Someone at BioWare has a skinhead fetish

 That's the only conclusion I can come to when looking at that new trailer for Subject Zero.
 
Also, what's with these names BioWare? Grunt? Subject Zero? I get that names have to be memorable, but those names are the etymological equivalent of a kick to the groin. You want people to remember your names for the right reasons.
 
But yes, I'm feeling far less interested in Mass Effect 2 after Grunt and Subject Zero. I'll still be watching for further developments, and that assassin character was at least quite awesome... maybe I can use him to kill Subject Zero, hm. Okay, maybe they're onto something here.

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Batty beginnings of flying rodents and B-men

I've taken my time, but as of last night I've finally delved into Batman: Arkham Asylum.
 
More than any other game this year, B:AA proves that developers are learning from past mistakes. It also shows the potential pay-off of thinking around the edges of the box, so-to-speak. Everything this game does has been done before, which isn't to say none of it isn't fun or exciting. What really makes it for me, though, is that extra effort that so many games either don't have or don't express well enough for me to notice.
 
I walked by a phone, and a woman calling for her husband -- who works at Arkham Asylum and was apparently late -- was answered by The Joker. His reply to her inquiry of where her betrothed was- well it had me smiling wide.
 
I don't want to get too deep into review territory, but there are three things B:AA does insatiably well:
 

  • Combat
  • Item collection
  • Embracing itself
 
When I say embracing itself, I mean that B:AA is unapologetically Batman in so many ways.
 
There are certainly some rough spots. The Bane fight comes to mind, which requires a specific approach to victory. This wouldn't be an issue if combat didn't encourage the player to be creative and diverse in dispatching common foes. An opportunity was most certainly missed in the Bane fight, as giving players a variety of ways to win the fight, Batman-style, would've been ideal. However, there are other encounters which follow the linear design philosophy and avoid using combat as the lynch pin of their design -- and they work just fine.
 
So I haven't beaten the game at this point, yet I already find myself thinking of what's next after this game. What other properties could -- and undeniably should -- be taken with this amount of seriousness? If we're talking comic book characters, I feel like Iron Man is a property with similar yet significantly more lighthearted potential. Beyond that, there's a ton of great sci-fi and fantasy books begging for this kind of treatment. How does a urban fantasy hard-boiled detective game sound to you? Look no further than The Dresden Files.
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