An ambitious attempt to recreate the dark knight for the new generation, but more style over substance.

User Rating: 8.1 | Batman Begins XBOX
The Batman was an iconic figure throughout the last few decades and still remains, to this day, the hero we all want to be, to hardcore fans and members of the general public alike. Throughout his long comic book and movie life, we have witnessed the continual transformation and evolution of the Dark Knight, from his humble comic book origins, to the superhero type movies, and the stylish cartoons of late. But one series, one portrayal of the Caped Crusader has captured the hearts of fans everywhere, with its emphasis on the Batman's humanity and mortality, as well as his ability to inspire fear in criminality. The picture Frank Miller painted of Batman, was of a dark, brooding human soul, who could never reconcile over the murder of his parents, and spent the better part of his sad history changing the face of Gotham City, using fear as his greatest weapon. It was different. People had never before seen this side of the Caped Crusader, and now EA games attempts to recreate the feel of the truly Dark Knight, alongside the summer blockbuster under the title: Batman Begins. Loosely based on the movie's storyline and plot, Batman Begins is a combination of several types of gameplay integrated into a single package. For the most part, the gameplay of Batman Begins fares moderately well, demonstrating the physical and mental prowess of the Dark Knight. As the Batman, you are able to double-jump, scale high ledges and pipes, use your cape to glide silently over the sky, throw batarangs, sneak around and generally kick lots of bad guy ass. The gameplay consists of generally finding your way around the level by navigating ventilating shafts, and climbing pipes, then finding your enemy. This is the primary focus of the game. When you see your enemies, your objective is to remain hidden and use the environment to inspire fear, making them drop their weapons or be confused, allowing the Batman to easily dispatch his foes. It's all good and all, but there is a significant flaw with the system that the game uses for this fear mechanic. The thing is, when you are searching for a means to use the environment to scare enemies, the game does that for you. That means, you come into a roomful of enemies from a hidden place, press the left or right buttons on the d-pad to search for environmental factors, throw your batarang, and drop down to dispatch your foes. I mean, the game does a pretty good job of making you feel like the Batman, but doesn't fare too well in making you feel intelligent. The path through the game is very obvious. You couldn't miss it if you tried. That said, the main components of the game are alright. The fighting system is okay, with one punch, kick and special attack button, also allowing you to pull counters and blocks, vault and jump attacks. It has slight depth to it; you can usually button-mash your way through the earlier enemies, but when you fight manic inmates and battle-hardened league ninjas, you're going to have to use dodges and counters if you are going to make it out of the fight alive. Because you see, the Batman is very vulnerable, and it seems as if EA Games is trying too hard to emphasize his mortality. You die way too easily, a few gunshots and you're gone, a bunch of punches and kicks and you're taking the way of the "load last checkpoint". Other than that, the punches have a solid feel to them, and it helps that the Batman controls pretty well. Once you've mastered the shallow fighting system, you'll be basically blowing right through the game. There is also an interrogation feature, but it feels half-hearted and not very exciting. The acrobatic segments are okay, and like said above, are helped by the responsive controls. The Batman is quite an athlete, as you'll see by his jumping and hanging around, and these segments are reminiscent of the newer Prince of Persia games, which is good. But the Batmobile sections are not that great, and it's painful cloning of Burnout 3: Takedown is simply intolerable. You'll find yourself just zipping through these levels as fast as humanly possible. Fortunately, these levels are few and far between. Batman Begins also has a few nice touches, like more dramatized scenes from the movie that's playable, and unlockable Bat costumes, as well as the transformation of Batman into a demon in the minds of fear-engulfed criminals. Nice. The graphics are excellent, with beautiful rim lighting on Batman, detailed textures on criminals, and the actors of the game look exactly like their movie counterparts.The only problem is the suit models worn by Dr.Crane and Bruce Wayne. They look ... fat. Nevertheless, all is good, including the audio. The punches sound solid, the swishing of the Batman's cape sounds oh-so-cool, and th voice acting is top-notch, with especially good turn-ins by Liam Neeson as Henry Ducard, and Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth. The only complaint I have against the voice acting is a against Christian Bale. The gruff Batman voice sounds amazing mostly, but sometimes it's so gruff it's laughable and sometimes it just sounds plain weird. Batman Begins is not bad, but the spreading out of so many features diminishes its core aspects somewhat. It just seems half-realized. It could have been so much more, but it's a good start for a new generation of Batman games, hopefully. It doesn't hit the right spot, but somewhere down the line of new Batman games, it will. Good for hardcore fans of the comics and movie, but it won't become one your best-loved games, though it is the best Batman game ever.