Longtime Batman fans can attest to one key element that has defined many of the great Batman stories throughout the years: Bruce Wayne’s various complicated relationships. Whether or not Wayne is donning the mask, these connections Wayne shares with allies and enemies alike make up for the often understated nature of the protagonist’s character. Without this added depth, Batman’s stories tend to feel more cliche and empty, lacking the key aspect that separates the generic from the extraordinary. If there’s one developer out there that knows the importance of relationships, it’s Telltale, as they’ve made Wayne’s compatriots a strong focus of their adaptation of the caped crusader across multiple seasons, most notably be putting their own spin on some of Batman’s most noteworthy villains. This recent season’s third episode, Fractured Mask, is no exception, as new and returning characters make for another solid episode of Batman: The Enemy Within.
While the remainder of the review will not address any spoilers from “Fractured Mask”, important plot points from the previous episodes of the season will be discussed below. For more on the season so far, check out the reviews for “The Enigma” and “The Pact.”
Speaking of returning characters, “The Pact’s” final scene saw the return of Catwoman, and along with it the tangled relationship that her and Batman have with one another. While Wayne’s undercover exploits with the Pact and the Agency still share the spotlight and keep the plot moving along, it’s a few key scenes that Wayne shares with several characters, particularly Catwoman, John Doe and Gordon that end up being the highlight of the latest episode. As a result, certain scenes feel less impactful just due to which people are featured within, but the episode as a whole still feels memorable, particularly thanks to the constantly strong voice acting, including the returning Laura Bailey. Especially in the second half, players are forced to make some tough choices that drastically change the nature of their associations with some of Gotham’s most notable citizens, leading to some potentially interesting outcomes as the season enters its final pair of episodes.
After the previous episode’s more dialogue-focused nature, Fractured Mask does a better job of mixing up the conversational and more physical scenarios, as well as one brief, simplistic puzzle. As a whole, this season has offered fewer opportunities to pick how they plan on approaching different situations, with this episode offering none whatsoever.
Telltale has, however, maintained a keen ability at differentiating the roles of Bruce Wayne and Batman, and the unique set of skills and options each one brings to the table when dealing with the criminal underworld. Additionally, despite a few small stutters, this episode avoids the major technical issues that has plagued other Telltale affairs.
Fractured Mask offers some of the season’s best scenes in yet another strong episode in Telltale’s latest season. The consistency during the two hour tale leaves a little to be desired, but Batman: The Enemy Within continues to be among the best Telltale has to offer.