Following Telltale’s take on the Caped Crusader’s lore in this second season places you in a more narrow and convoluted situation. After a strong premiere with Episode 1: The Enigma, it is then followed by a compelling chapter that gets you more excited for the next thing.
Episode 2: The Pact didn’t impress the major publications and outlets, but it definitely made an impact on me. Opinions vary, and reviews are highly subjective. If you’re leaning to a more relaxed space without overthinking about how the game could have been great, The Pact makes you sit and watch how season two slowly reveals itself.
Platform Reviewed: PS4 Platforms Available: Xbox One, PC, PS4 Publisher: Telltale Games Developer: Telltale Games Release Date: October 4, 2017 MSRP: $19.99 (Season Pass)
This review is a month late, but in my book it’s better late than never. It’s hard to avoid spoilers especially in a review about Telltale Games’ episodic titles, but since the game has been out for over a month, I bet my ass you already know what happened in this latest episode of Batman: The Enemy Within.
The plot continues after the death of Lucius Fox and The Riddler in The Enigma; leading Bruce Wayne to dig in deeper through the criminal underworld with the help of either Amanda Waller and/or Lieutenant James Gordon. He needs to gain Harley, Mr. Freeze, and Bane’s trust to be part of the Pact. It forces you, the player, to either trust your instinct to help people when you get an opportunity, or choose to be vicious to gain their trust.
In a wider perspective, The Pact still continues more on your development of trust and the relationship you have with the characters. With John Doe’s trust, he takes every opportunity to save your ass when you’re in an intense situation with Bane. It leaves me to think that this new relationship mechanic gives a more personal touch as you progress through the episode. With Batman out of the spotlight in The Pact, you get to see more of Bruce Wayne and how this direction provides a more personal experience when developing those relationships with other characters.
When Harley Quinn was revealed to be in the episode, it made me sit back and think how Telltale will pull this off knowing John Doe is not yet the purple wearing maniac we all know and love. With what I have experienced in Telltale’s first season of Batman, I witnessed the studio’s innate abilities to craft an alternative and powerful universe from well-established franchises. In Telltale’s version, Harley is the dominant person, she’s not the usual psychopath who is merely a puppet of the Joker. She had balls, the guts, and the personality to be feared by her henchmen and colleagues. I like this direction moving forward in the series, it gives a whole new perspective on Harley Quinn.
While Harley is not just the main star here, The Pact introduced the two other villains – Bane and Mr. Freeze. The full steroids luchador, Bane, pretty much have the same identity in other Batman iterations, while Mr. Freeze, on the other hand, feels that there’s something lacking. Even if this episode is packed with high-profiled anti-heroes, the whole focus leaned more on Bane and Harley Quinn thus leaving Mr. Freeze under wraps for an effective role “probably” in the next episode.
What I don’t like about this decision was it took Mr. Freeze, one of the coldest blooded killer (literally) in the Bat-verse, for granted. He had a short duration on-screen, and I would love to know more of Mr. Freeze and his backstory in this Telltale version. Nevertheless, the set of villains in The Pact was great but they could have been separated to give a much more effective role and introduction.
Episode 2: The Pact touches the subject of Bruce Wayne entering the criminal world like his father in the past, developing an intimate relationship with John Doe pushes the plot direction to a lot of possibilities in the succeeding events. While The Pact didn’t have a big bang in the ending, I am still exciting for what is to come in Episode 3: The Fractured Mask.