Arkham Asylum EP2: Officer Frank BALLS

By Shamus
on Jun 11, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

140 comments


Link (YouTube)

This is the first time on Spoiler Warning that we’ve covered a game that Josh really doesn’t care for. The good news is that we’ll get to cover a game that’s really different from our usual fare, and Mumbles and I have a lot to say about it. On the downside, he’s not interested in the game enough to master it, which means he’s probably going to struggle a bit.

I think I get why he doesn’t care for the Arkham seriesWhat I don’t understand is why *I* like it. It’s pretty far from my usual thing, but I really dig it.. Josh favors games with a lot of planning and strategy, but here it’s more about execution. There’s no way to “break” the game mechanically like in a Bethesda title, and you can’t experiment with different builds like in Dark Souls. There aren’t even that many different approaches for each encounter. If guys are armed then you ambush them, if they aren’t you just wade in and punch them. It’s got some low-level tactics involved when you decide how and when to unleash your combo meter, but those decisions are short-lived and only apply once you start to master the rest of the mechanics. If you don’t care for the base mechanics, then the promise of, “Master this reactionary face-punching gameplay and once in a while you’ll have the opportunity to make a small tactical decision” isn’t exactly a great sales pitch.

Yes, there are choices to make when you level up and choose what ability to unlock, but you’re not really going for “different builds” in the RPG sense. By the end of the game you’ll have unlocked everything.

Since I didn’t explain it in the video, here’s how it works:

Your combo meter builds with each successive hit on your enemies. The higher your combo meter, the faster you move, which makes it easier to avoid attacks. When you see blue lines over someone’s head, you need to either hit the counter button or leap out of their attack range. If you whiff an attack or get hit, your combo is lost and Batman slows down.

This means you can often run into cascading failure: In a big group you’ll tend to get hit, which slows you down, which makes you more likely to get hit, etc. This gives you an incentive to strive for perfection and not just button-mash into your foes like a dumb brute.

My newbie guide:

Invest in armor first. You’ll have the ability to unlock moves that will instantly take foes out of the fight, but to use those moves you need to have your combo meter above 8x. Early in the game the crowds will be small and you’ll be making lots of mistakes, so you won’t get to use those moves very often.

Once you find yourself in the part of the game where you’re fighting 4 more dudes at a time, and once you can get through most of the fight without breaking your combo, then unlock the special moves. On a controller, the moves are bound to adjacent buttons like Y+B or X+Y, so it’s easy to mash a pair of buttons with your thumb and have one person instantly removed from the fight. (Also, activating the ability gives you a little window of invulnerability and clears incoming attacks, so it’s really handy for giving yourself some breathing room.)

Don’t just stand there and punch one guy until he goes down. Move from foe to foe. Try to attack the foe furthest from your current position. Once Batman has built up some speed, he will vault and backflip from one guy to the next. When you’re moving like this, the bad guys have trouble getting into position for an attack. If you stand still, you’ll have to constantly mash the counter button and you run the risk of missing a counter and getting nailed.

Also, cast your gaze on this sweet Riddler Trophy and burn with envy, you sad deprived fanboyOr girl. I refuse to use the term “fanperson”.:

Mumbles has hundreds of these. Rumor is, if you visit her, you need to find at least a dozen of them before she’ll even offer you a beer.

The only person that has a larger Riddler shrine is the Riddler himself.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:

[1] What I don’t understand is why *I* like it. It’s pretty far from my usual thing, but I really dig it.

[2] Or girl. I refuse to use the term “fanperson”.



A Hundred!2020We've got 140 comments. But one more probably won't hurt.

From the Archives:

  1. Lachlan the Mad says:

    Hey, I’ve seen this post quickly enough to nitpick! It’s been posted in “Random” instead of “Spoiler Warning”.

    Bwahahahaha, such power I feel.

  2. Alec says:

    Newbie guide is appreciated, I’m not into these types of games but I might try and play along here.

  3. Benjamin Hilton says:

    oh man, is that pic from Mumbles’ house?

    EDIT: I clearly posted this before watching the episode. :P

  4. Benjamin Hilton says:

    At about the three and a half minute mark we see batman run. When I first played the game I thought it just looked off somehow. Like it was almost this back and forth lope rather than a normal run, and I didn’t understand why it was animated that way.

    Then a bit later I caught Conan the Barbarian on T.V. and saw the Arnold running…lets just say I realized that this was a pitch perfect representation of how someone with that kind of muscle mass runs.

  5. Lachlan the Mad says:

    Um, you guys do realise that a lot of Riddler trophies require you to return to that area later with new gadgets, right?

  6. silver Harloe says:

    You could totally do Dragon Age: Origins. You just do it like this:
    Play all the stuff before the Deep Roads, and about 20-30 minutes of the actual Deep Roads…
    …then Josh finishes the Deep Roads off camera or loads a save from when he did it before. Zip bang boom.

    We would seriously really honestly totally forgive you for skipping the nonsense.

    • Phantos says:

      I wouldn’t mind seeing the crew play one of the other Dragon Age games. But I don’t blame Shamus for vetoing Origins.

      I played through that game again to see if it was as bad as I remembered. The funny thing is, I don’t remember the Deep Roads enough to feel like it’s too long. But the Fade is the worst thing BioWare did until the ending of Mass Effect 3.

