A great movie, a mediocre game.

User Rating: 6.7 | Batman Begins GC
The film Batman Begins has garnered rave reviews and, at the time this review was written, sat at #1 in the box office. The movie is deserving of such acclaim, but the video game adaptation is not. The game Batman Begins follows the film’s plot almost to the letter, making non-linear gameplay almost nonexistent. The fact that it does follow the film, however, provides it with a good, compelling story. Rather than revolving around brute force, Batman must rely on stealth and cunning since he’s not exactly bulletproof and has no super powers to speak of—having a thinking superhero is always a plus in my book. The camera can get in the way of stealthily slinking around, but it’s usually not bad enough to get the Dark Knight killed. Fear is the centerpiece of Batman Begins—breaking your enemies before you engage them makes them less accurate with their attacks and may cause them to drop their guns. Aiding you in creating fear is a rather limited assortment of gadgets. These include batarangs (these don’t come back to you, they’re more like shurikens, or throwing stars), your electrohack tool, smoke grenades, flash-bangs, and high-frequency transmitters (for calling a flock of bats). The latter three, however, can only be used on those you’ve already spooked. The graphics run pretty smoothly with minimal slow-down. While the environments are lackluster and occasionally monotonous, the character models are exceptional. The CGI Henri Ducard is easily recognizable as Liam Neeson, Lucius Fox looks just like Morgan Freeman, and perhaps most striking of all is the CG Alfred, who looks eerily similar to Michael Cane. Batman occasionally looks like Stallone, but when he takes the mask off that problem goes away. Character animation is slightly rigid, enough to easily tell it’s a video game, but not so much that it takes away from the overall gaming experience. The inclusion of film clip montage cut-scenes adds a nice touch—evoking memories of the film, or if you’ve yet to see it, treating you to a little taste of what the movie has to offer. The voice acting was mostly excellent. The major actors from the film lent their voices to the game. Though Christian Bale’s voiceovers have a few rough spots, he does a good job of bringing the cold, angry Batman to the small screen. Of note is the superb voice acting of Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and Cillian Murphy—they expertly bring their respective characters into the world of video games. Unfortunately, the otherwise great audio quality is marred by voiceover “holes” in the GameCube version. There are certain parts of the game where a character’s voice suddenly cuts out, their lips keep moving but no sound comes out. The scene continues on with only half of a conversation playing out, leaving the player to fill in the gaps. The game itself is rather short, it takes only five to six hours to complete and unlock everything. If the player puts in about thirty minutes to an hour a day, the game is done in around a week. Replay value is almost non existent—you can play to try to increase your reputation and/or play through with one of three retro batsuits. You can try to play through one of the harder difficulty settings, but that’s where replay value screeches to a halt. It’s worth a five or six buck rental, but not $50 to buy. If you’re a hardcore fan of the Caped Crusader and simply have to get the game, wait until it hits the bargain bins or purchase a used copy, make it worth your money. Batman Begins is a great movie, but a mediocre game. The game is too simplistic and too quickly finished. Once you’re done with it, there isn’t much to keep you coming back for more. Though gaps are present in dialogue, the voice acting by the main actors is simply terrific—they don’t miss a beat. Character models look remarkably like the actors that portray them and, though the animation can be a little jerky, the characters’ movements are fluid enough to allow for a certain level of believability. The game play is fairly linear, though that’s somewhat offset by the well-written story. Overall, Batman Begins is a fair game, not bad, but could have easily been made much better. If you’re going to buy it, look for a cheap, maybe even used, copy—don’t waste fifty bucks.