Freeflow - the best brawler / hand-to-hand combat mechanic yet?

#1 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Freeflow Combat Beats Them All


 
After I've beaten the game and got all the riddler collectibles, I started playing the challenge rooms. The predator ones were pretty easy to master. The freeflow combat ones though, are though. It takes all my concentration, skill and guile to get the all the 3 medals for each challenge. I had to refine my gameplay a lot. This is when it hit me.
 
Rocksteady has designed the perfect brawler mechanic. It's so smooth and easy to pick up, yet it is very hard to master and, to top it all off, I can beat every challenge, without Batman even getting a scratch. The game can throw 20+ enemies at me, yet I can stay in contol, dominating the room. The smallest misstep in execution, bad call or negligence of a threat though, can throw me in a world of hurt.
 
Rocksteadys Freeflow Combat beats them all. Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry, God of War - you name it. None of them give me as much control, power and challenge, as does Batman - Arkham Asylum. I really hope, Rocksteady will go on to do a fully fleshed out brawler. Rocksteady has redefined Brawler combat. Freeflow is the shit!
 
Do you share my feelings on Freeflow Combat? What would you like to see from Rocksteady next?
#2 Posted by ImperiousRix (2963 posts) -

I like it a lot.  At first (and to some) it looks like you can basically just mash on the strike button and dominate.  However, once you start facing off against enemies with knives or stun batons, you realize the value of timing and directing your strikes as well as counters to build up and preserve that combo meter to pull off take downs and such.  It's fun, it's deceptively deep, and best of all, it looks great.
#3 Posted by SteamPunkJin (1286 posts) -

I was just saying the same thing to a friend of mine the other night, how excellent the combat is. The only way to describe it is 'easy to pick up, difficult to master' (which is a term I come across in reviews or previews and I can't stand it) generally it means the combat will suck, and yet here they've done a fantastic job. On paper it sounds like a button masher, but when you get right down to it mashing will work, but not net you many points (outside the challenge rooms of course, inside mashing will result in failure).
 I was fairly skeptic when I read about 'one attack button' but I think it's hands down the most satisfying combat in any game I've played to date. Brutal, cinematic, and really really quite satisfying.

#4 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

The mechanic is definitly worth an own game focusing on Freeflow Combat. I guess something along the lines of a XBLA/PSN/Steam release. A standalone Batman brawler based on the assets of Arkham Asylum. That would be definite purchase for me. Doesn't have to be Batman - as long as the Freeflow Combat mechanic stays intact.

#5 Posted by jakob187 (21691 posts) -

I wouldn't say the BEST, as it does have a few flaws to it, but it's pretty damn awesome! 
 
One of the few problems I have with the mechanic is that you'll go for a kick on a certain dood, but you might be slightly off on your aiming and it'll send you across to a completely different dood, yet you've already hit your button to counter because you were planning on being in range of that counter hit.  There can also be a slight miss in hit detection every now and then when you are trying to punch someone.  I also noticed a few times that when you start out with three punches, the timing on the punches doesn't necessarily coordinate with your button timing.  You can press it the same way several times, and the timing is always different on the punches. 
 
Other than that, Freeflow makes everything look super kick ass, and you can really feel the impact of the hits, which is half of what makes the system so awesome.  There's also something really cool about stringing together a plethora of hits and timing things correctly. 
 
To steal from Ryan's comments on Mirror's Edge for a moment:  when things are flowing, it's awesome...but when they aren't, it can be a mess.

#6 Posted by addictedtopinescent (3645 posts) -

I like brawlers when everything looks super kick ass like jakob said, which is what batman:AA does really well

#7 Posted by ChickenPants (934 posts) -

Not even close for me . God of War and Devil May Cry are by far the best for that.
 
Hell I prefer The Bouncer's brawling to Batman's.

#8 Posted by RipTheVeins (1546 posts) -
I think that the system also has one of the best glitches in recent memory, at least for me.  Sometimes when I went for a long distance ground takedown, the one where Bats will do a flip in the air onto an enemy on the ground and normally punch the guy in the face, well sometimes for me the animation for Batman will go backwards, so he jumps in the air and lands T-bagging the guy on the ground and the proceeds to punch them in the junk to knock 'em out. Cracks me up every time. 
#9 Posted by SuperfluousMoniker (2910 posts) -

I haven't played this yet but I doubt it's more fun than stringing together crazy combos in DMC 3 or 4.

#10 Posted by ArchScabby (5809 posts) -

I like it.
 
 
 
Don't really know what else to say...

