By D_Bones 1 Comments
Bunna nunna nunna nunna BATTMAAAN! So duders took a day off because of fun stuff like work and shit but I’m back now and ready to about another “big” game from last year: Batman!! But first I will go into my regular spiel about why I am writing these numerous and lengthy blogs. The reason behind the madness is the fact that as a result of my own necessary budgeting (student) I cannot play the customary ten current year games to make a proper game of the year list. Instead I pick up slightly older games that have been reduced in price to make them easy on my wallet to purchase. So far for those of you new to these blogs this is number 9, feel free to browse any of the others which range from FPS’s like Bulletstorm and Resistance 3 or 2012 games (which are the only 2 I have bought this year) like Mass Effect 3 and Twisted Metal. Enough advertising myself then. Let’s get to the meat and potatoes and talk about Batman: Arkham City.
I first ran into this series because of my first year university roommate who had brought his 360 to our dorm to match my PS3. I remember it being winter or fall and he got all excited about Arkham Asylum. This led him to inviting me to Best Buy with him so we could pick up the game. He immediately popped the game in and I actually enjoyed watching him play the opening and first hour or two of the game. But then he had to either go home for the weekend or work and I was left in the dorm alone. He had told me to go ahead and play his 360 whenever I wanted and honestly I wanted to see more of this game. Quickly over this weekend I made my way through the majority of the game. When my roomie returned he was shocked and even though he never said anything I could tell he was jealous that I had nearly beaten his game before him. While I went to school and stuff over the week he stayed home and played through the game finishing it before me which I thought was amusing. Afterword I beat the game myself and loved every minute of it. Then when Christmas rolled around I knew I would ask for it on PS3 even though I had beaten it on 360. I think that just shows how excited I was for Arkham City. Asylum still stands as the only game I have beaten on 2 consoles and the only game I have beaten on a 360.
For some reason though I didn’t rush out and pick up City when it was first released. I’m not really sure what stopped me because it would have been a perfect candidate for one of my “current year” purchases. I think it was just that I wasn’t ready for more Batman yet or I wasn’t in crazy videogame mode OR more likely I was crazy absorbed in another game at the time (I could check and see what it was but it’s not really important). Anyway I eventually picked the game up on the cheap and played it. I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t astounded like I was with Asylum probably because City was more of the same (still great) but not as much of a shocker. Once again I will preface all criticism by saying that I really enjoyed this game and my time with it was a different feel (for me not the mechanics) than Asylum but it was still a positive journey.
Some of the stuff I liked about this game included the new larger world. I really liked this massive city that you are left in. At first I was incredibly overwhelmed when they let me loose on the city. It was massive and I wasn’t sure what to do first. Should I start collecting, or do side missions, or AR training or the story? This is not a bad thing in the slightest but I sort of needed a minute to get my shit together before diving in. Once you know your way around the city is a breeze (especially with the awesome new grappling hook upgrade) but at first it was a bit daunting. This big city with a select number of buildings was to me at least a big improvement over Asylum where the grounds weren’t very interesting and the buildings were where the good stuff was. This is somewhat true of City as well because the buildings are where you face off against bosses etc. but the city seemed more lively than the grounds of Asylum and way more expansive.
I’ll shortly touch on the great fighting mechanics which were streamlined from the first game. The integration of the gadgets are the most obvious improvement on the battle system allowing you to quickly batclaw someone or plant explosives and set them off in a few quick button presses. The typical counter combo system is still great and responsive as well as satisfying allowing you to feel like a superhero.
My first major gripe with the game was I guess the boss selection. The first game had some memorable bosses/levels (my faves being Croc and Ivy) and I was disappointed with the City lineup/setup. I never really felt the same tension/scare moment in City like I did with Asylum. In Asylum the first time Croc bust out of the water and killed me I jumped out of my seat in surprise and horror. Then in City they have an almost identical moment where you have to watch out for a shark. I thought that was sort of repetitive and shitty. I felt that Penguin and Two Face were underused and not much of a battle. I mean I know Penguin can’t really face Batman hand to hand but could of thought of something better than oh go fight my heavy then take me out in one move. The Scarecrow moments which were a major highlight of Asylum are gone in City and have nothing really good to replace them. You could argue that the Mad Hatter thing was their substitute but my god was that dumb and seemingly thrown in just to show another villain. The only area where City had a cool boss battle was with Mr. Freeze (who I couldn’t really take seriously because it sounded like he was pinching his nose then talking). I really liked the whole can’t take him one on one, and can’t pull the same shit on him twice. This was an intelligent villain not some muscle bound moron (ie; Grundy and Bane). Even the necessary stealth (which I’m not always a fan of) was fun in this fight. So City gets a huge kudos for the Mr. Freeze battle. And I’m aware that some of the Asylum bosses were dumb, especially end game Joker but I felt they were more hits than misses. Plus that game was all new whereas in City you get poorly recycled stuff like the Croc/Shark and Scarecrow/Mad Hatter moments (the Croc and Shark one being the most anger inducing in me cause Croc moment was one of my highlights). I also thought the Ra’s Al Ghul shit was cool too (nearly forgot) but thought he went out like a punk, plus I nearly forget him in this crowded lineup. ONE MORE THING!! Oh shit forgot about Catwoman. I couldn’t stand her in this game. I get it she is a sexually imbued character. But did I really have to listen to every sentence come out as some sort of innuendo? Something to do with cats and meowing and banging like come on lady leave it alone. Drove me nuts. Sorry rant over.
I also thought the game itself would have benefitted from some form of co-op. I mean no games don’t NEED these modes but it would have been easy to be like yeah I wanna play as Robin (who was in the game for like ten seconds) and go traipsing around Arkham City as a dynamic duo. The other areas of the game that need to be spoken about are the Riddler stuff and the challenges. The Riddler stuff which included the actual hostage rooms and the actual takedown of the Riddler himself were great and well done, not to mention satisfying. The collectables and stuff themselves were way too numerous when it came to Riddler trophies and not enough riddles themselves. I enjoy collecting shit especially when there is a payoff (like taking out a smug bastard) but this was so time consuming that I got bored tracking all this shit down which shows in my opinion that they need to augment this stuff in some way. The challenges themselves are not really my thing but you get a ton more shit to do in this game which must be good for the challenge hardcore.
Alright trophies. I’ll briefly say that I did not plat Asylum and did not plan on platting City. This mostly arises from the fact that while I do enjoy collecting all the shit in the game I do not like combat challenges or battle royales. So I’ll try them out but getting all the medals or whatever would just frustrate me and leave me with a bad taste in my mouth which I didn’t want when I enjoyed so much of the rest of the game. All in all the trophies are not super difficult just more of a show of patience and dedication to the challenges than anything else.
So that’s it guys while I really liked this game (mostly because it was more of Asylum) I didn’t like a lot of the boss repetition and didn’t really think the game changed enough to be as important as Asylum was to me. Once again thanks for reading the next game in this train is PixelJunk Shooter so tune in for the next installment. Til then ta ta.