Batman TEW – “Same Stitch” Out Now!
Enter the Joker in “Same Stitch”, the Grand Finale of Batman: The Enemy Within!
The Clown Prince has arrived! Episode 5 of Telltale’s Batman: The Enemy Within starts a few weeks after John Doe plummeted off the suspension bridge to his death, only to be reborn in “Same Stitch” as Gotham’s newest villain or vigilante: the Joker. Collecting most of your decisions throughout the past four episodes to put every character in place, the time has come to settle the score in one last standoff between Joker, Batman, and the Agency.
For the sake of brevity, Stack-Up has decided to follow the Vigilante Joker’s path. We highly recommend the Villain route as well, though you might want to play it on an empty stomach. Villain Joker likes to get messy.
So speaking of brutality, “Same Stitch” makes a fine matching bookend with “The Enigma.” Bane’s new and improved Venom has given him his classic comics look and even more destructive power, so much so that Batman must choose whether to save one of two recurring characters from turning into a skid mark on the pavement! Though Bruce’s injuries never get that severe, they’re even more graphic because the player needs to focus directly on the wounds to continue the game. Ever wanted to see how to treat shrapnel wounds in the arm? How about a clean-through gut puncture from exposed rebar? If you’ve said “yes” to one or both of these questions, then this episode has your name on it!
Far as the quick time and fighting choreography goes, Telltale finishes its impressive season with more combat choices than ever. Focusing on shock grenades and the grappling hook this time around, Batman gets the opportunity to integrate these gadgets into some of the most intense brawls Telltale has created to date. After that tough first loss against foes like Bane, it feels so satisfying using simple inertia to deal punishing blows on him over and over again! The marvelous combat goes a step further if you choose the vigilante Joker option, since he based his combat style on Batman’s. The blow-for-blow mirrored battle looks absolutely incredible. You’ll never know how much you needed a batarang vs. “Jokerang” quick draw until you play through one!
Waller’s schemes throughout the season come to light in this episode, and perhaps to no one’s surprise, it involves some controversial collars that fit around the necks of a certain Pact. What might be surprising is Harley’s view on Joker if she gets rolled in with this Suicide Squad. Since Telltale’s Harley Quinn existed before the Joker (this story even makes it seem like Joker was the one copying Harley’s look, not the other way around), she feels just as infuriated by John Doe’s behavior as her new boss Waller. Out of the three Suicide Squad members presented in “Same Stitch”, Harley appears to be the only one eager to do Waller’s bidding—long as it coincides with her own plan to crush John’s head with her sledgehammer.
Turning to the last member of this new band of anti-villains, Catwoman gets pushed off to the sidelines a little bit. Depending on your choices stretching back into the first season, Selina seems to have the widest range of interests when it comes to being “an asset” to the Agency. To a point, that flexibility works wonders in shoving the consequences of the player’s decisions in their face: Catwoman could be anything from a reluctant hostage, to the squad mate most eager to claw Batman’s eyes out. On the other hand, getting past that “ace in the hole” reveal can get messy, especially if you fail to get the shock collar off. Weird as it sounds in-game, it’s possible to have Selina rescue Batman from a grizzly death, drive him to the Bat Cave, leave, and still be collared to Waller. Guess Bruce’s sense of responsibility rubbed off on her?
Fitting in with the Joker’s comically manic behavior, Telltale has even found a few instances to poke fun at its own game design. Everyone who has seen or played a Telltale game knows about the little notifications in the top right corner: “So and so will remember that,” “This person won’t forget that.” The blurbs are generally as interchangeable as they are useless, since the player’s bound to forget exactly what detail or decision was remembered unless it’s vital to their run through. In “Same Stitch,” the player might find moments where their decisions are hilariously ignored, such as when Batman has to remind the vigilante Joker (twice!) that heroes don’t kill people; the little blurb alerts the player that “Joker forgot to remember that.”
This episode is jam-packed with battles that are both flashy and graphic, which appropriately leaves little room for things like puzzles or much mystery to solve. Characters development makes its final push to the resolution, though there are clear points where one choice is painfully more natural and plot-relevant than the other; apologies to the six players out there who decided not to take Tiffany under Bruce’s wing.
So after the climactic battle between Bruce and his former friend, and after the threads with Gordon, Waller, Avesta, Tiffany, and Selina come to a close, the player comes face-to-face with the biggest decision in Telltale’s Batman series; one that even suggests that this is where the story of Bruce and Batman ends. Perhaps this is the last season for Telltale’s Batman series, perhaps it will continue through some other avenue. Though far as The Enemy Within is concerned, Telltale has once again proven how well it can take a classic franchise and re-invent it so that old fans and new can enjoy the ride.
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