Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Batman Arkham Knight: Log 1: Explosions and Jetsons ! Right here, right now !

I have just started my blind playthrough of Batman Arkham Knight on my ps4 and it evoked pretty surprising reactions from me, maybe because I was expecting a different gameplay from it, and it set me thinking that maybe I should log down these thoughts regularly for the fun of it and see how it feels :) I have not read or watched any reviews of the game and do not know what criticisms have been levied or what praises have been showered on the game by the gaming press or users. I am aware that it has been recieved well by people at large, by which I mean if I ask people about Arkham Knight I mostly hear good responses. Rocksteady has built that reputation for itself pretty well !

This project has no real theme or purpose other than to see what amusing thoughts I have while playing Batman:Arkham Knight, which I am sure I will all but forget once its done, and see how they evolve as the game progresses.

Oh and as always I am going to keep it completely Spoiler-free for your experiential pleasures while playing the game yourself. So don't worry a bit and come join me in my adventure as they unfold!

So, here goes the first log, hope this turns out fun :) !

Explosions and Jetsons ! Right here, right now ! Oh and Battletank!

 Diary log 01: 

The game opens really well, to be honest and introduces the world with a touch of mystique and flamboyance that instantly catches attention. Things are set in motion within minutes in a very theatrical way and soon we have the stage set for Batman, the saviour , to arrive and save the day ! ....or to be literal, start saving the night. 


Here is Batman, our gadget sporting masked knight, with all his jazz and antics sprinkling around him. The Gadgets take the centre-stage right from the start and if you have ever dreamt of flying over neon streets while popping out all kinds of seemingly omnipotent gadgets, ala the Jetsons, which can do literally everything for you then this is the game you had been waiting for. For every problem thrown at Batman out pops a gadget by Wayne Tech and saves the day :) !

 The city makes a supreme first impression dazzling you with stunning graphics and a perpetual rain so dense that it in itself becomes a spectacle during the free flowing flights of the Bat and the tense chases involving the other hero of our game, yes there's a surprise here, literally the second protagonist of the game: The Batmobile ! 

You are going to either hate it or love it but Batmobile has a presence in the game equaling Batman and frankly, it stops being a gadget or a car and becomes the second playable character to an extent that can annoy some people while delighting others with its gameplay while literally reminding you of your cheerful childhood evenings spent with Battletanks ( or not if you weren't a biological entity yet back then, in which case you will have no memories to fall back on, sorry, sometimes being older has its perks).

 It's almost as if Rocksteady decided that Batmobile was to be THE GAME in Arkham Knight. Atleast thats how it feels in the intial hours of the game. I mea they have accomodated the car so much into the game that I was even forced to take Batmobile inside buildings, for gods sake, lest I forget about this amazing new gadget In the game and start playing as Batman :P ! 

It will yield different results for different people but for me it is reaching to a point where I have started questioning the quest design's practicality ! Everything is forcibly designed such that u can be in that car for most of the time. Corridors have been widened to allow a car through, simple ledges which can be easily grappled are magically made unreachable for Batman so that Batman needs to go back to get his car and for some reason Batmobile has a grapple in the front which can pass electrical current to devices ! o.0  

Another immersion breaking element of the game is the whole Augmented Reality training exercises that trigger right inside the city, right in the middle of all the chaos ! The game showed me a guy who needs to be rescued from 4 thugs and immediately after informing me about the urgency of the rescue the game asked me to smash holographic thugs right there ...in front of the actual place where a guy is about to die ! 
How can I not feel weird clicking on floating challenge buttons in the air and going through six training mission while a crime progresses right in front of me ? I still can't fathom Batman punching air to train himself smack in the middle of real thugs....I am sure paper would carry news of Batman's insanity the next day :P ..lol ! 

 The jarring choices aside the game integrates Batmobile with Batman so smoothly that it playing from within the car and as Batman feels seamless. The game lets you switch between them absolutely seamlessly creating a flow of traversal so fluid that it easily gets addicting to just zip in and out of the car just to see how cool it all is. Oh and the rest of the game also shares that philosophy of coolness. The whole focus right now is on flash and bang ! Dazzling graphics with lots of explosions thanks to our Battletank.

 In case you try being the old batman and fly around a bit, the banter from the thugs keeps reminding you that you have a new car which can level tanks in straight fights lest you forget it and not use it. The game seems obsessed about keeping Batmobile in attention all the time ! I find it very amusing while playing the game and can't help but smirk everytime a thug mentions my having a tank-smashing super Car ;). 

Anyways, I have settled in with that and now I have accepted that most of my Batman adventure would be played out as a havoc wreaking tank sliding around causing giant explosions and not as a sneaking detective with a penchant for cracking knockdowns!

I have put that behind me, accepted my new sidekick and have started enjoying the tank battles for I cannot forego them in any way. Now I look forward to what story the game will unfold around me and hope that it turns out to be a fun experience. 

The game has an excessive focus on explosions for now which was, frankly, unexpected for me.I like flash and kaboom too but only if it has substance to back it up, like say Wolfenstein:The New Order. I will continue tomorrow hoping that now that the initial explosions have settled down, my dearest Batman's adventure actually starts delivering on that mystique with which it opened! 


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