      There’s a movie that’s 240 hours-long called “Modern Times Forever” that’s literally just watching a building erode over thousands of years. And that feels like it would be more fulfilling and take less time than the stupid Fade section. It would be Let’s Play poison.

      • ehlijen says:

        I actually enjoyed the Fade more than the Deep Roads. You got to play around with new abilities and didn’t have to bother with the stupid ‘wait for loot to spawn, loot, crap too many items, craft some shit?/through away some fluorspar?’ nonsense that is dragon age looting. That lack of looting alone sped up the Fade gameplay by at least 50% I’d say.

        What’s so bad about the enemies just auto dropping some actual money instead of this vendortrash nonsense that you then autoloot instantly anyway? Are there really people who enjoy going through the corpses they’ve made to pick up random crap?

        • Eruanno says:

          The problem is that it’s just and endless beige corridor that goes on forever and ever with no end in sight. And there is very little in term of strategy as you’re mostly just the one character, so it plays even slower.

          • Alexander The 1st says:

            Pretty much this – it’s a single person dungeon in a game balanced for multi-character tactics, and the new abilities? Only really useful if you’re expecting mage abilities – a Dwarven Rogue isn’t really built to use that magic stat the skills are scaled off of.

          • Phantom Renegade says:

            They could do Mailbag spoiler warning while josh plays the deep roads.

      • Thomas says:

        I’d say Dragon Age II would be better, but that’d be just a huge 20 hour pile-on. If they had a Greg Tito amongst them…

        • IFS says:

          Awakening might work though, its basically a compressed version of Origins at epic level. It takes at most 20 hours to beat, has plenty of room for Josh to make insane builds with the ridiculous new abilities it adds, and as it has micro versions of the different parts of Origins they could talk about them as well (for example it has a Fade trip, just with the whole party and much shorter, and a deep roads venture but again much shorter and with more frequent plot).

    • Neko says:

      They could just speed up the footage 5x. Then you’d merely have two episodes of Deeproads montage.

  7. Benjamin Hilton says:

    I was going to address this later but Mumbles brought it up so here we go:

    In this game I really enjoyed the reveal of the “Spirit of Arkham”. I thought it was interesting, a little bit surprising, and I couldn’t wait to run into the character again in the next game. But then in Arkham City it was revealed that he was just manipulated by Dr. Strange and the whole thing was immediately one hundred times less interesting to me.

    It felt like it was retconned after the fact although I can’t prove that. It’s one of those situations where the writers think that everything being connected will make the story more interesting, but instead all it did was take what had the possibility of being a great character, and relegating him to being a gussied up mook.

    • Phantos says:

      It helped sell the twist considering it’s the same voice actor for both Sharpe and The Spirit of Arkham. I figured they were just lazy about the casting, but then was pretty surprised that that was on purpose. I never suspected a thing.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        Yeah I didn’t see it coming either. It was great…until the letdown in City.

        • Thomas says:

          Another point to Asylum.

          City really is all about the mechanics.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            And joker.Joker steals the show in city,while here he is just your usual villain with a good sense of humor.

            • IFS says:

              But Asylum has Scarecrow, and the Scarecrow segments in Asylum are brilliant especially the last one. I suppose City has the Mr. Freeze bossfight which is really good, but then that’s also mainly good at a mechanical level.

              • Benjamin Hilton says:

                The Mr Freeze fight was good on a mechanical level but I found the reasoning for it a little too contrived.
                I really liked the idea of batman needing to ally with a rogue, but then they fight for a stupid reason(I don’t even remember the real reason for it other than the developers wanted it to happen) and afterwards continue to be allies as if the fight never happened.

                • Thomas says:

                  I find the story in City generally bad and fairly contrived but Freeze sticks out in my head as a lowpoint. It’s bad enough that, like you, I can’t remember why all the stuff with Freeze happens, all I can remember is how badly written it felt.

                  • MichaelGC says:

                    Freeze synthesises the cure, but then refuses to give it to Batman because he wants Bats to go find Mrs. Freeze, who was in the same situation as Campster is currently.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You two cannot remember the reason,but still think its contrived?That makes no sense.

                  And by the way,the reason is his wife.Its always his wife.Every time after she was invented,his wife is the major reason for everything.Even I know that.Even Schwarzenegger knew that.

                  • Benjamin Hilton says:

                    Right his wife. He wants Bats to help his wife before he gives him the cure, Bats wants the cure first.
                    So freeze attacks Bats, because Bats will totally be able to help him if he gets killed. Makes sense. And then Batman helps him anyway, even though Freeze no longer has the cure, just like every knows he was going to do because he is the good guy.

                    There was no need for the fight whatsoever in universe. From a game standpoint they wanted a Freeze fight, from a writer standpoint they needed a distraction for Harley to steal the cure. But there was never a real reason for them to fight Character wise. Batman Even said he would help freeze, he just wanted the cure first so he would be at 100% to do it.

                    The fact that the fight was there for meta reasons and to move another plot along, and not for their in character reasons is what makes it contrived.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      There was also the fact that freeze was already reluctant to help batman in the first place,and was preparing to go save his wife himself.He is an emotional guy when his wife is at stake,so I dont see a problem there.Not everyone is a calculating psycho like joker.

                    • Benjamin Hilton says:

                      I can’t reply to Daemian for some reason, so I’ll reply to myself.

