Game Review

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Ron DelVillano

Throw away the key

Being ambitious is no easy task. Playing a full, big-budget console game on a portable system is likely in every gamer’s wildest fantasies, but due to hardware limitations, we’re often left disappointed by half-hearted ports. Armature Studio, in its infinite wisdom, recognized this concern and chose to take this one in a different direction. Rather than attempting to squeeze Batman: Arkham Origins onto the 3DS, it has instead crafted a completely original game with different gameplay than the rest of the series and an entirely new plot. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is an optimistic new entry to the beloved series that does its best to stand on its own two feet, but the weight of those hefty combat boots is just a bit too much for it to handle.

Taking place shortly after the events of Arkham Origins, Blackgate attempts to bridge the story gap between Batman: Arkham Asylum and its recent prequel. Right from the get-go, Batman learns of a robbery that leads to his meeting the beautiful burglar Catwoman. As events quickly unfold, the temptress leads the Caped Crusader to Blackgate Prison, home of Gotham’s criminals who haven’t been deemed criminally insane and consequentially sent to the much more infamous Arkham Asylum. The villains already behind bars, the most nefarious being Penguin, Black Mask, and the Joker, have managed to escape from their bondage and take control of the joint. With the rest of the inmates at their employ, Batman has his work cut out in attempting to stop the complete takeover of the prison. The plot does well to stay true to its comic roots while not attempting to squeeze in too many divergent elements just to please the fans.

The map is broken up into three main sections of Blackgate prison, each of which is governed by a different chief villain. As you sneak and fight your way through each area seeking out the boss, you will pick up new gadgets along the way. Rather than having a proper upgrade system to hone your attacks and enhance your equipment, Blackgate instead opts for a much simpler system in which you find new gear that will eventually aid in your explorations as you traverse deeper and deeper into the labyrinthine prison. Because the game is set up this way rather than taking on more RPG elements, it tends to follow closely in the footsteps of traditional Metroidvania exploration games.

Combat in Blackgate draws much of its influence from the console games, but changes up the formula in an attempt to fit into its own 2.5 dimensional style. Side-scrolling combat has been a standard in countless games for years now, so it’s always surprising when a game manages to find a way to ruin a formula that was refined so long ago. The majority of combat consists of repeatedly tapping the Y button until you knock the opposing thugs out, and as you can imagine, that works just fine in its simplicity. It’s when you begin to add aspects such as countering, stunning, dodging, and combos – you know, anything that makes combat interesting – to the mix that the whole system falls apart.

In the console games you find yourself brawling in three-dimensional environments, so quickly moving between one enemy to another and delivering a swift boot to the face makes sense and flows smoothly. In Blackgate’s flat environments that only allow you to travel left or right, Batman’s movement is hindered, often sending him careening off in one direction or the other towards an already downed foe and ruining a steady combo. Countering and dodging is just as flaky, often targeting the wrong enemy when a group is attacking, leaving you open to a knifing from an opponent who should be rendered harmless by the Dark Knight’s combat skills. Dodging attacks and environmental hazards is done by double tapping B, but the controls are not nearly responsive enough to effectively evade in time. Even after figuring out the baffling timing to properly land a dodge, the game only recognized our actions about half of the time, often resulting in swift deaths or stepped on spikes at the hands of faulty mechanics.

Beyond the sluggish combat and finicky dodging, the other big gameplay feature here is the use of the 3DS touchscreen to scan environments. With a thumb firmly placed on the virtual button, the Circle Pad is used to navigate the top screen and locate objects hidden within the environments. Found objects range from electrical mechanisms that need to be turned on in order to open a new passage to hidden clues that, when all are found, unlock bits of concept art and new costumes. Scanning the locales is a unique mechanic that helps place more emphasis on Batman's detective skills rather than his punching skills, but after a while it can start to wear thin.

Rather than simply being used to uncover hidden objects or clues, you'll actually find yourself scanning the environment just to detect locked doors that are obviously standing in your way. By the time you realize that you're practically scanning each new screen and room that you walk into, the charm has already worn off and has been replaced with boredom and frustration. Including the scanner as a necessary mechanic would have been wonderful had it been limited to certain rooms or situations, but forcing it on players to uncover the most obvious of objectives is insulting to his or her intelligence and a waste of time. It wouldn't be far off to describe this as vastly too much of a good thing.

As mentioned before, the plot is fitting with its comic origins, but the way in which it's presented is easily one of the most polished and impressive aspects of the game. Rather than using fully animated cinematic sequences featuring in-game models, an approach that surely would have taken a visual hit due to hardware limitations, Blackgate instead opts for fully voiced motion comics. For those unfamiliar, a motion comic is a medium of storytelling that blends the static style of comics with animated elements to give life to the otherwise still images. Using motion comics rather than CGI scenes allows the plot to unfold in a captivating way that feels like a natural fit with the desolate comic books aesthetic. The voice acting and dark soundtrack also help to bring the story to life, each contributing to setting the appropriate mood.

