Batman Arkham City's vision modes

Having gone back to Arkham City for a second playthrough, I've come to the conclusion that Rocksteady really failed at one goal they set out for themselves, and that's the Detective vision. They claimed that they wanted you to use the Detective vision less in this sequel, and encourage you to just experience the game with normal vision. That's an admirable goal, and I applaud them for saying so, but I don't think they really accomplished this at all. I mean, I made a big effort not to use Detective mode, but honestly, the game does not do anything to encourage this.

You try to spot enemies out on the streets or inside a Predator room with normal vision, and it's just hard. It is not easy to distinguish them from the surrounding environment. Whether it's because of the color palette that they decided to use for this city, or the lighting in UE3, or a combination of the two, you'll often just find yourself squinting down at the ground below, trying to pick out the thugs from the dirty sidewalks or garishly lit walls or whatever. This isn't a problem that I ever ran into with Splinter Cell games, by the way. In Splinter Cell, you could easily tell enemies apart from the environment, unless it was just too dark, in which case you'd turn on night vision. In Arkham City, for whatever reason, the enemies just seem to merge into the surrounding textures and you're basically trying to look for motion to distinguish them, like a T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Not saying it's impossible, not saying you can't do it given enough time perched up on a ledge, but compared to Detective mode where they're all lit up in an instant... yeah, it's pretty difficult. They said they wanted to discourage using Detective mode this time around, but when the lighting and palette conspire to hide and obscure enemies in nearly every environment in the game, you're basically pushed to use it.

There's also the enhanced zoom that you can use to try to detect enemies, but this feature is very badly implemented. I dunno about anybody else, but I found the depth of field effect on this zoom to be completely overdone and ridiculously heavy-handed, to the point where enemies five or ten feet away from the one I'm focused on would be completely blurred and undetectable. Obviously, depth of field is something that our eyes experience and use of it is realistic, but not to the insane degree that they've pushed it in this game. Moving the crosshair one or two degrees would completely change the focus and blur out what had previously been perfectly visible. That's completely unrealistic and turns what could've been a useful tool into a frustrating annoyance.

Start the Conversation
1 Comments
Posted by Delta_Ass

Having gone back to Arkham City for a second playthrough, I've come to the conclusion that Rocksteady really failed at one goal they set out for themselves, and that's the Detective vision. They claimed that they wanted you to use the Detective vision less in this sequel, and encourage you to just experience the game with normal vision. That's an admirable goal, and I applaud them for saying so, but I don't think they really accomplished this at all. I mean, I made a big effort not to use Detective mode, but honestly, the game does not do anything to encourage this.

You try to spot enemies out on the streets or inside a Predator room with normal vision, and it's just hard. It is not easy to distinguish them from the surrounding environment. Whether it's because of the color palette that they decided to use for this city, or the lighting in UE3, or a combination of the two, you'll often just find yourself squinting down at the ground below, trying to pick out the thugs from the dirty sidewalks or garishly lit walls or whatever. This isn't a problem that I ever ran into with Splinter Cell games, by the way. In Splinter Cell, you could easily tell enemies apart from the environment, unless it was just too dark, in which case you'd turn on night vision. In Arkham City, for whatever reason, the enemies just seem to merge into the surrounding textures and you're basically trying to look for motion to distinguish them, like a T-Rex in Jurassic Park. Not saying it's impossible, not saying you can't do it given enough time perched up on a ledge, but compared to Detective mode where they're all lit up in an instant... yeah, it's pretty difficult. They said they wanted to discourage using Detective mode this time around, but when the lighting and palette conspire to hide and obscure enemies in nearly every environment in the game, you're basically pushed to use it.

There's also the enhanced zoom that you can use to try to detect enemies, but this feature is very badly implemented. I dunno about anybody else, but I found the depth of field effect on this zoom to be completely overdone and ridiculously heavy-handed, to the point where enemies five or ten feet away from the one I'm focused on would be completely blurred and undetectable. Obviously, depth of field is something that our eyes experience and use of it is realistic, but not to the insane degree that they've pushed it in this game. Moving the crosshair one or two degrees would completely change the focus and blur out what had previously been perfectly visible. That's completely unrealistic and turns what could've been a useful tool into a frustrating annoyance.