Telltale’s unique take on Batman’s lore was mostly successful in the first season. Villains transformed into allies, and everyday nobodies emerged as unexpected threats, all as Bruce Wayne’s sanity was tested. From Lady Arkham to Two-Face, a key theme in the story was duality. Almost every prominent figure had an alternate persona or hidden agenda – we even learned Bruce Wayne’s parents were deserving of a cell in Arkham Asylum.
In The Enigma, the premiere episode of a new five-part season, Telltale clearly liked its first taste of bat blood, and may have gone a little wild from it. This new story is aggressively dark and gruesome, flighty in its character building, and more about shocking moments than establishing the foundation of a cohesive narrative.
This episode focuses mostly on The Riddler, who looks like the character comic fans have known for decades at first glance. He wears green, his calling card is a question mark, and he gives you a chance to escape or catch him if you solve his elaborate riddles. Despite the familiar antics, this Riddler is nothing more than a cold-blooded killer; Telltale turns him into Jigsaw from the Saw movies. His riddle machines slice off fingers and heads, and cook you if you don’t move fast enough. When backed into a corner, he lashes out and tries to murder as many people as possible. The duality Telltale achieved with Penguin, Two-Face, and Catwoman is nowhere to be found in this villain. He’s just a one-note killing machine, and a pawn for a larger story arc that we only briefly get a whiff of at the end of the episode. He overstays his welcome, and is so over the top in his killing that he’s oddly comical.
The most interesting moments in this episode are the interstitial sequences that show Bruce Wayne developing a relationship with John Doe, who we all know eventually becomes The Joker. Telltale is taking its time with this powder keg of a friendship, perhaps even letting players…
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