Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

FL6- Goin Down

Fletcher is building an army! Beneath that cute, wide-eyed exterior seethes a megalomaniac looking to instate an animal-based new world order.
Lust is misunderstood once more. She gets out a knife to help cut the bandages Fletcher put on and she's pointing to where she can help, but they assume she's about to go all bloodcrazy on everybody. Hmmm... Blood Lust. That could be her evil(er) twin.

Stay tuned for Black Friday when, in honor of the true holiday this week, I'll be updated the comic... for absolutely free! Who else does that!? What's that? All of them? Nuts to you! Now you don't get stuffing.


Long, I'm the GD Night Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum- Saying you're the best Batman game around is somewhat akin to saying you're the least painful form of a disease. Even the best isn't all that good. The game focuses heavily on combat and it's a button masher. You can win a good 60% of the game's brawls by mashing the attack button, another 20% by first hitting the stun attack and then button mashing, and about 15% more by pressing the jump button every so often and button mashing inbetween. There are only a few non-boss fights that require any real thought or planning. When you're in a crowd of enemies, you can't choose who you actually attack with an precision so you just have to ram on the attack button and hope for the best. The stealth-based fights are more fun because you have control and more options but the game focuses less on these and more on the “throw ever increasing mobs at the player” approach. Then it goes too far and tosses these super stealth segments at you where if you're seen once, you die and have to do the whole thing over again. Those are tedious and amount to little more than trial and error to get the timing right. It's even inconsistent in what you can do to sneak up to guards. I was able to sneak up on a group of several enemies with one facing me but another time I crawled up to a lone enemy using actual stealth and he spotted me from behind and proceeded to shoot Bats in the face. The game is fairly generous with checkpoints so dying really just drags things out rather than flat out punishing you but those checkpoints are often placed before dialogue scenes or unskippable camera movements or scenes so that makes it all the more annoying. The boss fights are perhaps the biggest disappointment. Bosses typically require you to repeat a certain action over and over while they throw minions at you, which is made worse because one of the bosses becomes a regular enemy so you wind up doing that same fight a dozen times and it never gets more interesting. The Ivy and Joker fights are hands down two of the worst bosses in recent memory. The camera freaks out, they have cheap moves, and the battles are three times longer than they should be. And if you die, you have to do the whole fight aaaallll over again. The final battle isn't even really with a boss. You just have to fight three waves of the regular thugs and then do a short scripted segment inbetween. The super villains were nothing super to begin with, but even compared to the earlier fights, the end of the game is incredibly disappointing. I also reached a point where about two-thirds of the way through the game, two of my moves stopped working. I checked with some friends that played the game too and they were able to use them, so either I hit a bug or Batman decided he wanted to be more Clooney than Bale. The game between fights can be incredibly fun when you're just going around getting all Batman on the world, experienced the story, and you see something new or unique (the Scarecrow story segments are fantastic) but then you'll run into the constant backtracking and tedium of moving through certain environments. To open grates or pull objects, you mash the X button and there's no decent reason for having to do that. It's just really annoying, slows the game down, and you will do it pretty much constantly. Nothing screams "I'm Batman" like mashing the X button to open a grate. Having to unlock some of the powers is just silly. How does Wayne Tech manage to build you a new costume while you're out fighting? Did Batman forget how to target two enemies at the same time? By the end of the game you just have too many items. You wind up with 4 different Batarangs and 2 different grappling hooks and they could easily have been combined into one item each. The base Batarang even has a third-person view you can switch to and follow, so why couldn't that view have become the remote control after you unlock it? That view does next to nothing with the base Batarang and the controllable Batarang only works in that one view, so just combine the two and get rid of the clutter. The gadgets also only work in certain arbitrary places. There will be plenty of times when you'll want to swing from a structure to reach a platform or get the jump on enemies but the game simply won't let you. You also can't grapple from the air, so if you want to move from one platform to lower one or one that's far away, you have to jump off the platform you're on, walk under the other one, and then grapple up. The camera loses the gameplay from time to time but the main issue that Batman just takes up far too much space on the screen. Yeah his cape looks neat and the cloth physics on it are nice, but when it blocks the screen, I'd rather it stop fluttering around and doing Spawn impressions. The “detective mode” (similar to most stealth games' nightvision or Metroid's visors) isn't implemented very well either. You'll spend most of your time in this mode so the game frequently looks like a series of washed out flat rooms. I'd have much rather the game called out things passively, like when you walk by a destructible wall, a symbol appears over it or a clue you're following is visible with the normal view, because as it is, you're constantly switching back and forth and it never feels natural. When you can view the game normally, it's pretty ugly. Not in a dark, gritty way, just in a muddy or dirty way. The people are all shiny and oily and you can see the pores in their faces so it's all just disgusting. I like Batman but I really didn't need to see his shiny face, blemishes, and stubble up-close and personal. The game uses the actors from the cartoon and there's no reason they couldn't have used the look. The cartoon had fantastic art. The blacks were black, the grays were strong, and when there was color, it really stood out. The look here is a lot of browns, grays, and muted colors that's just grimy and unappealing. No matter where you are in the game, it's just drab. The new designs for characters are pretty nice (Croc looks awesome) and the art in character profiles is fantastic, but Harley's in-game appearance is pretty skeevy. They tried to force sex appeal on her but she looks like a stripper or a slutty Halloween costume. There was just no reason for it and hearing her great voice come out of a cheap hooker's body is jarring. It would be unappealing on its own but combine it with the game's dirty and oily look and there's just really nothing sexy about her. The Warden is kind of unintentionally hilarious because he has the exact same voice and mannerisms as Mr. Hareman so while you're hearing the Warden talk about supervillains and ethically questionable experiments, you're picturing a giant rabbit with a monocle. Foster's Home and Arkham are two places you most definitely do not want to mix up. I can't pinpoint when I stopped enjoying the game, but it was probably about midway through. It just slowly gets worse as you fight the same enemies for the 100th time, you backtrack through the same rooms over and over, you button mash to open or pull things repeatedly, and everything takes longer than it should so you get the sinking feeling that it's a two hour game stretched out to eight.
Sins Committed: Bad combat, Button mashing, Ugly graphics/textures, Tedious, Backtracking, Cluttered menus
Virtues Acted: Good story, Good writing, Good acting, Being able to kick Commissioner Gordon in the butt and into an electric fence