| paleface [sys=PS2; cat=Platformer; loc=North_America] |
|This game looks like the cartoon series. Better than the cartoon series, actually: Batman's cape is shiny. Perhaps this was what inspired my friend to give me the game for my birthday. The game uses the voice actors from the cartoon, so the acting is pretty much as good as it's going to get, and the music is very nice and deep and dramatic.|
But Vengeance, I soon found, is a dish served luke-warm. The story doesn't quite keep up with the atmospheric presentation as it jumps around a lot, takes shortcuts and side turns that don't really make good sense, and in all just feels like a bad edit job. And some things just rub wrong. Why is Batgirl your little computer-wizard lackey? Why is Alfred giving Batman combat training lessons? Why does the Joker have more hand-to-hand combat moves than Batman? How is it that Batman is summoned to the scene of crime by miraculously hearing Joker's laugh from halfway across the city?
This, I suppose, is what you get when put Batman in the hands of the French: Bat-style, but lacking Bat-substance. The game appears to be relatively short--judging by a walkthrough I got about halfway through in about two hours, and I died and had to restart levels a lot because I just don't care. Fighting is atrocious: you have to press Punch to enter "combat mode," and then you get a kick button but lose the jump button. You don't have many moves so even the lamest enemies just sit there and block, then counter-attack with a nasty chain combination. Want to do a jump-kick? Don't forget to press the "leave combat" button first. Want to throw a batarang, or use your grapple? Okay, just enter first person view mode, toggle through your empty inventory slots to the device you want, painstakingly aim with the right analogue stick, then fire. What could be simpler? Even worse, the conversation interface allows you to skip spoken dialogue with a button press, but doesn't show you the rest of the subtitle in that line of speech, so a mistimed button press can leave you without a clue as to what you've just been told to do. The game also pretends that you should try using stealth but the pacing and level design chucks that idea out the window.
Speaking of level design, though lots of things look cool, you're often left wondering where the heck you're supposed to go. The unremitting dark and dusky grey-brown color scheme doesn't help, in fact it's often very hard to see anything unless you crank up the in-game brightness control, which simply washes all the color out. Also a wash out is the sound balance: at the default settings, sound effects boom out of the speakers but voices are literally inaudible in places until you go and adjust the sound levels. Whee!
My favorite representative gameplay bit so far has been when, leap-gliding around a construction site at the 50th floor, a pop-up window interrupted the action and told me that R1 would center the camera view behind me--warning, in essence, "crappy camera angles ahead!" And indeed there were, and I plunged slowly (cape-gliding) to my death several times trying to find where to go. But I looked cool doing it, and that's the important part.