Thursday, 3 December 2015

Geek - 4 Months in Gotham City

For 4 months I've put my rare hours of free time into the Batman: Arkham series.  After realising I should probably play Arkham Knight and then it being pulled from sale, I have indulged myself in the whole series until Warner Brothers fixed its mess of a PC port.  For 4 months I've grappled around Gotham, I've punched the Joker -a lot-, I've cried and I've had a damn good time.  In fact, there is now a Batman shaped hole in my life.

Now the Arkham series has reached its conclusion and we are fast approaching the launch of the DCEU onto cinema screens next year, I present a tour of my last 4 months and whether I think you may want to do the same or not.

If you've played through the Arkham series, let me know if you share any of these sentiments.

Batman: Arkham Asylum


  • Holy s**t I'm Batman.  Grappling around rooms and taking out enemies is far too much fun.
  • Mark Hamill.  Kevin Conroy.  It's the 1990s and I'm watching Batman the Animated Series.  Heaven!
  • Story is pretty good.  Feels a lot like a comic book.


  • Obvious right from the beginning that to get all the collectables you'll have to do multiple play throughs as Riddler trophies are available very early on that you don't have the gadgets for.
  • There is a lot of running back and forwards for seemingly no reason other than to extend play time
  • It didn't feel like the game took enough risks.  It clearly wanted to be dark and twisted, but it really wasn't.  The Joker and chums were very cartoonish.

Recommend to a Friend?

Yes.  Pretty much every bad guy crops up and you really do feel Batman-like.  It's a solid start and I really enjoyed playing it.  The game lacked a bit in the middle, particularly when going after Bane and Poison Ivy, but really picked up pace towards the end.  Combat was decent, but not particularly amazing.  A good start, with lots of potential.

7 bats out of 10.

Batman: Arkham City


  • You get a good chunk of Gotham City to play around in, as the name suggests
  • The freedom of the setting means you're able to focus on the main storyline or investigate some of the side missions instead, depending on your mood.
  • A lot of love had been put into creating areas and little details meaning I wanted to explore
  • Built on the controls of the previous game, so I didn't have to re-learn combat
  • Once again Mark Hamill was aces as the Joker.


  • The game doesn't really have much in the way of an introduction and then you're suddenly out in the City.  Coming straight from Arkham Asylum this felt far too much too soon and put me off playing for a week or so
  • Catwoman really was pointless as a playable character.  She was really fun to play, but barely in it enough to bother putting her in
  • Once you get to a certain point of the game, you get locked out of finishing side missions until everything is over.  Luckily you can go back and sort that out once you're done, but at the time I found that a little frustrating.
  • Tim Drake somehow has aged, become a skinhead and obtained the manliest voice ever.  That was a bit jarring.

Recommend to a Friend?

I'm on the fence.  Yes, if you're intending on playing the full series, only for the sake of knowing what's going on.  No, if you're not.  This game is often spoken about as being the best game of the series and I'm not sure why.  The story line is a bit meh and often can't make its mind up who the main bad guy actually is.  There is also a lot of using bat gadgets to get through areas that are there just to slows things down.  The gadgets were used so heavily, it stopped me feeling Batman-like, which is a little ironic when you think about it. I did complete all the side missions and dlc, so it wasn't at all bad.  I did enjoy it.  Just not as much as Arkham Asylum.

6 bats out of 10.

Batman: Arkham Origins


  • Sorry Kevin Conroy fans, but Roger Craig Smith took on voicing Batman and owned it.  He is now my Batman of choice.
  • The opening cut scene was so damn good I cried Bat-tears and then restarted the game to watch it again.  The cut scenes were incredible all the way through, making this one of the best storyline driven games I've played in a long time.
  • Splash Damage did a far better job than Rocksteady at pretty much everything for me.  The level of darkness this game went to was perfect story-wise and the combat felt far more fluid and natural than previously.
  • The Christmas decorations of the city gave the setting an edge over Arkham Asylum and City
  • The boss fights were great, adding an element of quick time events, mini cut scenes and mechanics that really suited the bosses made them very satisfying.  In your face Deathstroke! I am faster than you!


  • Enough cameos had been made by familiar faces at this point, that it was glaringly obvious that Dick Grayson was missing from the series
  • For some reason you couldn't grapple onto some of the larger buildings.  This made travelling a bit annoying at times as you'd have to go around them.  Presumably why they added fast travel via the Batwing

Recommend to a Friend?

Yes. Absolutely.  I would recommend this to everyone.  Hands down the best of the series by far.  Storyline, voice acting, cut scenes, combat; all great.  Only niggle was that despite the dlc having a great setting of Wayne Manor, I just couldn't be bothered with it because Mr Freeze is super super boring as a villain.  But that's just personal opinion.

8 bats out of 10, possibly a 9.

Batman: Arkham Knight


  • The city setting is damn impressive and the graphics are beautiful.  The nVidia smoke and rain is just wow
  • Opening cut scene was nearly as aces as Arkham Origins'
  • They went dark with Origins and stayed dark for Arkham Knight.  Some of those cut scenes got me right in the guts.
  • Inner monologue provided by a series familiar was utter perfection
  • The inclusion of a musical number so good I forgot I was supposed to be actually doing something
  • Nightwing finally showed up
  • Somehow they managed to add in jump scares and make them work incredibly well
  • Being allowed the opportunity to punch the Arkham Knight in the head repeatedly immediately following the tank fight against him.


  • I miss Roger Craig Smith voicing Batman :(
  • OMG stop making me drive the stupid batmobile.  I don't care about the drone tanke.  Plus the ONLY boss fights of the story were in the f***ing batmobile and I had to get R to do one for me as it was making me angry
  • Somehow the Arkham Knight acrued $3billion dollars, on his own, to create an army just to be the lackey of the Scarecrow?  No wonder we voted to kill him off in the 1980s...
  • Nightwing went away as soon as he showed up
  • Tim Drake and Barbara Gordon as a couple.  Nope.
  • The side missions and dlc.  Very. Very disappointing.

Recommend to a Friend?

Yes and No.  At moments I was in love with this game.  There are some incredible, heart wrenching moments.  There are some incredibly funny moments where I could've kissed the story writers.  Unfortunately, they were dispersed between repetitive fights and even worse drone tank battles.  Yes, getting to drive the batmobile is cool, but honestly, this could have been a Bat-driving sim.  Also, I think they wimped out on killing off a character.  Finally and most jarring for me, was that Batman really would have known who the Arkham Knight was waaaaaaay before the reveal.  I knew it from looking at the poster of the game.  He definitely would have known meeting the guy in person.  And for such a build up to the reveal it felt like they couldn't be bothered to tie up the story in a way that even left me caring what happened next.  This game was not for me, but if you've made it through the other games you should play it.  A lot of people have loved it, so it obviously got it right for them, just not me.

5 bats out of 10.

Personally, I'm going to put all my Bat-energy, into this. Afterall, I have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.

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