Zero Punctuation: Batman Arkham Asylum

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NEXT
 

Crap.

I was honestly hoping he'd eviscerate this game. Whenever this much money and energy is put in to hyping something -- be it a newly released video game, movie, music CD, car, washing powder -- I become deeply and almost irrationally suspicious of it. Also, having been raised in an era where Batman == Adam West, I've never been exceptionally drawn to that universe. Add to that the fact that I'm currently in the market for a graphics card upgrade, when suddenly at the beginning of this month all the modest manufacturer rebates were obliterated and replaced with a "free" download of Batman: Arkham Asylum ("BAA?"), and I find myself perilously close to the point of spitting teeth.

"Yahtzee, you Trilby-wearing misanthrope!" I said to the aether, "Validate my impotent fuming and drive a Batarang through this thing's neck." No such luck, I'm afraid.

Crap. I guess I'll have to play it now...

Beware the flood of the comic-nerds, Yahtzee! BEWARE!
IT BURRRRNNNNSSSSSSS!

I'm actually a little surprised, while the Scarecrow scenes were a cool concept, I felt like they didn't actually belong at some points in the game. The last Scarecore encounter seemed like the writers just threw it in there to add a couple of extra minutes of gameplay. I believe that was my biggest gripe in the game.

Shame I didn't pre-order this thing. Time to scan the local retailers for it.

Mr. Croshaw, i understand how someone like you who has never had a real job or earned an honest day's pay wouldn't understand that Batman, or should i say Mr. Bruce, has a life where he is a billionaire and has to do extravagant dinner parties and other fun things during the "day". Thus, he is unavailable during the day to go around skulking in shadows dressed as a blind flying rodent.

PS: Neither do i.

he is the night Ben "Yatzee" Crowsaw

i love that line. Great review

Well to answer everyone's questions about how the GCPD contacts Batman during the day, here are my geeky treasure trove of answers.

In the 1960s TV show starring Adam West, writers introduced the Bat Phone. It was just a direct line from two red phones that had no dials or buttons. Shortly after its TV appearance, it became a staple of the comics. However ever since the 1970s the Bat-phone has rarely been featured and it is stated and assumed that Batman works only at night.

"Bats are nocturnal" -Batman Begins

"Middle of the day Alfred? Not so subtle." - The Dark Knight

Besides why would the police need to call Batman up during the day when they don't always signal him at night? Criminal masterminds usually don't commit acts in broad daylight. The GCPD only calls him up, in the most intense of situations, such as when a bomb is about to obliterate the city and they don't know where it is. They already look like lazy and incompetent buffoons who depend on a single man in a gimmicky costume to do their work, so there is a lot of resistance every time the Bat-signal even gets turned on.

Fun Fact: From the 1970's to 2004 or so, the police's official statement on the Bat Signal was it was simply a form of psychological policing to strike fear in criminals and that Batman was only an urban legend.

And as for the game, I've been addicted to it ever since its release. It's the best game released this year. However since this is the Zero Punctuation thread I'll nitpick in drawn out parts.

1. Fucking glide kick
-This happens far too often.

SITUATION 1: Batman gets a great position and is ready to pounce some bastard. He leaps down and instead of gliding seamlessly into the criminal's cranium he decides to stop mid flight on a nearby ledge or runs into a pole. His armor then collects an entire magazine of assault rifle fire.

SITUATION 2: There are multiple bad guys moving around the room searching for any sign of movement. Luckily for the Caped Crusader, being a trained ninja means they don't notice him at all. He has the perfect opportunity, there is a single man close to him that he can glide and knock down without his friends noticing. The man is in the very middle of the screen and is zeroed in by a crosshair. He lets loose his cape and swoops down. However instead of going for him he moves across the other end of the room to hit someone completely exposed and in eyesight of his buddies. He then collects an entire magazine of assault rifle fire.

