Non-lethal violence
Posted by Tobold's Blog [HTML][XML][PERM][FULL] on 17 December 2012, 2:50 am
While I do have my favorite genres of computer games, sometimes I do like venture beyond those to see what is happening elsewhere. So this weekend I was playing Batman Arkham City, which I had picked up this year at some Steam sale for cheap. Many things were familiar: A RPG-like system of gaining experience and buying skills, a GTA-like structure of main story in a more or less open city. But what felt really weird was the combat: Why the heck am I bringing fists to a gunfight?

I am pretty sure that sort of non-lethal violence will make more sense to somebody who grew up with comic books in general, and Batman comics in particular. But then I assume even those comics didn't have Batman beat up a gang of thugs at every corner all day long. And what weird code of honor do you need to have to decide that it wouldn't be justified to shoot back if your enemies are shooting at you?

Overall I found Batman Arkham City very cinematic, but unfortunately showing a movie I didn't care for all that much. Another weird comic book story convention appears to be that there is a constant sequence of the villains capturing the heroes followed by the heroes capturing the villains, but without one side ever finally taking out a member of the other side. Instead Batman being captured is a cue for the forced transition of you playing Catwoman for a while.

Which brings me to the main issue I have with this game: While yes, you can explore Arkham City more or less freely and collect trophies and do side missions when you want, the main story of the game is extremely linear with no decisions to be taken at all. You have some freedom on how to tackle enemies, but as you are limited to fists and gadgets, and some rooms are full of enemies with guns, the silent takedown approach is usually the only viable option. In the end the whole thing feels very much like an interactive movie. Which isn't bad if you like interactive movies in general, and Batman in particular. But personally I wasn't all that enchanted by this game.
Tobold's Blog

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