                      None of that changes the fact that fighting Batman could only possibly be counter-productive to helping his wife.
                      And that after the fight they pick up as if it never happened. You could edit the fight out and not change a line of dialogue before or after and the scene would still make perfect sense.

                    • Sleeping Dragon says:

                      You can’t answer because there’s a limit to how high the comment pyramid will go.

                      Now, while the reasons for the fight were rather shaky I enjoyed it mechanically and wish there were more scenes like this where the game forced you to vary the mechanics but still gave you this much freedom around the environment.

                • IFS says:

                  Oh yeah I just about facepalmed with how the fight started it was so stupid. Still that moment where you realize Freeze is reacting to how you fight and you have to come up with new tactics on the fly is really good, although from hearing other people talk about it it sounds like the fight is really annoying on harder difficulties where you need to perform every single move.

  8. Grimwear says:

    I don’t mind the combat personally but as Josh has mentioned before it’s a very different way to approaching enemies. Most games teach you where if you’re facing 5 enemies you should concentrate on one then move to the next as having less foes means having less chances of being hit and it’s always exhilarating to do massive damage to a foe and bring him down. The batman games don’t really work this way. It’s more a matter of chipping all 5 enemies down bit by bit and if you do manage to knock one down ignore him rather than do a ground pound since in doing the instant knock out you’re more likely to be hit. They do make it up by having the combo instant knock outs but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m just running around chipping away at health where I really want to do massive damage to guys and feel like I’m wiping the floor with them. To be fair you do get that good feeling when you’re flipping around everyone but I’m not the biggest fan of combat. Luckily the game makes up for it with their stealth takedown sections. I freaking love those.

    • Christopher says:

      I dislike Arkham’s combat for slightly different reasons. Even bad beat ’em ups/brawlers/character action games/spectacle fighters/whatever we’re calling them usually have tons of moves and a system that works as well against a group of enemies as against a single boss. I feel like it’s really rare to have a game in the that’s structured so in favor of group combat. The boss battles aren’t bad because Rocksteady sucks at bosses, they are bad because Rocksteady’s combat system is inherently bad when used against a single enemy. It favors group fights with a very limited number of different enemies, and most of the different ones need to be dealt with in only one particular way.

      The combat system does feel quite good(at least on a 360) and it has great animations and sounds. I didn’t think it was easy either. It is certainly “simple”, though. I have seen some people compare it to a rythm game(On this blog, yesterday), which only means it’s like a genre in which you hit buttons according to button prompts on a conveyor belt. I died a lot, and never stuck with the challenge rooms to master the combat beyond what was necessary to beat that final room of goons before the final boss. But the thing is, I never mastered anything in Bayonetta either, and I think that combat system was more fun in every conceivable way. Enemy variety through the roof, constantly quick mobility and a dodge move that rewards you by freezing time for enemies, a stupidly large move list that accepts mashing but rewards practice, fantastic and massive bosses and a combat system that works equally well on normal dudes and bigger dudes, with unique animations for bigger dudes. Arkham’s style of combat is popular and mimicked often, but the games that do go for it are normally open world games with a “realistic” approach to melees, not other brawlers focused on combat only.

      Batman isn’t really just a brawler either, I suppose, and that’s why I love the Arkham games despite being frustrated by their combat. It’s central, but it’s not the only reason to play, and I think what is there(combat, exploration, stealth, BATMAN) makes a very compelling whole. But if you’re coming at it from my angle of combat systems and bosses, the combat part feels relatively weak and shallow and poorly balanced for every climactic confrontation. I feel good about putting my feelings down on paper, though. I didn’t dislike it as much as I thought. It’s mainly that every time a peak should be occuring in excitement and investment because of a villain confrontation, I instead feel boredom and frustration because of the core system of the game.

      • Grimwear says:

        I honestly can’t really remember many of the boss fights but some of them I really enjoyed. Ones that are interesting and provide a new mechanic are tons of fun for me (Scarecrow and to a certain extent Croc) but as soon as you hit the brawler bosses it all came to a screeching halt. Bane, Harley, Joker were just an annoying follow the pattern, repeat 3 times ordeal that I wasn’t a fan of. The worst offender I feel was Freeze from city though. The only way to do damage is by doing a new unique attack each time. I mostly fought by finding a couple things that worked then just repeated those. It was super annoying having to open the control menu and try to figure out how to do an arbitrary killer batarang in order to have his health go down. Not a fan at all.

        • Christopher says:

          That’s like the single one one one-fight I liked the most, dude! While Scarecrow was all melee fights with skeletons and platforming while waiting for him not to look at you and Croc was hitting the batarang button, Freeze is the only one you fight while in “predator” mode.

          I think Arkham City’s are overall slightly better than Asylum’s. Big guys do other stuff than just charge at you, for one thing, and you can stun some of them directly with the cape stun attack I believe. Joker and one of the hammer and sickle brothers in the steel mill was a special melee bout with unique enemies and stage hazards, so that ranks pretty high as well because it played to the game’s strength without just throwing a hundred normal guys at you. Some guys who are very definitely “one person” had excuses for spawning clones, too. It’s not ideal, and I wish they had a boss fight for Hugo Strange in some way, but it’s better. I don’t suppose Arkham Origins’ improve things? I do own it and consider playing it at some point, even though it’s not as good by all accounts. The only one I’ve seen is Deathstroke, and he was a quick-time event party.