2. The fucking X button
- I played this on the Playstation 3, and the sheer amount of commands this button alone was given was astounding. It reminded me of the Atari's single red button, which was the machine equivalent of an overworked multitasking mom. X on the PS3 isn't just the action button, it's also the button you hold down to run and glide, tap to jump, roll, lean, dodge, climb, and select and select weapons with it. There are so many commands that the game gets confused.

Such as the moments when I'm trying to surprise an unaware thug around the corner. I hit the R2 and the X button expecting Batman to lean in. Unfortunately it's not just a corner I'm at, it's also a ledge so The Dark Knight brashly climbs the thing and receives an entire magazine of assault rifle fire.

Speaking of the climb is also very stubborn. Normally you run up to a ledge expecting to be able to climb it, right away but sometimes I have to position myself in excactly the right spot or it doesn't even register. So I'm continuously hitting the X button making Batman look like a retarded version of Sonic the Hedgehog by doing rolls against the wall when I'm impatiently trying to vault over it.

Another failure of the X button will be it's inventory use. Sometimes I'm up on a gargoyle and I have my inventory open, about to select a gadget with the X button and instead something happens where I deselect out of the menu and jump down instead.

3. Bleh Design
-Don't get me wrong, Arkham Asylum is a visually impressive game and is gorgeous to look at overall. But there are parts in which it's cell after cell in harsh blue lighting. Batman is also rappelling on the same Gargoyle over and over, but I guess the Arkham family or board of trustees bought the same Gargoyle in wholesale bulk.

Although it bears the the grace of Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin's portrayals of their retrospective characters I hated half of the featured voice work. I always imagined Aaron Cash in the comics as a cool Samuel L. Jackson type, here he sounds like a classless stereotypical angry black man. Jim Gordon has always been depicted as a calm fatherlike figure. However in this game the Commissioner is far too gruffy and hostile and more reminiscent of common impressions of his inspiration, Teddy Roosevelt. Many of the characters are voiced by the same actors and actresses and it really shows. Why does the ghost of Martha Wayne sound exactly like Doctor Young? Likewise, I really wanted to punch Quincy Sharp and Amadeus Arkham in the throat because I could stand how they talked and they were voiced by the same man.

The biggest voice disappointment to me was the Scarecrow's voice. It was laughably whiny and not at all scary. I don't know why the developers didn't just get the entire animated cast when Conroy, Hamill and Sorkin returned. The Scarecrow in the Animated Series, played by Jeffrey Combs was frightening. His voice barely raised beyond a whisper unlike the funny Scarecrow we have here.

And like everyone said, the story is cliche. I expected more from Paul Dini who wrote some of the best stories and created/revamped some of the best characters than the standard "army of supersoldiers" plot.

4. Prep time
-One of the maxims of geek knowledge is that if Batman is given time to prepare he can defeat any opponent, even God. The Batman I know doesn't normally dive right in blind like...a bat.

Yet we face a gaming cliche over and over. We've all seen a similar situation. You are in a hallway and in eyesight up ahead is a wide spacious room. At the very end is some sort of MacGuffin that you need to reach. In this case it is a hostage who has been ensnared and you need to free. Everything about the situation screams "TRAP" from the top of Admiral Ackbar's gills. The whole room is built like a UFC arena and Batman knows he's going to face many baddies. He can even see with his X-Ray optics that there is a swarm of brutes waiting for him. Yet as I'm trying to lay explosives in the room, knowing they're going to jump down on me I nudge too close towards the room's center and it activates a cliche cutscene. The doctor tells me what I already know, that it is a trap, and Batman says " I know but not for me but them" (Paraphrased.)

FOR THEM? WHAT TRAP FOR THEM? The game barely allowed me to set anything up and now Batman just watched as thugs jumped down slowly while dramatic music played. At least allow me to go up myself to the doctor and use that over performing X button.

The game rarely lets you set something up, even in the face of an inevitable attack. Add this to the plethora of boss fights where Batman encounters a villain at the end of an arena as he delivers his monologue and injects people with HAX or readies their monster while Batman watches, and you have lazy design and exposition.

