*Reviewed on PS4. Also, Spoilers for the first episode follow.*
The Gang’s All Here
With The Pact, Telltales second episode is quite different compared to previous episodes; for better, and for worse.
After the death of The Riddler; Batman, Gordon, and Waller are faced with an even larger threat. The pact of super-villains consisting of Joker, Harley Quinn, Bane, and Mr. Freeze. The gang begins to take Gotham into their own hands. It’s up to Gotham’s finest to stop them at any cost, even if that means not using Batman.
The reason episode two feels so different is a combination of many different things. Some good, some bad. For starters there’s not much Batman found throughout, instead relying on Bruce’s intellect and prowess as a people-pleaser. This knowledge comes in handy when Bruce is tasked with infiltrating the group on behalf of Waller. Walking a fine line to please every member of the gang, especially Harley Quinn.
Telltale’s take on Harley feels fresh and somewhat new. Instead of Harley falling for Joker – as we have come to know and love – the roles are reversed. This shakes things up to make the story seems less predictable; also it’s just fun to see. The sick puppy mentality that befalls John Doe (Joker) is something you just can’t help but root for.
As for the other members of the gang, there is hardly any one-on-one interaction between them compared to that of Joker and Harley. Unless you have previous knowledge of these characters, there’s little information on their role or motivation in the story. Some characters make certain decisions that feel jarring, and unlike their personality. Not just the villains, but the heroes as well.
The episode is pretty jarring as a whole. The pacing is a key factor as to why the episode feels off. Acting like an accordion, the episode begins very fast and strong but begins to drag the rest of the way. Meaning the majority of major action sequences take place towards the beginning, while the rest of the episode has up’s and downs as far as structure. If this sort of structure continues, there may be some worry as to how the rest of the season plays out.
Despite some odd pacing issues and lack of option, The Pact is nevertheless an interesting addition to this new season.