          • Grimwear says:

            Mr. Freeze is fine depending on your difficulty since you can generally rely on your favorite predator moves. But easy has you use 3, normal 5, hard 8, and ng+ 9. It literally ends up being a you need to use every single weapon in your arsenal whether you want to or not. O we gave you a diverse set of gadgets so you can pick which ones you want to use? Not here sucker it’s a requirement. That’s the feeling I don’t really like. Again easy and normal are fine but anything beyond that just becomes busywork.

            • Christopher says:

              Sure, I can see that. I’ve got a hard time coming up with more than 4 at the top of my head.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Thats the case of bad difficulty implementation.For some reason developers think that more is the same as harder,when it ends up being just tedious most of the time.

            • Sleeping Dragon says:

              I only played the game once and so I didn’t know different difficulties required a different number of techniques to be used. I think I was playing on normal, which would mean 5, enough to force variety and push me slightly out of my comfort zone but with enough margin so that I could ignore the manouvers that I found difficult/annoying to perform. I actually really liked this fight but I can see how a requirement to perform every single possible technique available to the player could be somewhat frustrating.

        • Lachlan the Mad says:

          I think that we can all agree that the Poison Ivy fight in Asylum is the worst. Why does Batman need to fight Queen Gohma, exactly?

          • Christopher says:

            She’s really bad. To their credit, the final boss of City is sort of a better version of her, if I remember her patterns/the method to beating her correctly. Lots of dodging and throwing stuff.

            • Lachlan the Mad says:

              The final boss of City is definitely that game’s weakest boss (maybe tied for worst with the hallucinatory Ra’s Al Ghul fight) because both of them fall into the Queen Gohma school of boss design. I still think that Asylum’s Poison Ivy is the most offensively bad of the bunch though.

              Also, ever notice how pretty much every boss in the first two Arkham games summons mooks? It’s almost as if Rocksteady understood that the mook-fighting was the strongest part of the game…

  9. Phantos says:

    Wait, didn’t Josh like The Last Of Us and Tomb Raider? Two games that aped a lot from Arkham but didn’t do them as well?

    • Viktor says:

      They didn’t ape the combat systems, which are stealth shooters with RPG elements. Arkham is all about timing and avoiding damage, which isn’t Josh’s strong suit.

    • Thomas says:

      Wait what did they ape from Arkham? Tomb Raider had Metroidvania 2.0 I guess, but The Last of Us?

      They’re definitely both much much more Uncharted than Batman. But what they did steal from Batman was a really nice thing to add to an Uncharted style game.

  10. newdarkcloud says:

    I’m going to say something I guarantee people will disagree with.

    I liked how the Riddler Trophies were handled in Arkham Asylum. Most of them involved just a little bit of thinking outside the box.

    However, I got really annoyed with them in Arkham City. Arkham City turned most of those trophies from just simple tests of thinking/observation into really annoying skill/reflex tests. I tried to go for all the Arkham City trophies, but I just gave up. I couldn’t take it anymore.

    • Grimwear says:

      I also gave up. I got them all in asylum and had fun tracking them down. Then we got to city and not only were they annoying and just an ordeal to try and hunt down some of them were Catwoman only and if you weren’t in one of her sections or had finished them already whelp better wait until ng+. I just gave up and never went back to the game. That includes doing the Harley Quinn DLC which I have, still haven’t played it.

    • Shamus says:

      I strongly agree with you.

      * There were too many “reflex tests” that were just a little too fiddly and unpredictable.
      * Even the good puzzles were repeated multiple times, until they became annoying and boring.
      * There were about five times as many trophies as there should have been.
      * The extreme overabundance of trophies and cages actually cluttered up the scenery. Get on top of a building and look around, and it’s a sea of green lights and chain-link walls. It really harmed the overall aesthetic of the city to have all that clutter strewn all over the place.

      I gathered them all three times. I have no idea why. I guess I just really liked those Riddler challenge rooms. The full process takes two or three times as long as the core game, even with Gamefaqs open on your second monitor.

      I really hope they dial it back in Arkham Knight. You really can have too much of a good thing.

      • MichaelGC says:

        I have no idea why.

        We are odd at times, aren’t we? (Humans, that is.) A while ago I took a crack at the Dune series of books. Didn’t like them: couldn’t get invested in the plot; didn’t find any of the characters likeable or interesting; wasn’t a big fan of the writing style – in short, not (at all) saying ‘they are bad,’ but I personally didn’t enjoy reading them even one little bit.

        Given all that, I’m at a total loss to explain why I couldn’t put each one down, nor why as soon as I finished one, I’d immediately order the next one.

        • Geebs says:

          That’s funny, I did the exact same thing of reading all of the Dune books despite hating all of them apart from the first one. In my defence, though, I was suffering from insomnia at the time, so I actually got about 6 months of decently early nights out of the whole series :p

      • Thomas says:

        -Moving to better fit in with other peoples comments-

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Apparently in Arkham Knight that raw number of Riddler Trophies has been nearly cut in half, from 440 to 240.

        http://www.gamesradar.com/batman-arkham-knight-has-243-riddler-trophies/

        They claim that these will be the most “deviously hidden” trophies yet, but that’s just marketing hype. It says approximately nothing about what they’ll be like in the game. Even still, there is a part of me that takes and gets nervous that they’ll double down more of the “reflex test” challenges, and less on the “critical thinking” challenges.