The character models in game are detailed and animated well, but the environments that they’re placed in all look drab and overly similar. Obviously too much appeal couldn’t be put into the environments – it is a prison, after all – but the similar settings get repetitive after a while, and all of the hallways begin to look the same. As a game based on exploration, this is never a good sign as it makes traversing new areas completely dull. Fortunately, the console’s 3D effect does add a sense of location to where Batman stands in the midst of all this, and some of the environments, though motion is still limited to two dimensions, look gorgeous with a little extra depth. Overall, the environments look good for what they are, but they don’t do anything to really stand out as technically or artistically impressive.

The campaign can be played through in around seven hours, or a little longer for those insistent on collecting all of the hidden objects and unlocking concept art and costumes. Once the story is over and everything has been collected, there’s not much to return for. The lack of an open world and character customization ensure that there is little to no replayability to be found here. Only obsessive collectors and speed-runners will have any reason to return to Blackgate once its doors are sealed.

Conclusion

Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate is a game that is brimming with great ideas that are, sadly, poorly executed. As a detective and crime fighter, it makes sense to have Batman star in a game that insists on exploration and backtracking. Regardless of how fitting the subject matter may be, as a Metroidvania title, this one tends to fall flat on some of the more crucial elements. Exploring the prison’s different locations using Batman’s array of gadgets makes sense and works well conceptually, but when you mix in the troublesome combat, unresponsive controls and repetitive environments, the combination becomes a bit batty. The cast of classic characters and original story might draw in fans of the Caped Crusader, but the glaring gameplay flaws simply can’t be ignored.

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User Comments (66)

Warruz

#3

Warruz said:

@Mikedanger I have not played either portable version, but everyone seems to be saying if you do the PSP version is the way to go.

The concept of a Batman Metroivania is amazing, to bad it did not pan out.

C-Olimar

#4

C-Olimar said:

I think this game is great. I didn't have much issue with the controls, but scanning all the time was annoying when you couldn't just tap the button to show where you had to analyse.
The combat wasn't much worse than in the console versions. Plus there isn't too much of it so it didn't get repetitive. The boss fights are a higlight, even if some of them are tricky.
I wish they did more to differentiate the environments. It's far too easy to get lost. They do look great though.
For me, it's a solid 7. Good review anyway.

C-Olimar

#5

C-Olimar said:

@Mikedanger Graphics are better on Vita. Plus there's acheivements to collect. 3DS version has a MiiVerse community and good 3D.

NbaJunkie

#10

NbaJunkie said:

bought this from target during black friday for 25. This review does give me pause though. Il probably return it since its still sealed..

hydeks

#11

hydeks said:

i have this game. If you like the console games ALOT, give this a look, if you like batman too, but otherwise the batman console experience doesn't cross over to the portables too well :-P

hosokawasamurai

#12

hosokawasamurai said:

And people said the devs for this game were good, they're ex-Retro Studios, whatever.

Funny to see the devs say they left Retro because they wanted more creative freedom to their work when the only things they could do were an incomplete Vita port of Metal Gear HD (missing Peace Walker), a sub-par Batman game (this one) and another Vita port (Injustice).

In other words, all they did were ports of already finished games to a failure system nobody owns and, the moment they were given the opportunity to make something original, they dropped the ball.

Apparently, these guys are way too "Armature" to make a good game.

DerpSandwich

#14

DerpSandwich said:

Looks like one you've got to try for yourself to judge. IGN gave it a bit of a higher score. Seems like a perfect game for a kid to get into the genre.

RedFireTiger

#15

RedFireTiger said:

i watched a preview and it looked so good!.... aw man.. oh well.
will there ever be a batman game i actually like?...

anyone like the castlevania games on 3DS?... they look good.. i wanna get em. keep in mind i haven't played castlevania since the original Castlevania on NES.

belmont

#16

belmont said:

@hosokawasamurai Have you played any of those games? Metal Gear HD is identical to the PS3 version and it was Konami's decision to omit Peace Walker since Vita does a good job in upscaling the PSP version (according to Hideo anyway, I don't really agree). Injustice is a great game that runs on 60fps and looks good on Vita. It is sort of downscaled from the PS3 version visually but plays flawlessly and identically. Only drawback is the bad cutscene video compression. These kind of games is why I got a Vita.