5. No shit Sherlock!
-Batman is billed as the World's Greatest Detective. Yet he is without a clue for most of the game. All investigation stems from using his special optics to go into "Detective Mode," which consists entirely of following breadcrumbs. Simplicity is usually good, but this is too simple. Why do I have to follow the trail exactly, Why can't I skip a step when I already have the original sample? Can't I avoid that brouhaha of brutes waiting for me in the middle of the trail?

Batman also rarely asks questions like a good detective. He never asks questions about things we don't know yet, only ones we already do. The conversations was also an excellent but missed opportunity to use that Detective Mode to see if someone is lying through biometrics but the developers decided to skip on that.

However this is made up for by the Riddler Challenges, many of which are extremely clever and take quite some thinking and detective work to find and reach.

7. NO CHAPTERS?!!!
-Ten minutes in the game I decided to go back and replay a part I enjoyed a lot.

I couldn't. The game counts one player profile as one continuous save.

THIS IS THE YEAR 2009. CHAPTER AND CINEMATIC SELECTION SHOULD BE A FEATURE IN EVERY SINGLE PLAYER GAME.

Now with that knowledge, imagine a part in which a trigger event introduces the next part of the game. (Penny Young's research notes and second Scarecrow scene.) Unfortunately it is glitched and the trigger is never detected. Wait, I can just load my last save right? WRONG, it saved over with the glitchy trigger. I had to replay from the start all the way to that point.

RAAAAAGEEEEE boiled in my veins and arteries like the Titan formala transforming me monstrously.

In the past I would've broken the game controller in rage, but this game is so fan-fucking-tastic I didn't mind going through all those parts again.

Ha! Truth to using detective mode all the time. I only played the demo of Arkham Asylum, and I was doing at least two thirds of it continually in detective mode. Every time I stopped using it to admire the scenery (although there's not much to admire in an asylum) I switched it back on whenever I was afraid an enemy might get close, which was uh, about every ten seconds. There's no practical reason not to use it constantly.

I was not spoiled by the faceoff-with-Killer-Croc hype so I found the survival horror aspect quite enjoyable in Killer Croc's lair. I guess that goes to show that the hype itself surrounding Croc was what made it a nightmare for some people.

I also found a pretty easy way to break the sound mechanic by running in short spurts in a certain rhythm, so it wasn't all that painful.

You'll miss some of the breathtaking vistas, details, information, easter eggs, and riddles in Detective mode.

It's also next to impossible to free flow face to face with it. Enemies become a blue blur, and the counter indicator is the exact color.

Excellent. Exactly my thoughts.

I got really tired of those juggernaut fellows after the third or fourth time. But everything else was really fun. Awesome.

The reviews are always funny, but this one had me in the knots. This game is awesome, and I have yet to find fault with it.

The Youth Counselor:
Well to answer everyone's questions ...

Lovely rant :)

I was hoping that Yahtzee wouldn't be a fan of Batman, but I think the review has confirmed what I thought about the game: it's massively repetitive.

I'll just read a story synopsis and be done with it.

The_root_of_all_evil:

The Youth Counselor:
Well to answer everyone's questions ...

Lovely rant :)

Thanks.

Excellent review. I cant wait to play this, but if the large villian that slams repeatedly into a wall turns out to be Bane, im going to be pissed. considering he was an evil genius in the comic books and ultimately is the one responsible for taking Batman out, I'll be rather pissed if they dumbed him down like in Batman Forever.

magnuslion:
Excellent review. I cant wait to play this, but if the large villian that slams repeatedly into a wall turns out to be Bane, im going to be pissed. considering he was an evil genius in the comic books and ultimately is the one responsible for taking Batman out, I'll be rather pissed if they dumbed him down like in Batman Forever.

If he does act that way he has an excuse.