        EDIT: Given just how many people, myself included, loved Arkham City, I was genuinely surprised with how many people agreed with me here.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        I will defend the finicky reflex puzzles and VR training for precisely one reason.

        I too thought there were to many, to repetitive, and to convoluted. Then protocol ten started.
        I find myself gliding along, a chopper stops me and opens fire. Then without even thinking I go into a dive, pull up, jack knife to the left sliding perfectly through a gap in two structures, hit a wall and push off it to reverse direction and glide serenely to a stop under cover, choppers left in the dust.

        I felt awesome. I felt badass. I felt like Batman. I suddenly realized that just as the fighting system slowly prepares you for tougher fights until to master them, the puzzles and VR were training you to master flight so that when the time came you could survive a even thrive in protocol ten.

    • ChristopherT says:

      I completely agree as well. Asylum had this fun mix of exploration mixed with observation, and a small but fun jolt of excitement when you quickly figure out the clue and start rushing across the room to solve it. Not to mention it meshed well with the idea of the Riddler.

      Where, in City, it was based more of game play skill and doing things akin to carnival games, nothing wrong with that, but it took out those small mind games and replaced them with whack-a-mole.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        I agree about the meshing. Asylum had the best in universe reason for a collection quest of any game I’ve played.
        Not only that but it was easy to get them as you go, and keep track of where you had to go back to. I literally finished the Riddler story just before heading to the the joker fight, so it added to the build up of the climax.
        In City it killed the pacing and the game ended with this epic conclusion…followed by Batman going back in to dick around for a while.

        • Thomas says:

          In City they rarely managed to make the Trophies fit in organically which was a big negative in my book. There’s something kind of cool about “I put the trophy in this room/vent, how are you going to get to it?”

          In City it’s more “So I welded a series of cages to this giant sliding door halfway down the side of the building…”

          In Asylum it more often feels like you’re matching wits at least a little bit. In City it can feel like you’re a rat running riddlers mazes.

          • MrGuy says:

            I disagree with this.

            The whole “I built a ridiculously overly complicated contraption! There’s only one way to disable it, but you’ll NEVER figure it out, Batman! Mwahaha!” is so Batman villain that it almost hurts. Rube Goldberg is the BFF of so many Batman villains. I don’t have an issue with “ridiculous contrivance.” It’s why I like the Riddler Rooms so much (and why I’m motivated to try to find the trophies in the first place.

            The problem (to me) is not that the puzzles are so contrived, but that they’re so repetitive. Bounce off these three targets without hitting the ground! OK, now do that again somewhere else with the targets in different places. OK, now do it again somewhere else with the targets in different places from the first two times! Mwahaha!

            I think there was a solid idea in there somewhere. The Riddler Trophies from Asylum were fairly well received, and they wanted to amp it up a little beyond just “find this in a vent somewhere.” The idea of the gadgets isn’t bad. The problem is they had 100+ trophies in Asylum, and they didn’t have 100 ideas for interesting gadgets. If they’d just ramped down the number of trophies, I think this could have been really interesting.

            • Thomas says:

              I like the riddler rooms. And in general “Haha I’ve wired this riddler trophy to the main electricity” seems very Riddler-y.

              I just don’t get that vibe from a bunch of giant hamster cages on top of a building (well okay, I do get that vibe from a bunch of giant hamster cages on top of a building, I don’t get that vibe from a steel mesh 2ft high maze on top of a building). Apart from anything else it felt like every single one of them could have been solved with some Bat-wirecutters

              • Sleeping Dragon says:

                I liked the rooms, at least those that I got to because I couldn’t be bothered with the trophies in the city beyond certain point. I think part of it was because they were out o the way, I had to acutally make a conscious effort to find one and I was entering with the awareness that I’m going into a puzzle. All the mechanisms scattered around the city were a bit too distracting and too much “in your face player” for me.

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              That is one other major advantage that the Arkham series has. Batman’s villains lend themselves so well to different types of gameplay. It especially helps that Riddler, the Joker, Calendar Man and the Mad Hatter often think like demented game designers. Even in the comic books they stage these elaborate games for Batman I guess because they get a thrill from making him dance. And this maps perfectly to a video game. Between that and Scarecrow’s hallucination sequences, its the perfect excuse to put all kinds of mini games in the game without breaking immersion.

              The Flash would be another great one for this and even Superman has a few rogues in his gallery that like to operate this way. But simulating their powers in a satisfying way would be a massive challenge*.

              *Preliminary note, make part of the challenge of being Superman, not wrecking stuff.

              • Viktor says:

                Flash’s powers are easy. 3d Sonic game with a few parkour elements and a bullet time meter for when things get hairy. You’d need godlike level designers, but the gameplay itself should be simple enough.

    • Phantos says:

      I think Arkham City’s problem is it focused more on quantity instead of quality. It had more stuff to do, yeah, but none of it had anywhere near as much polish as Asylum.

      Even just the immediate combat felt less responsive than in Asylum. With how bad it was in Origins, I’m worried about what this means for Arkham Knight, because it seems like the series is going downhill pretty fast.

      • Thomas says:

        The PR for Knight hasn’t got me excited at all. All this focus on the car and the giant map seems exactly like the quantity over quality – not really understanding why the first one was great – deal.

