The sequel to what I think is the best game based on a comic book character is finally out. Arkham Asylum was a perfect take on the caped crusader, and its sequel brings back the core gameplay mechanics that we all loved in the first game, except now the action takes place in a more stunning sandbox-type environment. While it’s awesome just playing the way you’d expect to play Batman (taking on 15 guys at once, hiding in the shadows), it gets even better when you have a whole city at your disposal. Playing as a superhero has this never felt this good. Is it really as great of a game as people are saying it is? Definitely.
Everybody was shocked at how good Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum was, including me. Licensed games usually don't get that kind of praise, especially from a studio just starting up in the industry. People were not expecting much from it. Its success proved that if executed properly, any licensed game has the potential to come out great. After the first game's accomplishments, a sequel was definitely in order, so in 2010, they announced Batman: Arkham City. The title alone shows that Rocksteady was heading in the right direction. Expectations were through the roof now to deliver a sequel that did justice to the new legacy established by the first game. From what I experienced while playing this game, the developers did even more than we could have expected.
Batman: Arkham City's setting is a portion of Gotham that houses the most notorious criminals and villains in Gotham City. Just think Arkham Asylum, but now a whole city. Why the citizens of Gotham allowed such a place to exist is beyond me. The main story overall was very strong, much better than the first. I won't spoil the story but I can honestly say that it’s worth your time to invest in it. Each time you progress in the main story, you are treated with a variety of characters and villains from Batman lore. Arkham City has a story than can just suck you in. I also wanted to point this out before anything else - The voice acting in this game is one of the best in the industry. It’s one of the big reasons to why this game works so well. You have Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy for The Joker and Batman, respectively. If you’re a Batman fan, you'll know how awesome that is – they’re the perfect pair to play the famous hero and villain. This game will definitely please any fan out there. Its THE Batman game we've always wanted, even the dissonant score of this game creates the perfect setting for the Batman universe.
Arkham City is run by Hugo Strange, the main antagonist this time around. Somewhat similar to the first game, Batman once again faces off with infamous villains like Bane, the Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman, and of course the Joker, who survived the events in Arkham Asylum. The real meat of the plot revolves around Hugo Strange's plans within Arkham City. Batman tries to take down the city as Bruce Wayne using his fame and power to protest against it, but he gets nabbed and finds himself within Arkham City. He finds out about a mysterious happening called Protocol 10. Alfred sends his gear in and the dark knight once again goes out to investigate as the greatest detective in the world.
The games have a handful of side quests, and are mostly quite lengthy. It's not the typical lame side quests that ask you to just drop something off or beat 15 bandits or whatnot. They all tend to have their own stories and are a perfect escape if you feel like you need a break from the main story. The game can be easier described as a sandbox game than what a linear action game. There's a lot to do in Arkham City and you can easily see yourself spending 20+ hours. Not only is that double the game time of Arkham Asylum, it's not even including the New Game+ mode after finishing the game, plus challenge maps that test your skill in combat and stealth. The game surprisingly has a lot of content which is always a plus.
Gameplay is true to the hero
Batman is all about being able to take on multiple enemies, being a great detective, and disappearing into the shadows. This game brings forth all the aspects of why Batman is one hero you don't want to mess with.
The “Freeflow combat” system of the first game returns in an improved “2.0” version, giving players the same awesome combat from the first game with a few new tricks. One button is still attack and the other is counter-attack, and other button combinations trigger one of Batman’s gadgets or special takedowns to use during combat. It's actually pretty simple and easy to learn, but the result on the screen looks damn impressive. From simple button-pressing you still feel as if you’re really playing the character. Fifteen guys surround you? No sweat. The moves Batman performs just make you feel like a badass, especially when you take out ten guys without one of them hitting you once. It's an awesome feeling. The combat is so good that I literally swooped into random thugs just to fight them. It's that much fun and cool to watch.
But Batman isn't invincible. Guns are still a threat, and going head on with armed men is definitely a bad idea, so you get to hide in the shadows and pick them off silently, one by one, just like Batman would do it. This part of the gameplay is nothing new but what I like about it is that it still avoids a common problem in action games, which is repetitive gameplay. After beating up a couple of thugs, you'll be forced to play in a completely opposite manner and take enemies down with stealth. Not only that, but as you progress, different kinds of thugs start using gear like riot shields, knives and other gadgets that force you to change your game plan, which further prevents it from being repetitive and keeps the unique gameplay fresh.
