You gotta love Batman!

User Rating: 8.3 | Batman Begins XBOX
Batman Begins definitely marks a new beginning for the caped crusader in the video game realm. I must say that this is first Batman game I have enjoyed in the past ten years or so, and if this game is any indication of where the franchise is going, then I can´t wait for the sequels. Anyway, into the review. Many reports have stated that the gameplay resembles that of the Splinter Cell series. While it would definitely be cool if such statements were true, I must say we are dealing with a totally different kind of animal here. There is stealth involved sure, but there is definitely more action going on in Batman Begins. The manipultaion of your enemy´s fear is your primary goal here, and there are a few distinct ways in which you can go about scaring the living beegeebees out of them. The deal is it is usually a context sensitive process that feels more scripted than improvised, taking away some of the freedom you´d like to have if you had Batman´s fearsome skills. The first time through a level you´ll enjoy watching your enemies cower in fear after a gas pipe explodes beside them, but after the twentieth time you see the brief cutscene of a gas pipe exploding, you´ll start to grow bored, and what´s worse, you can´t skip these! The implementation of movie footage is kind of sloppy also. The scenes try to tell the story, but usually end abruptly and feel sort of disjointed. Their implementation is not as polished as they were in the Lord of the Rings games. Still, they do manage to hype you into the coming level and and give you a basic sense of what´s going on in the story. So what is there to like...a lot I must say. From a technical standpoint the game is quite an accomplishment. The graphics are super crisp and the art direction is inspired. Textures do seem to get a bit blurry if you close up too much, but that is just nitpicking, the overall visual quality is excellent and the atmosphere is dark and gloomy, just how it should be. Animation is sort of a mixed bag. I mean, Batman walks, runs and fights like a total badass. Worthy of note are his kicking animations and the way he´ll recoil his legs after taking the boot to a thug´s face. But then, as he creeps around he gets this jumpy stride that just looks strange. Even worse is when the Dark Knight decides to climb a rope or a ladder. He looks anything but scary,even bordering on the silly. Sound is a different story though. Everything just sounds great. Windows shattering, wood burning, knuckles punching and cape flowing all sound great. The voice acting is, as we all expect given that the real life actors do the voice work, excellent. Music is atmospheric and gets the job done. I would have to say that while the gameplay features some innovative mechanics with the fear element, it seems underdeveloped and could be exploited even further. While it is cool to grab an enemy and intimidate him as you have him dangling from your arm twenty feet from the ground, it seems that only a handful of enemies can be interrogated, again taking away the of freedom of choice we all desserve to have. Same thing happens with the use of items, they may only be used at certain spots throughout a level, as if someone had already been through the setting and placed them there to help you out. Combat, while not perfect, is really fun. There are no complex combos or weapons (apart from your enemies´that is) involved. Just pure batcial arts. There is a punch, a kick, and a special move button. It may sound simple and in fact it may be, but some of the moves you can pull off are truly spectacular. Once you{ve nailed the combat system it becomes really fun to get into a fight. Finally, the batmobile stages. As it is almost common knowledge in the web, the gamplay in these stages is quite similar to Burnout. Simple, straightforward, yet very fun. The visual style remains and the overall quality does not stray from the rest of the game. All in all, Batman Begins is a very fun game. There is some stealth, a lot of fightng, peed pants, and fast and furious driving. All in a tight little package that looks great, sounds awesome, and makes you feel like you had a bat on your chest. Some more freedom and and slightly better animation would really improve the score. All in all though, it is worth a purchase and if your a batman fan, worth playing with a costume on. NOTE: I haven´t finished it so I don´t know how long it is, but 3/4 through the game have clocked around 9 hours for me.