on Jul 22, 2015
This episode does a good job of showing off one thing about the Arkham combat that I’ve never liked, which is that when the fight gets near a wall, the camera becomes your most dangerous enemy. In an ideal situation, the game will have some sort of concept of the “arena” where the fight is taking place, and position the camera on the outside, giving you a complete view of the field. And the game seems to do this right up until the fight gets close to a wall.
It wouldn’t look right for the camera to go into the wall, so instead it swings around to the other side, pointing outward. This means all the player can see is themselves, the wall, and the guy they’re currently punching. Other foes might be hidden just off to the side, within punching distance but out of view. At this point the whole system falls apart. You could say, “It’s strategic! You need to stay away from the walls and don’t let the mooks corner you!” Fair enough. But…
Then we have fights like this one where you need to keep a titan at distance, and standing in the middle of the room means you won’t have time to dodge out of the way when it charges. The room at the end of this episode is pretty much a worst-case scenario for the camera system. It can’t go into the wall. The ceiling is low so it can’t pull back. You need to keep the titan in view. The room is just barely long enough to dodge the charging titan. And the space is packed with swarming foes.
This problem has gotten a little better in each successive gameExcept for Origins, where there didn’t seem to be any change. but it’s still an ongoing issue. I think the best solution would be for the designer to forbid low ceilings, and just have the camera pull way out when Bats ends up in a corner. I know everyone wants to show off those sweet, sweet Bat-moves up close, but I’d rather be able to see what I’m doing. I’d love this fight if the camera could be placed somewhere useful and stop swinging around, but as it stands this fight is more frustrating than fun.
It really is a shame Josh hates this gameplay so much. I’d love to cover Arkham City. The gameplay is stellar, the world is only slightly too large, and the story is broken in really interesting ways. As a subject of conversation, it’s probably the most topic-rich of the bunch.
We keep making fun of Chris for bringing up Arkham Origins, so I guess it’s worth going back and discussing why. I reviewed it back when the game was new-ish, and thought it was a mix of good and bad. After the review I went back to Arkham City and realized that, no, actually Origins kind of suckedYes, the detective mode stuff was stellar, but it wasn’t good enough to carry the game on its own.. The only good thing I can say about it now is that it really made me appreciate what a classic Arkham City is. I hated the tone of Origins, the interior environments, the unsatisfying combat, the oversized city, the tension-free story, the frustrating boss fights, the swaggering brutish rage-monster version of BatmanI don’t care if it’s consistent with some version of the character from one of the many DC universes. I just didn’t like him at all., the Ubisoft-style tower unlocks, the shift towards dreary photorealism, and the obnoxious quicktime events.
|Okay, push the yellow button a whole bunch… now the blue one… now the… no no no! Wrong button! That’s not how I decided you will win this fight! Try again!|
Also the whole “OH EMM GEE IT’S DEATHSTROKE!!!!!” thing was completely irritating to me. I don’t know or care who Deathstroke is, and going by what we see in the game he comes off like some shitty juvenile 90’s-style Rob Liefeld creationHe was actually created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in 1980, but I never really ran into him until Origins, where he gave off a strong Liefeld vibe. Maybe it was all the pouches., a guy with a personality that begins and ends with his costume and his one-note badass swagger. Maybe the Deathstroke of the comics is an interesting guy, but the one I met in Origins was completely tediousAnd Arkham Knight didn’t improve my opinion of him.. To make it worse, his boss fight was quicktime event garbage and the game acted like it was doing me a favor by letting me fight someone so awesome.
Origins is such an outlier that it makes the game obnoxious to talk about:
“Oh man, I love the Arkham combat. Well, except for Origins.”
“Kevin Conroy really sells the cornball lines they give him to create this unflappable Batman. Except in Origins, when someone else did the voice and the character was totally different.”
“The environments are so fantastic. Except in Origins.”
“The boss fights have been improving throughout the series. Except for Origins where they got much worse.”
Which is why Mumbles and I keep pretending / joking that Origins doesn’t exist. Because it’s annoying to have to put a “except for Origins, which was different” asterisk after every single comment on the series as a whole.
The next episode will wrap this series up.
 Except for Origins, where there didn’t seem to be any change.
 Yes, the detective mode stuff was stellar, but it wasn’t good enough to carry the game on its own.
 I don’t care if it’s consistent with some version of the character from one of the many DC universes. I just didn’t like him at all.
 He was actually created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in 1980, but I never really ran into him until Origins, where he gave off a strong Liefeld vibe. Maybe it was all the pouches.
 And Arkham Knight didn’t improve my opinion of him.