By Marty Mulrooney
The Pact is the second episode of Batman: The Enemy Within, a new five-episode adventure game from Telltale Games (Tales from the Borderlands, Guardians of the Galaxy), DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Continuing directly on from the previous episode, players must track down the remaining members of the Riddler’s group as both Batman and Bruce Wayne while trying to keep Jim Gordon and Amanda Wallace happy.
The second episode of Batman: The Enemy Within picks up immediately where Episode 1 left off. Amanda Wallace, in a cruel twist, reveals that she knows Batman’s secret identity and will use it to her advantage. However, there isn’t much time for this information to sink in before another crisis presents itself; there’s an explosion in the city and a robbery is reported to be in progress.
Batman races to the scene of the crime and before long, players must take part in one of the series’ most brutal quick-time-event sequences to date. Bane has arrived and he’s merciless. Towering high above Batman, his Mexican wrestler mask and costume would be laughable if he wasn’t so utterly terrifying… and that’s before he injects himself with Venom. The safety of other characters has always been a concern – Alfred and Lucius, for example – but this is the first time Batman himself has felt so vulnerable.
The main strength of the episode, however, is that the majority of it is played as Bruce Wayne. Using his bizarre ‘friendship’ with John Doe, Bruce must infiltrate the Riddler’s criminal gang. The remaining members, disposable goons aside? John Doe, Bane, Mr. Freeze and Harley Quinn. Players must earn the trust of each villain and convince them that Bruce Wayne is just a rich playboy that wants to take a walk on the wild side of Gotham’s criminal underworld.
Making things even more intriguing, the traditional dynamic between Harley and the Joker (John Doe) has been altered substantially in Telltale’s refreshing reimagining. John Doe is by the far the most inexperienced member of the group and dotes on Harley like a timid schoolboy with a relentless crush. It’s easy to almost feel sorry for him, and very uncomfortable when Harley comes on to Bruce. Could this imagined renege of a pinky swear be what destroys Bruce’s ‘friendship’ with John? Could this be what sets him on the path to his eventual rebirth as the Clown Prince of Crime? Only time – and future episodes – will tell.
Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 2: The Pact may not have the best action sequences or the most difficult decision making moments when compared with previous episodes, but it continues to fascinate with its superbly written and voiced characters. The greatest strength of Telltale’s take on Batman is by far the studio’s willingness to throw out everything that has gone before and try something new. I managed to stop Harvey Dent becoming Two-Face and, to my genuine surprise, I really hope I can stop John Doe becoming the Joker. After all… that pinky swear had to count for something, right?
8 OUT OF 10