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Batman Arkham City back to reviews
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Great game, but digs a bit deep into the source
Batman Arkham Asylum was a great game, and Arkham City is a great follow up. The bar has been raised in every conceivable way since the first game and it is glorious.

There is, however, one small problem.

Asylum had you fighting the Joker, one of the most iconic super villains of all time. There were some appearances from other characters, like Scarecrow, Bane and Poison Ivy, but they were (relatively) minor.

Come Arkham City, they're breaking out the entire rouge's gallery, and for someone who has only seen the Christian Bale films and some Batman Beyond several years ago, I was left confused. In fact, most of the info on my enemies came from the profiles in Arkham Asylum. Profiles that in Arkham City felt a lot shorter.

In itself, this is not a bad thing. If there are so many characters, why not use them? But the game seems to expect me to already know them. Some information on their backgrounds and motivations would be great, either in cut scenes or in the character profiles. But what's there is precious little. Ra's Al Ghul in particular confused me, as he was neither immortal or had a daughter in Batman Begins. And the only reason Clayface didn't turn into an Asspull for me was because I remembered his character profile from Asylum.

All in all, fan service is great, but I just wish they did more for us suffering from Continuity Lockout.
This is a worthless review. Batman is a comic book character, so only knowing the character through a movie adaption and expecting to know everything about his mythos is idiotic. You're essentially blaming the game for not keeping up with your lack of knowledge on everything Batman.
comment #10990 VeryMelon 23rd Oct 11
^Which is a perfectly valid blame, considering the game could have been more detailed with the villains in its database.
comment #10991 eveil 23rd Oct 11
Sorry, but using Begins as your knowledge base is just plain silly. It's widely known that Batman Begins is just a more modern retelling of the Batman mythos. You cannot judge any separate Batman works on the new movie plots. As a reviewer you really need to be more versed in pop culture and know facts before you start offering your opinion. How do you know that Ra's wasn't immortal and didn't have a daughter in the movies? This is actually going to be part of the Dark Knight Rises plot line. Do yourself and the rest of the world a favor and remove this rubbish.
comment #10992 challenger57 23rd Oct 11
There were several characters from Arkham Asylum who were more obscure; chief-of-them was Zsasz, who few comic fans even know of.

However, I agree that extensive databases are always a good thing. The game was more of a love-letter to Batman comics than Arkham Asylum was, and while I actually prefer it that way (Since I love Batman's extensive rogues gallery), I know it would probably be confusing for a newcomer.
comment #10993 Scardoll 23rd Oct 11
And once again, we have a case of fans attempting to alienate others from enjoying the same things as themselves.
comment #10994 eveil 23rd Oct 11
The game wasn't meant to cater to HIS knowledge of Batman (which was very little apparently).Do people really think they can go into this game with only knowledge of the movies and expect developers to cater to them?

Opinions I know, but there comes a point where opinions become nothing more than a pompous/irrational argument. This is one of them.
comment #10995 VeryMelon 23rd Oct 11
And fanboys wonder why developers ignore their marketing opinions.

You want to appeal to people beyond hardcore Batman fans? Then make the game more understandable for them. It's a minor issue, but it's easily fixable.
comment #10997 eveil 23rd Oct 11
I don't quite understand, in Asylum, Batman is shown to know the Oracle and every important inmate including the Riddler, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy and Harley Quin, none of who appeared in the latest 2 movies. Even more they never said this is a continuation of the movies to begin with (because they're not).
comment #10998 marcellX 23rd Oct 11
You have a fair point. If I wasn't already a huge Batman geek I'd be lost in this flow of obscure and old-time villains, but I think that's a good thing. If I didn't know about Mad Hatter or Hugo Strange or Ra's al Ghul before playing this game, then this game would make me want to learn all I could about them. I'd be ordering season DV Ds of the animated series and classic comics just to see these fascinating villains in their element.
comment #11000 Turrican 23rd Oct 11
I'm not saying that I think this is a continuation of the recent films. What I am trying to say is that I'm suffering from continuity lockout. Remember, both of these games are very mainstream, if only because they're damn good games, and as a result, non fans will play them too. I'm not saying that the developers should limit themselves to a handful of characters, but not having to look up someone on Wikipedia would be nice.

