Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Casual Social Hardcore Perspective or Walking the Tightrope

On Thursday, Steam sold Batman Arkham Asylum at a 50% discount. Realizing the opportunity, (and with my wife's permission >_<) I bought the game for a mere $25.

I must say, this game is everything I heard it was. It's genuinely fun, never feels like you're slogging through it, there's enough variety of what you're doing that as it cycles through it, you always feel fresh, and it is full of details.

Exploring, gathering, fighting, stealth, puzzle solving, and tracking. You're always doing something new. You go into a new area, and you immediately need to sneak, neutralize the armed guards, brawl the punk push overs, find some Riddler clues, climb a building, find a secret entrance, and follow the tobacco/fingerprints.

Batman himself is a badass, and you don't need to have the detailed combo controls of a fighter to get him to do cool things. You have Attack, Counter, Stun, Quick Batarang, Quick Batclaw, beyond that you have unlocked moves, and some stealth take downs.

There's a part in the game, a Challenge Mode, that let's you try beating up a series of baddies, and at the end you get your grand total. To get higher scores, you need to get long uninterrupted chains of attacks, until you have an insanely high multiplier, and flawlessly do ground take downs on your foes (as it scores the highest point return). I've managed to near 20,000 points, putting me in the 45,000th place. I checked the top 100. Their scores are in the billions. I'm wondering if they had to of cheated to get that score, and why if the cheat is gone, they didn't reset the leaderboards.

I know I'll never get into the top 100, but I do know that I can beat 20,000, I just need to do better. This is where I'm very much into the challenge. Despite the fact that most of the game the baddies are pushovers, and I never worry about death (though I have died, mostly to Bane), and play it pretty casually. I've always been this way with games, doing the casual and the hardcore.

But there's more to it than that, and some games don't let you play both. In Tetris, you can start with a higher speed, you'll still need to clear as many lines as it would take you to get to this level, before you move on, but you'll start faster (and therefore harder).

I'm really happy with Batman, and I'm glad I bought it. It's a very good game.