Horribly trite, unfair and nowhere near excellent. For over 50 years there has existed one constant in the jungle that is Gotham City -- the Batman. Honing his body and mind to perfection, Bruce Wayne took on the mantle of the Bat to ensure the horrible tragedy that befell him as a child would never again happen to another.
Criminals fear him, the law respects him and his peers recognize him as the world's greatest detective. Batman has always answered the call for justice, fighting evildoers from the lowly thug prowling the street to the super-powered villain looking to destroy the city. But no matter what he does to clean up Gotham, the criminals still seem to fester there.
In this case, the Joker has set into motion a most insidious plan involving a kidnapping and many bombs. No sooner does the Dark Knight stop the Joker's deadly game than a more sinister plot emerges, involving members of Batman's rogue's gallery -- Mr.
Freeze, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn. It's going to take a lot of sleuthing and butt whipping to get to the bottom of this mess; good thing you've got all the bat-gadgets you need.
Batman Vengeance is both a first-person AND third-person game. As Batman, players run around the various locations of Gotham City attempting to stop the nefarious plans of the city's worst villains. Starting off, players will watch several of the high quality cutscenes that mimic Batman: The Animated Series.
Credits slowly roll as Batman runs though a warehouse where a woman has been tied up beside a bomb. This woman has had her son kidnapped by the Joker, who is demanding five million dollars as a ransom. The problem is, she's as regular as you and I. Why would the Joker do this? Of course he is crazy, so this only opens more doors for Batman.
As soon as the opening concludes, Alfred the butler guides you through a tutorial in the Batcave. Here you may hone your skills at using the Bat-grapple and various other Bat-techniques. You also have the option to lighten or darken this really dark game.
My advice is to lighten the game up a ton AND play in a pitch-black room. One of the biggest flaws of this game is that, while the animation looks great, the entire game is way too dark for its own good.
Batman literally becomes part of the shadows, and I don't mean this in a good way. While adventuring, Batman runs around finding various items to use and dealing with the immediate problems of the area. Jumping in the air, he can hold his cape out and glide along to other areas.
This is a good trick to know in the event of falling to the ground from some ankle-breaking height. Batman has a health gauge that must be monitored due to the damage he takes. To be perfectly honest with you, I felt myself cringing throughout the game.
While Batman and the other characters all look good, as do the weapons and vehicles, I don't think the game developers did their homework when it actually came to the Dark Knight. For example, Batman runs across a small courtyard, jumps up on a barrel and then attempts to jump up onto a freight container, missing it with his foot by mere inches.
Pick up any Batman comic and one of the first things you'll notice is Batman's awesome agility and maneuvering. The game's control and effects are so dismal that it's not much fun being Batman. One would at least expect the ability to jump up and grab onto ledges like Lara Croft, but not even that is possible.
I was repeatedly displeased with the poor controls. While I am beating up this game, let me tell you a few other things I was disappointed in. When activating the multitude of Bat-items, the perspective switches to first person and you see Batman use whatever it is you have chosen. The sad part about it is having to toggle through a one-way menu that lists all the items in your inventory, whether or not you are carrying them.
I don't need to tell you how difficult this can be in the middle of a fight or boss-battle. As a matter of fact, once you have defeated the non-important thugs that attack throughout the game, you must handcuff them in order to stop them completely. Otherwise, the thugs will regain consciousness and attack you again. While this isn't an entirely bad idea, the lack of Batcuffs you carry can be somewhat disheartening. I'm certainly not suggesting that Batman have an unlimited supply of equipment, but at least more than three sets of cuffs would be a good idea.
Of course you can find boxes of equipment scattered throughout the area, which again is silly, since it's highly improbable that cases of Bat-a-rangs and Batcuffs would be lying around the city in boxes with Batman symbols on them. Can you say "stolen? Batman is the consummate Boy Scout, as in "Be prepared. The back of the game box states that Batman can perform over animated moves. Well, don't expect the ultimate fighting character of all time.
Batman DOES have over moves, if you consider walking, jumping and standing there to be three of them. Sure, there are some pretty gnarly fighting moves that you can use to dispatch your foes; Batman is supposed to be one of the world's foremost martial artists. Again, this begs the question: how can the thugs be so darn tough? In the comics, Batman can go through several hired henchmen in mere moments with really cool moves and catlike reflexes.
It just doesn't happen that way in the game. Here, when combat is initiated, if there are other bad guys nearby they merely stand there and watch you fight one of their friends, only joining the fray once you have defeated the previous thug. Batman Vengeance could have benefited from a better fighting engine like Oni or Dead or Alive: Hardcore. Instead we are treated to a first-generation fighting engine that rivals Rise of the Robots: Feces Edition. While the cutscenes there are 40 minutes worth are the spitting image of the animated series, the in-game graphics are bland and run together.
The whole game is too dark and grainy to be any real fun and the environments are way too pedestrian. I think the programmers started out thinking that they would use the '40s flavor of the TV series as a base, and neglected to put together the right puzzle pieces.
The linear lines of Batman himself look good if you are standing in a well-lit area, but for the most part the thugs, including Poison Ivy's plant creatures, just don't cut the mustard.
Here we finally have a standout category. Personally, I was thrilled to hear the same voices as in the animated TV series -- I was worried that Ubi Soft might get some second-rate voice actors who wouldn't quite make the cut. They also provided a rare Dolby Digital audio track with the game, which makes me give it the big thumbs up. Nothing chaps my hide more than a really good idea for a video game absolutely destroyed by poor controls and subpar cause and effect.
You are joined by the trusty Batgirl as your omnipresent assistant, who keeps feeding you information about the villains you are up against and various bits and pieces regarding the locations you visit. Furthermore, Alfred is also there to offer you guidance and advice when it comes to making full use of your equipment. When it comes to gameplay, Batman: Vengeance employs a weird combination of action-adventure and platformer-based levels.
Thus, it enables you to use the third-person perspective when you are exploring and jumping from one place to the other and the first-person point of view when you need to use one of your gadgets. This can be a little difficult to adjust to, especially since the third-person perspective has some camera-related issues and you might find yourself jumping into the wrong direction more than once. Moreover, you cannot use the first-person view all the time instead, since you are unable to attack using your fists or jump.
Regardless of the chosen perspective, the game does feature quite detailed 3D graphics, making it a real treat to walk around the various levels built into it. In addition, every cinematic and dialog consists of voice acting as well, which greatly adds to the overall atmosphere and helps you lose yourself in Batman's world. All in all, Batman: Vengeance delivers the complete Batman experience, complete with sneaking around, adrenaline-inducing fights, famous villains and a chance to meet a few other beloved characters from the series.
Furthermore, the story line gives you plenty to play, as well as a varied selection of locations to explore.
Batman: Vengeance Demo.