And yes, these games makes me want to buy a few DV Ds.
comment #11003 Sidewinder 24th Oct 11
I'm not a huge Batman nerd by any stretch; I watched Bt AS as a kid and the movies, but that and the games is it. Still, I had no trouble following any of it, despite Bt AS being 17 years in the past. Hell, just looking at the achievements, I knew to expect a certain ex-actor. Essentially, playing the first game and reading up on the bios was enough to keep me in the loop for the second. I think some of the Riddler's clues would have been (were?) more difficult without knowledge of the comics (prior to the first game, I'd never heard of most of Batman's gallery). Of course, having plenty of free time, I read over the Batman universe on TV Tropes, which was responsible for me getting at least one clue in City (Knowing the Graysons died, leaving Dick an orphan).

I think the reviewer has a point that this game is very much Mythology Porn. They mixed and matched from all the comics, cartoons, and movies to give us a massive cast of heroes, anti-heroes, villains, and anti-villains. If you didn't know much about Batman going into Asylum (apart from "This game is so awesome you should buy it now you'll love it!" glurge) and didn't bother to read the extra info provided, and then went on to this game, you'd probably be fairly lost. All of a sudden you're wearing a rabbit mask and fighting other guys in rabbit masks on a watch face? WTF?

Let's see who shows up in the video game version of Loads And Loads Of Characters (SPOILERS abound):

Batman, One of the Robins (What? There's more than one? A gasp of surprise!), Catwoman, Alfred, Oracle, Jack Ryder, Vicki Vale, Commissioner Gordon, Quincy Sharpe (new to the games, so no lockout), The Riddler, Hush, Clayface, The Penguin, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, The Mad Hatter, Ra's Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul, Hugo Strange, Deadshot, Azrael, Solomon Grundy, Mr Freeze, Two Face, Bane, and Zsasz

Some of those appeared in the first game, and all but a few in the extra, in-game content, but I'm guessing a lot of people don't play an action game so they can pause every few minutes and read up on comic book trivia not germane to the game itself. Look at it, 17 of the top 25 Batman villains have roles in this game (18 if you count Black Mask), along with a number of other significant characters. Of those, only half are known through the films, often in a different form to the comics (Penguin, Ra's).
comment #11018 surgoshan 24th Oct 11 (edited by: surgoshan)
I think I definitely agree that there is a lot to this game that is designed for more longtime Batman fans - Some of the riddles that come up, for instance, are so obscure that you'd only get them from a - really paying attention to the small character profiles, or really being a Batman buff. There are riddles that deal with Bane's birthplace and the original circus act that Robin came from, and these are all designed to catch the attention of longtime Batman fans. At the same time, this game's perspective on continuity or which kind of canon it fits is utterly confusing for anyone coming in who might not be that familiar with Batman in some forms - There's nods predominantly to the comics, and Mister Freeze is, of course, still rattling out those brilliant chestnuts Dini came up with nearly twenty years ago, now - And Hamill and Conroy are also the preferred choice of many a fan when it comes to their favourite Joker and Batman. The game then confuses things more by directly tying things like Solomon Grundy to Gotham, as well as the new backstory given to Ra's Al Ghul here - things that don't have any basis in any medium, since Grundy was an old-school Green Lantern foe, and Ra's was never that closely tied to Gotham. The All-New character interpretations - stuff like the Penguin as an East-End style gangster, for instance? And Azrael as a gestalt of the two versions from the books? That just confuses things further. So even as a longtime Batman fan, I was a little bit uncertain about where/when/how this fits into some of the more familiar continuities for Batman.

And in truth? I don't think it does fit in anywhere. It's clearly designed to stand alone, but when they do deliberately bring in elements of the established continuities or stuff that's going to be familiar from other media, it will confuse matters. The portrayal of Ra's al Ghul in particular and his context with Batman and Batman's crew was particularly weird, for me - Batman has to explain to Oracle what 'Lazarus' is and what it does, yet there's evidence of a whole bunch of previous encounters. So it's a little odd, but I think you just have to roll with it and just bear in mind it's standalone nature.
comment #11099 MrStatham1986 28th Oct 11
I guess this game is a good example of how the belief that Viewers Are Morons isn't always a bad thing.
comment #15966 Jobbeybob 30th Aug 12
Question: When we first played the Grand Theft Auto games we didn't know who Tommy and Ken, or CJ and Sweet, or Nico and Roman are, does that make them bad games because a character that has decades of backstory is not front and center?
comment #16026 tsstevens 6th Sep 12
Just thought I'd add, does trashing a review really make people feel better? You honestly cannot sleep at night until you tear someone apart for their opinions?
comment #16028 tsstevens 6th Sep 12
Does trashing people's comments on a review make people feel better? You honestly cannot sleep at night until you tear someone apart for their opinions?
comment #16090 Jobbeybob 11th Sep 12
Does Trashing people's trashing make people feel better? Actually...yes, yes it does.
comment #16098 fenrisulfur 12th Sep 12
"Yo dawg, I herd you like trashing..."
comment #16099 Tuckerscreator 12th Sep 12
This reads more of blaming the game for not giving you every little detail of the characters. If you weren't a fan of the series/mythos then of course you're going to have trouble following everything. That's just common sense. I've never really read the comics, just the cartoon and you know what, I didn't have that much trouble following things nor did I blame the game. If you're on a computer to make the review, then you can look up the characters. Problem solved.

