By Marty Mulrooney
Fractured Mask is the third episode of Batman: The Enemy Within, a new five-episode adventure game from Telltale Games (The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, Guardians of the Galaxy), DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. As Bruce Wayne continues to infiltrate the criminal gang known at the Pact, things are complicated by the sudden arrival of an old love interest…
Following on directly from the previous episode, Fractured Mask begins with the return of Catwoman. Thankfully, she’s smart enough to act like she’s never met Bruce Wayne before; however, it’s not immediately clear – as always – where her true interests and loyalties lie.
It’s wonderful to hear Laura Bailey again as Catwoman. The character has great chemistry with Bruce Wayne/Batman (Troy Baker), and it’s highly entertaining trying to communicate with her while both characters are constantly being watched. Throw John Doe (Anthony Ingruber) into the mix – road trip! – and you’ve got a killer trio that is endlessly fun to watch.
Harley Quinn returns blood spattered and pissed off (did you really think they’d kill her off so soon?!) and the player must work harder than ever before to ensure she doesn’t figure out that Bruce Wayne is working undercover against the Pact.
Meanwhile, the power struggle between Amanda Waller and Commissioner Gordon continues to rage on, with the former using the true identity of Batman as leverage while the latter starts to suspect Bruce Wayne is a criminal simply because he’s been kept so far out of the loop.
Fractured Mask is the strongest episode of Batman: The Enemy Within to date, in large part due to the character development of John Doe. Anthony Ingruber continues to do an incredible job of portraying the character as borderline crazy while keeping him oddly likeable. He genuinely seems to consider Bruce Wayne his best friend and is a genuine fan of Batman.
For this reviewer, the best moment of the episode came when Bruce Wayne ended up fighting Catman. Two choices appeared on-screen mid-fight: Kiss Her or Throw Her. Take too long to decide – it’s a tough choice to make in the heat of the moment – and she will head-butt Bruce in the face. It’s during such rare moments that a Telltale Games episode is at its very best.
Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 3: Fractured Mask doesn’t do anything different on a technical level from the previous two episodes. It’s still essentially a long, interactive cutscene with minor moral dilemmas sprinkled throughout. Yet it does feel like a small step forward for the series. The plot is beginning to heat up nicely and the decision to focus on Bruce’s relationships – with friends, foes and everyone else in-between – will no doubt continue to pay off in the final two episodes still to come.
8 OUT OF 10