Games That Nobody Plays Anymore: Batman Begins

Batman Begins game head

Batman Begins (the game) was released one day before the film, and because of that, it spoiled the movie. By spoil the movie I mean play the movie in your home. I have sat through this game and not once did I get bored, but not once did I wonder to myself “This all seems familiar.”. Back in 2005 it was always rad to put epic cinematic cut scenes in your video-game, but it even more bad ass if you were doing a game based on a movie. Because you had freedom to explore the movie, exploit its key points and… actually games based on movies suck. So did Batman Begins suck? Yes. But in a good way.

Batman Begins generally follows the strict plot line of the movie, even going as far as including minor characters and events. It’s a nice little companion to the movie, but it doesn’t follow the locations of the movie as such. I’ve complained about this on my blog, and many other sites, that a game based upon a movie needs to MAKE A GAME OUT OF THE MOVIE. Batman Begins takes you ”places not seen in the film”, “meet characters not seen in the movie.”, it’s basically one big cover-up for a giant dollop of ‘Can’t be bothered.”. Now that’s just wrong.

Batman begins screen 1

If there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who ya gonna call? The proper authorities. Oh and Batman if you have him on speed dial. He does get around a lot. Gameplay is oddly simple, go through a level taking out thugs, get to the end, beat up more thugs. Is it deeper than that? Of course, there’s a real neat gameplay mechanic which we’ll call ‘FEAR’, you have to stalk your prey, you have to analyze their movements, and use the environment to your advantage. Grabbing someone and locking them alone in a freight container is always fun to do, so is holding them 30 feet off the ground.

Then there are those gripes, you know, those issues you have a game which sometimes spoil it. There’s an annoying climbing mechanic, when you miss you have to glide all the way down and do it all over again. Some people are applauding this, that you don’t have to reset you’re checkpoint to do it all over again… but it’s the same. The only thing saved is lives, and in modern times we don’t use a ‘live system’. There’s a lot of gripes I have with this game, A LOT. The combat system is horrible, only about 5 animations, and when you crawl it looks like Batman is taking a bat-dump.

batman begins screen 2

Batman Begins is a pretty game, well for its time anyway. The environments and atmosphere are really top notch and I hate to say this, but this would be the modern day Bioshock. If you know what I mean. Not in terms of story or gameplay, but in terms of atmosphere. Looking at the city from the docks, the moonlight illuminating the water, it’s deeply immerse. A real nice touch. The main cast from the movie also voice themselves in the game. Hearing Morgan Freeman’s voice in your head NEVER gets old, and Michael Caine’s cockney calmness is always there to sooth the mood.

Is it a bad game? Maybe. Is it a bad movie game? Certainly not. It retains it’s authenticity and is a real testament to Batman Begins, it’s a deeply engrossing play through and although some things are shaky. The animation and some gameplay mechanics don’t work well, and it is sometimes frustrating. Combat is shaky, Batman looks constipated and some of the things from the movie are actually missing. A big thing like the whole of Gordon’s character/ Gary Oldman, they even modified the ending by destroy the Bat-tank/Tumbler to stop Ra’s Al Ghul. Seems like a cop out. Nevertheless, it’s a nice little movie game.

In other words, it sucks.

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