I get so sick and tired of people complaining about games not catering more to casual fans when it makes more since that certain extensive mythoses like Batman should have moments and elements that reward/give shout out to hardcore fans.
comment #16103 qtjinla15 12th Sep 12
You're that petty and shallow that you're not content to simply dislike something, you have to make sure everyone else does as well?
comment #16185 tsstevens 17th Sep 12
Tsstevens, there's a reason why the comment section exists. It's so that if you dislike whatever the comment section is connected to, you can tell others exactly how much you dislike it.
comment #16249 Jobbeybob 24th Sep 12
Wasn't their backstory and their character explained in the character profiles you got in Arkham Asylum anyway?
comment #16254 kay4today 25th Sep 12
The only real issue I had personally was that Talia acts as kind of a surprise character, which would be fine if she wasn't so important to the plot. She didn't have a bio in the previous game. Most everyone else appears as at least a character bio. It is disappointing that the characters have to tell the player Talia is "the only one he has ever loved," rather than show it. Part of this game feels a bit rushed (see clayface), so it is possible there was going to be more, but it was cut.
comment #16259 fenrisulfur 25th Sep 12
I think there are some valid points in this criticism. Most people are gonna know the Joker, Penguin etc. through cultural osmosis, but some parts of the game seem pretty out there by comparison to others (everything about Ras Al Ghul is pretty heavy on the fantasy elements, and if you're not intimately familiar with the character, it totally comes out of left field). This is part of what I didn't like about the game- Asylum stretched reality pretty far, but it still felt plausible enough for a Batman game. City just got silly at times.
comment #21755 Reviewgamesh 28th Oct 13
People have had plenty of opportunity to get familiar with these characters and wikipedia is just a short hop away for the ones you don't know.

Penguin appears in a movie and in TAS and the Adam West series. Poison Ivy appears in a movie (the fourth) and TAS. Bane appears in two movies and TAS. The Riddler appears in a movie (the third), the Adam West series (and the movie based on that series) and TAS. Mad Hatter is admittedly a bit obscure only appearing in TAS but if you're at all familiar with the original Mad Hatter from Alice and Wonderland, it shouldn't be that confusing. Heck, Bane has had two movie appearances and TAS. Ra's Al Ghul as he is represented here is basically like the TAS version.

That leaves Zzazs who is somewhat obscure being too dark and edgy to include in the movies (outside of a brief cameo in Batman Begins) or the cartoons. But he goes on and on about his backstory in those phone calls and what more do you really need to know about him? He's a knife-crazy serial killer who marks his skin for each kill. Pretty straight forward and its all there in the game. Likewise, Solomon Grundy as used is straight forward.

So that leaves Hugo Strange who is a bit more obscure. But you discover what you need to know about him over the course of the plot since he is a central villain.

Its a lot of characters to
comment #22088 gibberingtroper 18th Nov 13
I had never seen or read anything to do with Batman before playing Arkham Asylum and City. The only characters I knew about aside from Batman were Joker, Alfred, and Robin (and no, I didn't know that there was more than one). I can proudly announce that I was the lowest common denominator in the game's audience. I had no problems with understanding any of the profiles and not knowing about them beforehand. In fact, I think it helped, because I had no preconceptions about the characters. Naturally I can't speak for everyone, but as I was as Batman-stupid as it was possible to be and I was fine with it all. I think one of the game designers did specifically said that they wanted the game to be as accessible for people who knew nothing about Batman as much as it was for old-time fans.
comment #22635 Smoko 30th Dec 13
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