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10th February 2014: Arkham Origins Done (Sort Of)

I don't have many games on my PS3, as I bought it primarily to be a Blu-ray player, but without doubt the best games I own for it are Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, both of which I played through twice, fully completing not only the stories but also all the secrets and riddles.

And so I was really looking forward to getting stuck into Arkham Origins. I patiently waited a few months to pick it up, as not only are new console games too expensive, I also wanted some serious patching to be done, after reading how many bugs were in the game at launch.
Unfortunately, even though a patch was available when I installed it, I still came across bugs and errors left and right as I struggled through the mess that Warner Brothers had turned this once fine series into. Here's just some of the bugs I can remember. Check these out:

But bugs for me were not the main problem with this game. There were things that Warner Brothers changed (from Rocksteady's original two games) that I really didn't enjoy. Like I had with the previous games, I originally planned to finish this game to 100% completion and not just finish the campaign, so whenever I could solve a puzzle, collect datafiles, or destroy cameras, I would. I frequently broke away from the main story to complete side missions, do training in the Batcave, or do glide drills, knowing all would probably be required.
However, just 27% through the game, I gave up and decided to just finish the main story. Travelling around the city had become a total ball ache. So many enemies with guns and sniper rifles lined the rooftops that I couldn't go gliding down a single street without being shot at. The snipers could even seemingly see me (and in some cases shoot me) through solid brick.
Gunmen weren't only a problem when moving round the city, either. Just like Arkham City did compared to Arkham Asylum, this game once again greatly increased the amount of stealth missions. Sneaking around trying to take out one gunman at a time is not what I wanna do in a freaking beat 'em up game. I wanna plough fists first into a mob of enemies and wail on them 'til my knuckles bleed.

But there was very little joy in terms of close combat here. Not only were there not enough close combat fights in the game, but WB seem to have changed the AI of the enemies to make the fights very frustrating. The enemies always seemed to attack one after another in a continual sequence, forcing me to counter repeatedly. If I broke away from countering to throw an attack of my own, the enemy who was next scheduled to attack me would be free to clobber me as I attacked my target. I found this forced me into a very defensive mindset, at least until I had unlocked a few upgrades and started to unlock the special takedown moves. It was just not a very fun game to play all round.

And then, even after deciding to just finish the main story and ignore the rest of the game, I was still left disappointed. Because up to that point I'd concentrated just as much on finishing side quests as I had the main campaign, I assumed I was still a considerable distance away from the end of the story. Turns out I was wrong. Very wrong. All I had left to do from that point was defeat Firefly at the bridge, then take out Bane and the Joker at Blackgate Prison, and the campaign was over. By far the shortest storyline of all three games.

I only hope the rumours about Rocksteady returning to make the next game in the series are true.

12th December 2013: DCU Online Update

And then in a bit of a blast from the past I downloaded DCU Online again to give that another go. I immediately hit some trouble when learning about ProSeibenSat.1 taking over the running of the Sony Station accounts for Europe. Turns out my old character, Smashgob Slimefist, is no longer available to me as he exists on my old Station account and can't be transferred. Oh well. It wasn't too much trouble, as Scoob was also going to be trying the game out so I made a new character along with him. In a nod to the old Smashgob, I made my character look and play exactly the same, though with clothing and name inspired by our old WoW guild, the Skumsplattaz. And strangely for the Scoob, he decided we would be heroes rather than villains, and chose Wonder Woman as our mentor. So I decided that Skumsplatta would be the reformed Smashgob, having shaken off Circe's teachings in order to try and fight the good fight.
In just a couple of sessions, we've pretty much caught upto the level I was at with Smashgob. It's a lot more interesting flying around with a team mate, and it's allowed me to start getting used to the healing side of the nature powers rather than just using ass-kick mode all the time.

Not Smashgob Slimefist. Honest.

Not Smashgob Slimefist. Honest.

No Skumsplatta, you're supposed to be hitting the bad guys now

No Skumsplatta, you're supposed to be hitting the bad guys now

Not kissing a pig man. Honest.

Not kissing a pig man. Honest.

Oi Kharn, the enemy is behind you

Oi Kharn, the enemy is behind you

Zapping some bad guys while an Amazon takes a shit

Zapping some bad guys while an Amazon takes a shit

Giganta tries to tickle me to death

Giganta tries to tickle me to death

Fighting dirty with nature powers

Fighting dirty with nature powers

Laying the smackdown on many little Doctor Psychos

Laying the smackdown on many little Doctor Psychos

Not what Skumsplatta was hoping for when told he would be entering Wonder Woman

Not what Skumsplatta was hoping for when told he would be entering Wonder Woman

It's not the greatest game but it's fun in places. I quite like how it doesn't play like a typical MMO, but a bit of lag when in combat can really screw you over much more than in those other games. It's just a massive shame that the game is DC and not Marvel, which I much prefer. Sure, Marvel have got their own lame heroes and villains, but many DC characters are so unimaginative, especially their names. I just find it a lot harder to be interested in them.

DCU Online was the first computer game I wrote about on this blog, and now that I've come full circle I've decided to change things up a bit. I'm pretty much going to stop doing computer game updates. As the original intention of writing about them was to help motivate me to finish games, I will now only do updates to talk about a game I have managed to complete. It will still be a waste of time and effort, but I like writing about pointless shite, and should have a bit more motivation to finish things.

