Arkham Asylum EP6: Ball Soup

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 19, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 75 comments

Link (YouTube)

I’d like to point out that of the 6 episodes of Arkham Asylum so far, only half of them directly refer to “ass” or “balls” in the title. And at the top of the episode we go over four minutes without making jokes about drawing dicks on things. This is all part of our efforts to deliver you the most analytical and highbrow videogame show on the internetBUTTS!.

I know I jump in and out of “reflexive fanboy defense” mode when Josh says he doesn’t like the combat. For the record, in a non-joking way: The combat in this game falls somewhere between serviceable and dull. If you find yourself playing the game, I suggest putting the game on easy and enjoying it as a breezy power fantasy. As someone who didn’t have a lot of experience with these kind of games in the past, “easy” felt “just right”.

The next game is much better, but I don’t want to over-hype it. There are still things about it that feel stiff and awkward, and the camera is still the main villain if you find yourself fighting in a small space. I’ve managed to fall in love with it anyway, but that’s because I’ve learned to tolerate or ignore the faultsTwice butts!.



[1] BUTTS!

[2] Twice butts!

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75 thoughts on “Arkham Asylum EP6: Ball Soup

  1. Thomas says:

    I like the idea that in Gotham there’s a black market dealer who specialises in acquiring clown facepaint. And facepaint is one of the most dangerous commodities to transport around Gotham. All the fancy dress shops have armed guards 24/7 – and when the circus comes to town…

  2. Nicholas Hayes says:

    I like how Campster’s credit just keeps evolving…

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      Calling it now – next set of episodes it’s “Has anyone seen Campster and the Joker in the same room?”

      1. Benjamin Hilton says:

        OH. MY. GOD.

    2. Warrax the Chaos Warrior says:

      Apparently Chris now has Stockholm Syndrome.

  3. Thomas says:

    You guys were on fire this episode =D This has got to be some of the funniest banter all the way through

  4. Nimas says:

    Argh! Watching Josh fight in this is hurting me :P

    Please, just do the stun thing once, not spam after you’ve hit them ><

  5. RagingInternetCommenter says:

    So wait, if arkham is “crazy pants”, shouldn’t bane be in the other prison

    1. Benjamin Hilton says:

      Later you find out that he was transferred to Arkham to be experimented on, and only the Joker and Doc Young know he is even there.

  6. psivamp says:

    I believe this episode deserves/needs to have this SMBC comic linked.

    1. Grudgeal says:

      And for a rebuttal, this Shortpacked! comic.

      Which should totally have been the final boss.

  7. sheer_falacy says:

    You guys really need to tell Josh how amazing the dodge move is. It doesn’t end your combo (unless you do it twice in a row), it dodges knife jackassery, it’s just super handy.

    Also, when you knock someone down maybe don’t punch the air above their heads a couple of times afterwards.

    It’s just sad to hear you don’t like the combat because I think it’s awesome. And then I feel sad after I see you fighting. You’ll never get to the superflow (whatever its called) and leap across the room to punch a guy out with a single click at this rate. Even without that the combat gets nicer the higher your combo.

    1. Akuma says:

      Don’t forget he’s also drunk.

      So alot of advice is kind moot at a certain point.

  8. The Snide Sniper says:

    Mortal Kombat’s DC crossover did make at least one interesting point, however unintentionally: there is no appreciable difference between DC’s “heroic brutality” and Mortal Kombat’s “Fatalities” other than author fiat.

    This is especially obvious when comparing the Captain Marvel and Raiden finishing moves.

    1. Viktor says:

      I’d have said Flash and Liu Kang, but that works. (13:10 and 15:10 for those interested in Raiden vs Marvel.)

  9. Ledel says:

    Bodycount update:

    K.O.ed: 111

    Maimed: 11

    Killed: 6

    The maims I found were at 15:10 the elbow into the guys head/upper spine; 18:45 the backflip kick that clearly left the guy a paraplegic; 19:05 making some Ball Soup (that one’s for you McNutcase); and 21:00 the guy smashed into the door-frame and the guy slammed face-first into the ground.

    1. Mintskittle says:

      At about 3:15, Batman chokes out a mook in the sewer who then slides face first into the water.

      1. Ledel says:

        Nice catch, sorry I missed that one.

        K.O.ed: 110*

        Killed: 7*

        Edit: The best part is Batman gently sets him there like, “Now have yourself a nice calm nap right here. I left some water by your bed if you get thirsty.”

        1. Lachlan the Mad says:

          Not completely sure about whether or not suspending mooks upside-down from ropes with ledge and suspended takedowns should count as maims — the blood to the head would eventually cause problems, but I don’t know how long that could take.

          However, when a mook is suspended from a rope, it’s possible to cut the rope with a Batarang, which almost certainly counts as a kill from that kind of height. You can also drop suspended mooks on top of other mooks for a double maim!