Every time you complete an objective or beat a group of thugs, you earn experience points, which you can use to unlock gadget moves, hand to hand skills, and increase Batman's resistance to bullet damage and combat damage. There are a handful of choices towards improving Batman, and after my first play-through, I still had a few skills to unlock. Each time Batman earns a new gadget, more upgrades will be available. As you move forward, the number of options given to you during combat increases, adding even more variety during Freeflow combat. And with each new gadget earned, you'll be able to gain access to certain Riddler trophies and areas that were inaccessible in your first visit.
With the many villains you face or meet in Arkham city, some will become a boss fight. There’s not a lot in this game but when you do face one, it’s epic. These encounters are placed in key moments of the plot and are not so difficult as long as you pick up the obvious patterns and weaknesses quickly. I won’t mention which bosses since it will come out as a spoiler.
If you buy a new copy of the game, you get a voucher to play a few missions as Catwoman. Content for her is pretty short and I’d estimate about 5% of the game’s material. What's cool about it though is that Catwoman has a completely different set of moves and gadgets in her disposal. Even the way she travels around Arkham City stays true to the character.
If I have one thing to complain about with regards to gameplay, it’s the detective mode. It's where you go into an X-ray view to see key parts in the environment that Batman can use, interact, or to simply find clues to progress in the game. Detective mode is so useful that I have it on most of the time, which leaves me looking at an environment that’s all blue. The game looks gorgeous, but all the work that was put into the graphics is wasted if you can’t even appreciate them for a significant portion of your playtime.
Since I mentioned graphics, I might as well keep going on that subject. When you’re inside buildings and looking at close-up shots of characters, the game looks great. But what’s absolutely stunning is taking in the view of the whole city from the tops of buildings in true Batman style. Gliding around Arkham City is just a treat for the eyes. Batman’s signature dark and eerie atmosphere is well implemented into the city. Whoever pitched the idea of going from a mental institution to a Gotham-like city is a genius.
Rocksteady clearly outdid themselves on this one. Not only is this the best superhero game out there, it’s also the best licensed game. I’ll also go so far as to saying that this game brings to life the Batman world better than any TV show or movie before it. It's an amazing game from head to toe and it’s surpassed its predecessor by a long shot. This is a game that anybody will enjoy, and when the credits start rolling, you’ll just be wishing for more. If you want to experience the best that 2011 has to offer in gaming, Arkham City clearly belongs on your list of must-play titles.
- Freeflow combat 2.0 is amazing
- Very high production value and art direction
- A wide variety of gadgets and options to take down enemies
- Perfect take on the Batman universe
- Constant need of using Detective Mode
Batman: Arkham City has only been out a week and Warner Bros. is already bringing out DLC's for us to consider. 'Nightwing's Bundle Pack' will be out on November 1 for PSN and Xbox 360.
Nightwing, also known as Dick Grayson, first started out as the first Robin(correct me if I'm wrong) and was trained personally by Batman. Just like Catwoman, this playable character will have his own set of moves and gadgets. He will be playable in all unlocked challenge maps and the bundle will include two more maps(Wayne Manor and Main Hall). The bundle will also include one character skin for the DLC character, the animated series Nightwing.
'Nightwing Bundle Pack' will cost $5.99 or 560 Microsoft Points.
October is finally here. Actually, its been here for a while now, but it really hit me when I picked up Dark Souls on October 4 and went MIA for a week because of it. Why is October and November so important? well because these are the months that have a huge number of triple A titles coming to us gamers. In production for a long time, but announced a year ago, these are the games to look out for, or you should consider to buy if you have those extra bucks lying around your house.
August and September was pretty big too with titles such as Deus Ex, Gears of War 3, Resistance 3, Dead Island, and a couple more hitting the shelves, but I think this month and the next beats that completely.
RAGE - Playstation 3, PC, Xbox 360
Release Date: October 4, 2011 (Out now)
If you want a new game that isn't a sequel or has a number after its title, here ya go. It's a First Person Shooter(FPS) title worth giving a shot. If you like the classic FPS games such as Doom, Quake, and the really old Wolfenstein 3D, this is going to be a winner for you. Well, because the creators of those series is the makers of Rage. It's been awhile since Id Software has come out and created an entirely new title and they worked on it for years. First announcement? in Quakecon 2007 as a tech demo for id Softwares new game engine id Tech 5.
