STAFF REVIEW of Batman Begins (Xbox)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005.
by mattgame

Batman Begins Box art I'm back! Oh don't act you like you forgot! I reviewed games for this site for 2 years before I even knew there was an open forum. What's that you say? Okay, I'll shut up and get on with the review.
Imagine, if you will, a game that is part Splinter Cell, part Prince Of Persia, part Burnout, and the lead character is Batman. It all sounds too good to be true doesn't it? Well, that's because it is! Please don't misunderstand me. Batman Begins has all of those aforementioned elements. However, somehow it falls short in each category. Batman Begins is like Splinter Cell Lite. It's sort of like Prince Of Persia on Slimfast. You know what I mean? It's kind of like Burnout sans burn. Is that to say it's a terrible game only suitable for the bottom of your trash can? No, what it is saying is that it is a good game that could have been the best Superhero game ever made had EA gone the extra mile.

It is in the gameplay that some of Batman Begins' problems start. As a gamer, I rank myself, on a scale from 1 to 10 about a 6.2. I'm good yet I am no expert. Batman Begins made me feel like a 12! I actually considered going on a nationwide tour challenging all gamers who dare to cross my path! That's how easy Batman Begins gameplay was for me. All you have to do is follow the indicator the game provides for you and you will always know what to do. The game will tell you whether to use your Batarang, Flash Grenades or whatever gadget Batman has at his disposal. Unfortunately, you do not have the option to use which gadget you want to use during any given situation. For example, you may want to grapple hang and then flash grenade a bad guy. Wait what's this I can't get it out of my Bat utility belt? Holy Salmonaitor!! I can only use the Batarang because that is what the game says I should use! Despite this fact, the game manages to be fun albeit as linear as linear can get. Of course, it wouldn't be the Dark Knight unless he was able to do some detective work and dish out the occasional but violently pleasurable beat down. Batman has the ability to enter stealth mode. He can sneak up on an enemy and either grab him and interrogate him or sidewalk slam him on his back with a complimentary punch to the throat. Sounds cool, yes? It was. Yet it was all too easy to do. Batman's combat was also simple, but it does have a significant twist. Batman works on the fear factor. He likes to see his targets shaking like a naked man in a snowstorm. So Batman will employ any means necessary to scare you to within an inch of your life. If you accomplish this your enemies will be reduced to sniveling sissies, crying for their mommies and praying that the nightmare will end soon. I enjoyed this part and my only gripe is that I was told exactly how I was going to terrify my foes and when to do it. I would have rather figured it out on my own, you know being the expert gamer that I am.
All is not lost fans of the Batman. The game does have it's bright spots, well really it was dark, but, well, you know what I mean. Batman takes its' story directly from the movie. There are actual clips of the movie tied into the game that helps tell the story extremely well. Batman kicks plenty of bad guy booty and even though there aren't many combos to learn, Batman gets the job done. The driving in the game is also fun. It almost made me appreciate the new Bat mobile. The Bat mobile can also do some nice tricks. No, I am not telling you what they are. Play the game and find out! Some helpful hints, like you experts need it, do not try to fight a room full of armed baddies. They will shoot you and make your black suit look like cheesecloth. In any situation disarm the baddie with the gun first. Last tip, play the game on the hardest level to get any challenge from it at all.

It's not the car the chicks dig about's the cape. I found myself double jumping just so I could see that liquid cape flowing behind Batman. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Ah, but I digress. Graphics are the game's strong point by far. There are some awesome scenes in the game. In one part of the game, I was on top of this skyscraper in Gotham City. On a steel girder! I actually could see the whole city from my vantage point including the cars passing me some hundreds of feet below me. It was an awe-inspiring view. The draw distance and scenery truly gave me the impression that Gotham City was a huge place and Batman had work to do to clean up this tremendous city. There are many other sites that you will visit and again. I will not spoil it for anyone. All I'm going to say is that EA did an excellent job of bringing all of Gotham City to life in this video game.
Batman looks better than he ever has in a video game. I understand now why grown criminals would wet their Huggies when The Batman comes a calling. To see Batman is to be afraid of Batman and EA made sure he looked the part. Although, not Splinter Cell or Doom III, visually the game is well done.

The voice acting in this game is the best I have heard in any game bar none. I suppose that is because the voices are those of the actors themselves. I also like to think that they took the game serious and performed on the game as they did in the movie. Even the no-named bad guys sound convincing in Batman Begins. There are also excellent sound effects as evidenced by the BRRRAKK, CRACK. and UNNGH sounds during the combat sequences. From the Batmobile screeching after his prey, to the gunfire, to the eerie background music designed to let you know it's about to go down, the sounds of Batman Begins are done very well indeed.

Batman Begins would have been the epitome of all superhero games ever made had it been more of what it was advertised to be. It was like having 5 out of 6 lottery numbers. It was so close but I don't win a million dollars being close. I just get 100 hundred dollars. Batman should be able to have options. He should have so many combat skills that it is almost impossible to learn them all. Batman is a challenging and somewhat complex man. Next time make the game fit the hero and you'll have made a lot of us comic book nerds happy. Especially this one.

Overall: 7.4 / 10
Gameplay: 7.8 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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