The lights are on
Arkham Asylum is the undisputed greatest comic book/superhero/licensed game of all time, it's meager sequel isn't even mildly comparable overall. Batman's cape is semi dark purplish blue. He was very illegitimate in many ways anyway, but the blue cape invalidates his character more than anything else.^irrefutable fact^The default batsuit we're forced to play as is seriously off putting. Batman's cape was blue in AC and is still blue in HQR... WHY? I mean come on. Rocksteady's Batman design would be way more bad@ss, intimidating, and foreboding if he had a black cape and cowl. I understand that in the comics he's been both blue and grey or black and grey, but maybe that's why the cape and cowl are blue, and the boots, gauntlets, and 'man panties' are pure black.I mean, wouldn't this:(black cape and cowl mod for PC version)[url]http://i42.tinypic.com/1zlqfqu.jpg[/url]
be a massive improvement over the original default?[url]http://i40.tinypic.com/jawas7.jpg[/url]
Arkham City took most of the excellent aspects of Arkham Asylum and flushed each down the sh*tter. The all too evident blue caped batsuit is merely the tip of the iceberg for delegitimizing the integrity of Batman's character.And guess what? His cape was blue in Arkham Asylum too, that game just happens to be a genuine Batman experience. At least it gave the illusion that Batman was dressed in solely black and grey in most environments at default settings. Arkham Asylum was fantastic, a sincerely crafted gem. One of the most satisfying and compelling single player experiences. Was it a masterpiece? No, it had a handful of notable flaws, all of which were not remedied in the sequel. Hell, they were amplified.I want to elaborate on why this game just doesn't do the Batman universe justice. Batman didn't act like Batman should. His dialogue was often sketchy and dumbed down, and he wasn't the selfless, intensely devoted vigilant he should be. Batman was a much more flat, shallow character in Arkham City. He's supposed to be the ultimate human, but he's not very admirable. He's either an unreasonable @sshole or a p*ssy. He'd rather choose to save the life of an underdeveloped phony love interest, Talia, than do what the real Batman would do. Him cradling Hugo Strange in his arms was absurd.Granted, Arkham City didn't convey a meaningless amount of effort was put into it. It's not a sequel that coasted on the success of its exponentially superior predecessor, but unfortunately it still attempted to replicate Arkham Asylum too often.Rocksteady failed to deliver in any way that isn't almost entirely superficial. More heart? More devotion? More genuine passion by the developers? F*ck no. The story and characters are so shallow and implemented so poorly that it was bordering on being a downright perversion of DC characters. Batman himself is a pathetic self contradictory neanderthal. The story was half the length of Asylum's, and in some ways was incredibly uninspired and vulgar yet deviated far too much. Every attempted plot twist near the end was either utterly trivial or predictable. When I finished the game I thought: "This is the game that has a 97 on metacritic? Did I get a spoof copy of the game?"Of course Batman has been dressed in partially blue costumes, depending on the artist. I know this, but I never liked it. Batman should vaguely resemble a bat. That's it.The two plot lines had so many plot holes it was utterly pathetic. Not what I expected from veteran writer, Paul Dini. Granted, I believe Dini is slightly overrated. My humble opinion on most of his work is merely sufficiently good, he's transcended that in a few cases. But overall, he sometimes "pulls punches" and can be a bit pretentious.The only things that are objective improvements from AA that fit AC is1. The ability to grapnel in mid glide2. Simultaneous countersThat's it.I find it hard to believe that I'm the only one who caught the blatantly lazy, unintentional foreshadowing of Clayface early on in the campaign.But what's the most crucial part of the vast majority of games? Gameplay. Arkham City delivered in this area, not without flaw though.Arkham City bashed us over the head with those unlockable exposition stories, that weren't even remotely as well done as Arkham Asylum's character bio and Amadeus Arkham vignettes. And the damning thing is, there's still a lot of senseless and unexplained events. I'm an avid Bat-fan, I'm invested moderately in the comic book and graphic novel mythos, and there were points when I didn't know what the hell was going on. It seemed like reviewers were really being ignorant, and just made the assumption "well this must follow the source material, it's from Rocksteady so it's gotta be great".Ra's Al Ghul does not have supernatural powers. Hugo Strange threatening to reveal Batman's identity went absolutely nowhere. Solomon Grundy isn't Cole Mcgrath, he doesn't need electricity to retain energy. The God D*mn Batman doesn't need his butler to prod him to do the noble thing like a f*cking babysitter.I'm not exaggerating when I say the only redeemable characters in the game are Mark Hamill's Joker, and to a much lesser extent, Nolan North's Penguin. I don't recall who voiced Hugo Strange, but he was awesome, but had infinitely more potential.Arkham City would have been a better game without the League of Assassin's(Ra's and Talia Al Ghul). Why? Because it would have forced Dini and Crocker to actually come up with something... Slightly creative. Seriously, the last thing they should have done was place the entire game's premise as Ra's Al Ghul's crusading genocide. WOW it f*cking angered me how incredibly uninspired and vulgar the choice is