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”.:
The only person that has a larger Riddler shrine is the Riddler himself.
 What I don’t understand is why *I* like it. It’s pretty far from my usual thing, but I really dig it.
 Or girl. I refuse to use the term “fanperson”.
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