#11 Posted by HitmanAgent47 (8576 posts) -

Tbh I found the combat a bit too simple. It felt like another generic superhero combat you find in other games yet slightly better. However when I played the game again, I found alot of variety like using more tactics, counter attacking and stuff because it helps you get more combos for upgrading stuff. There are times when I used a counter attack and I still get hit. Really it's a good combat system however it's still too overpowered and I think devil may cry 4's combo system is still better.

#12 Edited by jakob187 (21691 posts) -
@RipTheVeins: Yeah, I laugh at that Borat-ish myself every time it happens.  Actually, I laughed when you just described it.  LAWL 
 
Also, for those mentioning DMC...I would put DMC in a completely different category of gameplay than Batman.
#13 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Check out this video, if you still doubt the depth, insane epicness, responsiveness and control of the Freeflow combat!


 
 
  
 
The awesomeness can't be refuted. This shit is deep. It is responsive. It allows for unprecendet scale of combat. God - I love this shit!
#14 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

And some more...   

   
   
  It's just as much fun to watch, as it is to play!
#15 Posted by jakob187 (21691 posts) -
@Seppli: See, things NEVER seem to go that smooth for me!!!  That video makes it look so simple, but it can honestly be far more complicated than that!
#16 Posted by Satune (477 posts) -

I love the Freeflow combat system, its easy to get into, you can feel like a bad ass cause you can just decimate a dozen guys, and nothing beats the Instant Takedowns, just seeing how Batman breaks some fools arm in slow-mo is great!

#17 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

That's just it, you can play it and refine your gameplay to a point, where you can beat the odds perfectly. Perfect Combo for Combo Variety +5000, take no damage for Dark Knight +500, Flawless Flow Combo for +1000, all rounds no damage for Perfect Knight +5000. All of which can be done, with perfect execution and skill. I just love gamedesign, that allows for perfection. It's the opposite of cheap difficulty.

#18 Posted by ImperiousRix (2963 posts) -
@RipTheVeins said:
"I think that the system also has one of the best glitches in recent memory, at least for me.  Sometimes when I went for a long distance ground takedown, the one where Bats will do a flip in the air onto an enemy on the ground and normally punch the guy in the face, well sometimes for me the animation for Batman will go backwards, so he jumps in the air and lands T-bagging the guy on the ground and the proceeds to punch them in the junk to knock 'em out. Cracks me up every time.  "

Oh God, I love when that happens.  Sometimes when he punches him in the ass, it doesn't make sense that that would knock the guy out, but when he punches him in the nuts, it's fucking hilarious. 
Not to mention I just yell "DICK PUNCH!" everytime I'm about to do it.
#19 Posted by AngeTheDude (683 posts) -

Yup, you gotta love the freeflow. I seem to do pretty well in the challenge rooms but I still get hit often in the campaign, perhaps because I get too relaxed from all the exploring.

#20 Posted by Galiant (2193 posts) -
@RipTheVeins said:
" I think that the system also has one of the best glitches in recent memory, at least for me.  Sometimes when I went for a long distance ground takedown, the one where Bats will do a flip in the air onto an enemy on the ground and normally punch the guy in the face, well sometimes for me the animation for Batman will go backwards, so he jumps in the air and lands T-bagging the guy on the ground and the proceeds to punch them in the junk to knock 'em out. Cracks me up every time.  "
Haha yeah this happened to me too, I laughed so hard! On topic: I really like this combat system, it feels fresh.
#21 Posted by Seppli (10251 posts) -

I'm down to the last two freeflow medals for 'Rumble in the Jungle' (extreme). Got to score me 20k+ points in the first round. Looking forward to it.

#22 Posted by hsvlad (142 posts) -

It was nice to see a game like this go for something other then the God Of War Standard quick attack, heavy attack. I really dont like thoes systems, they dont give you any kind of freedom in combat. Just another button to mash. Batman was simple but got it right. Let batman figure out the attack he needs to do, you just need to tell him who and where. The counter button works really well too, and the fights feel very different on hard mode cos' you don't get the counter indicator. Add in the dodge and stun (which I would have liked to have been an actual attack not just swishing his cape but whatever) and the special throw and takedown attacks you get from the combo multiplier and I think its a great system. I will say its a little dull when your only up against 3-4 guys but when you have 20 or 25 guys coming at you at once, some with weapons, its fantastic.

#23 Edited by MB (12730 posts) -

I did really enjoy the combat system in Arkham Asylum, but looking back, a lot of the time I felt like I was just button mashing and waiting for the counter indicator to appear. I would say they almost nailed it. I'd like to see a bit more variety and precision worked into the next iteration of this combat system in the sequel.

