Extra Punctuation: The Sandbox Killed Batman

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The Sandbox Killed Batman

The villains are lost in Arkham City.

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I would so play a Supervillain Sandbox like that... But I do think that your goal(not necessarily the final one) could be to actually kill the Superhero... and then watch as your character begins to suffer from boredom.(Megamind, anyone?)

Well, there was Evil Genius, but that was more like a dolled-up tower defense game with an AC:Brotherhood-esque mini-game grafted on.

Haven't played Arkham City yet, but Asylum was probably the best example of a 3D Metroidvania game ever, and I worry that they tweaked the formula far too much.

Did anybody else hear Kevin Spacey when you read, "the status quo, and therefore WROOOOONG"?

Anywho, completely agree per usual. I'd really like to meet Yahtzee, he's such an intelligent, rationally-minded, talented and educated individual. What a swell guy!

Falseprophet:
Well, there was Evil Genius, but that was more like a dolled-up tower defense game with an AC:Brotherhood-esque mini-game grafted on.

And Overlord, don't forget Overlord.
OT: Yahtzee's idea does have the appeal of almost infinite replay value, if done correctly. And [i]The World Has Yet To Recognize My Genius[i] actually fit the whole setup for a villain orientated video game. And then when the sequel comes out (and there WILL be a sequel) the villain will have finally taken over and it could be called [i]The World Has Finally Recognized My Genius[i]

Well hopefully if a new Evil Genius is made some of these vilianous urges will be satisfied.

However I very much like the concept mabye with the base maagement playing like Evil Genius. The difference being that your player character could free roam and get involved with stuff outside the base.

Mankind Has Yet to Recognize My Genuis still sounds pretty fun. Thankfully, Saints Row The Third comes out next week. Mwehehehe.

UnderCoverGuest:
Did anybody else hear Kevin Spacey when you read, "the status quo, and therefore WROOOOONG"?

Of course. Anyone who didn't is WROOOOOONG!

mjc0961:
Of course. Anyone who didn't is WROOOOOONG!

Haaaa, dat' wuz funneh. Cheers.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: The Sandbox Killed Batman

The villains are lost in Arkham City.

Read Full Article

You really need to play Evil Genius Ben. Seriously. Go to Steam, download it now.

Also, I'd totally buy MHYTRMG. Don't you have some developer friends by now? Surely you can make that happen for us all... right? Call Volition up next week. They'll be looking for something new after Saints Row 3 hits the market since they finally let Red Faction go.

Yahtzee Croshaw:

The villains are lost in Arkham City.

It's not often I get fanboyish.

But thank you Yahtzee, for being someone who not only understands the Hero/Villain relationship that underlines all superhero work, but is smart enough to develop it into something that I would pre-order right now.

Sure, it'll end up being made by EA and I'll have to suffer Origin/DLC, and loads of meaningless adverts with cleavage, but it'll be one of the games I've been looking for for my adult life.

I suggest you get together with Volition, and Austin Grossman and at least thrash out some ideas together. I'd play the crap out of that.

Until then, Evil Genius and City of Villains will have to do.

So it's evil genius?

I don't think im the first to point this out, but I won't be the last either...

UnderCoverGuest:
Did anybody else hear Kevin Spacey when you read, "the status quo, and therefore WROOOOONG"?

When ever I read the word, I hear Spacey saying that...

Anyways, Somebody needs to put Yahtzee's isea into action, NOW!

I would totally play "Mankind Has Yet To Recognise My Genius"...someone please make it! like legit make it, not just something slapped together lol

but seriously, aside from the main superhero who you won't kill and who won't kill you, you can possibly kill other smaller superheroes (or just heroes, without superpowers) that you WILL kill (like the Joker killing Robin)
and heck even stupid vigilantes wannabe heroes who you gladly knock off to scare the city via city news reports

anyway...
they should be able to tighten things up in the next Batman game and still retain the sandbox. might just take a bit extra work for added focus...

AC was a good game, but the sandbox element was crap. The city was pointless, there was nothing to do. The side quests were just uninspiring and just "go here" game play. I would rather have full quests from the main villains of the game. Instead there was a weak quest via Strange, and the rest with rubbish story wise, fightening etc was good.

I haven't actually played Arkham City yet but based on what Yahtzee wrote it does sound like AC, like AA, is the experience of being Batman. This time, though, it's not necessarily in a good way.

