It's the Arkham games you know and love, as Warner Bros. shy away from rocking the boat.
By Patrick Stafford on June 14, 2013 at 5:40 pm
The Arkham series of games will be given a number of changes under a new studio, but a behind-closed-doors demonstration at E3 shown to games.on.net reveals this franchise is very much playing it safe.
In a demo of the game shown by Warner Brothers’ Montreal gameplay director Michael McIntyre, we saw a much younger Batman attempt to stop a number of villains who have descended on Gotham in order to claim a bounty on the dark knight himself.
The game is constructed around Batman’s quest to find the man behind this bounty – the Black Mask – and stop the various bad guys from tearing Gotham apart.
This is a much younger Batman, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance. All his abilities from the previous games are here, and movement is much the same. Our demonstration showed Batman leaping from building to building using his grappling hook, while gliding and diving appeared the same as well.
There are some changes. Batman now has access to a claw hook which can be used to string two enemies together and knock them out, while he can also string up a cable between two places and use it as a tightrope – which is also good for knocking out enemies from above.
Combat has also been updated to be slightly more brutal – you’ll see Batman break his targets’ legs and arms with a sickening crunch. It’s actually quite distressing.
Most of the updates have only been slight tweaks to the way combat is scored. There is a no “crime in progress” meter which directs you toward nearby crimes being committed – these are “bigger, badder” fights worth more XP.
There are some new, tougher enemies, including some armored guards who you’ll need to pound repeatedly until their armor falls off. Others include “enforcers”, martial-artist experts who can counter most of Batman’s moves. They’re challenging enough, and it’s good to see some new styles of combat in play, but they’re not going to slow you down for more than a minute.
Most of these changes aren’t going to affect your overall experience compared with previous titles. One of the bigger changes affects the detective system. Now, Batman can analyse crimes to reconstruct how they occurred, showing a visual representation of what happened.
The game has also taken more of an RPG twist. Players can now put skill points into certain attributes and then ignore others. But, again, it’s more of a cosmetic change and it’s not going to affect your experience of the game dramatically. This is still very much the same type of gameplay we saw in the previous two iterations…
…and all up, that’s kind of disappointing.
While we were impressed enough with Arkham: Origins, it’s not reinventing the franchise and it seems kind of odd that a prequel would give Batman more abilities, rather than simplify them.
There are some nice changes here, and the combat is just as smooth as it ever was. One for the fans, then – just don’t expect anything too groundbreaking.