Now, compared to the tech video four years ago, the game had huge changes which looked and feels better each time they showed it up until release. id Tech 5 is a pretty amazing game engine and is fairly new. Rage is the first game to be released using this tech and if your thinking the graphics looks amazing, its thanks to this new engine.
The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world with mutants and thugs that roam the wasteland. The game is similar to Fallout and Borderlands and people have the confusion of what the game is thanks to this. It's similar to Fallout 3 and Borderlands because of the setting and its RPG elements, but it's not like those games. It's still an FPS at heart but borrowed some RPG elements to keep things interesting. There are no leveling and skills, but there is a currency system, inventory, and the ability to create and upgrade your weapons. Those are the RPG elements of Rage. The game looks like an open world but again its an FPS at heart, so it's not 'open' compared to Fallout 3 or Borderlands
Not everything went smooth during launch though. Because of it being a new game engine, the PC version witness a huge amount of issues like crashes, graphic glitches that frustrated a lot of gamers. Graphic card companies and id Software had to release an update to the cards drivers and patch up the game. Console versions had crashes and issues but not as severe as the PC version since they had to update their drivers too.
Game's already out around the world. I'd suggest PC gamers to get this game, but I think you should check if the coast is clear before grabbing a copy for yourself.
Should we consider it? - When we hear FPS, they're talking about Halo, Call of Duty, or Battlefield. FPS is really about the multiplayer aspect nowadays. I honestly miss FPS focused solely on the first player campaign. A lot will have the first impression of passing this game since it doesn't have a competitive multiplayer, but it does have multiplayer, just not the one you're expecting. They have car combat similar to Twisted Metal which I bet will be hard to swallow. The only FPS multiplayer they have is the co-op mode which is you and a friend survive waves of enemies. The shooting mechanic is the best in the genre and fans of the post-apocalyptic setting will appreciate how amazing the world of Rage looks. Rage is one of the best looking games out now. Don't get Rage because it reminded you of Fallout or Borderlands, buy it because you want an FPS focused on the single player campaign. In the end you never know, you might come out as a fan all of a sudden.
Dark Souls - Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: October 4(Out now)
This game is for gamers that WANT a challenge, and also to all those RPG junkies looking for a game that could grab 100 hours of your life. It's marketed as the hardest game you'll ever encounter in this generation, and It's true. Dark Souls' is an indirect sequel to From Software's Demon Souls. If you've played the first game, you have a big idea on what this game is all about. I've been playing it since last week and their not kidding with how hard this game wants you dead. You might think difficulty is a complete turn off, but for this game its the complete opposite. I've died 250+ times in my first play through, with 60+ hours spent, and while I was literally frustrated all throughout, I never had this much fun in an RPG in a long time, and I'm still going at it.
It has so many secrets, interesting bosses, and it's now an open world game. It's controls feel right and the customization of your character is deep. This game will not guide you to success, you'll have to figure it out on your own. The game literally is out to kill you, and the only help it gives you is pretty much those bonfires we're you can rest and do all your leveling. Working on my full review of the game so I won't say much about it. Instead, have a look at its latest trailer for the game.
Should we consider it? - It's really for those hardcore games. It might be too much for the casual since I don't think they want to spend their free time frustrated all night, unless they can take it. It's all about the challenge it brings at the same time it's pvp and co-op aspect is amazing. If you want a good story in your RPG that spends that much in-game time, look elsewhere. The story is there for the sake of just having one. but I'll say this - It may not have a story to 'wow' gamers, but its overall one of the best action RPG's you'll find in shelves today.
Batman: Arkham City - Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: October 18(NA), October 19(Aus), October 21(EU), PC version will be out a month after the console release.
Played the first game? great, you know what this sequel will bring then. If you don't, I suggest you pick up the first game and then get this game because this series will definitely be the best title based on a comic book character. Rocksteady just gets how Batman operates in the shadows, how he fights, and why he's just a badass character. The concept of this Batman game during the first game was just perfect, now their going all out with Batman: Arkham City by having a whole city as your playground instead of just an Asylum.