As for Batman Blackgate... I really like this game. The only bad thing is the very confusing map with lots of turns that don't make sense. Also the game is a sequel to Origins but does not spoil it. Keep in Mind that there are three different endings with minor differences that may please DC fans. The order that you fight the bosses determines the ending. The boss fights are very fun. The Visuals are very good, the cutscenes are GREAT and the combat is identical to Origins and there is no troublesome combat or unresponsive controls. I am speaking about the Vita version but the 3DS version seems identical only a bit downscaled visually. The game is highly recommended to Batman fans.

@RedFireTiger If you want a game like the NES Castlevania then Mirror of Fate may not be for you since it does not play like Castlevania but like a strange 2D version of God of War. I ended up liking the game but still think that the series should stop be God of War clones.

RedFireTiger

#17

RedFireTiger said:

@belmont Well... that doesn't sound too bad. I actually think that sounds refreshing for a 3DS title.. I will definitely pick up Mirrir of Fate now. thanks.
It looks good from the gameplay i've looked up...

man the 3DS is kicking donkey with the games they got... i just bought my lil bro a 3DS for christmas with two games. he said he wants one.... you know what wasn't on his christmas list?... a wii u. man i got one and i'm bummed. i guess i haven't really been impressed with nintendo console games since the nintendo 64. twilight princess was amazing thought and galaxy was fun. but i'm digging 3D World... i'm just tired of waiting for the games i guess.

irken004

#19

irken004 said:

grabbed it on vita's PSN sale last night, it's really good so far. Might be on the short side but getting a platinum looks easy ;)

Tasuki

#20

Tasuki said:

Still debating on this one. Might rent if first from GameFly and them if I like it buy it.

khululy

#21

khululy said:

@belmont And God of war should stop being a Devil May Cry clone. But I agree on the rest about the new take on Castlevania. But I understand they where looking for not another metroidvenia I guess and Patrick Steward makes up for a lot :P

@RedFireTiger I really liked Mirror of fate despite it being all over the place and I think it, and this Batman game, show there is a place for games with a less vibrant color palette and cheerfull storylines on the 3DS.

I still think I might enjoy this game more then to give it a 5 but that is up to the bargain bin to decide when that time comes.

JaxonH

#22

JaxonH said:

@RedFireTiger
Ah man, I love my Wii U- best console I've ever owned!

Super Mario 3D World is great, and I'm glad you're enjoying it, but there's SO much more than that. I know Wii U didn't have many games 6 months ago, but it just got a truckload over the last 4 or 5 months.

Here's a list of some of my personal faves that I'd recommend:

Pikmin 3 (One of the best games on the console- don't let the cheerful look deceive you, this game is full of depth and complex gameplay)

Zelda: The Windwaker HD (Simply amazing. One of the most highly acclaimed games now remastered with gamepad support? Win-win)

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (What can I say- this is my favorite game of ALL TIME. It's that good. Buy this game and you'll be thanking me later)

Wonderful 101 (A solid game brimming with action and technical combat. The controls add a unique depth of strategy I've never experienced before)

New Super Mario Bros U (Platforming bliss. Easily the funnest 2D Mario game I've ever played. MUCH better than previous entries)

Rayman Legends (The only 2D platformer I've ever seen that takes Mario to school. This game is what the Wii U is all about. If you own a Wii U, BUY THIS GAME)

Assassin's Creed 3 and 4 (It's Assassin's Creed, what's not to like? I'm sure you've played the franchise before so you probably already know. AC3 is $20 or less now, but AC4 is the better game imo. Can't go wrong either way)

Splinter Cell Blacklist (I hate stealth games, and yet I love this game. It's just fantastic, it really is. And the gamepad makes it so much better. This one definitely gets Jaxon's Stamp of Approval!)

Batman Arkham City and Origins (Arkham City is one of the better games out there, for ANY platform, and truly shines with the gamepad integration. Can be obtained for around $20. Origins is also well done- not quite as good as Arkham City and less gamepad use but still a very fun game)

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge (If you like hardcore technical combat, this is your game. It's fast, it's fun, and very addictive)

Wii Sports Club (Gotta love this one. Who doesn't like Wii Sports? It's so much better in high definition, and the online play is what really brings this game into its own. Added features like the gamepad serving as your tee off screen for Golf really tip the scales to make this one a classic. Gotta love this game!)

