Tag Archives: Batman

Finishing up Batman: Arkham Asylum

I beat the game today. It was fun, except when it wasn’t. For a fairly fun game, it had a lot of infuriating moments.

For example, why put quick batarang on a pressure sensitive button instead of, say, a face button? Let’s say LB, and put detective mode on LS depress. I can’t count how many times I held the button a little too far and got a menu instead of a batarang.

Also, it’s just not fun to fight loads and loads of baddies, especially when the game throws them at you with no recourse. Taking out baddies one by one with cover and elevation is massively fun. Having to deal with ten thugs who gang up on you is not. Having some kind of disabling element, like smoke bombs, to temporarily create cover or disorient a group of enemies would have added a lot more strategy. A throw move that wasn’t part of a combo would have also been very helpful.

I would have also liked better freedom of movement with the grapple gun.  There’s a lot of areas which, inexplicably, can’t be grappled on to. Also, having the ability to swing between places with the grapple that weren’t gargoyles would have been very helpful.

There’s also lots of instakills. Make some mistakes in Scarecrow levels, for instance, and you die, reload (which takes a long time on the 360), and try again. Same goes for Killer Croc. They crop up often enough to be irritating. This isn’t to say that those levels aren’t fun. They’re massively fun, and probably the best parts of the game. Instakills, though, are not.

It’s a very fun game marred by some annoyances. It had a few serious “throw controller against the wall” moments. If they tweak that for the sequel, methinks they’d have a really, really fun game.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum

Batman: Arkham Asylum in came in the mail from Gamefly yesterday. Initial impressions are favorable. Batman has a very cinematic animation feel, and invokes a lot of badassery in his moves. Melee comboing guys with slow-motion defeats is very fun and doesn’t seem to get old. I’m also very glad that they got the DCAU voice team (at least, most of it) back to do the voices for this game. Kevin Conroy is a perfect fit for this Batman, and of course Mark Hamill is one of the best Jokers out there. This adds a lot to the atmosphere, as I generally associate these guys with “Batman” more than, say, Christian Bale.

The grappling gun feels very much like autopilot compared to Bionic Commando. It’s a point-and-click automatic system without much thought or skill. It does get the job done in the sense of movement, but Batman really should be able to grapple on to any surface, so I’m baffled as to why he can’t do it more times. Also, Batman can’t jump (generally). He can leap forwards to attack guys or cross platforms, but there is no general “jump” action. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but we’ll see as the game goes on.

The game is also a lot more punishing than Metal Gear is as far as being stealthy. You really need to play the role of “Dark Knight in the shadows” and off guys one by one without being seen. Going in against more than one guy with a gun is suicide, since Batman obviously can’t use guns. He will sometimes steal their melee weapons and use them in takedown actions, but overall he’s not a weapon user (as is his wont).

People who are doing licensed games should take note – this is how its done. Treat the license with respect, make a game that truly gets you in to the spirit of the franchise, and people will buy it.

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Who is this guy?

Batman’s pretty awesome. In the annals of fiction’s greatest, he stands out as a simple, yet deeply complex character. The other great thing about him is that like most of fiction’s greatest characters his story allows for various writers to take their own spin on the caped crusader while still retaining his gestalt.

Unlike The Batman of a few years ago, Batman: The Brave and the Bold attempts to bring more of a silver age feel into a cartoon Batman. Voiced by Diedrich Bader (best known as Hoss Delgado, Korgoth the Barbarian, or Peter’s neighbor from Office Space), what sets this incarnation of Batman apart is his dry wit. Bader plays the role completely straight and serious 100% of the time – even when Batman has a quip. The other characters, Aquaman especially, provide much of the series’ charm. The interplay between the various characters allow for a take on Batman we haven’t seen for quite some time.

The title of the show, The Brave and the Bold, references the old DC Comics series where superheroes would team up to solve problems. This is the basic concept of this series, where in each episode Batman teams up with other DC superheroes (and occasionally his old sidekicks). While your first thought might be Justice League, it’s not big teams taking on baddies, but rather Batman and one of his buddies. It really brings in a character oriented story.

Brave and the Bold certainly has its share of action, but that’s not really why I watch it. It really is the humor that comes from Batman’s 100% serious nature and how the other characters play off of it. Aquaman, for instance, is the complete opposite. He’s always hamming it up whether or not Batman is on screen. The character portrayals are definitely different to the usual DC animated stuff we’ve been seeing over the past seventeen years or so. It doesn’t devolve into camp like Adam West’s Batman, but the sometimes self-aware humor is what keeps it fresh, as opposed to The Batman’s tiresome refresh in the shadow of the Nolan films.

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