        The PR for Asylum was all about how they wanted to create the feeling of you being Batman and how it was in everything you did.

        But PR doesn’t necessarily represent the game, and I really do believe that Rocksteady have the ability to make a game as tight as Asylum again and that this being the last one in the franchise is motivation for them to create something as tight. Besides they’ve already created all the open-world mechanics now, so maybe they can focus on polish.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          To be fair, bringing in the Batmobile is one step closer to being Batman. Its iconic on its own. Its probably they they’re just hyping it because its the big new thing about the game.

          • Thomas says:

            Hopefully so, but I hope that’s why they added the Batmobile and not because it’s a cool toy that will make a nice PR spot. If it’s their new thing, I just hope they included it for a good reasons.

            At the moment it feels like a Jurassic World thing “Look we’ve got a mega dinosaur.”

            I’m still prepared to be pleasantly surprised though

            • Wide And Nerdy says:

              Can’t it be for both reasons?

              “Whats something that would make the fans excited while truly adding to the experience of being Batman?”

              I don’t think self-interest and benevolence are mutually exclusive.

            • MichaelGC says:

              Aye, never a bad idea to temper expectations, methinks, but I’m nevertheless hoping it’ll be a bit like the improved grappling in City. ‘Grapple-anywhere’ certainly didn’t sound like anything to get excited about, but it did end up making a big difference, and I always miss having that ability whenever I go back to Arkham.

          • Neil D says:

            With all the hype from day one I was beginning to feel like the only person on the planet not excited about getting to drive the Batmobile. I loved the series because it already made me feel like Batman – lurking in the shadows, doing detective stuff and kicking a lot of bad guy ass. I never once thought “boy, I wish I could stop doing this and drive a tank and blow stuff up for a while”. If I did, I’d probably load up another game where I could do that.

            To me, in those sections you’re no longer controlling Batman, you’re controlling a vehicle, which is much less interesting to me. Who knows, maybe I’ll wind up loving it, but on the surface that aspect doesn’t thrill me much.

    • Benjamin Hilton says:

      I felt that there were to many riddles in City. In Asylum I had a lot of fun trying to suss out each riddle. In City I would just see a piece of scenery that had more detail on it than the rest, take a picture, and see the reward pop up. I got at least half of the riddles in City this way without ever reading the actual riddle.

    • Ledel says:

      *clears throat, taps mic* Test 1, 2. Test 1, 2. YOU’RE WRONG! (actually I agree with you, just had to get that out of the way)

      There was really only one aspect of the trophies that City did better than Asylum, and that was that there was a reason for Batman to collect them. The Riddler kidnapped a bunch of police officers and the only way for you to save them was to collect the trophies and solve the riddles. In Asylum it’s just “Hey Batman, do you see my shiny trophies? Don’t you want to fill a wall in your batcave with them? Collect them all and I will give you a cookie!”

      Asylum felt like it had just the right amount of trophies and just the right level of challenge to get them. There just wasn’t any real motivating factors to collect them other than to satisfy your want for completion.

      • IFS says:

        In Asylum they also have their own story that unfolds as you find them, eventually culminating in Batman using the collected information to send the Riddler’s location to the police letting them catch him, it pretty much all takes place in dialog but I thought it worked quite well.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        I so much agree with this though it doesn’t clash with Thomas’ point much.

        In Arkham Asylum, I felt like the Riddler won as soon as I started playing his game. Like Rutskarn, I felt greater satisfaction from ignoring the Riddler.

        • Wide And Nerdy says:

          By contrast in Arkham City, I enjoyed getting around town but grappling and gliding so much that I’d sometimes fire up the game just to run around. So the Riddler trophies became another reason to justify being in the game Bat-gliding. Same with Origins.

  11. Merkel says:

    It could have been worse, he could be named Richard Boles.

  12. J.M. Alexia says:

    I’m really enjoying the way this game establishes the tone, and the various characters. All the little moments between Batman and Joker really help establish who they are, and so far they’ve been fairly well done.

    I haven’t played Arkham, and I don’t intend to. While the story and characters look neat, it uses all the parts of Shadow of Mordor combat that I didn’t like. I just don’t have the reflexes and skill for the timing combos. I guess I share a trait with Josh in that respect.

    Also, as a sad, deprived fangirl, I must say I’m digging that Riddler trophy. (And I feel like fanperson shouldn’t be a thing at all. If one needs to be nonspecific, just say the root word)

  13. This might make me a complete idiot, but:

    I actually had a real problem with the first Riddler “riddle,” where you have to find a portrait of Quincy Sharpe on the wall. I totally figured out the riddle pretty early on, but I just couldn’t find the portrait of Sharpe. So I spent a few minutes wandering around while the Riddler just kept giving me the answer, and speaking in a “you’re so dumb, figure it out already!” tone.

    That annoyed the crap out of me. It made the Riddler seem dumb for assuming that I hadn’t figured it out. It was kind of hilarious to imagine Batman meandering around, completely oblivious to the solution of the puzzle.

    Like I said though, I’m probably actually dumb for not just seeing the painting, even though I knew what to look for.

