tempest in a teacup

the pointless musings of a strange recluse

Where are you, games criticism

Why is everyone fawning over Batman: Arkham Asylum as if it were some sort of game of the year contender? I played the demo, and while I thought the stealth sections were decent-ish (it’s way too easy to hide from enemies), the combat was bland as hell – the game literally has you mashing the same button repeatedly and a counter button occasionally (whose timing is telegraphed), which is even less complexity than Assassin’s Creed, let alone a quality action game like Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry. On top of that ‘detective mode’ completely ruins any sense of challenge you might experience in figuring out puzzles by highlighting everything of interest in the room for you.

Am I missing something here?

11 comments

11 Responses to “Where are you, games criticism”

  1. KK says:

    I heard the full game totally blows the demo, being way superior.

    Also, Batman is a vigilante LOL

  2. Oro says:

    The combat is along the lines of easy to get into hard to master, there’s nothing quite like stringing together 20 + hit freeflow combos with all the chaos around you. Later additions to the combat such as a throw, mid combo batarangs, over the back dodging, and an invincible takedown manuver help to liven things up. Counters are integral to keeping huge combos going, but get harder when there are un-counterable mobs thrown in with the riff-raff.

    The key is to approach the combat like its a fighting game, you need to put some effort in to enjoy the depth. Can you mash your way through the game? Yeah, sure, but you’re only cheating yourself out of the experience. I’m aware you can’t really play multiplayer, but beating some of those freeflow leaderboards is actually very difficult.

    The stealth sections were well done, in the demo it came across as absurdly easy, but in some way, that would be the point. Isn’t that what Batman is like in the movies? Moving silently and dominating his opponents? A lot of praise for this game usually comes from people who feel that this is what it would be like to BE Batman. Conceptual arguments aside, as you progress in the game, they get harder much faster than you’d think with inmates wearing collars that will call their mates over if you take one of them out as well as bombs on the gargoyles if you decide to rest too long.

    Finally, we have the detective vision, in the demo it seems like a fairly powerful tool, and it remains so througout the game, but as the game ramps up the difficulty I feel like the vision scaled scaled down a bit and is more relegated to helping you solve optional puzzles than advancing the plot.

    If you’re a fan of Batman, which I am not, there’s a lot to like about this game. The demo wowed me with the potential of the combat and the stealth sections sold me. Fortunately, the game was selling for 38 dollars Canadian on release and was worth every penny.

    • sonictempest says:

      Fair enough – I’ll give the game a shot at some point.

      • Oro says:

        I’d say rent it, I mean I feel the hype was “mostly” justified, the game isn’t perfect, but no game is everyone’s cup of tea. For example, I downloaded the demo for WET and was blown away but every gaming blog out there has readers who just rip it a new one. I’m starting to believe that I enjoy style over substance ala Gungrave and Bullet Witch over more Gears of War and Call of Duty.

        • sonictempest says:

          Actually based on this review it sounds like Bullet Witch has some substance to it too:
          http://insomnia.ac/reviews/xbox360/bulletwitch/review.php

          Funny you should mention WET – I just played the demo myself. Looks incredibly stylish but the focus on slow-mo gunplay (which of course makes aiming piss-easy, even for a thumbstick-deficient guy like me) left me pretty unsatisfied.

          • Oro says:

            I’m thinking that the satisfaction in WET isn’t from killing your enemies, but how many you can kill at once. At least, that’s what I believe A2M was trying to achieve with this particular system, during the red room section, I managed to string together 30 kills ie everyone in that entire section into a single combo, that was fun and satisfying. The quicktime section was also surprisingly fun, I think it’s the first time I’ve ever enjoyed any quicktime event period.

  3. 38 Canadian Wind!! says:

    38 dollars Canadian?!?? For a new copy????? What gives – games in Canada are usually $20 or so dollars higher than US prices. Where was this on sale at such a price??

    • Oro says:

      Basically Walmart in Canada said, “We’re selling the game for 40 bucks!” Then all the other major gaming outlets said, “Well shit, we better follow suit.” And they did, and I got a dirt cheap copy of Batman Arkham Asylum.

Leave a Reply