Batman: The Enemy Within, Telltale’s latest installment in its Batman series, does not waste time in reminding the player of what Telltale brings to the nearly eighty-year tradition of Telling Stories About Batman. The very first dialogue option in the game is one that asks the player to state Bruce Wayne’s feelings on the consequences of living a double life.
By inhabiting Bruce Wayne in a roleplay-based game, the player is almost always playing a character who is themselves playing a character. Bruce is so seldom among people who know the whole of his identity that playing him is to play three people: Bruce Wayne, billionaire son of Gotham; Batman, the hyper-competent vigilante; and Bruce Wayne, the guy who is both of those and neither of them.
And then there’s the opening scene in The Enemy Within, where you are Bruce Wayne as James Bond, infiltrating a fellow billionaire’s casino with augmented reality contact lenses and the voice of a (former) MI5 operative in the microphone in your ear. (That is Alfred, of course.)
It’s been the better part of a year since I dived into my last episode of Telltale’s Batman series, and the game’s choices in how it differs from comics canon can still take me by surprise. Bruce affectionately calls Alfred “Al.” Thomas Wayne is a known criminal. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to navigate conversations between Bruce Wayne and the game’s pre-Joker character, John Doe, without my choices being affected by the weight of knowing where that story is going.
But now that we’re into the second season of the series, we can also observe differences between Telltale’s last update and this one. A few staple characters have been given a much-needed visual facelift — most notably James Gordon — who has settled into the role of police commissioner and the role of wearing a proper mustache.
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