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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

"It's a Video Game!!" - The Batman Arkham Series


I think I’m just going to stay with that title. It’s just so to the point. When it comes to superhero video games, finding good ones is a little rare when it when regarding DC. Somehow, some of this doesn’t concern Batman. Now, there have some decent games and there have been some horrible games. Does anyone remember Batman Forever for the Sega Genesis? Man, that game was bad. Luckily, someone at Warner Bros. came up with the idea to let Rocksteady make a Batman game. The rest, as they say, is history.

When it comes to these three games, I was pretty late to the game (pun intended) in playing them. I actually didn’t get to play Arkham Asylum (AA) until 2011. It was the first game I played on my PS3. I don’t exactly know when I got Arkham City (AC), but it had to have been a while after it was released. I rarely get games when they come out.  Plus, I was in grad school. I also waited a while for Arkham Origins (AO), but that was more for reasons I’ll get to later. Other than AO, I’ve played these games more than once.

Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: AA was released in 2009. In the story, Batman is escorting the Joker back to Arkham Asylum again. Unfortunately, this was all a part of Joker’s plan as he and other inmates take over the island. Batman has to face some of his deadliest enemies and save everyone on the island.

I think I can say that this game is awesome. There’s no other word I can give it. The game is as perfect as it can be. The story, written by Paul Dini, is pretty good for the most part. The characters presented here are really put to good use. The graphics and designs are pretty well done. The voice acting is also pretty good. Both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are back playing their respective characters and it is glorious. The game also has a nice, eerie soundtrack and that makes sense because the game takes place in an insane asylum.
Joker Smash!!!!

The gameplay is pretty awesome. You get to be the Batman here. You have the moves and the gadgets to use in order to do the job.  It all works really well. The boss battles are interesting and pretty unique for the most part. My favorites are the ones with Killer Croc and Poison Ivy. While the Scarecrow sections aren’t necessarily boss sections, those sections are really good and creepy. I also enjoyed the Ridder parts of the game where you have to solve certain riddles and find items.

I don’t really have anything bad to say about the game. It might get a little repetitive at times, but that’s how most games are. I also thought they made some of the Riddler items too hard to get. There were some character designs that were a little lackluster. One of them is Bane’s monstrosity of a design. The final battle is also a little disappointing. You basically fight a Hulk version of the Joker. It’s a bit lackluster but it it’s always cool to beat the crap out of the Joker. Other than those things, this game is awesome. If you haven’t played it, then what are you waitin’ for?

Batman: Arkham City
Batman: AC was released towards the end of 2011. A lot of good games came out that year. We had Skyrim, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, L.A. Noire, Infamous 2, and Assassin’s Creed Revelations.  Batman: AC is definitely a part of that list. The story takes place 6 months later. Doctor Hugo Strange has gotten Gotham City to make a part of Gotham into a giant prison. All inmates from Gotham’s prisons are thrown into this place. Batman knows Strange is up to something bad, so he sneaks into Arkham City to stop the evil plans. Batman also has to deal with a dying Joker who has infected Batman with his poisonous blood.

This game is the definition of awesome. It’s literally one of my favorite games for any console. I’ve read where someone compared the Arkham series to movie franchises like the Terminator franchise. If Arkham Asylum was the first movie, than Arkham City is Judgement Day. Everything is dialed up to 11 in this game. The story is good for the most part. We get more villains and even some heroes this time around. While you have the main mission, you also have some cool side missions to play with this time as well. My favorites were the ones involving Victor Zsasz, Deadshot, and Hush. The voice acting is also top-notch for the most part.
Possibly one of the best boss battles ever.

The gameplay is also expanded upon and the world is much bigger. The fighting mechanics are pretty cool and turn Batman into more of a BMS (bad motha’ sucka’) than he already is. The boss battles are really good here. You have a lot of diversity and uniqueness again. The battle with Mr. Freeze is probably one of the best boss battles ever. The boss battles with Ra’s al Ghul, Clayface, and Solomon Grundy were also really good. The Riddler quests are also as good and confusing as before. The music is also pretty awesome. It’s like a mix of Danny Elfman’s score and Hans Zimmer’s score from the movies.

I really don’t have any issues with this game either. You might have a couple of voices that don’t fit right. I wasn’t really fond of Ra’s al Ghul’s voice. I think there’s one side mission that really didn’t amount to that much. Other than that and a couple of other small nitpicks, this game is perfect. It’s definitely one of the best.

Batman: Arkham Origins
Batman: AO was recently released in 2013. As you can tell by the title, it’s a prequel to the other games. Since Rocksteady was working on Batman: Arkham Knight (coming in 2015), WB Montreal developed the game. The story takes place during Batman’s early years of crimefighting. Black Mask has ordered out a hit on Batman and eight assassins come to town on Christmas Eve in order to kill him. Batman also has to deal with the Gotham City Police Department who are also hunting him down. Things start to get worse when he ends up facing one of his deadliest enemies for the first time.

I was pretty hesitant with this game when word came out about the game’s glitches. It was also being done by someone else, so I was worried that the game would be bad. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. This is a good game. I don’t know how it stacks up to the other two, but it is really good. This might have the best story out of all of them. The story has some interesting twists and turns along the way. The voice acting is adequate for the most part. The replacements for Batman and the Joker were pretty good. This also has Bane at his best I believe.
Another Deathstroke cameo... at least he is Deathstroke here!

The gameplay is more or less the same from Batman: AC. The fighting mechanics are still good. You also get some new gadgets to play around with. Detective mode gets a bit of an overhaul here and it’s a pretty interesting one. The boss battles are good, but I will say that they are really reminiscent of boss battles from previous games. My favorite battles are the ones with Deathstroke, Firefly, and Bane. I liked most of the side missions here especially the one with the Mad Hatter. The soundtrack is also pretty good. The game also has a multiplayer mode and it’s okay.

Now, there are some big issues here, but they’re not deal breakers for me. There are some really noticeable glitches in the game. I haven’t had any really bad ones but it is distracting. The controls have also been switched a bit and that was pretty annoying for a while especially when you’ve gotten used to the ones from previous games. The game is also basically another “Batman vs. The Joker” game. While I don’t have a big problem with that, I do hope the next game changes it up a bit. I also thought some of the graphics were a little weird. They didn’t really match up well with the previous games.

While I had more issues with the game than any of the others, it’s still a pretty good playthrough. As I said, the story is really good, the gameplay is excellent, and the voice acting is good. Check it out if you haven’t yet.

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Well, that pretty much wraps it up for this post. Luckily, we’ll be getting one more from Rocksteady called Batman: Arkham Knight. It was supposed to come out towards the end of this year, but it got pushed to 2015. Judging by the trailers, it looks to be their best game yet. I can only hope it will be good. I can also hope that a certain Man of Steel will get a good game similar to these. While some say it can’t work, I think it can if someone really puts in their work. Well, I’m out. Peace, God Bless, and remember to charge that controller.

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