to have Ra's 'God like powers' and 'limitless resources' making him the mastermind behind protocol 10. Can't that God damn sh*t spewing @ss leakage let someone else have the spotlight? So yeah, utterly expected. I predicted Ra's to show up and take credit for the whole thing a while before it happened. Watch Batman Begins and the genocide plot is essentially the same thing.A brilliant aspect of Arkham Asylum is it's subtle plot points and dark undertones. Arkham Asylum, the game, took inspiration from the graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. It conveyed how much of a farce the Asylum really was. The Arkham staff have no intention to help the inmates, with a misguided few being the exception, the Warden and doctors are deceptive and insincere. If you've seen The Dark Knight film, you should know how cynical the Joker is. That's been the Joker's essential motivation to wreak havoc since the 1980s. His obsession is that every person can fall to greed, desperation, arrogance, or anything that degrades the alleged 'civilized society'. This part of his character is perfectly purveyed in the game, and we uncover that the Joker is spot on in many ways, but this is all done so subtly. There are very few games that attempt, let alone succeed in, incorporating subliminal messages that fit so perfectly seamless in context of the narrative. This is completely absent in Arkham City, there's nothing 'deep' about it.Do I even have to mention the first two Scarecrow sequences? The parts of AA that flawlessly displayed Batman's motivation for his intensely selfless, noble devotion.I'm not a staunch fanboy who needs to have everything in the game to match my preferred vision. No. No. No. My opinion isn't an uncompromising, narrow minded viewpoint. Hell, varying interpretation is always the factor that keeps characters from getting stale. It's not that the great characters are unrecognizable, they're just written and implemented so underwhelmingly.Even though the outer Arkham City environment isn't a redundant copying and pasting(Infamous 1), much of it blurs together. Arkham City fails to capture the impeccable art direction of its stellar concept art or Arkham Island.I was really disappointed with Two Face's involvement with the game, and I was also letdown of the lack of interaction between Batman and Catwoman, and to lesser extent, Batman and Robin. Catwoman's missions added nothing to the game, if anything, they just made the overall status/rating of Arkham City drop. The gameplay was clunky, here 'thief vision' had very little visibility, her missions came up through the story in very strange intervals, and her parts added nothing to the overall story. The story wouldn't have been bad if it wasn't for the hinting, and completely giving away of the plot twists in the end of the game. The way Rocksteady hinted at it so much, I either predicted/foreshadowed right or just flat out knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew that Ras Al Ghul was Hugo Strange's master when you first entered the main gate area where Hugo Strange reveals who he is working with, I knew it was Ras Al Ghul then. And I knew that there was a Clayface Joker as soon as Batman woke up after being gassed and Joker dying was predictable in of itself. Anyway, the only thing that was even close to a surprise I got in the story was from Talia dying. I don't think Arkham City's story ever had the potential to be truly great anyway, but the plot points could've been executed a lot better which would've made Arkham City a much better game. Hitler and Stalin could've been lesser d!cks to each other than Freeze and Bats, it just seemed so unwarranted. Their confrontation at the Museum and GCPD just felt so forced just to set up the boss battle(a good one though, by far the best in the game) And I thought a lot of the boss fights were pretty "meh", the Grundy and Two Face boss battles made the Titan Joker boss battle look great. There are many glitches in Arkham City. Audio glitches are consistently prevalent at times, aiming the batclaw will produce an annoying static-y sound. The cape(Batman and Robin's) sways in awkward ways that it's not intended to do, like when Batman is sitting on a gargoyle inside of a Predator room. Some glitches have been retained for Arkham Asylum too, pop in textures are present much more(In AA, pop in only occurred the first few seconds after starting a challenge map or just continuing the story), but what is absolutely inexcusable is the ground and pound glitch that hasn't been fixed. The playable character will hit downed enemies in the a$$ or groin instead of the head half of the time you try the ground takedown. I thought that the combo Bat swarm and combo multi takedown shouldn't have been implemented the way they were, or just taken out of the game all together. I loved the hell out of Arkham Asylum, and it everything in the game wasn't absolutely perfect. But I was so satisfied with the feeling of being 'The God Damn Batman' that I easily overlooked any of its few shortcomings. I was anticipating AC so much, that I had unreasonably high expectations. I wanted it to be better than AA, I thought it would be better than AA, but once I seen the end credits roll I thought. "Did I get a 'spoof' copy of the game? Is this the game that's getting an unbelievable amout of praise?"Here's many of the plot holes, exposed:I actually have to spell out Arkham City's plethora of plot holes and things that contradict the established characters? Really?Batman waited until a genocide was initiated to go after Strange? What was stopping him before? Because Strange knew his identity at the beginning of the game? Going