Darksiders 2 (One of the best games I've played in a LONG time. It's got it's flaws just like the other versions, ie screen tearing on occasion, but it's SO worth it. I cannot express to you how great this game is, you just have to play it for yourself, also shines with model gamepad integration)

Sonic All Stars Racing Transformed (Well, if you like Mario Kart there is no reason you shouldn't already own this game. It's actually BETTER than Mario Kart imo- probably not as good as MK8 will be, but better than recent entries for sure. Fabulous game, highly recommended)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Let me start off by saying this is a great game if you like stealth, fantastic actually. The improved game now has full gamepad integration, built-in developer commentary and a digital walkthrough all accessible right from the gamepad. Definitely a worthy purchase)

Call of Duty Black Ops and Ghosts (It's Call of Duty. You either love it or hate it. Me, I like it- it's the only FPS I can get into. The plus here is the built in Wiimote support)

Other Notable Games You May Like: ZombiU, Resident Evil Revelations HD, Mass Effect 3, Injustice Gods Among Us, Need For Speed Most Wanted U, New Super Luigi U, Nintendoland and Tekken Tag Tournament 2,

Now, go enjoy that Wii U!

LDXD

#23

LDXD said:

@JaxonH I have to agree with you Wii u is awesome great recommendations good to see darksiders 2 get some love its a great game also deus ex is great even if you DONT like stealth games because I hate stealth for the most part but love deus ex because you can play it many different ways its not like assassins Creed where you're forced sometimes to play hide n seek I would recommend deus ex to anyone who likes futuristic RPGs its one of the best games for its generation

JaxonH

#24

JaxonH said:

@LDXD
That's how I felt about Splinter Cell Blacklist. I haven't yet made a full determination of whether or not Deus Ex is for me because I'm only about an hour into it, and even on the easiest mode I still found it difficult at times. Like I say, I'm not that good at stealth. Nonetheless, the game is oozing with quality, and the cutscenes were really immersive during that introduction phase.

LDXD

#25

LDXD said:

@RedFireTiger hmm if you ask me the new castlevanias aren't castlevania I don't know what they are but I'd like to put them all in a pile and burn them
If you haven't played anything past the first I'd say get the older ones off the eshop if possible castlevania 3 is a masterpiece so is super castlevania and rondo
For your 3ds I recommend the ds games Like dawn of sorrow or any of the metrovania ones

LDXD

#26

LDXD said:

@JaxonH yeah man the first hr was OK trust me it gets better once you get the feel for the game deus ex is one of the best games last gen no doubt I never once went stealth I basicly leveled up to be a tank
That first boss will probably give you serious problems just remember theirs more than one way to skin a cat if you know what I mean

divinelite

#27

divinelite said:

I pick this on Vita, because it's the same game after all. The graphics in Vita is a bit par on console alike, so it's a very great game which I would give an 8/10

well, for 3ds a game needs good graphics like this surely is not suitable

JaxonH

#28

JaxonH said:

@LDXD
I hear ya. I actually found that plowing my way through got me alot farther than trying to sneak and get ambushed by 5 guys around me when seen. At least with plowing through I could take 2 out by surprise, then strategically eliminate the rest one by one.

Idk, with Splinter Cell Blacklist I couldn't even get past the tutorial on EASY mode. I was about to give up, but then it "clicked" all of a sudden, and I went on to beat the game. Maybe it'll "click" with Deus Ex as well given enough practice. I've by no means given up on the game, I'm just too busy with Super Mario 3D World and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate.

JaxonH

#29

JaxonH said:

@divinelite
I agree. I bought Arkham City and Arkham Origins for Wii U, but instead of getting Blackgate for 3DS I opted for the Vita version. Don't get me wrong, I love my 3DS and it's got TONS of exclusives, most of them personal favorites of mine, but when it comes to multiplats Vita is usually the best route to take.

For example, I loved Sonic Racing Transformed so much after beating it on Wii U I decided to buy 3DS version. Big disappointment. Game was 10x easier to compensate for the fact you couldn't see anything ahead of you until it was right there, like items and turns. So I bought the Vita version and I'm very pleased. Looks almost just as good as on the Wii U gamepad (not quite that good, but close enough). Same for Rayman Origins. Vita is the way to go.

Unfortunately, there's not much else besides those as far as Vita multiplats. Its' library is thin, and the exclusives aren't that great, but the Vita's strongest suit is definitely multiplats. Despite the shaky release schedule, I am more than grateful they finally announced a released date for Final Fantasy X/X-2, and not only that, but the game will include both versions (I'd heard they were going to separate them into 2 games for the Vita). That and Borderlands 2 are pretty much the only Vita games I'm looking forward to, and both of them are ports, but hey, they're still great games and it's better than nothing!

divinelite

#30

divinelite said:

@JaxonH well i love my vita more than anything, hence my 94 games (no trophy games are not tracked, so i have more than 100 games), for 3ds I love the 1st party and 3rd party exclusive, like Ace Attorney, KH, Pokemon, etc (5 or 6 games for my 3ds) but well... i kinda dont' like the analog for 3ds.

graphics in 3ds sometimes is very great, just look at Resident Evil. I can't believe that can be made into 3ds

JaxonH

#31

JaxonH said:

@divinelite
Wow, that's impressive! I only have 13 Vita games, but I have 30 Gamecube, 40 Wii, 30 3DS and 30 Wii U games not counting digital or pending pre orders. Oh, and 1 PS4 game lol.

