Will Preston

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na Something!

by on Nov.02, 2010, under Review, Video Games

It’s been a few years since we’ve seen anything else but the Christian Bale Batman. A superhero in a supposedly gritty and realistic setting was now becoming the norm with little hint of good old fashioned ridiculous fantasy ever returning. After waiting five years since the last Batman game (a movie tie in of Batman Begins) we have now finally got a game that is closer to the comic then the mainstream franchise has been in ages. No more deep and brooding Joker. No more vaguely Welsh sounding Batman grumble. It’s back to Bob Kane’s original crime fighter, with a few nerdy extras along the way.

Bat-kick to the face!

On the surface of the game, it has some very impressive visuals. As you would expect from a game set in Gotham City, everything looks dark and evil. Even a waste-paper basket could be accused of being a serial rapist and be forced to stand trial whilst the jury spend time looking over and over again at CCTV footage of a waste-paper basket following a woman into an alley. Dark stuff! Batman has hints of the recent incarnation with his outfit and gadgets looking slightly futuristic, but The Joker is back to being his cheeky murder-y self. Being a Batman nerd, the part that excited me the most was the inclusion of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill taking up their roles again and Batman and The Joker, as well as various other voice actors voicing the roles they had played in the early Nineties cartoon. Conroy is probably the best Batman voice you will hear for a long time.

The set up of the game is rather simple. One night, Batman catches the Joker and carts him off in his fancy car that is closer to resembling spaceship every day. He takes The Joker to be incarcerated in Arkham Asylum, Gotham City’s madhouse (and location of most of Batman’s enemies on a quiet day), but The Joker escapes, releasing some of the patients and begins his ironic campaign of taking over the madhouse. As Batman, you have to…you know the rest.

Back to the impressive visuals. This game has clearly taken a good while to get perfect. Everything skips nicely on the photo-realistic/comic book line perfectly. The character design for the villains is surprising as well. In the cartoons, Joker’s sidekick Harley Quinn was a ditzy blonde with an odd sense of humour. Now they’ve added a tonne of sex appeal thanks to an Ann Summers nurse outfit. The darkest nurses outfit you’ll see for a while. Also, Killer Croc makes an appearance after having not been mentioned anywhere in civilised society. This time, he resembles a house with arms. The thought of taking on Croc filled my pants with fear.

It turns into Lord of the Rings in places

As super-villains usually do in the Batman universe, they depend on a large amount of henchmen to do their dirty work, and this game has an army. Just about the right time to show off the new fighting system they’ve been working on. To fight in this game, you could get away with doing it with one hand. You press one button for hitting, and as long as you’re pushing the stick in the right direction, Batman will continue to attack with a move he thinks will suit the situation. It’s like the GPS system of fighting games. The fights are occasionally broken up with counters (you have to press a different button for that, mind) and stunning knife wielding criminals (another button is needed for this guy). There’s a combo system involved where if you beat a certain amount of bastards without getting hit you gain access to better moves. As long as you keep the combo mind. This gives the fights a great adrenaline rush.

There are stealth sections in the form of staying away from guys with guns. These bits genuinely require patience and the feeling of clearing eight armed men whilst lurking in the shadows like a hooded peado really feel like an achievement. As you can expect from Batman, there’ an array of gadgets to use from his hook to his explosive gel and the Bat-trouser press. Unfortunately, the Bat-Mobile only gets a glimpse so no unfair car chases in this game.

The only bad thing about this game is it’s a single player game standing up against a legion of multiplayer focused games. But what a single player game. It has some great length to it with a load of scenario modes to keep your skills going until you decide to man up and play the game on hard. This is probably the most fun you’ll have with Batman until the next movie.

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