Also

Woo for the ending credits "I eat punks like that for breakfast"...When I first heard that, I looked over at my friend...who had the exact expression that I assume I had. Utter disgust. I pity batman for being forced to say that line...the writer who drafted that should be shot. Just like the line at the beginning where batman says "Harley thinks she has me trapped in this chamber. She never was all that bright." I was playing the demo and nearly turned it off when it happened.

Nice review:)

Diegolomac:
Hah, surprisingly enough, Yahtzee has rather liked it! Will it come in his top five best games of all time?

Well, it'll never top Silent Hill 2 in his eyes, that's for sure. I really need to get this game now.

you make me love wensdays

Has there ever been a Zero Punctuation without a penis joke?

I knew it! I knew you'd like it, Yahtzee! This is a great game, and the flaws you pointed out are definitely spot on.

Good to know that even though you have an infinite capacity for bile, you still know what makes a good game. Spot on, as usual.

This only solidifies my desire to get it.

10/10 for the review.

My greatest gripe wasn't addressed. The body count exceeds 100 fatalities by the time this is resolved, and even before this game, every villian has put at least a dozen normals in the ground, and yet, Batman and the law are insistant on bringing these criminals to justice and rehabilitating them. WTF!? I'm sorry, but a crime of passion resulting in murder should cost you half your natural life, wherein you spend every second of your incarcaration either being sodomized, tormented, or fearing being sodomized or tormented. Anything beyond that body count should equate to death penalty carried out by bullet behind the ear. Serial killers, mass murderers, serial rapists, pedophiles, and the clinically insane CANNOT be rehabilitated. The entire idea of stalking around and beating criminals just to get them back into their cells is ludicruous after just watching them kill innocents in mass and having to watch them do it over and over in every new location and cut scene. F@#$ING Zasz has killed 30+ women and you knock him out even though you just heard a recorded session where he tells his treating doctor that he knows her address and habits and intends to kill her next. That's just silly. The greatest flaw of this game is trying to take a bleeding heart like batman and putting him in an uber violent world that makes reality look tame. It makes for a very weird experience.

I preferred this week's ZP to the last 12. However to counter my usual negativity and cynicism, I think any "serious" Batman incarnation is boring. Bring back camp JAmes Woods-esque Batman I say...!

Definitely buying this game now! Its hard to find a game Yahtzee actually likes.

What about the joker? You didn't say anything about the Joker. Well, besides the whole "I'm afriad it's just begun: thing.

Blastcage:

awatkins:
I've been refreshing every minute for an hour waiting for this to be put on...hurry my life is complete again.

They're on every Wednesday at 5pm GMT pretty much exactly.

For me, in the american central time zone, thats about 11:00 am.

I forgot my hat for that one part, there a big mess now.

oecumenix:
Gotham villains work mostly at night (as real-life villains do).

No they don't, they rob your house during the day; while you're at work.

Great review. Think I might buy this. Also, is it just me, or does it look like that Batman stick figure is making a really big smile rather than wearing a white mask around his mouth?

I applaud Yahtzee for not making the obvious joke that Arkham Asylum has the worst security detail of any "high-security" prison in recorded history.

a bit disappointing to be honest really... not much fun watching yahtzee review a good game. Now dont get me wrong, it was a good review, but you cannot honestly believe anybody watches ZP because they actually care what yahtzee thinks? It's all about the dick jokes, which this review was severely lacking. I'd no sooner buy a games based of a ZP review than i would based of an IGN review. For very different reasons of course, but yahtzee takes the piss out of games because its funny, and very often just for the sake of doing it. i expected more than a couple of complaints about absolutely inconsequential gameplay elements.

that said, I eagerly await the next one.

Dont waste money on a Filthy 'guide' book. Save your money for hookers and cocain; use the INTERNET!!!

Hm.

I had kind of hoped that the game would give me the option to play as The Joker.

It's funny, i played the demo and it was nothing short of a giant piece of poo. Well, ok, it was shiny poo, but rather shallow. At least it's nice to see they made a decent game out of it, and out of a superhero franchise at that.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here