If you read the comics, Batman does get around by shooting grappling hooks everywhere.

image

And also by running, climbing on buildings, and so forth. And rarely the Batmobile too. I understand how in a video game that can get very old very fast. But it's still how Batman would function on a minute to minute basis when out fighting crime.

Ditto with tracking down the villains in their hideouts and lairs. Sure, in Arkham Asylum it was awesome because Batman was caught in a trap set by his rogue's gallery, but in Arkham City the villains were pursuing their own agenda. As Yahtzee said in the article, villains usually do their own thing while the hero stops them.

I'm a pretty hardcore comics and Batman fan, so maybe I'll still find some fun in traveling that way. Maybe Arkham City just requires a little more imagination than some other games?

ZZoMBiE13:
You really need to play Evil Genius Ben. Seriously. Go to Steam, download it now.

The missing comma above confused me; I typed "Evil Genius Ben" into Google and didn't get useful results.

In any case, I presume you're referring to this game? http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/evil_genius

I always thought Batman was an interesting character. Yes the villains are cooler, but I always found Batman's relationships with his villains quite interesting, and I think AC did that well. (Especially at the end if you know what I mean.)

"world has yet to recognise my genius" sounds like a kick ass game, part Saints Row, part Overlord, part Sims.
If done properly with tongue in cheek and self aware, it could be the best game ever (well, second best, right after Deus Ex).

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Extra Punctuation: The Sandbox Killed Batman

The villains are lost in Arkham City.

Read Full Article

I'm glad you said it, Yahtzee. I thought there was something wrong with me. I bought Arkham City about 5 days from its release, and it's not a bad game, but when I played it (still playing it, have yet to beat it), I had this feeling that this game wasn't very good, and I would highlight the Sandbox to be the major issue, you just found a way to articulate what I've been wanting to say.

I do not think the game is bad, but it feels rather thinly spread among an entire game. I personally feel that while Arkham City isn't a bad game, its particularly flawed when compared to Arkham Asylum, and I'm glad the personality had the balls to say what I felt I couldn't.

So what you're basically saying is Jack Slate isn't a very good superhero because he murdered Longshoreman X the first night he met him?

Coincidentally, I just finished watching an LP of that game.

The game Mr Croshaw is describing sounds a lot like a neat little book I read a while ago called "Soon I will be invincible" by Austin Grossman. There are 2 central narratives in it, one describing a woman newly endowed with superpowers trying to break into the whole superhero scene, and the other, more interesting narrative being that of Doctor Impossible - a supervillain who engineers an escape from a maximum security prison with a new world-conquering plan in mind, and spends the rest of the book trying to achieve it.

To add replay value to a game version of it, you could have both a hero and a villain mode, possibly playing your superhero against someone elses supervillain...

Ahhhhhhh. References to decades old Max Payne wannabes. I love it.

All I can say is - either game developers/publishers should listen more closely to Yahtzee, or they should give him a scholarship/grant/funding for one...badasss...game.

After playing each single "Czho" title, listening to his words and reading his extra game, this man has absolutely amazing ideas and we should set up a fundraising deal for him, similar to what Extra Credits did, was it Rocketfuel or somethind, I don't know...

What more can I say, I hope you read this, Ben, and I applaud you for always thinking out of the box (also for having SH2 at your top, I once got laid just by thrillingly telling a girl the whole story, it's just that good, haha...)

-Mikko from Finland

I'm sorry but I just can't agree with Yahtzee with this one.

Due to time constraints he most likely some of the Arkham City backstory entries that are unlocked when solving Riddler riddles. They explain what the bad guys have been doing since the opening of the prison and what part they play in the story as a whole, sure it's probably better but it'd be hard to fit it all in to the game so the stories are a great way to give even the smallest villain (even the bloody Ratcatcher of all people) a part in the Arkham City mythos. Also the art direction in the game is so amazing that half of the villains characterisation comes from their looks and the environments they surround themselves with. But ultimatly this is a story between Batman and the Joker (along with the mystery villain who I won't spoil) and pushing any more villains to the forefront instead of having them masterfully woven in to the background would have overpowered the story.

With the travel, it is a matter of taste but as soon as I got the grappel boost upgrade and learnt how to build up speed with dive boosting travel became amazingly fun and natural to me. And yeah the environments can feel a bit empty at times but I believe that was actually part of the design choice to make the atmosphere feel bleak and desolate but even then there is plenty to do with the random acts of violence, the calls, Riddler trophies and clues, etc.

I dunno I loved the game and while I can see where Yahtzee is coming I think he is plain wrong in this situation.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Getting around Arkham City with the hookshot and glidey wings feels clumsy and overcomplicated, and when viewed from above the rooftops the whole place feels kind of lifeless.

