Batman: Arkham City

Hello, Bats!

I did something I haven’t done since I was last in hospital (many, many years ago). I had a week off playing games.

Partly, it’s because of a new job. I’m knackered all the time. I’ll get used to it, but for now, my appetite for playing a game for five hours a night has disappeared.

The other partly part, was that ploughing my way through Skyrim was almost a chore. I’d had too much of a good thing. I tried playing Saints Row the Third, but after a few nights I was bored. Any other time and it would easily be a favourite, but the comedy stylings left me cold and the game just made me think about how I haven’t played Just Cause 2 in ages.

My week off was last week (and some of the week before). It ended with what I hoped would be a bang – Batman: Arkham City. I loved Arkham Asylum, and all the talk of being more of the same but in a massive city you can zoom around sounded ace. I’ve played it for an hour and a half in total, and it’s not as good as the first one. Arkham City feels like it should be an open world game, but if it was, Batman’s ability to zoom around with the Bat grappling hook thing would be much less useful. As a result, Arkham City is a small, compact area that is very vertical; you can always zoom up to a rooftop from anywhere, and you are free to roam the streets or go gliding as you see fit. The problem is that it all gets boring quickly.

Arkham Asylum was clever. It had defined areas that would let you do a bit of fighting, a bit of hiding, a bit of zooming around on the grappling thing, and they’d generally include a puzzle element too (like, work out how to take out all the guards without being spotted, for example). Arkham City is a city. It’s not split up into discreet chunks; it’s all there for you play with. Unfortunately, this means the puzzle element has pretty much vanished, hiding means you grapple away for ten seconds and then jump back down into a fight, rinse and repeat indefinitely. There’s no promise of seeing something new, cos it’s a fucking city – you can see everything. The city eventually becomes something you have to plough through between missions, which are like little bits of Arkham Asylum, which just makes it feel like padding. Asylum didn’t need padding. It was awesome.

So there you go. Games now make me even more miserable than before. A tragic day.

Will our tragic hero regain his taste for gaming? Will he persevere to discover a toffee centre of awesome in the big bag of Revels that is Batman: Arkham City? Tune in tomorrow – same Bat-time, same Bat-channel!

(That was very poor)

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