          1. Ledel says:

            I will be honest. I got a little excited when Josh was trying to pull the sniper off the tower with the grappling hook.

  10. Ledel says:

    Since we’re having a mature conversation about this game, can we talk about why every mook’s butt is filled with bats that fly out when they go unconscious? Did Bruce Wayne just invest enough money into Arkham that he got enough pull and convinced the doctors that this would be a good treatment method for the inmates, sanity?

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      The batbutt is spreading.

  11. Ledel says:

    Since this episode talks about the knife guys, I want to agree that the knife guys are way overpowered in this and in City. Yes, they don’t break your combo as bad in City, but they are just as immune to Batman punches as they are here. I can understand the not being able to counter them. You can’t catch a Knife the same way you would a baseball bat or lead pipe (though I wouldn’t recommend trying to catch any if you like the bones in your hands). Yet to believe that somehow holding a tiny knife makes you have arms of steel that completely block punches that go though all of your other buddies blocks is ridiculous.

    If they wanted that mechanic they should have had maybe some guys in blue jumpsuits who wrapped their arms in a bunch of leather straps. There should be plenty around seeing how many people this asylum houses.

    1. Isaac says:

      “Yes, they don't break your combo as bad in City, but they are just as immune to Batman punches as they are here.”

      Nope. The only types of enemies in Arkham City that are invulnerable to Batman’s regular, head-on atatcks are shield mooks, stun-stick mooks and armored mooks.

      1. Ledel says:

        You say stun prods I say really shiny knives. I really need to find the time to try to push through Asylum and City again before the end of this playthrough.

      2. BeamSplashX says:

        i actually liked it when a knife thug attacked me in city, since the knife counter takes the enemy out without any followup needed

    2. krellen says:

      Most martial artists actually have very strong bones in their hands – part of their training it building up that bone strength. That’s part of what breaking is all about. It’s possible a well-trained martial artist could catch a bat in mid-swing.

      It’s certainly not outside the realm of possibility enough to cause any suspension of disbelief when Batman does it, anyway.

  12. Dt3r says:

    I’m disappointed in the lack of “hug it out” comments during the takedowns. Batman has so much love to give.

  13. SlothfulCobra says:

    I really like the combat of this game, it’s the only time I’ve really cared for a combo system.

    That being said, if Josh started out not liking it, it’s not like playing more of what he doesn’t like will change his mind. There are games that can miraculously start to grow on people even if they start out hating them, but I don’t think this is one.

    1. BeamSplashX says:

      i honestly find city’s combat to have very few changes, which are crucial to elevating it, but i don’t think asylum’s is significantly worse

      i miss the slide and the beatdown the most

    2. McNutcase says:

      I dunno. I started out disliking it, but by the end of the game it was definitely feeling fun and easy. First fight, ugh… but then I see 20 Joker goons lined up, and my thought is “Oh, man, this is going to be so awesome!”

      Especially since that was endgame so I could line-launch along the corridor and kick all of them in the face as I did so. The Line Launcher is just such mook-trolling gold.

      I should probably mention that I totally binged on this game. Got it after the season started, and finished it yesterday. About 15 hours to 100% the story, Riddler stuff, and open world, and that was with significant amounts of backtracking, DIAS (whoever signed off on the Killer Croc bit wants a stern talking to) and waiting forever for mooks to wander under gargoyles.

      1. Aulayan says:

        Enjoy it while it lasts McNutcase. The time is coming when everything you hear is “Dad!” for a few years.

    3. Spammy says:

      The Arkham combat started off really rough for me, but I grew to love it once I got the basic “rules” down. Don’t button mash, keep moving, always counter. Once you have those locked in you can easily handle this game and get to enjoy that satisfying “I’m Batman beating up twenty goons without taking a scratch” feeling.

      For that reason I loved the front of Two-Face’s courthouse in City.

    4. MichaelGC says:

      Aye, I’d agree with the others: I started out tolerating the combat and playing for the story, but then played enough of it to start getting half-decent combos just by default – and that’s when it starts getting fun, I think, or did for me. Combos don’t just enable the finishing moves, but also speed everything up, which gives it all a completely different flavour & feel, with Batman pinging around the room acrobatically.

      Acrobatically. Geddit? BAT-ically. Jeez, tough crowd.

    5. Grudgeal says:

      I remember when this game came out and the freeflow combat system was new and somewhat innovative, and a lot of people praised it for it. That spoiler warning is ripping on it now, years later, only shows how City and all the other games that used it have since improved on it all over.

      Which is sort of a good thing overall.

  14. Christopher says:

    Before we rag to much on the aqueduct looking thing, Gotham IS based on New York, and those things are clearly based on the old New York subway system and sewage system.

