Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Difference between Thought & Action...
I bought the game because everyone told me how awesome the game was. (I wish I could have afforded the collector's edition with the Batarang!) It got game of the year, and tons of people (including a large subset of my friends) absolutely loved it. Now that I've finally played it, I can see why. Like Bioshock, Arkham Asylum engrosses you into the events of the game in such a subtle way that I didn't realize I was hooked until I checked the clock and realized that what had felt like 20 minutes of playing was actually THREE HOURS!! And as I played the game, I realized that as much as I love Batman, I had no idea just how difficult it is to be in his shoes.
I remember tons of arguments I've had with many a Superman fan, arguing about the quality of Batman's mind. Not just about it's alleged superiority, but also the subtle manipulations that Batman engages in almost every encounter that allow him to perform as he does. Yet, for all my vaunted knowledge and in depth reading, actually having to perform those same manipulations is another challenge all together. While I'm still just in the beginning of the game, the aspect of the game that I absolutely LOVE is how the game puts you in Batman's mind.
The last part of the game I played was in the Asylum's medical facility where a couple of my choices backfired on me. I had been given a couple of upgrade options and, in typical gaming fashion, I upgraded my armor first, thinking that it would be an advantage in any fights I get into. But that's not Batman's style. If Batman is in the middle of a shoot out, he's lost his main advantage: stealth. At the height of his ability, the only time someone gets to see Batman is when HE wants you to, not before.
And I paid for that mistake, time and time again as I tried to take out 5 guys and ended up getting killed over and over. But rather than frustrate me (as what would happen in most games), this setback actually gave me a deeper understanding of my favorite comic character and just enhanced my enjoyment of the game. It's most likely going to take me awhile to complete Batman: Arkham Asylum, but I'm going to LOVE every single instant of it and when I'm done, I'll have a much greater, more delicately nuanced understanding of Batman and the way he sees the world.