Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3)

24. August, 2009

Even for the many definitions of fun. For example, there is a new game “Batman: Arkham Asylum”. I was really hesitant to download the demo. And then, I was hesitant to install it. Why? Because the trailer gave me the impression “another super hero beat ’em up”.

Okay, the in game cut scenes look great. Clothes have texture and the outline of the characters doesn’t reveal the 17-poly mesh. During the demo, it quickly becomes evident that a lot of resources went into the combat scenes where Batman does move pretty smart. You select a general direction and the type of attack and the Bat will do some serious damage. It feels like you actually control someone who spent years training martial arts, not some stuffed puppet. Using the grappling hook works like charm, even without much aiming. It’s enough to be close one of the gargoyles and it’ll work like a charm. Well … gargoyles in the building? Anyway.

That changes when you start walking around the compound. Here, the stuffed puppet is back. You can run which makes things better but the walk cycle looks really unbelievable. Did you know that Batman can’t jump? Maybe it’s because of the heavy belt? Or the muscles are all part of the suit’s armor? No climbing either. If you don’t have something where your grappling hook can attach to, you can’t even climb on a chair.

But what I was most afraid of: “The world’s greatest detective.” Remember? After taking the first round of inmates down, I almost gave up on the game. Only it does get better. There is something called “detective mode” which highlights interesting features around you (like enemies, things you can use your grappling hook on, etc). So after the short scene with Victor, the game turns into something that resembles Metal Gear Solid. Not bad. While you can try to take down everyone with a gun, you probably shouldn’t. Just as in reality, when you beat up one out of five people, four will start shooting you in the back.

There is still hope.


Good Games for the PS3

11. October, 2008

I’ve recently upgraded to a PlayStation 3. I kept my old PS2, though, since the new PS3 can’t emulate the PS2. I wonder why that is … maybe it’s because Sony is still selling so many PS2’s? Ah, rumors 🙂 Easy to create and hard to kill.

So what good games are there? Here is my list:

  • Burnout Paradise City
  • PixelJunk Eden
  • Ratchet & Clank – Tools of Destruction
  • Flow

Burnout Paradise City

Mindless street racing with a high adrenaline level. Ideal to waste a couple of minutes or an hour. Great graphics, no blood, no violence (it’s more like auto scooter) and nice ideas like smashing ads or the super jumps. If you don’t like some events (haven’t managed to win a single race, yet. I excel at kicking other cars off the street), you can simply ignore them and still complete enough of the game to have fun.

PixelJunk Eden

A definitive feel of Tarzan or Spiderman when you want to relax a bit. Simple, fitting graphics, no violence, no agression. All that and at the price it’s a steal.

Ratchet & Clank – Tools of Destruction

My favorite jump’n’run. Lots of insane weapons, Ratchet’s ears look great on the PS3, the story has more depth than usual; not sure I like the depressive realization at the end, though. Judge for yourself.

Flow

Like Eden, it’s a brand new kind of game. One of a kind. I play that when I want to come down from all the stress in my life. Go get it!

Bad games

I’ve got a couple of other games. First, we have the Orange Box with Half Life 2, two of the extra episodes, Portal and Team Fortress. I liked the puzzles in Portal. That games was much too short. I didn’t like Half Life 2 much and I hate the episodes. The story was great, the levels gigantic and intelligent. You could almost always find a way around without getting killed. But the handling … Freeman feels like a block of wood when you move him through the levels: You’ll get stuck all the time at hand rails and stuff like that. Sometimes, he’ll be able to jump on something, sometimes not. Sometimes, he’ll stay on top of a barrel, sometimes not. This sucks. And then those stupid zombie levels. Yeah, I’m stuck in the elevator scene in the first episode. Got killed five times in the dark and now, the games goes where it belongs: The trash.

Resistance – Fall of Man. I like the other games by Insomniac and I like this one, too. It’s just too violent for my taste. I like shooting pixels or push empty cars off the street or zoom down a highway at break-neck speed. I don’t like shooting at people. I finished the game but it left me asking: Is that all? Running around, shooting people, blow up stuff? Is that the result of many years of game evolution? Better graphics?

Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Oh well. Okay, the levels look great. When you scale the wall of the castle, there is a sense of vertigo. It’s breath taking. The jeep escape is a lot of fun. Smart story (mostly). The game character moves smart. You press a button and he takes cover. He’s smart, not a dead puppet like Freeman. He moves as if he was real. Again the violence cooled me off quickly. Too much killing, not enough puzzles.