Written by  :  Ace of Sevens (4474)
Written on  :  Jan 06, 2007
Platform  :  Xbox
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars

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Best Batman game, but not perfect

The Good

It is a spot on adaptation of the New Batman Adventures televisions series. The writing could have been a lost episode (though not one of the best), all the actors from the show reprise their roles and the character designs and art style are as close as you can get without cel shading. Aping the cartoon's style goes even farther than this: It is structured with an opening teaser and act breaks, complete with the design motifs and font used for the title cards on the show itself.

You have access to a wide variety of Batman's gadgets. I'm not just talking about batarangs and a cape glider, but also nets, grappling hooks, handcuffs and the batplane all of which are explained with a great training sequence which teaches you all the gadgets, sneaking moves, etc you'll be using for the game in world as a Batcave training simulator.

Most of the teaching of new skills is done like this: nicely incorporated into the game whenever you first use said skill without having to break the fourth wall.

The game doesn't hold back on the Batman stuff. While Alfred is sadly limited to the voice of the training simulator and Robin is AWOL, Batgirl provides radio support throughout the entire game, Commisioner Gordon figures into the story heavily and Joker, Mr. Freeze, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy all serve as villains. Matches Malone even makes an appearance. While I'm sure anyone can come up with other characters they wish appeared (Scarface & the Ventriloquist, in my case), it's hard to argue with a line-up like that.

The Bad

While the game overall looks great, it does have some graphical glitches. Texture tearing occasionally pops up, particularly in the in-engine cutscenes. Thankfully, this doesn't happen much, but it's ugly when it does.

The combat system has a few unfortunate problems. The biggest is that you automatically lock on to enemies when near them. There's no good way to switch targets when dealing with more than one and it can be difficult to fall back and switch to gadgets. This can be very bad when one thug is roasting you with a flamethrower while you're locked on to his buddy.

Until you bring out the power moves, combat, is essentially punching into blocks, then blocking a series of attacks and waiting for a long enough pause to counter. There really aren't any advanced tactics, just a power button to hold down. For a game with so much fighting, it really could have used some more tweaking to the system.

The game is broken up into a bunch of discrete segments and you can only save between them. There are some interface annoyances here, like having to quit to the menu to save, but there is also the problem that if you screw up, you have to repeat the entire level. For the most part, everything is broken into small bits and this isn't an issue, but in several levels, particular the later ones in the gasworks, you have to fight wave after wave of baddies, then do a tricky jump or something with an instant death if you miss. There are plenty of places where you can just wander off a ledge, too. This seems more frustrating than fair.

The boss fights are almost entirely gadget-based, which means they are played in first-person. While most are quite clever, this Batman FPS doesn't quite fit with the jump/punch vibe of the rest of the game.

The biggest problem is the camera. Unlike almost every other 3rd-person game since 1997 or so, the right stick does nothing. In fact, you have no manual control of the camera. The camera AI does a rather lackluster job, offing leaving Batman running blindly into the edge of the screen. The only way to reorient is to go into first-person mode and back out. This is annoying when trying to set up jumps, but when fighting or dodging traps, it's maddening.

The Bottom Line

This game is a very good recreation of The New Batman Adventures, which is one of the best interpretations of Batman out there. I can't say for sure it's the best Batman game around, but it's the best I've played. If you like Batman or beat-em-up/platformer hybrids, it's highly recommended.