after ol' Hugo near the end seemed so redundant. Why do you procrastinate, Mr. Wayne?Batman goes by Catwoman's claim "rumor has it" that Joker's somehow involved with Strange. She knows that how? And when Joker tries to blow Selina's head out of her cat ears, Batman makes a lucky guess by firmly stating it was Joker? So he knew because Joker's laser projection sight of the sniper rifle was green? Who knew the world's greatest detective relied so heavily on speculation.The actual Joker is "deceased" when Batman scans his for his current condition, yet shortly after Batman's gassed by Clayface, but Joker almost immediately starts moving and watching in his chair even before Harley first hits Batman with a bat. This is fully revealed only during the cutscene in the Monarch theater.In Penguin's museum, there's no underwater tunnel or any passage to the area in the story where you fight one of the one armed Russian twins and free Mr. Freeze. So how did anyone get over there? Penguin wants to find out Batman's identity and have his body stuffed in a trophy case as "the jewel of his collection", but if his shark nabbed Batman what would Penguin put on display? Shark****?What's stopping the inmates from building makeshift rafts and attempting to escape? What if it wasn't middle of winter? They could just safely swim away to Gotham.Ra's Al Ghul prodded Batman to kill him, thereby replacing him as the Master of the League of Assassin's on the eve of protocol 10? So then Batman would be Strange's boss? LOLAnd that brings up another point. Ra's and Strange planned to build similar super prisons in other DC universe cities? First off, obviously Batman wouldn't condone that if he was the head of this massive convict purging operation. And second, wouldn't the consistent slaying of "rioting" inmates for each prison raise suspicions? Gotham's hospitals have Joker's infected blood stocked and in use, therefore many patients are at risk of death.... Yet no cure remains... Huh... Sucks to be them.Ra's Al Ghul is a truly supernatural being? Batman was imagining Ra's being in the Demon Trials hallucination? And he didn't bring about Batman's second acid trip when the imaginary sand poured into the Lazarus Pit room and the boss fight ensued? It seemed like Ra's had spiritual and mental super powers with the help of the blood of the demon. Remember, Ra's voice was heard in the room with the blood of the demon even before Batman's drank from the "chalice". And he's dead yet undead? WTF?Mr. Freeze's body is 9 feet tall when he's in the suit. Damn, gives new meaning to an outfit being 'slimming'.A Joker thug is stabbed by an assassin, and she leaves her sword in the guy? How does anyone else other than Batman travel through the tunnel of Wonder City entrance when it required that the doors only part via the REC gadget?Penguin uses a detonator to destroy the floor in the Iceberg Lounge, so why is there a floor there whenever Batman comes back? When you uppercut penguin and he falls to the floor. Batman goes from being on a balcony to standing on an iceberg which penguin blows up. Furthermore the balcony Batman was standing on had had two hostages that just disappear, we don't know if the die or what. Furthermore, no parts of the iceberg (or the hostages) are visible at the bottom of the lounge where we face Grundy.Is Grundy basically a giant zombie version of Cole Mcgrath? He absorbs electricity and he rejuvenates his health? Why does Grundy need to that room and its electricity to have power? After all, you destroy the mechanisms in the room to weaken Grundy.I just don't understand if Robin, and Azrael broke into Arkham City how can not some of the smarter inmates do the same and escape like they did? Hell Hush escaped! Robin and Hush going in and out completely cheapens Bruce getting captured in the beginning. Bruce partially wanted to get captured so he could have some face time with Strange but given how easy it was to get in and out it almost seems unnecessary. Couldn't he have just invaded AC and conducted an investigation? What if Strange simply kept Bruce in holding instead of releasing him? Seems like too risky a plan just to see Hugo in the flesh.Strange never revealed Bruce's identity, yet threatened him with it the entire game? But at the climactic conclusion nothing was mentioned of it.And need we forget the final nail in the coffin? The utter blunder that occurred an hour in the game that completely, unintentionally spoiled Clayface impersonating Joker. I was playing on a SD TV during my first playthrough, why didn't anyone else notice?
Bottom line, everything outside the core gameplay is meager at best.
On a more superficial note, fingers crossed(probably in vain) for the chance that the actual God damn Batman will be featured in it.
Opinions are opinions but my god you act like this is DUKE NUKEM FOREVER and you lose my credibility as a reviewer.
I look forward to reading reviews to see where my opinions differ with others. Based on your rating this must have been the worst game ever. I'm surprised that you made it through the opening scene, being that his cape was miscolored. I understand about the protrayal of Batman but get serious, I think you focused too much of your time on the aethestic appeal, which obviously you didn't like, and totally missed the story. I can see a lower rating based on your opinion but your the rating you give is so far south I took your review with a grain of salt. I won't be reading any more of your reviews.
How about the incredible quality and fun of the actual gameplay huh?
So, let me get this strait, you don`t give a s*** about gameplay and fail to pay marginal attention to the story.