28 Apr 2015

"All Who Follow You" - Video Games

The Batman Arkham series of games is one of the best things that came out of the seventh generation of video game consoles.

The first game and second in the chronology, Batman: Arkham Asylum was a brilliant game of stealth action, puzzle solving, and exploration. A head of the class 'MetroidVania' game that looked great, sounded great, and was all in a tightly wound story with no holes. It is a game with a score of five.

The second game and third in the chronology, Batman: Arkham City was another great game. With even better puzzles and an more epic story in a sandbox made up from a sectioned off area of Gotham City, it opened wide the gates of the Batman mythos. Not a tight but still well wrought, the story brought in the rest of the Batman world and characters. Players played for short periods of time, Robin (Tim Drake) and Catwoman (Selina Kyle) while fighting more international villains like the League of Shadows, and Hugo Strange. The city was huge but bare. The side mission were either good or awesome giving brief glimpses of how big Batman's world has become. It was another great game - another score of five.

The third game and the first in the chronology was Batman: Arkham Origins. With a larger city and a awesome detective mode this was to be the first of the Arkham games. The issue with the game was once more a stark empty city and a less tight story. The previous game got away with those factors with excellent gameplay and sporting the best puzzles in the series, areas where Arkham Origins faltered and cheaped out on. The story was not as inspiring or as driven as the previous games and so Batman: Arkham Origins was better than the average game but not to perfect as the previous games. It was not as good when compared to the previous games in all aspects - Arkham Asylum or Arkham City did it better. I did like the Batcave and the fast travel system. Also the detective mode and side crimes were a breath of fresh air.

Arkham Origins saving grace was the DLCs - plenty of challenge maps with alternate characters to play, a story driven series of challenge maps were all high quality. It was the Cold, Cold Heart DLC that saved the series for me.

The Arkham games were getting larger and the games were feeling bloated and unwieldy in the areas of plot and story. Other gameplay aspects were being sacrificed for a larger world. Arkham Asylum could have been an anybody game - it didn't have to be Batman. It could have been any gadget laden ninja running around the prison for super villains. Arkham City was so big it could only have been a Batman game (maybe Daredevil, Punisher, or even Bloodshot - that would have been cool).

So new Batman game, Batman: Arkham Knight and all I see is Batmobile. Yippy - same problems as the last game but now with more crazy car. Whoopie... until this. See you after the video

What the fuck?

Is that Tim Drake as Red Robin? In game playing the best Batman character of them all: Nightwing? Catwoman is back! Azrael is more than a spooky side quest. Combo stealth take downs... is this game CO-OP!?!

This is a trailer - is shows us things and tells us little. Anti-Batman ok, Scarecrow I like - this new guy... sounding like too many main villains, see Amazing Spiderman 2, Spiderman 3 and X-Men: Last Stand for how bad too many villains gets.

This video for me finally has me excited about this game.

Everything else they put out before hand has been ok - more of the same. Nothing to get me feeling like the folks at Rocksteady learned anything from the last two games. Instead this show me that the story is looking more about the family and the supporting characters of Batman's world.

If you are going to make the world bigger, don't just use more villains in a larger setting bring in the other characters that fill out this world. Oracle, Mr. Fox and of course Gordon. I loved the parts of Arkham City when you played someone else - Batman can't do it all, there is a reason why he has so many allies. Those sections when you played Robin or Catwoman were refreshing and well done. Cleaned up the pacing issues that come with open games.

I hope they do that in this game - it would rock.

Of course the only parts I'm still thinking about are those co-op takedowns.

Ok Batman you've convinced me - lets do this for one more ride.

- Cheers