Telltale’s first season of Batman capitalized on quite a few of the key elements that have defined Batman stories for almost eighty years now, primarily by putting small but significant twists on key characters within that universe. The biggest changes often lied within the developer’s take on the small roster of villains, as Penguin and Two-Face, among others, both featured unique yet similar backstories and motivations that boosted the overall story of the premiere Batman season. For their follow-up season, Telltale had promised to significantly increased the stable of bad guys for Batman to have to protect Gotham from, and that assurance was seemingly coming to fruition in this season’s second episode, The Pact. As both new and old villains alike take center stage, The Pact highlights Telltale’s impressive ability to create compelling scenarios without Bruce Wayne having to don the cowl.
While the remainder of the review will not address any spoilers from “The Pact”, important plot points from the previous episode of the season will be discussed below. For more on the season so far, check out the review for “The Enigma.”
The Enigma’s cliffhanger saw Waller revealing her leverage that she had over Batman, making an already complicated relationship between the two and Gordon even more difficult. The Pact makes this drama a constant presence throughout the episode even as new and more dangerous factors arise, as new plans take action immediately after Riddler’s untimely demise. While the situations Wayne finds himself in for the remainder of the episode can feel a little contrived both for the sake of this and future episodes, the convenience can often be overlooked thanks to the sheer originality and intrigue of the interactions that are presented within. Even some of the episode’s more straightforward conversations do a great job of keeping players surprised and involved, as relationships become a simultaneous juggling and tightrope balancing act that proves near-impossible to maintain, but exciting to attempt. The most alluring aspect of this episode ends up being the clear favoritism towards Bruce Wayne over the titular hero, leading to one-of-a-kind interactions that both delight and pressure players during some of the more tense choices.
While it essentially bears no repeating at this point how stellar the voice cast of Telltale’s Batman has been and continues to be, it’s great to see that this episode’s new additions continue this trend, providing voices that are at once recognizable but nonetheless separate in ways that help define the new take on the villains. However. as a result of the nearly constant dialogue, this episode does feel a bit devoid of Telltale’s usual puzzles and Batman’s standard brawls. This design choice, while beneficial to the story, may be a bit polarizing to fans who value these interactive elements to break up the long bouts of plot. This ends up being a further stain on the episode when one of the only puzzles ends up being broken as it was during our playthrough’s first attempt, a minor inconvenience that ended up being one of the only technical issues experienced during the two hour episode.
The Pact provides a highly compelling, Bruce Wayne-focused episode that continues to push the momentum of this season forward at a fast pace. The lack of common Telltale features may be a bit off-putting to some fans, but those eager to see Gotham’s diverse cast of characters at their best will find plenty to enjoy with The Pact.