What the hell is he? He's Batman.
Tue, 19 July 2005
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Iâ€™m probably going to be a bit biased with this one. I love the Batman Begins movie and, as this game does such a fine job of capturing the look and atmosphere of the film, I was able to quite easily overlook its various shortcomings and have an excellent time with it. Thatâ€™s not to say it is an otherwise poor game, all I mean is that if you donâ€™t care so much for the Bat, you may not find this one quite as great as I did.
Letâ€™s get the negative stuff out the way first. The biggest problems with Batman Begins are that it is too easy, too short, too linear and too derivative (and this is me using the word 'too' too many times in one sentence).
Actually, most of those criticisms are pretty strongly linked to each other; the game is too easy and short exactly because it is too linear and derivative. Your hand is always held in this game, as it tells you exactly what you should be doing at all times and there is always a very clearly defined route through each level. So you never have to â€˜figure outâ€™ what needs to be done and what needs to be done isnâ€™t usually particularly challenging in the first place. Most of the gameplay strongly resembles that of other popular games, so most players have likely already built up some skill from doing most of this stuff before.
Thereâ€™s little room for experimentation in the highly linear design of Batman Beginâ€™s levels. The simplicity of the basic gameplay mechanics certainly lessens the sense of freedom. It also takes away the variety that would have been allowed by having more than one way to get from one section to the next.
Rightio then,I believe that's about it for the detractions. If those things put you off the game, well...fair enough. But I reckon Batman Begins is still one you should try out first. Particularly if you are a Batman fan, I donâ€™t think any of that stuff will bother you a great deal. I mean, sure, the game could have been a classic if theyâ€™d improved some of those aspects, but it really is still pretty darn cool as it is.
|The Dark Knight busts out the Batusi! |
The game follows the plot of the Batman Begins film extremely closely, even using actual footage from the movie between levels. The in game graphics are very easy on the eye too, it all looks absolutely fantastic. The characters are modelled after the flickâ€™s actors and really do resemble them well, especially when you see the faces up close. The backgrounds are equally detailed and thereâ€™s some excellent use of lighting and other effects to help bring it all to life.
The quality of the audio is just as impressive as the visuals, with a beautiful and effective soundtrack, top notch sound effects and very high quality voice acting (also supplied by all of the actual actors from the movie, aside from Gary Oldman). When you bring all of these factors together it creates a truly marvellous sense of atmosphere.
What type of game is it though, you may well ask. Well, basically it is a mixture of several styles. Thereâ€™s Splinter Cell style stealth, a healthy dose of combat, plenty of cool platform style jumping sections, some very basic puzzle solving and a couple of Batmobile driving levels (which look and feel a lot like Burnout 3, another EA published title).
Some of these elements work slightly better than others, but as a whole the different styles all come together nicely and they all seem perfectly fitting. Many of the famous Bat-gadgets are included too, such as an optic cable for scoping out the other side of a door, smoke grenades, the very cool grappling hook, the trusty Batarang (of course) and much more.
Many of Batman Begins levels feel like giant set pieces, so thereâ€™s kind of an artificial feel to some of the action, but it is enjoyable nonetheless. For instance, youâ€™ll often have to find a way to sneak up on your well armed foes and figure out a good way to scare the crap out of them, by blowing up something nearby, or whatever.
There is always only the one way to make these things happen and you are usually told exactly how to do it, so there isnâ€™t the sense of satisfaction you might feel from solving one of the more difficult puzzles in a game like Zelda. You get to interrogate enemies as well, which is a nice touch and fitting for the character, but this soon becomes equally predictable.
|The moon hits his eye, like a big pizza pie |
Even so, despite always knowing precisely what needs to be done, it remains plenty of fun to do it. The main reason for that (apart from how well presented and cool it all looks) is the fact that you get to do it as Batman!
A sweet bonus is that you can unlock extras, like more movie footage and interviews with the Batman Begins cast. This is nothing too amazing, but nevertheless a welcome way to extend the lifespan of the game that little bit more.
As I said at the beginning, if you donâ€™t have much interest in Batman, this game will be less likely to keep you as entertained as it did me. You might find those problems I mentioned earlier more prominent and troublesome than I did. Regardless, Batman Begins is a very stylish game and certainly ideal for those who loved the movie and want to extend that experience.
There have been many Batman games over the years, but few of them were worth playing (the same goes for movie to game adaptations actually). With its superb production values and accuracy in representing the source material, this one joins that proud few and maybe even tops them all. Batman Begins hardly offers revolutionary gameplay and it probably wonâ€™t take all that long for most gamers to play through, but if you dig the Bat you should thoroughly enjoy that time. You might even come back to it and play through the game again, I know I will. Cheers, pointy ears!
Versions of this game are also available on the Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube and Game Boy Advance
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Those less obsessed with the character should take a button or two off this score, but I honestly had an absolute blast with Batman Begins