Voice acting is going to be amazing with Kevin Conroy(Batman) and Mark Hamill(Joker) on board. Fans of Batman and its animated shows know how big of a deal this is. The story is going to be just as dark as the first game, and the famous free flow combat system is back showing Batman take down 8 thugs all by himself with ease. It's engineered to being a stealth game and all the gadgets known in the first game will be present with of course new ones for Arkham City. You will also doing some detective work by finding special clues and information to find out specific tasks. They literally make you play as The Batman and show why he's considered "The World's Greatest Detective".
Should we consider it? - I believe anybody will have a blast playing as the Caped Crusader. Batman fans and fans of the first game are definitely looking out for this title. It's said to be quite a lengthy game and there will be challenge maps to test your skills in hand to hand combat. If you're not a fan of Batman, this game might just make you one.
New trailer to celebrate its release is already out for everybody to see.
Battlefield 3 - Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: October 25
Oh I can't wait. Pre-order is all set and I'm just waiting for October 25 to hit. Battlefield 3 needs no introduction. As much as games like this make their single player campaign interesting, this game is all about its multiplayer. Players will be able to assume any role in the battlefield. Be a medic, a pilot of a jet, a gunner in a tank, it's up to you and your squad on how you want to help your team earn that win. DICE is working on Battlefield 3 and it's now famous game engine with destructible enviroment fits absolutely well with Battlefield 3.
Played the open beta on my Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 and they made a grave mistake in releasing an old version of the game, not to mention there's no vehicles to try out. Gamers who tried the open beta is forced to compare Battlefield 3 with old Call of Duty games because it was all infantry battles. Battlefield is all about the whole package: Vehicle combat, air combat, infantry combat, all mixed up into one game. The open beta made people forget that and it's bugs and broken issues is unforgiving for a game to be released in a month.
Should we consider it? - If you want a multiplayer game that you can hope in with some friends, do a couple of games, have fun and call it a night then do it again the next day, this is perfect. This game has the full package: single player campaign, of course multiplayer, and a co-op mode campaign with a friend. FPS fans are going to have a kick out of this game and this game will be around for months to come until the next Battlefield comes around. It won't be a game you'll shelve after a month. With its many roles you can master and the number of unlocks to earn in this game, it will be in your console/pc for months. Multiplayer is said to have 9 maps on launch.
Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception - Playstation 3
Release date: November 1, 2011
Nathan Drake is back and is looking better than ever. I consider The Uncharted series a good reason to get a Playstation 3. It's not anymore about Gran Turismo, God of War, or even Final Fantasy. Uncharted is one of the best games to come out for the Playstation 3. Who would have thought a Tomb Raider-ish game with amazing story telling could be this successful. Action sequences from Uncharted feels like it comes straight out of a movie and the characters are instantly likable right from the start.
This is the third title in the series. All your famous characters are back and everybody(including me) is wondering if this third game can top Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Naughty Dog set the bar pretty damn high. If they managed to make Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception an even better game than the second, that will be an amazing feat. If you haven't played the first and second game, its fine. It's a sequel but has a completely different story in each game. Think of it as another episode of Uncharted. If you play Uncharted 3 and like it, you'll definitely get the other two games to get more Uncharted.
Should we consider it? - Definitely. If it will be at the same caliber as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves - Your going to love it, and even the people watch you play will love it. It's going to be like watching an action movie. Also a complete package; Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception will have Single Player, multiplayer, and co-op play. I was in the closed beta of Uncharted 3's beta and currently trying Uncharted 3's Subway multiplayer access and overall the multiplayer is pretty fun. Just like most multiplayer's nowadays, you can customize your character, pick your loadouts, perks, and even level up and unlock more stuff to use. If you have a Playstation 3, I suggest you ready some money for this game.
Rocksteady just released an official launch trailer in preparation of Batman: Arkham City's release this week. The trailer shows all those big baddies that Batman will have to face during Arkham City, and it's quite a handful.
I got to say, this trailer is a pretty badass video game trailer. Gave me goosebumps with all those characters in under 2 minutes. Batman Arkham City is due on Oct 18 in NA, Oct 19 in Aus, and Oct 21 for Europe. In the Philippines, hopefully we get it on the 18th. The game will be out on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 with the PC version following next month.