    • MichaelGC says:

      Well, at least you worked out what you were supposed to do!: I recall failing miserably at getting even that far the first time around. Spent an embarrassing amount of time flailing around trying to find something highlighted-as-interactable, and suchlike. (I was eventually very impressed by the mechanic and its implementation when I realised how things were supposed to work. But emphasis on ‘eventually’…)

  14. Artur CalDazar says:

    I like when games not about detective stuff have those elements, because when done well their brevity means they feel super strong and any flaws that might appear with repetition stay hidden.

    Condemned 2 does a pretty good job of this, aside from the Bear level, but here its really just a nod to Batmans apparent detective nature I feel. Has Batman ever seemed like a detective outside the comics? Does he in the comics even?

    How does Ridder make these trophies? Does he just sit at home and just do workshop? Hours and hours of handcrafted effort?

  15. Hmm! How come Batman’s radio works far under ground with all that steel and concrete around.

    Also to cover a “Shamus Trope”, what does everyone eat? (and where do they take a dump?)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because he is the god damn batman and his tech is perfect!

    • MrGuy says:

      Batman can hear his signal so far underground because he has amped up the power of his transmitters to highly non-FCC-approved levels. Sure, that much radiation is really dangerous, to the point it could possibly permanently damage the mental stability of someone unfortunate enough to be standing too close to one of his hidden transmitters when Batman decides to place a lunch order. But he NEEDS that kind of signal strength to catch all those dangerous madmen!

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Josh doesnt like arkham games because he sucks at combat.

    Joking aside:

    Josh favors games with a lot of planning and strategy, but here it’s more about execution.

    The predator sections are about planning and strategy.Also,the combat in city and origins was quite a bit more strategic than here,because there were parts where you were fighting dozens of guys,requiring you to skirt the whole group and pick them out one by one,instead of just being in the thick of it like in this game.Though those two had plenty more open spaces that were well suited for such a style of combat,unlike this one.And you get to use all your gadgets in combat with ease.

  17. Grudgeal says:

    And here, we see the Arkham dialogue starting, ever so slightly, to shine through.

    Batman: You won’t get away with this!
    Joker: I have gotten away with this!

    Of course, we’re still in the establishing phases of the setting right now, but these types of brusque exchange will get tiresome, especially by the time we get to City.

    Dialogue aside, I do wonder why Arkham asylum has a bunch of bottomless pits in it. And how.

  18. Andrew says:

    What happened to Chris this episode?

    Did he fall asleep again?! =)

  19. lethal_guitar says:

    Don’t forget the most important newbie tip: Only press the attack button once for each hit. This makes it way easier to fill and keep up your combo meter, and gives you additional critical hit damage. It was my moment of revelation when I realized I have to calmly press the button once in a while instead of mashing it madly.

  20. boz says:

    After playing Arkham trilogy I’m in favor of changing Batman’s no kill policy. I don’t know how many people I have crippled for life. I can kinda accept that in Asylum or Origins but in City I am in a prison beating up random inmates. Killing them would be merciful compared to the brain damage, paralysis or crippling injuries I left them with.

    • Mike S. says:

      Don’t worry– it’s a superhero universe. Cracks to the head at worst knock you out for a few hours, with no repercussions beyond a headache. A broken spine may require a few months and a training montage to recover from.

      (Just try not to have it happen in an iconic story by Alan Moore and subsequently embody representation for people with disabilities– it’ll take a lot longer then. But you’ll still recover eventually.)

  21. Lachlan the Mad says:

    Regarding the DLC which killed the glide in pirated copies; it’s possible to get almost all the way through the game without the glide. You can make jumps like the one in this episode (it’s hard but possible), but there’s a point towards the end where you have to get between a bunch of rock spires sticking out of the ocean; one of these jumps cannot be made without gliding.

  22. Regarding Detective Vision: I’m not certain if it’s the first such instance of the mechanic in general in a 3D game, but back in 2002 on the GameCube Metroid Prime had the Thermal, X-Ray, and Scan Visors all explicitly designed to aid in exploration, atmospheric storytelling, and combat. Prime 2 & 3 further iterated on the concept as well.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Avp games also have different visions for predator,one that spots only humans,one for xenomorphs,and one for other predators and their tech.

      • ChristopherT says:

        I was about to say just that. Thinking about it, how much of a step is it from something like the predator’s vision modes to something like Batman’s detective vision? In AvP (back in 1999), where there was a vision that had aliens appear in red(?). Heat vision for seeing humans better. And that other vision for spotting predators. Then the aliens themselves had that nega vision they could switch between, and their standard vision had humans have an aura around them. Humans themselves having night vision.

        Speaking of night vision, that’s been around in many games, Jurassic Park (snes), Metal Gear Solid, Duke Nukem 3D, and many more.

        Basically Arkham’s detective vision is the Terminator’s from the movies with a different color. Which is cool.

    • Taellosse says:

      Didn’t Assassins Creed come out before Arkham Asylum? Eagle Vision is basically the same thing too.

    • Abnaxis says:

      Metroid Prime isn’t a 3D game?

      Also, Deux Ex had X-Ray vision in 2000

  23. karln says:

    oh my god just knock him into the damn pit

    how many people did Batman doom to death there by not taking the damn shot

    that scene makes me so mad :(

    • Phantos says:

      This is a recurring problem I had with Batman in these games. I feel like they stretch the plausibility of his “no-kill” rule so far that it just ends up looking like he has the morality(intellect) of a very stubborn child. It gets worse in City.

