The second episode of Telltale’s Batman second season may double down on the villain quantity, but not so much the quality.
The Pact is the second episode of Telltale’s second Batman season, subtitled The Enemy Within. Still struggling with the events of the first episode, Batman continues to confront the mysterious cabal of villains working in the shadows, while as Bruce Wayne he begins to infiltrate the organisation through his relationship with the proto-Joker John Doe.
While episode one may have introduced Batman staple the Riddler, The Pact goes all out in introducing us to the Telltale versions of Harley Quinn, Bane and Mr Freeze. On one level it feels hyper-indulgent, but the episode does an excellent job of getting you in close and personal with the rogues gallery and Telltale clearly has plans down the line that will hopefully pay off.
The actual interpretations of the characters are a bit hit and miss however. Harley is fantastic – quite possibly one of my favourite versions of the character – in that Telltale has flipped her relationship with the Joker completely on its head and made her the dominating and sinister presence of the two. It works wonders and makes for an overall much more interesting character than her usual depictions. Bane by contrast is very poor, and has fallen into the trap of many other interpretations of being a hyper-masculine muscle-bound brute with very little to make him interesting. Mr Freeze however is somewhat in the middle – while he’s a little more vindictive than his usual sympathetic self, he gets the least amount of screen time in the episode and suffers because of it.
As for the gameplay itself, The Pact disappoints in that this is quite a brief episode that possesses very few major and difficult decisions and a weak cliffhanger. The story on occasion also feels somewhat contrived and poor which is shockingly rare for Telltale. It feels little more than character introductions and set up that will hopefully be taken advantage of more in future.
On my usual technical note, Telltale Bugwatch© reports of one crash this time around, but aside from that the game was happily pest free. Much like the first episode and Walking Dead Season 3 it seems Telltale is beginning to step up its bug fixing which is not only long overdue but also extremely welcome.
But overall, The Pact is definitely a weaker experience than the stellar debut of The Enigma. While it does indicate interesting things to come for the rest of the season and Harley’s interpretation is fantastic, this feels like an unfortunate speed bump in a season that will hopefully regain momentum when episode 3 finally arrives.
Casual Gamers: Recommended
Hardcore Gamers: Meh