Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Maybe it’s the E3 scent in the air or maybe it’s just that I’m craving some big budget biffing, but I’m missing my favourite Multiple-A franchises right now. The Arkham games in particular. Oh, to be the bat-like man once more.
The Arkham games might have been a case of diminishing returns, though I prefer Knight to City, but even when they became bloated, they didn’t lose track of their combat flow. It’s not a particularly complex system, though if you really want to rack up the experience points variety in takedowns is a necessity, but the crunchy violence is beautifully presented and leaves enough room for grandstanding. Stand motionless in the centre of a circle of goons and wait for them to make the first move before countering and then taking down the entire crew. All it’s missing is a taunt button, or perhaps even a key press that makes Batman tap unsuspecting mobsters on the shoulder before administering nocturnal justice.
Arkham Asylum is still my favourite and the later games feel like big comic book arcs that are changing the state of the DC Universe forever rather than the one long, bad night. That’s my preferred form of Batman storytelling and Asylum nails it. Within the confines of the titular building it manages to be an expansive look at the DC world that reminds me why I enjoyed the comics in the first place.
I was lucky enough to play Knight with few technical hitches though and despite the bloat, I think it’d be a shame for people to skip it entirely. Not as tight and controlled as Asylum, sure, but it adds plenty to the formula that does work and despite hitting too many predictable beats, the story is good blockbuster fodder.
So, yes, I miss my big silly blockbuster game and I would very much like to see it return (with the Mordor Nemesis system please thanks).