Roderick

Batmazement: Knightly Man Bruce

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I don't know exactly how much work is involved in porting a game but I've seen it brought up before that apparently the Iron Galaxy team that worked on it consisted of only 12 people, which I guess is small for a game of this size?  I really don't know.

 

iron_galaxy_batman.jpg

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Iron Galaxy is a studio that focuses almost entirely on Helping Other Companies Make Games, whether that's ports, or singular feature development. They do a lot of ports for a lot of people. I think they've done some original stuff recently (they did Divekick, and are doing Killer Instinct).

 

But yeah 12 does seem like a small number for a port of that profile.

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I like tooling around in the Batmobile. The way it's used in puzzle-solving and combat feels pretty contrived, and the tank mode battles against those dumb drones are the most tedious thing in the bat-world, but I like driving around Gotham City, and I love the various silly ways in which Batman gets in and out of his car.

 

It's pretty stupendous.

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Started the game this evening and wow, there is a lot going on in the screen. Lights, rain, lens flares, ruffling cape, lots of UI, pop-ups every few seconds, a bit more rain for good measure, crazy explosions of particles every time you destroy a tank, even more rain. Its all really pretty, I'm sure the effects and UI folks had a lot of fun making it but all put together I'm finding it really distracting.

 

I also thought the beginning of the game was terrible. I guess they were trying to show "patient zero" at the first attack but it really didn't work for me. Forcing the start of the game to be the first person camera (not used after this point) of a random character (whom I will assume has no relevance past this opening) feels like a really weird attempt at simulating the way a film would have a cold open, then cut to news reel, then cut to hero starting his quest. It just kind of feels disorienting in a game though.

 

And the bit with The Joker right at the beginning made me uncomfortable, which may have been the intention, but really its just more off-putting to me.

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And the bit with The Joker right at the beginning made me uncomfortable, which may have been the intention, but really its just more off-putting to me.

 

Oh god, yeah. I'm not at all comfortable with how that worked.

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Oh god, yeah. I'm not at all comfortable with how that worked.

 

Care to spoil? I don't think I'm going to pick this one up.

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Care to spoil? I don't think I'm going to pick this one up.

 

It is literally the first action you take in the game, so it's not too much of a spoiler, but

 

The Joker is dead, and in the furnace for cremation. You have to use the analog sticks to stoke the flames. If you don't touch the controller, at least for the 20-30 seconds I sat waiting for an action to be taken, nothing happens.

 

There are no on-screen prompts, so in that regard it's at least better than PRESS X TO MOURN

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2-3 hours in and not enjoying it at all yet. I feel like I'm used to the complexity of modern 3D games and how they control, but for the first time in a long time I am feeling overwhelmed by the amount of inputs on the controller, constantly hitting the wrong buttons. Every button does something in this game but I cant seem to internalize any of it.

 

If I were an Arkham hoodlum I wouldn't be concerned at all, this Batman guy is one clumsy eejit.

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There are some Batmobile AR challenges in this game that are just disgusting.

 

I want to be very clear that there is not a hint of joviality when I type this; I am fuming.

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There are some Batmobile AR challenges in this game that are just disgusting.

 

I want to be very clear that there is not a hint of joviality when I type this; I am fuming.

 

Um, care to extrapolate?

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Um, care to extrapolate?

 

Like, can you describe a scenario where you take what you're hating about it and then come up with a challenge that just makes it so, so much worse?

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Oops, haha, I meant elaborate, of course!

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I'm finally learning to like the Batmobile but I am still finding the game to have no focus at all. The switches to other characters during the story are really jarring, the stealth is underdeveloped, and the combat just doesn't feel that challenging anymore. I think the worst thing though is that the world, as pretty as it is, is a lot of wasted space. The main missions are structured around this as well requiring me to do a lot of hopping around, which is fine because the traversal and Batmobile control well but I find I'm flying over or driving through the city at brakeneck speeds from A to B and the side quest distractions the game offers up are just poor repetitive open world filler. This game reminds me a lot of L.A. Noire in its use of an open world.

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I'm trying to avoid spoilers as far as possible, so I'm just going to post blind here. Sorry if I combo break someone's discussion, but holy freaking crap is this game great. I really loved Asylum and thought City was excellent (and I only played Origins for a couple of hours before I burned out on it) but this is the most impressive game I've played in a lot of ways. Any game designer interested in how various systems interact in an open world must have their head blown away so only a smoking jaw remains after playing Arkham Knight. Anyone who's worked with transitioning between cut-scenes and different modes of player control must have been blown so hard away there's just a hole in the shape of them in the wall now. And anyone who works with asset creation and streaming must have been melted by a neon-green ray so there's now a 90s video game ad slime-covered skeleton where they were moments ago playing Arkham Knight.

 

I'm playing it on PS4 after giving up waiting for the PC version, and it's been keeping me hooked through so much stuff, and I keep being surprised by how much stuff there's in here, and how it just keeps going, and I can't believe how anyone could wrangle something as complex and rich and multi-faceted as this thing together in a game that plays so well. It's the kind of AAA(A?) game Assasssin's Creed wishes it could be, and it's pretty impressive how Rockstead are just consistently upping their game and taking everything to the next level and blowing everyone's faces away in a confident, big-budget way that in my opinion rivals what Rockstar keeps doing with its GTA games. I bet they'll do something fantastic whatever their next project will be (and no doubt there'll be pressure to keep Batman going), but I'd be very interested in seeing them handle something completely different next time.

 

edit: It's not perfect. So far I've rolled my eyes a number of times over the depiction of some of the female characters, and been a bit frustrated by loading times when retrying some difficult thing. And getting a handle on all the combat stuff is just out of the question – I feel like a super old man when trying to do the right thing with all the gadgets, gizmos and doodads Batman has in his belt. Luckily I can usually just run over to a guy and break his spine the good old-fashioned way.

