This review contains major spoilers for Episodes One, Two, and Three, and minor spoilers for Episode Four.
What Ails You goes back and forth between some great moments and some very confusing narrative choices. John and Waller’s stories are approaching their climaxes in an overall satisfying way, but the amount of people who are figuring out Batman’s identity is somewhat problematic.
Batman: The Enemy Within – Episode 4: What Ails You
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.
What Ails You picks up right after Fractured Mask’s intense cliffhanger. Bruce is stuck in a cryopod, The Pact is off to slaughter a bunch of masseuses to steal a chemical weapon, and Waller is still being, well, Waller. Things certainly seem to be coming to a head in this episode, as each member of the Pact seemed to head towards their ultimate narrative destination. A lot happens in a short time, with Harley finding the toxin, Freeze being poisoned, and John approaching his transition into the Joker. Bane just kind of got knocked out though, so I have no idea what they’re planning to do with him. Freeze and Bane’s conclusions feel a bit awkward, but I’ll have to wait for the last episode to say this for sure.
The best part of this episode was seeing John start to really embrace his darker side. I’ve been incredibly kind to John throughout this entire season, so walking in to see him with bloody hands, standing in a room of dead agency members was a bit of a shock. I genuinely felt bad about telling him I didn’t believe him, especially after seeing his reaction. It was inevitable that John would become the Joker, but I’m happy with the way it happened. The entire carnival area that this scene took place in was stellar in terms of atmosphere, and really nailed in the idea that I was about to see the modern origin of the Joker. Seeing a bit of a role reversal between John and Harley at the end of the episode was neat as well, and I’m hoping the finale will give us a look at this more unique Joker/Harley relationship.
My main issue with What Ails You was the reveal that Agent Avesta and, of all people, John Doe both know Bruce’s true identity. We’re approaching Hush levels of name revealing, which feels a bit cheap. While I’m sure John will forget or get amnesia or something, Bruce’s identity feels a lot less secret at this point, which reduces the impact of any future reveals. Waller knowing his identity was shocking to me at the end of Episode One, but now I basically expect half of Gotham knows who Batman is.
The standard TellTale issues are present. Occasional frame rate pauses, a bit of off mouth-syncing, etc. For some reason, the episode glitched out for me while I was priming the EMP to escape from the cryochamber. Even though I had set up the solution perfectly, the game wouldn’t recognize it, so I died and had to redo the part. A minor grievance, but one nonetheless.
The Final Word
What Ails You has some great moments and some weird ones. I really wish less people knew about Bruce’s identity, but at least the fight scene at the beginning and John’s dive into Joker-dom were fantastic. I can’t wait to see how the finale plays out, as The Enemy Within could prove to be one of the overall best interactive Batman stories.
MonsterVine Rating: 4 out of 5 – Good