    You can see parts of it in the Ghostbusters too, but I can’t remember if it was in the first or second movie, but there’s a clear shot of the modern subway system built ontop of the old one.

    1. Nidokoenig says:

      Ghostbusters 2 had the river of empathic ooze under the city that was being supercharged by New Yorkers being arseholes or some such.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Gotham IS based on New York

      Can anyone tell me why dc does this?It has fake cities like metropolis,and starling city,based on real cities.Meanwhile,marvel just uses the real city names,like new york,and london.

      1. Viktor says:

        Not wanting to be limited by reality. Gotham has a whole history that DC has made up with landmarks tied to important families, ridiculous mood-building architecture, and geography that changes to suit the supervillain plot of the week. It doesn’t have the impact of seeing actual New York landmarks like you get with Marvel, but it works better for many types of storytelling.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          But hasnt marvel done some crazy shit in their setting?I mean tony stark is a pretty rich guy and his family influenced a bunch of crap.Osborns as well.Plus,marvel incorporated actual norse mythology into its books.Is there really anything that dc did that marvel simply couldnt replicate in their setting(if they havent replicated already)?

          1. Ed says:

            Hard to say. I know Marvel uses real cities (really just New York) to give the feeling that the marvel universe is right outside your window. Their characters, conceptually, are built around inherent flaws, while DC’s heroes traditionally are more archetypical. (There are exceptions). Having Gotham exist in Batman’s universe gives DC writers more leeway to use the city in any way they want. And given parts of arkham city, Rocksteady does the same thing. Not that marvel hasn’t used New York in ridiculous ways before (That time it was an intergalactic prison for the Kree Empire, and that time everyone got spider-powers).

    3. mark says:

      Pretty sure that its based on Chicago, not new york. Metropolis is new york, starling city is Seattle.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        And bloodborne* one?Whats that one based on?And who is the hero based there?

        *Or bloodrayne,or whatever its called.

        1. Grudgeal says:

          You mean Blà¼dhaven, Nightwing’s city?

          New Jersey, apparently.

      2. I believe I read that Gotham is based on New Jersey (or part of it), depending on when a given story was written.

        However, the criminal element and a lot of the architecture seems rooted in the Roaring 20’s with gangsters in suits wielding tommyguns, which is more associated with Chicago than New York.

  15. Phantos says:

    Hey, come on guys.

    Goons need love too, you know.

  16. Neil D says:

    Did they just implement that foot-shoving mechanic so Batman could nudge his own boxes into the chasm in the Batcave, or was it ever used anywhere else in the game?

    Also, am I the only one that keeps seeing Batman’s silhouette in the pattern of Arkham’s doors? Is that some sort of sadistic therapy for the inmates he put there?

    1. Shamus says:

      “Also, am I the only one that keeps seeing Batman's silhouette in the pattern of Arkham's doors?”

      I’m really glad I’m not the only person that keeps seeing that.

      Also, the “kick stuff off a ledge” is only used right there, as far as I can tell.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Damn all these boxes!I told alfred not to cluter my caves with them!

      2. Lachlan the Mad says:

        The second Scarecrow segment has boxes that you need to pull with the Batclaw, but they aren’t at ground level so you can’t kick them.

  17. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If you find yourself playing the game, I suggest putting the game on easy and enjoying it as a breezy power fantasy.

    So why didnt Josh do that then?Why did he put it on normal?

    1. Corpital says:

      How else is he going to show us he isn’t that bad, man.

      To quote him: ‘I’m good at videogames, you guys.’

    2. Shamus says:

      That’s a good question. I’m pretty sure difficulty doesn’t change timing or foe density, just damage and health, which means the game looks the same either way. It’s just more forgiving.

      Sadly, I’m pretty sure you can’t change difficulty without starting over.

      1. Richard says:

        Huh? I think that’s a very nasty thing for a game developer to do – and totally unnecessary these days.

        So if you get stuck late in the game, you can’t drop the difficulty to get past it and back into the fun.

        You’ve either got to hammer against it until you either pass or end up ragequitting, which means that you forget some of the skill when you return later.

        1. Isaac says:

          Well to be fair, this game was made wayyyyy back in 2009. Giving the player the ability to change difficulties w/o starting a new game was a pretty unusual feature.

      2. Josh says:

        Now where would be the fun if I were constantly winning?

        1. Grudgeal says:

          I dunno, I thought your turn in the driver’s seat during CK2 was pretty fun…

        2. Trix2000 says:

          True, it wouldn’t be Spoiler Warning without our daily dose of Josh dying.

        3. Wolf says:

          I vote easy difficulty as well.
          Failure in Arkham Asylum is pretty boring to watch and you don’t care for the combat so you don’t try any crazy stunts anyway (maybe that is because all the cool looking stuff takes waiting for ambushes which would again be bad for the shows flow).