1st June 2012: Arkham City Done (Again)

Just finished going through Arkham City for the second time. This time, I concentrated on getting all the trophies and secrets and finishing all the side missions, culminating in giving the Riddler a damn good smack in the face right at the end.
It was still a very enjoyable game during the second play through, and I did try harder to do better in big fights but still sucked a bit. Right at the end though, while searching for the last few trophies in the Steel Mill, I did get my highest combo of 62. It was not very technical or skillful, but made me laugh as nearly all of the hits were on the same armoured thug. I kept using the beat down on him, counter attacking anyone else that tried their luck, before going right back to the beat down. Poor guy's ribs musta hurt like hell.
So all of the main game is done other than a couple of Batman's physical challenges and collecting Catwoman's trophies and loot. Whether I will go back and do those at another time I have no idea. I have no real intention of trying the plus mode or all the Riddler's Revenge content, but who knows what will happen in the future. I would like to play the new Harley DLC, but I hate the whole concept of it: buying these little extra bits of games for extortionate prices. Game makers can stick DLC up their asses. Even free DLC (like the Catwoman content for this game) is a problem in my eyes, as in a few years the content may be removed from their servers, stopping anyone who fancies playing an old game from getting all the stuff. Very similar reason to why I don't use Steam on PC, because if they ever turn their servers off...
I really hope there is another game in this series, but holy crap they need to do it as a co-op one. Of course one player would have to be Batman, and the other could then be Catwoman or Robin or someone else. It would be awesome to play.

Arkham City gameplay vid on Youtube

11th March 2012: Arkham City Done

Spent the last few days going through Arkham City. Like Arkham Asylum it is an awesome game, though like A.A. it also has its irritating points. My main problem was the vast amount of stealth missions in the game. There were a few of these in A.A. where you had to sneak around a room taking out guys with guns, but in this game there seemed to be loads. I hate those crappy stealth missions. Give me a straight up fight where Bats can beat the crap out of a bunch of thugs. Loads more fun all round. The best mission I found in this game just for pure kicking ass was the Mad Hatter side mission - felt like a good few minutes of fist-flying mayhem.
The other main irritating point was how long it seemed to take Batman to turn around. I know this sounds like a strange thing to nitpick, but very often in the middle of a big fight a guy would be behind me about to stab me, and I could not counter it because Batman would not turn around fast enough. This problem was also apparent when making a jump move to evade attacks - if you didn't wait that split second for Batman to turn the way you wanted him to go he would jump in completely the wrong direction. I got well pissed off sometimes with this.
Close combat in this game is where the fun is at, and they've stepped it up even more from the first game. There were lots of different types of enemies, each needing a different tactic in order to take them out. Stick all these different types together in one big fight and it can get confusing for a tiny-brain like me, but loads of fun. I especially liked the new "beat down" move (especially when Catwoman does it - damn she moves fast), and the ability to fire or use most of your gadgets in combat with quick-fire methods. Of the new gadgets my fave was the freeze blast, which was a great help when taking out those bastards with guns, especially the sniper dudes.
The boss fights were all varied and interesting, though quite straight forward. I can't remember getting killed in any boss fight all the way through the game, it was always in those damn stealth missions. Grrr.
On top of the cool combat and going through the main story, there are loads of side missions you can get involved in. I didn't do them all, and some of them seemed a bit pointless, but some were really cool. I liked the one where you end up in a big fight helping Bane of all people, and found it amusing that he "accidentally" keeps hitting you. Funny.
Movement around the city is fast and easy, especially after getting a few upgrades to your gadgets. The only issue here is with the grapnel boost, which you can shoot out while you are gliding in order to grab onto something to pull you along faster. Problem is, it doesn't really take into account the direction you are already travelling, and will often shoot you off in another direction. Just another frustrating thing that should have been sorted.
All in all, a great game, and one that I will definitely be going through again, maybe with a guide in order to get all the secrets and side missions.

2nd March 2012: Two New MMORPGs

So I recently got stuck into two new computer games. First up was DC Universe Online. Before playing, I really should have looked online to find out what was what to help me make my character, as I was a bit lost and there's no real in-game explanation as to what skills do what. But I ended up with lizard-like villain Smashgob Slimefist. I wanted a character that would be a good all-rounder, so I went with nature magic and hand-blaster weapons. This would give me some damage at short and long range, some healing and shape-shifting.
The feel of the game is quite different to the main MMO I have played in the past (WoW). That there is no mouse pointer on-screen was weird to begin with, and most of the attacks are done with mouse button combos rather than attacks triggered from the keyboard. This is because the game is quite simplified so to be playable on console.
Initially the game felt like a button-masher with a couple of special skills added in, but once I had unlocked several different combos it became much more playable.
I definitely like it that your fast movement is usable right from the start. It's so much better than having to level up to get your faster move like in WoW (I can still remember needing lvl 40 to get the first slow horsie lol).
Another massive boost that this game has over others is the complete control over how your character looks. It doesn't matter what items you have equipped, you can choose to use their appearance or not. Much better than in WoW, where unless you have a complete set of armour you look like a right mess.
You also seem to level really fast. Smashgob is upto level 16 after a fairly short playtime, and max level is only 30 I think. If you know what you're doing you could level VERY quickly on this game.
It's a fairly simple game, with basic gameplay - go here, bash enemies, repeat - but I haven't done any PvP or grouping yet and I imagine those things will be a lot more interesting.

Smashgob Slimefist

Smashgob Slimefist