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Glad I waited on picking this up. By the time it's fixed, I should be able to pick it up cheaply during a Steam sale.

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??? RIDDLER RANT! CAN YOU EVEN READ, BATMAN ???

 

Alm?ost finished now. Well, I have completed the game, but I just have to find all the Riddler trophies before I trigger the game ending. I know I shouldn't do this, because it's dep?ressing as fuck and not really worth the effort. I thought I had ri?d myself of the completio?nist ac?hievement hunter tendencies, but apparently not! The Riddler stuff has simultaneously gotten better? and worse for each game – a lot of the Riddler stuff is amazing, and it's integrated into the main game m?uch better this time, but there's just too much padding. The best trophies are the actual riddles, where you have to identify some in-game object based on a sentence. These are cool, because they make you explore these incredibly detailed environments in a way you'd never ?bother with otherwise, and they allow for some cool bits of environmental storytelling. Then th?ere are the puzzle rooms, which are also cool, because th?ey are puzzles (which are cool). But th?en there's the two hundred regular trophies, where the challenge is just fucking ?bothering to go to all the awkward places they're in and hit a button. I'm no game designer, but I can't see how the game wouldn't benefit from just removing them completely, or at least just keeping the ones that lead you to places that a?re otherwise unused.

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Warner Bros. should take the L on this one and offer it at a significant discount. Or--at the bare minimum--offer up all the season pass DLC for little to no cost to the PC audience.

 

If it takes you four months to fix your game, delay it.

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Arkham Knight is back on Steam.  WB announced that everyone who already bought the PC version or buys it before Nov. 16 will get the following games added to their Steam library for free: Arkham Asylum GOTY, Arkham City GOTY, Arkham Origins, and Arkham Origins Blackgate.  Additionally, they're creating a Community Challenge Pack that will be available on Steam a week before it's available on consoles.  There's also a cross-promo going with TF2 (because of course there is).  Players are tasked with creating Arkham themed cosmetic items for TF2 to submit via the Workshop.  The chosen items will be given to everyone who already bought or buys it before Nov. 16.

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So it would have been nice if they'd clarified or provided some way of asking if:

 

1. The make-goods will be honored if you bought Arkham Knight through a third party seller such as Green Man Gaming and activated it on Steam.

2. If you'll receive giftable copies of the Arkham games in the (highly likely) case that you already own them.

 

This is pretty unsatisfactory and disappointing! Obviously, they should have just given the season pass away for free.

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I got a Steam code for Arkham Knight from a mate who got it in a gfx card bundle. I expect they'll just include anyone with it in their Steam library. I already have Asylum and City though, and I hear Origins is utterly skippable, so it will actually be a bit annoying for me to receive it because the completist in me will demand I play it before moving onto Knight!

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2. If you'll receive giftable copies of the Arkham games in the (highly likely) case that you already own them.

 

Probably not, it's actually very rare to get giftable copies even when buying a bundle of games you already own, letalone getting a copy for free. 

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Hahahahaha, I hadn't actually looked at the pricing for this thing.  Holy shit, $40 for the Season Pass, which does not include all the starting DLC?  There's 0 discount (in fact, it's 1 penny more expensive) to buy the Pass/Game bundle (which also does not include all the starting DLC).  To buy everything at launch would be $120.84.  The cost of 2 brand new AAA games, plus a cool new Indie game. 

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Hahahahaha, I hadn't actually looked at the pricing for this thing.  Holy shit, $40 for the Season Pass, which does not include all the starting DLC?  There's 0 discount (in fact, it's 1 penny more expensive) to buy the Pass/Game bundle (which also does not include all the starting DLC).  To buy everything at launch would be $120.84.  The cost of 2 brand new AAA games, plus a cool new Indie game. 

 

Yeah Arkham Knight seems like one of those "wait for the GOTY and get everything" situations.  (I say this as someone who preordered the game...)

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I finally got around to installing this and giving it a try.  I pre-ordered the game from GMG but waited on the install after all the stories about the game running like garbage.  There are still a significant number of people who are having problems running the game even after the second release that supposedly fixes things.  Personally, the game has been running fine for me, although I should mention that I have a GTX980.  The worst performance I've seen thus far is when I'm perched on top of a really tall building looking across the city in the rain while the wind blows my cape around.  The frame rate drops a noticeable amount but it picks back up once I start moving away.

 

As for the game itself, I'm only a few hours in but so far its fun.  The story feels kind of all over the place, but that's a common open world game issue when you try to do side quests concurrently with the main story.  The Riddler in particular is really getting annoying.  I actually liked getting the Riddler trophies and solving the puzzles in the other games, but I think that gimmick has worn out its welcome and now he's just irritating.  Especially his villain gloating.  All the villains have pretty standard comic book banter in this game but his makes me want to skip his side quests just so I don't have to listen to him.  I'm not super into the Batmobile either.  I keep wanting to use the left trigger to brake and instead enter tank mode (which I guess does stop the car but not the way I intended).  Also I'm used to using the left bumper for detective mode and keep accidentally summoning my armored chariot instead.

 

For the first few hours, I tried using the Steam controller for the game but I just couldn't do it.  The stick and buttons work fine, but the pad makes a terrible substitute stick.  I've tried several different configurations but none of them work very well.  If the game supported using both the mouse and controller at the same time then I could have the pad emulate a mouse and it would probably work the way I want.  The closest is a setting that tries to emulate a mouse while sending the game control stick input but it makes things very fiddly, especially when trying to use a radial menu.  I've gone back to the Xbox controller and my gameplay has improved considerably.

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