  18. Spammy says:

    For the record Josh, I understood your reference when you went “HEYERDAHL WAS RIGHT!”

  19. hborrgg says:

    So this isn’t really related to anything aside from the word “bat”, but I feel as though every time I get the opportunity I have to bring up the Bat Bomb.

  20. Daemian Lucifer says:

    By the way:
    To anyone who is like me and usually watches the credits only on the first episode of the week,Josh put a different set for today.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Someone mentioned this as a joke before,but I think it should be asked seriously:
    Josh why dont you like this combat mechanic,yet you like the one in dark souls?They both rely on timing,parrying and dodging.What am I missing here?

    1. Thomas says:

      I’m guessing at least part of this is that Arkham combat is all auto-assist and Souls combat is no-auto assist. In Arkham you’re punching a button, giving rough directions and then the computer decides who you punch and what happens.

      Arkham is more like a rhythm game, Souls is pure spatial awareness

      1. Nidokoenig says:

        I didn’t like the combat in City, only got up to rescuing Catwoman from Twoface before rage quitting, and the big problem for me was unresponsive controls, you’re locked into animations just long enough that you can’t rely on Batman to, for example, counter when you press the button in response to the prompt, like Wei in Sleeping Dogs would, but you’re also not locked in for long enough to go into Monster Hunter mode of only attacking when you’re 100% certain of the window, which may be how Dark Souls is from what I hear.

        There’s also the annoying way the tempo changes as you get a longer combo or get tapped by that one arsehole with a gun who isn’t accessible, it makes timing sloppy and contextual when I’m much more used to the system in, say, Bayonetta where timing is consistent enough to make adding extra effects to frame-perfect dodges and parries a reasonable idea. It also means imperfect play is punished by making you slower and less responsive just when you need to be at your best, which is just shitty design that encourages playing on a lower difficulty, but then you can’t switch on the fly.

        I may well be overly mad at the combat system because, having done just about everything short of beating Rodin in Bayonetta, I decided to start City on Hard. This may just be a case of Eastern and Western brawlers being built fundamentally differently and requiring too much unlearning, I dunno.

    2. Ledel says:

      I think part of the problem is that when you’re playing Batman, you’re playing an established badass. When you step into those shoes you’re supposed to be more powerful than the mooks by leaps and bounds. When you succeed, it feels right because Batman should always succeed. Yet, when you fail (especially to ridiculous mechanics like the knife guys), it makes it feel like Batman is actually weaker than those mooks. It makes it feel like Batman failed.

      When you’re playing Dark Souls you take on a blank slate of a character. You build him up and choose where all the stat points go. When you die in Dark Souls, it feels like it was your own failure. So, when you succeed, it feels like you got good enough to win, or learned the trick to beat an area. It’s all on you.

  22. Paul Spooner says:

    Shamus… do you make butt at your job? Would you like to make… Oh. Oh I see. Carry on then.

  23. Paul Spooner says:

    “Here are the last notes she filed… I can’t make sense of it.”
    Ever heard of something called “context”? That’s why people usually don’t start reading at the end of complex technical documents.

  24. 3:16: “Look in the phone book, find some movers…”

    Sure thing, right after I rewind my VHS tapes and return them to Blockbuster. :)

    1. krellen says:

      While White Pages are a relic of the past, Yellow Pages are still very much a thing. And so are professional movers.

      1. Taellosse says:

        Yeah, but most people I know use, not a physical book with printed pages. Sure, the phone company still GIVES everyone a phone book, but even my parents (for reference, they’re in their early 60s) usually look up numbers online these days.

  25. I also have to say that the theme music for this season will never be associated with anything in my brain apart from “Reginald Cuftbert leaving the Silver Rush, over-encumbered, heading out to sell some stuff to the Gun Runners.”

  26. bigben1985 says:

    Oh man that game. So I had fun playing it… until yesterday. Here I was, completed the Riddler stuff (one of the better parts of the game imho), beating up the 16 mooks right before the final part of the game, feeling pretty powerful that I could pull it off… and then I restarted the fight against the two Titaned-up mooks and half dozen regulars about 10 times, gave up and I’m pretty sure I won’t pick it up again. I was on normal difficulty, for the record and I’m looking forward to Josh dealing with that.

  27. Tsi says:

    Also, the fact everything in the Batcave works perfectly although it was a forgotten humid cave filled with bats that shit around all day long. It’s been years since he set foot in there as the Oracle didn’t even know about it but nothing is rusty and every electronics and machinery works perfectly.

    Almost like we see the world through Batman’s eyes and mind or there is someone that comes every other day to clean his place.

    I like to believe that Batman is a patient and has his own room in the Asylum and people let him behave like a hero for his own therapy. Have any of you seen Shutter Island ? : )

  28. NotSteve says:

    Does the Riddler’s voice in the background sound like Rutskarn to anyone else?

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