12 January 2010

Batman: Warrior Within

The title says it all really (well, disregarding my absence).... I've been playing Batman: Arkham Asylum and i've been pretty happy with it but really it's like i've been suffering from deja vu or total recall or something weird to do with dreams you've dreamt that then come to actually happen in a sort of precognition manner. Batman: Arkham Asylum is Prince of Persia with a new face - specifically an amalgamation of Warrior Within and the New Prince of Persia in a ratio of approximately 95:5.

The games are almost carbon copies of each other in the manner in which they operate:

The combat system is nuanced - easy to use, difficult to truly master.... it's also not without its flaws and sometimes can be a bit unwieldy when fighting multitudes of enemies with certain button presses and stick flicks not registering as accurately as you would like.

Moving on, the platforming is pretty similar with leaping and whatnot a standard of the genre however the bat grapple gun being the equivalent of Elika - a get out of jail free/reset card that, ironically after all the fuss that was kicked up over Elika's function in New Prince of Persia, i've not seen anyone complaining about. Perhaps it's the inclusion of the ability to actually see a "game over" screen, would that have made a difference in the same people's eyes for New Prince of Persia?

Then there's the free-roaming, secret-finding aspect of the world which mirrors Warrior Within and improves on it. It was definitely one of my more favourite things about the two Prince of Persia games.

The same dark, gothic style and air that the game has... though i have to take time out here to kindly remind myself that Batman was around a long time before Prince of Persia was even a Twinkle in tens of programmers' eyes.

Finally, even the the Scarecrow sequences (which are inspired) mirror the chases by the Dahaka in their camera control and the variation they add to the general play.

It's incredible that the two games are so similar and i wonder if there was any conscious design implementation taken from the Dark Prince. It's also strange and slightly funny how the same game design (minus the improvements that Arkham Asylum brings - which are plentiful and all add greatly to the game) was hailed as a conceptual failure and generally disliked by most gamers who loved The Sands of Time and also the third game (which shall not be mentioned) but the other game is hailed as a masterpiece by most people who play it - including me.

I'm definitely looking forward to Arkham Asylum 2 but i'm also really looking forward to the next Prince of Persia game. Unfortunately i've heard rumours that Ubisoft have cancelled the sequel to New Prince of Persia and have instead settled for a movie tie-in with The Sands of Time movie..... which will be interesting as a game of a movie based on a game.

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