Monthly Archives: April 2023

Game review: Batman: Arkham Asylum for PC (EGS)

First, let me apologize for the lack of a review last week. I got stuck playing Into the Dead 2: Unleashed, (Not really a bad thing from the fun point of view, but more for the scheduling issues) and this week’s entry took me a bit later to finish than I’d anticipated. My schedule also wasn’t helped by the number of times this week that I ran out of energy right around gaming time and opted for a nap instead.

I got Batman: Arkham Asylum as part of a generous free offer from Epic Game Store, which gave away all three of the Rocksteady Batman games. But like many EGS offers, it had to wait because of my old crappy internet connection. Then once we did get a better connection, it got lost in the backlog shuffle. But after I played and liked Gotham Knights, I remembered I had this other game full of Batman shenanigans, or Batmanigans, if you like. One ten-minute download later, and I was whisked backward into Bat-History, like *WHOOSH! BIFF! BAM!*

And also *wet fart*

I wish I could say I had a great time with this first outing of the trilogy, but I really didn’t. Part of it could be chalked up to playing a newer game with better tools and a nicer interface, but it really comes down to this game frequently repeating the same things over and over, as if repetition equals fun.  But perhaps even worse is how it takes the brilliant opportunities offered by Batman’s rogues gallery and squanders every last one on terrible boss fights or really, really pointless side quests.

But before we get into any of that, we should cover how this game gets started, which is vaguely similar to the comic of the same name. The Joker takes over Arkham Asylum. But where the comic had Batman away doing other things, he’s right there to see Joker take over with help on the inside as well as from reinforcements coming from his army out of Blackwood Prison. Also, while in the comic, the whole point of Joker’s plan was to force Batman to confront his own inner demons, in the game, somehow Joker’s managed to construct a secret chemical factory to make Bane-like Titans, which he promises to unleash on Gotham if Batman doesn’t stop him. Then he spends the entire game complaining about Batman stopping him after he invited the dude to do so. I just…what? Continue reading

Game review: Into the Dead 2: Unleashed for Netflix (Android)

I’m a bit late getting this review out because there is a lot of game to get through in Into the Dead 2: Unleashed before arriving to the final level, and that’s even before taking into account the daily runs, side stories, and regular and pro journeys. I wanted to see how this premium package compared to Into the Dead, which a sad endless runner with no story, terrible guns, and lousy execution of its core loop. I’ll get to that later, but what I’m saying is, the Netflix version of the sequel succeeds on every level, when it works. And it frequently mucks up in frustrating ways.

The easiest way to describe Into the Dead 2: Unleashed is that it’s a ride on rails, but with a small degree of side to side movement to allow for exploring within a level’s “corridor.” Ammo crates are scattered about and are highlighted by green flares, making them relatively easy to see and run towards. Additionally, some levels have chainsaws and shrub cutters to pick up and use as temporary weapons before they run out of gas. Other levels have mounted guns with a limited stock of ammunition, or armored vehicles with unlimited ammo that will eventually crash and return the player to running and dodging.

In the main story mode, the player’s character is James, an ex-soldier driving back home with supplies to wait out the current zombie outbreak. His truck crashes, stranding him a long way from home, and his sister Helen keeps choosing to move farther and farther away with his daughter Maggie in tow. James has no choice but to keep running to try and catch up to her, frequently panicking as Helen’s crappy decision making leads to ever escalating disasters. Continue reading

Game review: Relic Hunters Rebels for Netflix (Android)

Ages ago, I played Relic Hunters Zero and was not a fan. A three-quarter top down twin-stick shooter, it had convoluted controls, repetitive levels, and weapons that all ended up feeling the same near the final levels of any given stage. The titular relics were okay, but not really game changing or worth experimenting with to find the sweet build right for me.

Relic Hunters Rebels is a sequel that does a better job of world building and crafting an interesting story, as well as making all of the weapons feel unique. The relics in this version all have powers that can be leveled up by playing the game, so all the way around, this feels like a better game. It even has better controls, and the auto-aim is more helpful than I’ve seen in many console and PC games.

And yet, it’s a mobile game, so you just knew something had to be ruined by the mobile game economy. We’ll get into all of that soon enough, but just know that the short version is, this game is pretty good if you can get it on Netflix instead of the free version. Continue reading