So get the upgrade to the hookshot, the one that lets you launch yourelf extra high, and learn to control your wings. You're flying and drifting like that guy from Just Cause 2.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
The major villains in that game were recurring presences whose threat escalated more and more with each appearance. That's what I mean when I talk about structure. The feeling I had in Arkham City was that I either knew exactly where the villains were or that they had their own issues to deal with and probably wouldn't get up in my face. There was none of Asylum's sense that Batman was being watched at every step, and each colorful character was waiting for their turn to strike at him while he's vulnerable. It feels more like Batman has just become another floating vegetable in the undisciplined stew of Arkham City.

...you didn't notice Stranges TYGER helicopter that kept looking for you, and basically saying "Strange has his eye on you Batman" over and over? Not to mention the Tyger security cameras that could be found everywhere?

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Can anyone say for certain the world would definitely be a worse place if Lex Luthor ran it?

Yes. Lex Luthor: Man of Steel says that a Luthor controlled world would be a worldwide Stalinist Russia.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Or that no positive effect could be gained from Scarecrow's studies of fear?

It was established in the Animated series, Cranes scientific methodology is sloppy, and doesn't have any manner in which to establish control or mitigate factors. Even if he went through with his studies, the data would be virtually useless beyond proving the effectiveness of said fear inducing gas.

I actually really liked the gliding. Also to all the people recommending Evil Genius, I'm 99% sure Yahtzee said he's sick of people recommending it to him or something. It might have been in one of the Overlord reviews.

Also I think yahtzee's giving the villains too much cred. I mean what would Joker bring to the world? Or Mad Hatter? You gotta remember that most of them are clinically insane and obsessive. Not that Batman isn't but I know who I'd rather have as a pal. Not to mention the whole murder thing the villains propogate.

That last paragraph was the single most whiplash-inducing paragraph ever, going through insightful, disturbing, and hilarious in seconds. Good show!

To adequately simulate the villain experience, they'd need to revise the sandbox. It's not just about recruiting, I'd need to be able to formulate plans, and I'd want diversity there. Real diversity, not "five or six choices, mix and match."

Heroes are easy. They ARE reactive, and as such, are plot dependent. Well, maybe not plot, but certainly villain. Most games, even sandboxes, still have large chunks of "go here, do this."

I feel like "smaller game" wouldn't sound like such a bad phrase to a publisher if it was followed by "you get your investment back a year from today".

I agree that Batman should not be doing acrobatics around the city but, he does have a bitchin' car to exploit. They should have had some sort of car chance sequence where you get to drive around in the batmobile and fire "bat anti-shark repellent" at fleeing criminals in cars or something.

I'm perfectly okay with Arkham City's sprawling urban streets. They packed every inch of that game with secrets, battles, riddles, challenges, and easter eggs. For such a big game, there was a TON to do and it never felt too big or too empty.

The problem wasn't the size of the map or the sandbox style. It was simply that a lot of the things to DO were arduous and tedious. More variety and diversity would've made the entire game more enjoyable... but it already was plenty enjoyable.

ewhac:

ZZoMBiE13:
You really need to play Evil Genius Ben. Seriously. Go to Steam, download it now.

The missing comma above confused me; I typed "Evil Genius Ben" into Google and didn't get useful results.

In any case, I presume you're referring to this game? http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/evil_genius

Yeah, that's the one.

Only 2 EPs ago, you mentioned Saint's Row 2. It's like this month is some sort of climax, as it proves that (probably) the supervillain (Firefox says that word is misspelled, but not its opposite...) beats the superhero in attention-grabbing, and the rivalry between Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 is tackled by you.

Speaking of supervillains, I think popular culture might be liking them more. Animated features Despicable Me and (that one with the blue alien mad genius) come to my mind as examples.

You know, Yathzee, you just described an Rts, a sort of game you just couldn't get into.
And, even if everyone else said it allready: Try Evil Genius!

I fail to see how you could have trouble with the Gliding and Grappling Hook mechanics, Yahtzee. I got around perfectly fine, and I grabbed the Grappling Upgrade as early as I could so I could super-Grapple onto selected edges as I was gliding to kick myself back up and continue gliding. It's Catwoman's method of getting around (i.e. pouncing and whipping) that got on my tits; the pouncing was basically forced QTE's that begrudgingly force Catwoman up the building if you fail them anyway and the indicators are horribly drawn so I can't tell how to time the button press.

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