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Video Game Review: Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 1

August 11, 2017 | by Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
Batman: The Enemy Within - Episode 1
The Riddler figures prominently in The Enemy Within.

TellTale’s Batman series broke new ground with its initial season in two ways. First, it allowed the player to control Bruce Wayne just as much as Batman. Second, it took longtime elements from the franchise’s lore and mixed them in new and unique ways.

This continues with the second season entitled The Enemy Within and its first episode The Enigma. We’ll give longtime Batman fans one guess as to what it’s about.

CONTROLS (3.5/5)

The Enemy Within is the second season of the Batman series, but it’s the umpteenth release by TellTale and, at this point, the controls are basically the same as they’ve always been.

GRAPHICS/SOUND (4/5)

TellTale makes incremental improvements to its graphical integrity every few years. There’s not much new here with the second season of Batman, but at least much of the stellar voice cast returns.

We’re still not particularly thrilled with this version of the Joker (he feels too derogatory of the Mark Hamill version), but it gets the job done. Visually, the same aesthetic carries over from the first season and doesn’t really deviate from many of the established TellTale styles.

GAMEPLAY (3.75/5)

TellTale made the most out of its signature quicktime events in the first season of Batman, but for The Enemy Within, the development team has mixed things up a little bit.

Much as how Guardians of the Galaxy tailored its action sequences to fit the franchise, Batman’s whole MO behind his combat lies in his ability to strategize and make decisions on the fly, and that is implemented through timed decisions (use an object or punch; gadgets or fisticuffs).

Of course, the quality of TellTale experiences comes down to storytelling, and the first season of Batman ended on a bit of an iffy note. However, TellTale goes back to the idea that their series is more of a Bruce Wayne simulator than anything else, and the first episode gives you the opportunity to explore that in a number of situations.

From casing a casino to dealing with Commissioner Gordon, these things have to be explored in both normal life and in vigilante super-armor. And rather than the signature TellTale “(Person) will remember that” notification, the new version changes to “Your relationship with (person) has changed.”

Whether that makes a difference to the weight of decisions within the engine is unclear. It might just be different user interface text, but it makes a psychological impact on the player as Bruce/Batman make decisions impacting potential relationship choices: friendships, partnerships, family, etc. Everything spiders outward.

All of which leads to the biggest compliment and complaint about the first episode — it feels mostly like setting up the foundation for the whole series. Which is, of course, kind of the point, but usually first episodes also pack a bang to set the tone.

Despite laying the groundwork for familiar adversaries like the Riddler and the Joker (though TellTale continues to remix traditional Batman lore), the pacing and tension can be a bit slow at times.

OVERALL (3.75/5)

The Enigma is a solid-but-not-groundbreaking start to the new Batman series. Still, TellTale’s track record has earned them the benefit of the doubt, there’s optimism that this season will build on the foundation laid here without the mistakes of the first season.

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Video Game Review: Pyre

August 3, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
Set in a world known as the Commonwealth, Pyre begins with a group of three travelers coming across an injured figure on the road. That figure is you, banished to the Downside (akin to a type of purgatory) for the crime of literacy. That’s right, in this realm the ability to read is forbidden, and it’s for this very rare skill that the travelers have sought you out.
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Video Game Review: Children of Zodiarcs

July 28, 2017 | by Brian Gunn | Comments Comments Off
Players control a ragtag group of thieves that are doing their best to steal some ancient artifacts called Zodiarcs, which were left behind by a mysterious ancient race called the Heralds. As with all stories dealing with relics like these, things quickly get out of hand and what started off as a simple thieving task now imperils the world, and our plucky band of heroes will have to set their sights a little higher than mere survival.
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Video Game Review: Black The Fall

July 20, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments (0)
You play as a nameless, faceless protagonist trying to break free from some sort of Soviet work camp, although the presence of sophisticated machinery indicates it’s not meant to be historically accurate. While the hammer and sickle gives the game a little more grounding than what we’ve seen in Limbo, Inside and Little Nightmares, it still offers no concrete narrative.
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Video Game Review: Minecraft: Story Mode – Season Two, Episode 1

July 17, 2017 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
There’s seemingly only one meaningful decision in the entire episode, however, with frivolous choices like “did you choose to leave Radar in charge while you were gone” getting top billing during the wrap up. This was a problem with Season 1 as well, which is partly why the largely self-contained structure of the Adventure Pass seemed to hold up better than the original five.
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