Yeah, I love Vita too, bought it day one no questions asked. I do wish it had a little better selection headed its way, but that could still change next year so we'll see. It's got the potential, seeing as every multiplat that it gets looks and plays close to console experience.

PS: I've been keeping my eye on Toukiden, since I'm a HUGE Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate gamer. Have yet to play a "MH clone" that I've been satisfied with (Ragnarok Odyssey and Soul Sacrifice didn't really impress me), but this Toukiden game looks like it could be promising. I'll reserve judgement until it's localized but Famitsu gave it an 8.8 or something like that?

I watched some gameplay and it doesn't look bad. I just wanna know if there's full armor customization and upgrading, as well as weapon crafting. Not to mention, it's the minuscule detail that make MH great, like weapon sharpness, hot and cold environments, stamina, status effects, etc. If the game is stripped of those types of details, I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy it.

drexegar

#32

drexegar said:

@belmont Actually castlevania plays like god of war mix in with the platforming of castlevania 4 and wee little bit of metrovania. But yeah looks like this batman game was trying to pull off a lords of shadow for portables like mirror of fate did.

Batman would be a thousands time better if they left the 2-d camera and let batman roam in 3-d. But then again it would be too fun and might overshadow the lackluster console version.

Mommar

#33

Mommar said:

@MikeDanger I haven't played the Vita version but I watched some video after being horribly disappointed with the frame-rate and responsiveness of the 3DS version. It looks like the frame rate and controls are all around better, however that won't fix the boring gameplay much. I actually would have scored the game a three or a four myself. It's the first 3DS game I've bought that I didn't want (too bad I downloaded it and can't return it.)

Magicpegasus

#34

Magicpegasus said:

dear publishers, plz don't bring doggieoopsiepoopiepoodle ports to 3ds...we're doing just fine without them. i don't want any 2.5d castlevanias either, f that. just pop out the originals or something with 3d graphics....hey, how about sotn 3d? anybody just get really excited. but no, we have to have a crap version of a batman game people got sick of last year with like an origin story that doesn't even really make sense. thanks.

Watch the language -Lz

belmont

#36

belmont said:

@LDXD @JaxonH @divinelite Hey guys sorry for joining in but I agree with all of you. It is good to see some praise for both the Wii U and the Vita. Both platforms deserve it and I hate reading all this doom scenarios on the net. Although I didn't have to get games for my Wii U yet I have more than 200 games for the Vita if I count PSP and PS1 games and highly enjoy the device although it has some flaws (like where is Final Fantasy and when do they plan localizing more Japan games).

@RedFireTiger Just remembered there is a Demo at the e-shop. Try it, I think you liked it.

@khululy Lol you may be right the only pure action 3D games I have played are God of War and Lords of Shadow.

LDXD

#37

LDXD said:

@belmont tell me about it I just recently purchased a vita and fell in love with it I don't get all the hate the thing is awesome I feel the same way about the Wii u people keep hating on it mainly because of poor sales and its supposedly a weak console, thing is sales have nothing to do with how good the console is and Wii u being to weak is nonsense because we all know what Nintendo is capable of I mean galaxy looked better than some 360 games so just because the Wii u is slightly weaker than the newer consoles has nothing to do with anything because you should buy the Wii u mainly for Nintendo games to begin with and if you also own or plan to own a ps4, PC or what not then why complain about 3rd party support anyway? I don't get the hate for the Wii u
Sure the Wii u isn't with out its flaws but being a weak console isn't one of them and the fact that it does more out the box than any other console ever and does things that has never been done before makes it one of my favorite consoles that I've owned
I can name more flaws with the ps4 and xbone serious ones at that, not hating on any system just facts as I plan to get a ps4 in the near future

LDXD

#39

LDXD said:

@JaxonH lol man I hear that I had to quit monster hunter for a while because my other games wasn't getting any attention its very addictive and never ends
I can promise you deus ex will click its really a gem, when I first started it took me some time to get use to the controls I was so use to fps controls when playing that it threw me off a bit at first and I wasn't feeling it but the more I played it the more it pulled me in and I found myself playing it everyday until I beat it
Another great thing about deus ex it has ng+ which for me is always a huge plus with RPG games
Never played splinter cell because I know its mostly a stealth game and that's why I'm not gonna get ac4 even though I know its a good game the last thing I want is having to constantly do the same missions because of a guard that can miraculously see through walls and hear from miles away
Dear Santa can I get better AI in my next gen games?;)

