Breaking Batman: Playing Bruce as a "Villain" / Rejecting "The Code"
I've enjoyed the second season a lot so far; Episode 2 really surpassed my expectations by letting you interact very closely & extensively with the "villains" of the Pact.
Because Telltale is telling a mature, multi-choice narrative about superheroes, it seems appropriate & inevitable that the story would blur the lines between heroes & villains-- indeed, I sympathize quite a lot with this group of free-spirited costume-wearing, anti-establishment Pact hooligans.
When you think about it, Bruce Wayne in Season 1-- the "Good Guy" Wayne we start with-- isn't actually so good. Naively ignorant of his Father's past, he's just a rich, costumed weirdo who goes around beating on street thugs (who, by the way, probably turned to a life of crime because of the extreme inequality in Gotham). When he learns the truth about Lady Arkham-- that his company is responsible for the sad state of Arkham Asylum and that she became a "villain" to fight-back against & expose a failed & dehumanizing mental health care system-- it makes sense that he might do some reflection & reconsider his "values", and those of Batman.
As Waller points out in the rooftop scene in S2E2, Batman's old way of doing things-- beating street thugs up one at a time-- is bound to be inadequate. You can't punch the social forces that pressure people into committing "crime." Batman's "Code" is cute, quaint, but sticking to it won't necessarily make the world, or even Gotham, a better place.
So, for Season 2, my Bruce is probably as "villainous" as it gets. He does not trust the Agency one bit-- they're far worse than so-called "criminals," and we learn that it's them that pushed the Riddler to go on his spectacular spree of mayhem. In a way, THEY killed Lucius Fox. At the end of Episode 1, I let the two Feds in death cages die to protect Avista, and also because I decided I don't want to play Riddler's twisted game. Riddler claims he's victorious, in the end, because he proved that Batman does have to "compromise," that his "values" have been tarnished. And in a way, he's right; but my Batman feels victorious because he's already accepted this. The dead agents got what they deserved for being part of the Agency.
In Episode 2, fraternizing with the Pact, we find that each individual member has been screwed over in some way by society (isn't this how most "villains" are made)? John Doe was raised in one of WayneCorp's backwards, budget Asylums, meaning Bruce is partially responsible for his current state and future well-being. Harley is a brilliant doctor who was traumatized by her father's suicide (can't recall the details around this), but has become a liberated person by embracing anarchism (and she also seems to have genuine concern for John, serving as a protector of sorts, which is what my Bruce was trying to do anyway). Bane escaped prison, and that's understandable-- prisons suck. Ice Man just loves his wife a lot.
It's unlikely that Telltale will let us become true "villains" in the end-- but it's still fun, especially at this point in the story, to imagine a twist in the tale that lets us play a Bruce that is more sympathetic towards the Pact than towards the traditional structures of Law & Order (Gordon's good as far as cops go, a white-collar sort of guy, and I like having him on my side, but his way of thinking is clearly antiquated; and the Agency doesn't deserve any sympathy).
Imagine using all of WayneTech's resources to do like his Father did back in the day-- run Gotham from behind the scenes, working outside of the law to achieve his goals (which may have been more noble than we realize). Instead of just a single Batman running around punching thugs, there'd be a team of costumed weirdos running around, breaking shit that needs to be broken. It's not so different from what Batman usually does, they just have a different idea of what needs to be broken... and maybe Bruce is coming around to see that they're right.
One thing I noticed in E2 is how RELENTLESS Waller is about getting you to work with her. I rejected her every, single, time, and yet the game offers no choice when it comes to contacting her at the end of the episode. I choose to imagine that Bruce is luring her & the other Agents into the open to get wrecked, and hopefully leave town.
This is something I enjoy doing with Telltale's games-- see how far I can push the story beyond how the game "wants" me to see it.