reviews\ Jun 26, 2005 at 8:00 pm

Batman Begins - XB - Review

If there is a superhero movie being released into theaters, you can be sure that within a few days before or after its release, there will be a game tie-in. Throughout the years there have been many Batman videogames released to the gaming public, some have been good while others have been down right putrid. The developers at Eurocom hope to make the movie tie-in, Batman Begins, a successful game that people will be talking about for while. Read on to find out more about this game.

Since Batman Begins is based on the movie that was recently released, the game follows the same story line. The game will allow gamers to be put in the shoes of the tormented soul of Bruce Wayne, the child whose parents were murdered before his very eyes at a young age. As players progress though the game, they will see how he obtained the variety of combat moves, learned how to sneak around, and put fear into the eyes of his enemies. He must protect Gotham City from being destroyed from a rogue group. Are you up to this particular challenge?

There are several areas of complaints against this game. First and foremost is the level of ease. Of course when you being a game, there is usually some type of training level that allows you to get adjusted to how the game is to be played. The problem is that Batman Begins never seems to let that aspect go. When you are very deep into the game, it will still be throwing out subtle hints about everything, where you need to throw batarangs or even what door to go though. This takes a lot of the challenging situations out of the game play.

Another problem that I have with the game is the combat itself. The combat is very smooth and the variety of moves at your disposal gets the job done. What I do not like is that even though you have flash-bang grenades, smoke grenades, and batarangs you are never allowed to use them unless you are in a “context specific” situation. It also doesn’t help that the enemy AI is practically as dumb as dirt either, and their moves are pretty easy to identify and easily defended.

One of the things that I really liked about this game is the “fear” gameplay mechanic. Certain actions in the game will boost up your fear reputation. Later on in the game, as your reputation builds, you will find that it is easier to take out certain guards because they have heard about your tactics and are scared stupid of you.

The graphics for this game are pretty well done. All of the characters are accurately modeled after the real life counter parts. Each of them are very highly detailed especially inthe facial features department. The environments that players will go though are also pretty well detailed with nice animations. What is noticeable throughout the game is the lack of anti-aliasing, so you will see quite a few “jaggies” throughout the course of the levels, which is not acceptable during this age of videogames.

One of the advantages of having a game modeled after a movie is when the actors voice the characters they played in the movie. This ties in the game more fully with the movie and makes it a joy to play. Another benefit is having access to all of the sound effects and music the movie uses as well. This brings the game close to the gamers' hearts and gets them pumped up for action when the time calls for it. A downfall of the sound category is how it is used in respect to the genre of the game. If you compare this game to Metal Gear Solid, Thief or Splinter Cell, players will realize that the sound is not as well implemented especially when you are sneaking around the enemies.

Batman Begins is rated T for Teen. It supports 480p HDTV as well as in-game Dolby Digital.

Review Scoring Details for Batman Begins

Gameplay: 5.5
What happened here? Batman Begins had so much potential! The combat is good, but is not as finely tuned as it could have been, the ease of each level, even on hard difficulty mode is a breeze to play though. The “Fear” gameplay element is not as refined as it could have been either.

Graphics: 8.1
The graphics for Batman Begins are pretty nice, especially in the facial features department. The environment also has a very nice “dark” touch to it. What is not good is the camera control for the game. I found myself fighting the camera as much as I did the enemy.

Sound: 7.5
Batman Begins uses the same voice talent that the movie had, so it makes a really good transition. The music was also just as good. Unfortunately the game does not feel as “stealthy” as it could in this department. This becomes blaring obvious if you compare this game to some of the other “stealth-oriented games” such as Splinter Cell.

Difficulty: Easy
This game can be beaten in a several hours. The thugs are easy to beat and the game practically tells you what you need to do throughout the entire experience. Plus it doesn’t help that the enemy AI is not the smartest thing on the block.

Concept: 6.5
I like how the game follows the story of the movie. Another good point is the ability to create fear into all of the enemies that you encounter, so it makes them even easier to fight. What I didn’t like all of the limitations on the combat of Batman.

Overall: 6.1
Batman Begins has so much potential, and it is sad that it doesn’t fully live up to all of it. It seems like the developers might have gotten rushed to get the game finished at the last minute and did not finely tune all of the game’s aspects, especially the enemy AI. Get this game only if you are a die-hard Batman fan or a fan of stealth-action games.

Above Average

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