Wednesday, July 6, 2005
After a string of boring, ugly, repetitive games, it's good to see Batman get an interesting, pretty, repetitive game. "Batman Begins"—the movie—blows the previous films out of the water, and so does the game. But it's not without its flaws. While sneaking around and destroying scenery to scare your enemies is a fresh idea, it's just not executed well. Everything seems so scripted. Enemies with guns are too dangerous to fight, but there's not a single situation that doesn't let you take them out easily. Mobsters without heat can't lay a finger on Batman. There are only a few areas in the game where you're actually in danger of dying.
The game isn't completely bad, though. The graphics, especially Batman's models, are wonderful. The mini-game you go through a couple times involving the Batmobile is fairly challenging and fun. And while the stealth action can get a little cyclical, it's a step up from a lot of the trash you see today.
The sound was done well. It becomes tenser the closer you get to an enemy, and as you reach for his neck, boom! The orchestra kicks in as the other gangsters look on in horror. The voices are all done well by the original actors. Morgan Freeman in a video game? About time.
"Batman Begins," like many movie-based games, has edited videos from the movie. Some are simply short, others try to cover so much in so little time that they become a bad montage instead of a clip. The game loosely follows the movie, but at certain parts, pointless and nonexistent levels are added to make up for a lack of action in the script. By the way, it's a good idea to watch the movie before you play the game. It will be spoiled.
Combat isn't very intuitive; you have your basic punch, your basic kick and at intervals, you press circle to start a scenario-based attack. Unfortunately, the game is pretty realistic when it comes to Batman's strength. Any foe without an SMG and a full clip of ammo isn't going to scratch you. Armed enemies are a whole different story. Even one can take you out. Still, you never simply walk into a room where there are guns. You always have the chance to sneak up on one or scare them into dropping their weapons. You scare them by using one of Batman's many skills, like throwing shuriken at conveniently placed crates, or … um … pushing buttons and pulling levers. You'd think the most successful crime syndicate in history would be a bit more careful about those low-hanging cranes.
"Batman Begins" is not a bad video game, but it's not great either. If you want a fun beat 'em up, get "Breakdown." If sneaking through vents is your thing, try "Metal Gear Solid." But if you want a little of both, give "Batman Begins" a try.