Moderator
#24 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

The Freeflow system works best in context with a score. It really shines in the Challenge rooms because of that. 
 
It ain't that hard, to beat the enemies, but it's very hard to do it in style and with some degree of perfection.
 
 When I got my Freeflow Gold Achievement for example, as I earned the last medal in the 'Rumble in the Junge (extreme)' challenge room, I scored a whopping 35k in the first round. I was hands down perfect. You can beat the enemies in round 1 just fine, but only make 5000 points. The disparity between beating the round and doing it perfectly, is immense. In context with a score and especially a score requirement, the Freeflow mechanics potential reveals its true depth, which is pretty darn near perfection.
 
A DLC sized, Freeflow brawler, focusing on online leaderboards, is just what the doctor prescribes.

#25 Posted by mark2000 (111 posts) -

Don't forget that adding Variation in combos doubles your experience rates. Couple that with the 2x combo multiplier and you've pretty much gotten a good reason to fight with style.

#26 Posted by RHCPfan24 (8609 posts) -

I think the combat is fantastic and one of the best action experiences of the year but not ever. Jakob187 above listed that problem that I have, and it also takes skill to make your fights look anything as smooth as what is shown above. Still, so far my fights have looked flashy and cinematic, and that is enough to give it good props.

#27 Posted by buzz_killington (3532 posts) -

The mechanics were really simple actually, but it was the animations that made it really awesome. It was basically the equivalent of platforming in Assassin's Creed.

#28 Posted by WitchHunter_Z (882 posts) -

I really like the combat, but I don't think it takes that much skill, granted I haven't perfected it yet, but it seems to just be pressing 'attack' rythmically, while watching for special enemies and counter oportunities. It would need more variation for a game to be built around it though, and for a game like Arkham Asylum it works perfectly, as your not over exposed to it. 
A PSN/XBLA release with this system though, could be awesome.

#29 Posted by VWGTI (1919 posts) -

I sat down yesterday and mastered the combat system. It's really, really well done. There are some annoyances in the mechanics, but when it works it works well. It kind of gave me a Tony Hawk Pro Skater vibe. You struggle to get a total of 5,000 points at first and after some practice you're getting insane numbers 50,000, 60,000, 70,000... 
 
There were times yesterday where I was cursing Rock Steady for various annoyances with the combat system, but after finishing them all up I commend their efforts. I can't wait to see what they do to refine the combat system and add things to make it all deeper and more playable in the sequel.
#30 Edited by yevinorion (700 posts) -

I have to say I didn't really admire the true depth of this combat system til I was trying for the medals in the Freeflow Challenges. I had enough of a grasp to get me through the game, even to get me through it on Hard. Even that though, wasn't enough to get me 3 medals on the more challenging maps. At this point I've finally gotten it well enough to get 3 medals on every map except Shock and Awe (Extreme) and from what I understand that one is mostly about luck and timing anyway. Still gonna carry on to try and get that 100% completion. :P
 
Overall though, this is one of the most elegant and fluid combat systems I've seen in awhile and I really, really love it. So deceptively simple, but so profoundly complex when timing, variation and such things come into the mix.

#31 Edited by SJSchmidt93 (4896 posts) -

Yeah. It's pretty fucking good. 
 
I still need 3 medals for Shock and Awe (normal) and Rumble in the Jungle (extreme). 
 
No, you didn't read that wrong. I got the extreme shock and awe fine, but can't get 3 medals on the normal one.

#32 Posted by torus (1097 posts) -

How are you comparing Ninja Gaiden to a brawler? 

#33 Posted by HistoryInRust (6338 posts) -
@SJSchmidt93 said:
"Yeah. It's pretty fucking good.  I still need 3 medals for Shock and Awe (normal) and Rumble in the Jungle (extreme).  No, you didn't read that wrong. I got the extreme shock and awe fine, but can't get 3 medals on the normal one. "

I'm not sure what it is about the twin Shock and Awe challenges--maybe the prevalence of knife and stun-rod enemies--that makes them so tedious. I really dig the Intensive Treatment and Sewer Bat challenges, though.  
 
I'll practice up on Freeflow during the week, then this weekend when I have some time, I'm going to make a charge for Freeflow Gold. EPIC.
#34 Posted by robertheadley (1 posts) -

I think part of the problem with brawlers, 3d brawlers specifically is that limited axis movement, even 8 axis combined with canned animation can only go so far until the suspension of disbelief is ruined. Context sensitive combat like featured in The Freeflow system helps build momentum of disbelief.

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