LDXD

#40

LDXD said:

@JaxonH just reading some of your previous post about vita exclusives, I can recommend Ys memories of celceta if you like ARPGs this game is a must! You can also get Ys seven and Ys oath on psn both PSP games and both awesome some of the best music in video games and some of the best fastest gameplay in action RPG games that sums up Ys
What about soul sacrifice? I just played about 2 hrs of it to get a feel of the game and it seems really good kinda like a monster hunter type
Killzone mercenary is another one
Persona 4 golden and disgaea 3 two highly acclaimed jrpgs haven opened either yet though because I have to many games to play first lol

Gamer83

#41

Gamer83 said:

@JaxonH

Stick with Deus Ex, especially if you're into sci-fi, conspiracies and all that stuff. The game isn't really overly difficult. I'm a very average gamer at best and was able to get through on normal fairly easily. Some frustrating parts but not too bad.

JaxonH

#42

JaxonH said:

@LDXD
Well, I already own Persona 4. I mean, if you own a Vita this should be a no-brainer lol.

I also already own Killzone Mercenary. But, I didn't really like it tbh. I thought I would, and don't get me wrong it's ok and all, but couldn't really hold my attention. I went ahead and bought Shadowfall as my PS4 launch game, but that one was even worse. If I had to play one I'd prob stick with Mercenary. Idk, the PS4 one made it hard to determine which way to go alot of times, the objective marker was MIA or blended in with scenery- I won't get into all that but suffice it to say I'm not really a big fan of these games.

I know the games get alot of hate, but Call of Duty is actually the only FPS I can really get into and enjoy. Not sure why, it's just fun and very addicting to me (on that subject though, I beat BO2 Declassified, and as bad as it was, I still think I enjoyed it more than Killzone, evident by the fact I played it through to completion (that and how short it was).

As for Soul Sacrifice, again, couldn't really get into it. I don't feel it's a bad game, it's just not a great game. And I have so many great games to play, it's hard to put them down for an ok one.

Now, as for Y's Memories of Celceta. That game was high on my list for a while. But before I bought it, my brother ended up grabbing a copy, and has played about 8 hours in so far. Shockingly, he told me the game was good but not nearly as good as some had made it out to be. I can't speak from experience because I haven't actually played it myself, but I usually trust my brother's judgement when it comes to games. He's been gaming as long as I have, and we both share similar taste in what we like. So after he told me that I kinda lost interest in buying it.

As for the PSP games, I find it hard to stay focused with most PSP RPG's, Couldn't tell you exactly why that is (maybe it's a combination of slower pace and more dated graphics, Idk). I have no doubt they're probably great games (many swear by this franchise, I know), but they're just not something I'm interested in. Maybe I'll grab Y's when I can grab it cheaper. It did seem pretty decent from all the gameplay vids I watched...

JaxonH

#43

JaxonH said:

@Gamer83
Yeah, alot of games are like that, where you just have to experiment until you find the right approach. I always sucked at MGS, which is why I gave up on stealth until my recent adventure with Splinter Cell Blacklist, which has given me new faith in my abilities. I try to stay unseen, but have found that I usally get seen which results in a sudden ambush and death. Idk, I'm sure after playing it a little more I'll get better. Like you say it's all about the right approach.

LDXD

#44

LDXD said:

@JaxonH hmmm maybe you should borrow your brothers copy of Ys and see if you like it its very fast pace combat, music and challenge is why I love that series started with Ys3 on SNES and every game after has been amazing the only major knock on celceta is the graphics but that's not why you play that series
How long did you play soul sacrifice for? I haven't played but around two hrs Have other games to play first but it felt sorta like monster hunter am I wrong? Maybe I need to play longer to see but I hope it doesn't get boring the reason why I didn't keep with it because I thought it would be like monster hunter an take up too much of my time another reason why I haven't opened up persona4 yet lol

JaxonH

#45

JaxonH said:

@LDXD
Alot of games try to captivate the MH fanbase, but Idk what it is, they all just seem to fall short imo. MH is a game that is so delicately built, if even one of the minute elements were to be taken away the whole game comes crumbling down. Which is why it's so hard for other games to get it right. They leave alot of the same mechanics out for the sake of not copying too much, but that's usually the game's downfall.

In the case of Soul Sacrifice, I felt like the whole was less than the sum of its parts. If you look at all the individual features and mechanics, they all seem great on their own, but for some reason the game as a whole just isn't as great as you'd expect (though it's still a good game, by all means, so don't take me wrong here). Can't really put my finger on it except to say it couldn't hold my interest after a while. Alot of games are like that to me- the individual components all seem great but the game as a whole just doesn't captivate my lasting attention. Monster Hunter is probably the most repetitive game of the genre, and yet it holds my interest every waking moment, because I feel so invested in my progress and the monsters are so incredibly fun to hunt.