      It takes a lot to get me, a Pacifist, to say: “Just murder him already! It’s not a puppy, it’s a psycho clown!”

      • MrGuy says:

        But that’s Batman. Even he knows his “I will never, ever kill anyone” approach isn’t rational – that innocent people will likely die later because of his refusal to kill total scumbags. He’s not naive about it. But that’s who he is – he just can’t bring himself to kill even when he knows he should.

        This is in fact how this game ends. Batman actually saves Joker’s life at the end, even though he knows he’ll probably escape again, and probably kill again. He doesn’t even have to do anything to kill him – all he needs to do is let Joker die. And he can’t do it, even while Joker taunts him for it.

        • Alexander The 1st says:

          Wait, but isn’t that *exactly* how the Batman Begins villain is killed? “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save you either.”

          Really, this approach only works if you’re totally expecting to be able to use the villain again.

          • The really annoying thing about the movies is that of COURSE we’ll see Joker in another movie, so killing him off (again) makes little to no sense, especially now that DC is supposedly trying to make a big ol’ DCU franchise.

            • Torsten says:

              It makes the Dark Knight all the more ironic. The one time Joker is not killed in the film – probably so that he can be used in a later one – and the actor dies.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      While I agree with you,might I point out how stupid the government of gotham is that they dont sentence any of those people to death,but rather put them all in a mental institution.Not jail,but a hospital.And from what Ive seen in the games and the movies,a hospital that doesnt even keep their patients chemically restrained,which is extremely stupid,dangerous and irresponsible.

      • Keep in mind that the people running Arkham as well as the Gotham PD are taking their cues from, accepting help from, and associating with a guy dressed as a bat.

      • “Chemical restraint is a very restrictive intervention, the application of which may cause distress for patients, support persons and staff members. For this reason chemical restraint may only lawfully be applied when absolutely necessary, and when less restrictive interventions have been tried without success, or have been considered but excluded as inappropriate or unsuitable in the circumstances. ” That’s from Tasmania’s Mental Health Act

        Long term use also can cause brain damage and Parkinson’s type symptoms, in fact some of the symptoms we associate with mental illness are actually side effects of chemical restraints. (found that out while researching SSRIs a while back, which is why I’m not naming symptoms. Can’t actually remember which ones they were)

        That said, I’m all for chemical restraints, or even lobotomies, when you’re talking about the kind of villains Batman has. And Tasmania’s mental health thing was the first govt official policy I found, so that’s what I quoted.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          For this reason chemical restraint may only lawfully be applied when absolutely necessary, and when less restrictive interventions have been tried without success, or have been considered but excluded as inappropriate or unsuitable in the circumstances.

          You mean in the case where patients have been tied and locked,under heavy guard,and still managed to escape and kill a bunch of people?Multiple times?Yes,joker and a bunch of other guys here are definitely cases for that,unless you decide to put them down for good.

      • Taellosse says:

        Presumably the New York State of the DC universe doesn’t have the death penalty, or it surely would have been applied to most of the Batman rogues gallery by now.

  24. N/A says:

    Y’know, I have to wonder, if Josh doesn’t care for the game, why is he the one playing it?

    • Shamus says:

      You need a really beefy computer to do what we do, AND a really solid net connection. You have to run the game, stream the game, and record the game, and you need enough upstream bandwidth for the streaming to be legible.

      These requirements put Rutskarn out of the running. Mumbles misses a lot of weeks because she has a life. Chris used to be able to do it, but since he moved his internet is garbage.

      We haven’t tried streaming from my machine, which might work. Then again, I really can’t multi-task at all, so there would be almost no serious commentary from me. I’m not against it, but it would be a pretty massive change to the dynamic of the show.

      • Wide And Nerdy says:

        If it costs us your commentary, please keep things as is. Just one fan’s vote.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        The solution is simple:Shamoose or Josh have to adopt Rutskarn,then he could be the one that plays.

      • MichaelGC says:

        The multitasking can’t be easy for Josh at the best of times, so it’s even more impressive that he would put himself through it whilst not actually enjoying the game! Thanks, Cuftbat!

        PS It is definitely worth giving the controller a try, if you haven’t already. I’ve never seen nor heard of anyone preferring Kb+M for the Arkham games if they’ve tried both.

        PPS Although it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Josh himself turned out to be the one exception… :D

      • I also like to think that Josh’s biology is set up like WKRP’s Dr. Johnny Fever, in that the more he drinks, the better his reflexes become.

  25. Spammy says:

    So, while I haven’t played Red Steel 2 in years, I think its combat is actually similar to the Arkham series in that they’re both based around executing combos. In Red Steel 2 you can just wail on guys, but you can also do finishing moves on them if they’re in one of three states: Stunned, Kneeling, or Knocked Down. Now you can either hit them in specific areas to get them in those states, or use the special moves you unlock which immediately put them there. And a lot of these moves have a dash component, so you can move and attack and put someone in a state. And I don’t remember this specifically but I also think you can use special moves to dash and finish someone.

    So what this amounts to is: You know how if you’re good at Arkham combat then Batman can flow around a fight and take out twenty mooks without ever getting hit? You do that in Red Steel 2 but in first person and with swords and guns. In fact I think there even is an encounter three-quarters of the way through the game that is just thirty of the lowest-level mooks for you to breeze through.

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