GW: The Pessimist

A Guest Writer Article from Dexter17 which is not supposed to be taken seriously. This is a tongue-in-cheek look at great games viewed from the eyes of the world’s biggest pessimist…

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Talking from experience, I originally thought that Batman: Arkham Asylum wasn’t going to be any good. I thought that it would do its job by providing the fanboys with something to savour, and then crawl into the bargain bucket to die. But, after watching a couple of the trailers and getting sucked onto the hype train, I started to wonder whether Batman could lead the way for a new type of superhero game. So, when the game released, I was one of the first to pick it up at my local GAME store. The guy at the counter promised me that it would be an “immersive journey” and would “keep me occupied for hours”. By this point my excitement had literally boiled over, and I couldn’t wait to jump into the shoes of my favourite caped crusader.

But, after my first run-in with the Joker, I finally came to terms with the reality that Batman was just another worthless Superhero game that focused more on the cut-scenes than the actual gameplay. There was a lot to like, but I am the pessimist, after all.

I have always thought that when a game relies heavily on its puzzles to impress, the actual game needs to display a fair amount of logic to go along with it. If you hadn’t guessed already, logic is practically devoid in Batman.  When the Joker gets taken into Intensive treatment with only a guard and a doctor accompanying him, you know something is just not right.

“Oh, we have Gotham’s biggest criminal here, let’s just handcuff him and just hope that he doesn’t try to kill us”.

Yes, I can accept that there is a credit crunch on and most of the staff were joining the postal people for a cuppa, but surely they could have found someone else to go along with them? Incidents that defy logic pop up throughout Batman: Arkham Asylum and can really ruin the illusion.

Another thing that I absolutely must criticise is the Asylum’s inmates. For starters, why do they all look like they have just jumped off the Goon factory production line? From their crazy hairstyles to their shockingly low amount of sense, these guys never fail to scrutinise the poor enemy engine.

“Oh my god, I’m being stalked by a weird man in tights. Let me just shout about how scared I am to give away my exact position”

Whoever programmed these guys were either having a laugh, or on something. I swear that it’s the latter.

After all of this, there is still the fact that Batman’s “silent” kills aren’t actually silent. How the guy standing a metre in front fails to notice his comrade behind getting jumped on and throttled is completely beyond me.

“Ha! My plan is working. He has knocked out the guy behind me, and then when he tries that on me I will…”

Too late. I told you that they all had the sense of a goldfish.

Throughout Batman’s flaw-filled journey, he obviously has some good old gadgets, for which he can use to hack security boxes, blow up walls, or try out a bit of zip-lining. But the daftest of them all has got to be the Batarang. How is it possible for a sharpened steel boomerang to knock someone down? Should it not slice right through them? It should at least leave quite a large gash. But, no. Once more, Batman defies the laws of logic, and decides to do it its own way.

So, is there anything left to criticise? Ah, I knew there was something. What the hell is with the gargoyles? They seem to be in every single room, and it doesn’t take Kevin McCloud to see that they are a very poor design choice. Surely Rocksteady could have thought up something slightly more inventive than the traditional gargoyle?  Batman does try hard to impress, but you do get the impression that more time has gone into making the cut-scenes work rather than the general gameplay. And after all of this I have even forgotten to mention the button-mashing combat system. Oh well, I’m off to GAME now anyway to trade in Batman and give that guy at the counter a very good talking to…

The Pessimist is a tongue-in-cheek article about what is supposedly a really good game. The issues raised in this article do not necessarily represent those of Dexter17’s.

Talking from experience, I originally thought that Batman: Arkham Asylum wasn’t going to be any good. I thought that it would do its job by providing the fanboys with something to savour, and then crawl into the bargain bucket to die. But, after watching a couple of the trailers and getting sucked onto the hype train, I started to wonder whether Batman could lead the way for a new type of superhero game. So, when the game released, I was one of the first to pick it up at my local GAME store. The guy at the counter promised me that it would be an “immersive journey” and would “keep me occupied for hours”. By this point my excitement had literally boiled over, and I couldn’t wait to jump into the shoes of my favourite caped crusader. But, after my first run-in with the Joker, I finally came to terms with the reality that Batman was just another worthless Superhero game that focused more on the cut-scenes than the actual gameplay. There was a lot to like, but I am the pessimist, after all.

I have always thought that when a game relies heavily on its puzzles to impress, the actual game needs to display a fair amount of logic to go along with it. If you hadn’t guessed already, logic is practically devoid in Batman. When the Joker gets taken into Intensive treatment with only a guard and a doctor accompanying him, you know something is just not right.

“Oh, we have Gothams biggest criminal here, let’s just handcuff him and just hope that he doesn’t try to kill us”.

Yes, I can accept that there is a credit crunch on and most of the staff were joining the postal people for a cuppa, but surely they could have found someone else to go along with them? Incidents that defy logic pop up throughout Batman: Arkham Asylum and can really ruin the illusion.

Another thing that I absolutely must criticise is the Asylum’s inmates. For starters, why do they all look like they have just jumped off the Goon factory production line? From their crazy hairstyles to their shockingly low amount of sense, these guys never fail to scrutinise the poor enemy engine.

“Oh my god, I’m being stalked by a weird man in tights. Let me just shout about how scared I am to give away my exact position”

Whoever programmed these guys were either having a laugh, or on something. I swear that it’s the latter.

After all of this, there is still the fact that Batman’s “silent” kills aren’t actually silent. How the guy standing a metre in front fails to notice his comrade behind getting jumped on and throttled is completely beyond me.

“Ha! My plan is working. He has knocked out the guy behind me, and then when he tries that on me I will…”

Too late. I told you that they all had the sense of a goldfish.

Throughout Batman’s flaw-filled journey, he obviously has some good old gadgets, for which he can use to hack security boxes, blow up walls, or try out a bit of zip-lining. But the daftest of them all has got to be the Batarang. How is it possible for a sharpened steel boomerang to knock someone down? Should it not slice right through them? It should at least leave quite a large gash. But, no. Once more, Batman defies the laws of logic, and decides to do it its own way.

So, is there anything left to criticise? Ah, I knew there was something. What the hell is with the gargoyles? They seem to be in every single room, and it doesn’t take Kevin McCloud to see that they are a very poor design choice. Surely Rocksteady could have thought up something slightly more inventive than the traditional gargoyle?

Batman does try hard to impress, but you do get the impression that more time has gone into making the cut-scenes work rather than the general gameplay. And after all of this I have even forgotten to mention the button-mashing combat system. Oh well, I’m off to GAME now anyway to trade in Batman and give that guy at the counter a very good talking to…

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