Yeah, I probably will end up playing his copy of Y's and see for myself. I liked the gathering and combinations I saw in some of the videos I watched. Very Monster Hunter-esqe, and actually seems like they got it RIGHT unlike so many other games. I also liked the fast paced combat and the slash, strike or pierce mechanic (also similar to Monster Hunter). It almost seemed like Monster Hunter if it were translated to be an all-out traditional RPG.

And graphics don't bother me, I'm not one of THOSE kind of gamers. Sure, I'm all for having the best graphics but it's just one tiny little piece of the puzzle. Heck, take Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on Wii U for example. It's definitely no showpiece for the Wii U's capabilities, seeing as it's still using Wii geometry and models albeit with new textures and HD resolution (even so the game is definitely the best looking Monster Hunter to date). Despite that game's relatively underwhelming graphics I've put in 583 hours, which is close to a full month of playing 24/7)

So yeah, graphics shouldn't be an issue. Only time graphics become an issue for me is in some of the older games that try to do more than the hardware was meant for, or large robust 3D worlds on meager hardware, which results in a jarring experience of sloppy pixels and jaggies everywhere (I still play retro games from time to time- it's really just alot of the DS and PSP games that bother me, cause that's when they started using 3D environments but the hardware wasn't quite up to scratch)

NOTE: There are hundreds of things that contribute to why I like MH so much, but I think one of the biggest draws that keeps me interested is the fact that the monsters seem like actual beasts, not some crazy alien lifeforms with tentacles robotic arms. I'm always thrilled to see the next big monster, find out what they look like, what they can do, etc. I never got that feeling from SS or any of the other games of the genre. And I think THAT is what's missing in most of the other games. They need to make the bosses/monsters/giant enemies a thrill. They need to captivate the player 100%. I bought artbooks for MH because I was so taken by the monsters in the game. But I would NEVER buy an artbook to see the bosses of most of these other games. That's how devs should know they've got it right. When gamers are captivated by each and every boss monster enemy, and get that drive to progress just to see and fight the next one.

Magicpegasus

#47

Magicpegasus said:

@LDXD i only mean that there's better games on vita supposedly. i don't really know since i don't buy/follow sony handhelds.

LDXD

#48

LDXD said:

@KnightRider666 how are you finding the controls and combat? Do you find that the environments are to similar? I also herd that the map is very confusing and basically pointless
I'm kinda on the fence about this one I love metrovania style games but not sure if some of these complaints are just over exaggerations
Is it anything like that castlevania game for 3ds? Because I hated the gameplay I rather the older ones

KnightRider666

#49

KnightRider666 said:

@LDXD: I liked Castlevania 3DS actually. Yes, it is similar. The environments are supposed to be similar, very dark. The combat can be challenging, and the controls are tight. Buy the game used at GameStop and see for yourself. If you don't like it, you can return it. This game had me hooked right away. With as many games that are out there, it has to be REALLY good to keep my interest.

Spoony_Tech

#50

Spoony_Tech said:

@KnightRider666 thanks for that heads up. I also have Castlevaina LoSMoF and liked it even though I'm yet to beat it. Love me a Metroidvaina as well so it will remain on my radar for sure. Really need to not pay full price though this go around as we just picked up a Wii U. I've also been keeping up with Metacritic reviews so I never use this as a final word!

KnightRider666

#51

KnightRider666 said:

@Spoony_Tech: No problem. It's actually on sale at Wal-mart and Gamestop for $30 new. You owe it to yourself to check this great game out! By the way, add me to your 3DS friend list:)

Urbanhispanic

#52

Urbanhispanic said:

@JaxonH

great post/description.....you highlighted some of the Wii U's best games in its library. I recently got a Wii U myself but need a new TV to play it on. :P

JaxonH

#53

JaxonH said:

@Urbanhispanic
You don't have a TV as of right now? Or you just want to upgrade to a HDTV? In either case, many games are playable off-TV on the Gamepad. You might have to forfeit some excellent dual-screen integration as a result, but at least you can play the game. Other than Pikmin 3, Nintendoland and ZombiU, I'm pretty sure every other game mentioned supports off-TV play. And while it may not be HD, games look pretty great on the Pad,

Kid_A

#54

Kid_A said:

I actually thought this game was pretty darn solid. It doesn't have the quality to recommend to players who aren't already Bat-fans (unlike the console Arkham games, which I think anyone could enjoy) but if you're a fan of Batman, the story/acting and gameplay is definitely worth a look.

