This review contains major spoilers for Episodes One and Two, and minor spoilers for Episode Three.
Fractured Mask continues to impress with its strong characters and interesting variations on the Batman universe. While some characters make some somewhat confusing choices, the fantastic return of Catwoman and the continued exploration of Batman’s gray areas makes this an overall strong episode in a continually strong season.
Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 3: Fractured Mask
Developer: TellTale Games
Price: $24.99 for the Season Pass
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Mac, Android, iOS
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 code for review.
When we last left Batman and friends, Bruce Wayne and The Pact (a criminal group he’s been playing double agent with) came into possession of The Riddler’s frozen corpse, thanks to Catwoman. It turns out the team needs the Riddler’s eyes to gain access to the Blacksite, where something valuable is hidden. This sort of messy business begins to wear on Bruce, as does Gordon’s seemingly out of character hostility towards both Bruce and Batman.
Fractured Mask is a busy episode, filled to the brim with plot developments on every side of the story. Tiffany Fox, the Pact, Catwoman, John Doe, and Gordon’s plots all have major developments throughout the episode, which makes for a tightly packed episode. Fractured Mask does manage to balance all these quite well, though this saturation of stories may be responsible for some strange and frustrating choices made by main characters.
Gordon’s hatred of Waller has been totally justified thus far, but deciding to turn on Batman and him running off to arrest Bruce Wayne left me scratching my head. I’ve been on Gordon’s side throughout this entire season (and last season, if that means anything), so his lack of trust in me was disappointing. It just felt like his character made a huge 180, so I’m hoping he can recover from this deviation in the last two episodes. Tiffany calling Gordon was strange as well, as I’ve been nothing but kind to her. That entire side-plot just felt jarring, and it accomplished very little overall.
Catwoman’s character stood out in this episode for much better reasons than the aforementioned Gordon plot. Selina has clearly matured since Season One, as she seems far more introspective in Fractured Mask. Though I had Bruce go for the romantic options (to stay in line with King’s current Batman run, naturally), Selina would constantly talk about how her choices are affected by Bruce, and how he makes her feel like she can be a better person. Bruce feels the same way, making for a rather pleasant relationship that equally develops both vigilantes. Deciding to show Selina the Batcave lead to some great developments as well, especially with how happy it made Alfred to see Bruce open himself up a bit. I’m also excited to learn more about Catwoman’s attachment to Riddler, as she seems to think of him as an old friend in some weird way.
The Pact had less development than Catwoman, but still served as a strong part of the episode. Harley and Bane’s power struggle was interesting enough, but the real highlight of the Pact’s storyline was John and his continuing friendship with Bruce. Seeing John torn between Bruce and Harley was actually kind of sad, which is strange because I’ve never really felt bad for the Joker before. Seeing hints of John’s “other side” emerge is especially exciting, as it means we’ll likely get a full-blown Joker by the end of the season. I’m also rather invested in finding out why Harley wants a chemical weapon. Could this be a sign that Joker Gas is coming? Will that be what turns John once and for all?
The standard TellTale issues are present (frame rate, mouth sync, etc), but that’s par for the course here. As a side-note, Fractured Mask references The Lego Batman Movie (“We can’t all have lobster thermidor every night”), which is wonderful.
The Final Word
Fractured Mask is another thoroughly enjoyable episode of Batman Season 2. Though some of the decisions characters make are questionable, the re-introduction and further development of Catwoman and John’s decreasing sanity are a joy to take part in.
MonsterVine Rating: 4 out of 5 – Good