This review contains full spoilers for The Pact and previous episodes of Telltale’s Batman series
As explosions rock Gotham, Batman races to meet a new foe, but encounters a force that may cause even the Dark Knight to fall. In the guise of the billionaire, Bruce meets John Doe’s ‘friends’ and becomes enmeshed in a plot where the only way out is to go deeper in. But at what cost?
The premiere episode of The Enemy Within, Telltale’s second season of Batman was really fantastic (my review) and action-packed. You lost a dear friend, had a new enemy die and were left wanting more, and now it’s here. Episode two, The Pact, features less action, and fewer deaths, but continues the interesting world building of Telltale’s Batman mythos.
After nearly — strike that — after getting your face smashed in by Bane, The Pact mellows down a lot and you spend the majority of this episode in Bruce Wayne’s shoes, and it’s great, especially after the full spectrum of button smashing and fighting that was episode one, The Enigma. Meeting Bane is great, of course, and his portrayal here is an interesting one. He is not only the muscle machine that we know him all as — injecting Venom (presumably) into his system for added strength — but he is also shown to be smart and have his wits about him.
In The Enigma, we learned that John Doe is friends with a secret group of villains, and then it was revealed that The Riddler was also part of that group. In this episode, we meet them all (presumably), beginning with Harley Quinn. Telltale continues doing interesting things with Batman characters, as Harley flips from her normal portrayal. Instead of being the obsessed doctor who fell in love with her patient The Joker, who then treated her like crap– as seen in most representations until recent comics — now she is the one in charge. Here, John Doe (The Joker) is the one madly in love, swooning over Harley, dying for her attention as she has seemingly ignores all of his advances. It’s the Mad Love comic-story, but in reverse, it seems. Well, except John Doe isn’t wandering around in sexually suggestive clothing bending over desks to provide eye candy for the audience, and I’m okay with neither of these characters doing that.
It is interesting to see Joe in the group here, but it doesn’t make much sense to me. This isn’t the crazy Joker we know from comics, games and films. Sure, he’s a bit weird and seems to enjoy violence, but I’m yet to see what he brings to the team other than driving vehicles, especially ones he can’t even hotwire himself. At this stage, I’m wondering if we’ll see him snap and become more like the version of The Joker we know, and I have my ideas on how and why, but I’ll save them for now.
The other member of the group, Mr Freeze, doesn’t get much screen time, but I’m assuming his story to save Nora, his wife, will evolve throughout the next couple episodes. He’s still the most disappointing and bland member of the group introduced in this episode.
The most interesting part of this episode was seeing and dealing with moral dilemmas as Bruce Wayne. When Harley smacked the guard in Wayne Tower over the head: do I go look to make sure he’s OK, or just click the elevator button as to not annoy Harley? Moments like that had me thinking a lot about the dilemma of one man dying so I could potentially save more later, but that’s not the way the Batman I know would play it — that’s not his code.
I really wanted to just out myself as Batman to Tiffany Fox when you come access her in Wayne Tower. It hurts to see someone like her just searching for answers, but the game wouldn’t let me just tell her there and then, which was a little annoying, but maybe for the better, considering where we were at the time.
The biggest gut-punch moment was near the end of the episode. Bruce looks up sees the Bat-signal in the sky, just as Harley says “Go!” and you’re speeding away in the vehicle after just helping a bunch of criminals steal something, and possibly kill people. It’s even more heart-wrenching because Waller — who I’m really hating on — didn’t follow through on her word, leaving Bruce looking rather helpless without the suit on.
Catwoman dropping in as the episode’s cliffhanger wasn’t a huge shock to me, as her silhouette was used in one of the other episodes’ thumbnails in the game menu. Still, it’s exciting to have her back, especially after how she left Gotham.
The Pact was a great introduction to Harley, who was fresh, fun and menacing, and Bane was great as a smart musclehead. However, Viktor Freeze was weak and didn’t seem that interesting. It was fun to finally meet what I’ll just refer to as The Secret Five, because so far the team-up is giving me The Secret Six comic-series vibes. This was an episode I enjoyed a lot for its more slower focus on Bruce Wayne and dealing with his infiltration and attempts to make friends with his enemies, but moments like Mr Freeze showing up and not having a lot to do are signs of Telltale trying to squeeze a little too much into the story again, and I hope that doesn’t continue.
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platforms: Androids, iOS, Windows, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Switch