can hope for a return for them in Episode 4.
For of all the excellent combat set pieces, dramatic conversations and unease given Bruce’s precarious position during this episode, it sorely misses any kind of threat or raise of the stakes. This tends to be the trend with the middle episode of a Telltale series and the same happens here. Bruce, while being told “you’re in danger” and “This is such a massive threat” never really feels like he’s in any peril. During other sections, characters are threatened and my gut reaction was “…so?” because they’re characters that Bruce has barely had any interaction with. You feel like defending these characters through a sense of duty to do the “right thing” rather than any emotional connection and it feels like these moments could have carried so much more weight.
The same can be said about the cliffhanger ending to Episode 3. There’s 2 possible outcomes as far as I can tell and neither have a significant impact because this is the middle of a series. They’re as lightweight as the Adam West 1960’s cliffhangers when you always knew Batman & Robin would escape from the ridiculous traps they found themselves in. Maybe the end of this episode is an homage to those Adam West Batman episodes of yore – I would certainly respect it more if it was – but I suspect it’s not and it’s a failed attempt to tempt us back for Episode 4.
That being said, Broken Mask is still a high quality, action packed episode that sets the scene for an intresting second half of the season. Despite this episodes weaknesses, Batman: The Enemy Within is still shaping up to be among the best episodic adventures that Telltale have ever created.
Episode 3 of Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within is available now on Xbox One, PS4 (review version), PC, Mac and mobile devices.
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a code for the season of Batman: The Enemy Within. Please see our review policy here for more information.