Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within Ep. 5 – Same Stitch Review

Posted April 2, 2018 by Chris Berto in Video Games

Developer: TellTale

Publisher: TellTale

Release Date: March 27, 2018

Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One

The 5th and final episode of this season of Telltale’s Batman series does everything you expect and want out of a season finale; it ties up loose ends, gives closure where needed, gives some much needed excitement, and most importantly, leaves you wanting and waiting for more. The final moments of Same Stitch will sit with me for days and weeks as I ponder and second guess some of my decisions over the course of not just this chapter, but over the course of the entire season. While The Enemy Within may have stumbled a few times over it’s duration, the writers over at Telltale Games left it all on the proverbial table as they wrapped up this season and I really can’t wait to see what lies in store for the future of this franchise, assuming a trilogy is green-lit someday.

In terms of the moment to moment gameplay, Same Stitch doesn’t bring anything really new to the table. The engine being used is the same revamped engine that was put to good use at the start of this season and could use the same improvements it needed back in August of 2017. Walking feels stiff, and the on-screen cursor feels like it slides around too easily when trying to make minor adjustments in direction, especially during the timed QTE’s that are so prevalent with the Telltale Games series. Speaking of QTEs, the one noticeable change or addition I saw came in the form of these combat scenarios. In previous titles, combat usually consisted of singular button presses punctuated with a 2 button combo such as “R2+Triangle” or something similar. In episode 5, QTEs played out closer to what one might think of in rhythm games where a group of 3 or 4 button prompts would display in sequence and disappear just as quickly. It’s a minor change, but one that caught my eye either way.

The real star of the show is the writing. Same Stitch is the single best episode of any Telltale Game since the closing act of The Walking Dead: Season 1.** During several key moments throughout the episode I found myself sitting at the edge of my seat, mouth agape in awe of the revelations and clearly defined impact my decisions earlier in the series had made. It’s not a spoiler to say that John Doe finally refers to himself as The Joker as it was stated bluntly during the advertisement and trailer for the episode, but how he gets there based on character choice in episodes 1-4 might make this one of my favorite Joker stories across any medium. Telltale has taken liberty with the canon and pre-established knowledge and turned much of it sideways or dismissed some things altogether, but their portrayal of The Joker needs to be commended. As the most recognizable and most used enemy in Batman’s rouges gallery, the Telltale writers did more in 5 episodes for this character than some comic writers have done with multi-year runs and I truly hope it doesn’t end with season 2.

If my review of The Joker sounds positive then my thoughts on the sub-plot around Alfred Pennyworth come from a place of sorrow and morose. Without spoiling anything I will say that closing moments between Bruce and Alfred caused a physical and literal tear to drop down my cheek. Bruce and Alfred have such a special bond that can never be replicated and the closing moments of the episode, the finale decision left to the players left me feeling like I had been punched in the gut and left to cry in a corner. I truly hope there is a payoff in any future seasons or my own decisions may haunt me for a long time to come.

Unfortunately, not every character arch ends or comes together as well as Joker and Alfred’s. Throughout both season 1 and 2 of this Batman story I went out of my way to tell a particular story between Bruce and Selena Kyle; despite my best efforts I was still unable to get the finality between them I always thought they should have. There relationship is the one relationship that I feel still needs closure or answers to, and it’s the one sub-plot that I leave behind in a state of uncertainty. There aren’t any plot holes or gaps in logic, but the season simply ends without giving any concrete answers. Perhaps this was by design but it still feels underwhelming, especially when compared to arcs with Joker and Alfred.

Overall, The Enemy Within hasn’t been perfect, and the season has had it’s ups and downs; however, after watching the credits roll on the finale I am happy to report that the good far outweigh the bad. I still wish I had spent more overall time in the cowl, but Same Stitch does much to correct that and the combat scenarios in this episode are some of the best this season, if not the entire series has seen to date. If you consider yourself a Batman fan or you’ve simply held out for the season to be complete before jumping in I’m here to tell you that you will not be disappointed.

**Reviewer is a known Batman fan and may be biased in favor of the character and setting.

About the Author

Chris Berto