Lunapplebloom

#55

Lunapplebloom said:

Well this game got a 9 in the Nintendo Force Magazine, so I'll definitely give this thing a whirl. Seems that the only thing holding it back is the repetitiveness and dumbed down a bit controls.

seshimaroo

#56

seshimaroo said:

I just got this for christmas. It's pretty good. I'd give it something around 7.5 to 8.

Urbanhispanic

#57

Urbanhispanic said:

@JaxonH

I need to upgrade it; currently I have the ol' fashioned analog TV (complete with a big butt on its back.) In addition to the two games that come with the bundle, I already bought Batman Arkham Asylum and Need for Speed Most Wanted so I'll be ready when I buy a new TV next month. I'm even planning on getting Tekken Tag Tournament, Lego City Undercover and Super Mario 3D World.

But for now, I'm clearing out my 3DS games backlog.

JaxonH

#58

JaxonH said:

@Urbanhispanic

Well, Tekken tells me you like fighters and Need For Speed tells me you like racers. I'd really have to recommend Injustice and Sonic Transformed if you like those types of games. Two VERY excellent games.

Mizzah_Tee

#59

Mizzah_Tee said:

Wow, I'm really surprised by this review. I have had no problems with the controls whatsoever and i enjoy the gameplay. Oh well, say if you're on the fence, try the game yourself. You may like it FOOS!

Urbanhispanic

#60

Urbanhispanic said:

@JaxonH

I've heard of Sonic Transformed and still on the fence on whether I should get it. You're right; I like racing games so NFSMW interests me. I also like Mario Kart and I still play it online. As for fighters, every once in a while I pick up one to play.

On topic, I thought Arkham Origins Blackgate was not as bad as some reviews make it out to be. It's not perfect but I'm still playing through it so hopefully i'll beat it soon.

JaxonH

#61

JaxonH said:

@Urbanhispanic

Don't stay on the fence for long- Sonic Transformed is an amazing game! Really it is, much better than Need For Speed Most Wanted U actually, if you ask me. I'd actually rank it as the best racer I've ever played on a home console, with the exception to perhaps F-Zero GX on the Gamecube and Mario Kart 64. The tracks are varied and interesting, the speed is fast paced, there's racing on land, sea and air (and not little tiny bits like MK7, I'm talking full laps), and there's an extensive system in place to level up and unlock cart mods.

JaxonH

#62

JaxonH said:

@Mizzah_Tee
Hey, nice to see you here on N-life.

I wasn't too big a fan of Blackgate on Vita but Arkham Origins on Wii U is a great game, maybe not quite as good as Arkham City, but surprisingly good. Much better than reviewers made it out to be.

tj3dsXL

#63

tj3dsXL said:

I love this game, its like Batman Returns the movie (my FAV!) meets the Arkham legacy! I felt like i hit the brakes in my car when the close up shots of Batman appeared....so sexy ! This game is dark and i love the setting too, its the game for you if you dont go for "kiddy-cute" (a.c./pokemon) type of games !!! The only thing missing is Catwomans "lifes a b*tch now so am I" quote....but shes a freak in this game too and you'll discover that after the first bloody nose you give her (she enjoys it) !

Gamer83

#64

Gamer83 said:

Got the Vita version for Christmas and I have to say I actually quite like the game so far. Some things annoy me, but the gameplay is solid for the most part and I like the story. I'd actually put the story in both Origin games ahead of Asylum's or City's.

@JaxonH
Yeah, I wasn't sure about Origins at first and when reviews hit it seemed like it was just a 'cheap cash-in' that I was expecting, than I played the game and realized I couldn't be more wrong. It's hilarious to me how that game got ripped apart for being 'more of the same' by some reviewers who then turn around and give BF 4, the definition of more of the same and a broken p.o.s. a 9 or 10/10, it sickens me the pass certain games get while others that have actual work put into them don't get the same courtesy. Origins isn't perfect, but much like Skyrim was a broken game on PS3 and the developers should've been taken to task, EA should've been raked over the coals by reviewers for the broken mess that is BF 4. Maybe the core gameplay isn't bad, but if you can't actually play it what does that matter? The 5's that Origins got should've been reserved for EA and Dice's joke of a shooter.

Relias

#65

Relias said:

I don't know I actually enjoy this game. The only real problem I have with it is on occasions it seems like the controls just suddenly stop working. (Bronze Tiger fight ) but if you can work past that it's not a bad game. It's just not as good as it could have been.

PinkSpider

#66

PinkSpider said:

This game is so much better than a 5, being playing it for the last 2 days straight, I don't think Nlife realised this game had 3 ex Metroid Prime employees working on this other wise it would have scored higher And you can clearly see the Metroid prime inspiration in this game. This game easily deserves a 7....it's Batroid Prime and it's fantastic

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