Archive for Video Games

Oct
31

Return To Arkham

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I held off buying an Xbox One because of the damn Arkham games!

Arkham Knight was available for the Xbox One but I enjoyed playing Arkham Asylum and Arkham City too much to give up my Xbox 360 and make the upgrade.

I was late joining the Arkham party. Arkham Asylum was original released in 2009 but I held off buying an Xbox One until 2011. I’d ummed and ahhed about getting an Xbox for a while and when I eventually bought one, Arkham Asylum was one of the first games I bought. Weirdly enough, I didn’t buy the 360 for Asylum, I bought it for my Tiger Woods games. But after only a few hours of playing Asylum and ‘being the Batman’, I was giving myself a stealth takedown for not buying it sooner. I instantly became addicted!!

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Later on that year, Arkham City was released and I was all over it the minute it came out. Oh boy! It was Arkham Asylum but bigger and better.

As much as Arkham City is a ‘free roam’ game, you are basically following one main story from beginning to end. The only diversions are wandering off to collect Riddler’s Trophies. Arkham City brought a whole host of extra sub stories to wander off and complete as well as the main story. This really felt like you were off doing your own thing – solving riddles, rescuing people, taking out groups of thugs etc etc. For me, Arkham City is a true ‘Desert Island Game’ – a game I could be stuck with forever and not get bored playing.

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And this brings me on to why I held off buying an Xbox One until late 2015. Arkham Knight had been released but I was still having too much fun replaying Asylum and City over and over again – honing my predator and fighting skills.

I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to a One, when Backwards Compatibility was made a feature and rumour had it, the original 360 Arkham games would make it to the One. I bought the One and Arkham Knight and got stuck in, temporarily saying goodbye to Asylum and City. Arkham Knight is a phenomenal game! The visuals are stunning and it runs silkily smooth. It is prone to the odd hang and/or crash but generally speaking, its a good game. As much as I enjoy the much larger city, extra stories, side missions and add-ons – it doesn’t tick all the boxes for me. I don’t particular enjoy the driving sections of the game. I do enjoy playing driving games but just not round Gotham City. I would much rather glide from building to building using my cape than smash my way haphazardly round tight corners. As for Riddler Challenges that require you to complete races and time-trials in the Batmobile… WTF?

I understood why Rocksteady (the game developer) introduced the Batmobile – it was the one missing component of Batman canon and is a more natural way of getting around the huge maps. I would imagine most fans enjoy the battle tank challenges but I just found them tedious. I’d much rather stealthily wipe out a bank full of Two-Face’s goons.

All the while I have been keeping my eye out on the release of a remastered Asylum and City. Its been delayed and delayed but eventually it came out midway through October – nearly a entire year since I bought the Xbox One!

Some fans have grumbled about the frame rate, the action not being as smooth as it originally was on the 360, environments being brighter… blah, blah, blah!

Personally, I love the games. They look and feel just like I remember on the 360 and its great to be playing them again. Yes, the map in Arkham is tiny compared to Knight but I love the claustrophobic-esque tightness of this game. The visuals still hold up for me – in fact I feel like they are a massive improvement. Rain drops hitting the tv screen, fog, steam etc. Plus I think the sound is an improvement. Walking through the Asylum can be as creepy as hell.

I’ve not started playing City yet, I’m too busy completing Asylum. Once you have played a game to the end a few times, you fly through on revisits. I remember spending hours looking for Riddler’s Trophies while now, I know where they are and can tick off dozens in one sitting.

Right, enough chatting – I’m off to give a couple of Titan thugs a good kicking!

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