Gaming

Review: Batman Arkham Origins

With a new company — Warner Brothers Games Montreal — taking over the Batman: Arkham series after the switch from Eidos, the big question was: can Batman: Arkham Origins live up to its predecessors? Personally, I think WB Games Montreal did a splendid job in this passing on of the Arkham torch.

Gameplay:

Arkham Origins brings back previous Batman titles’ punchy and quick combat system. The controls are simple and well-done, and I recognized a lot of the counters and finishers from the earlier games. I was pleasantly surprised by the combat in Origins, and although I got what I expected — not a huge change from previous titles — everything Batman did seemed to have a little bit more energy and gusto. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed with the Arkham series is the level of difficulty — never too easy like AC, what with the interesting puzzles and tough boss fights, but never so hard that it got too the point of me turning off the console and, well, rage-quitting. Origins lives up to this (in my opinion) perfect difficulty level, and I enjoyed using new tools and features such as reconstructing a crime scene.

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Graphics:

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A lot of people are talking about the change in the way Batman and the world around him look in Origins, many with mixed feelings about this. In my opinion, the graphics weren’t “down-graded” as some described them, more that the style of art in general was redone. In fact I thought the animations, environments, and especially character models were very well done. My only complaint was that sometimes the facial animations seemed clunky and rushed — but then again, the protagonist and antagonist in the game both wear masks, so facial animations don’t seem as important as other games, say Uncharted.

Story:

I thought the story in Arkham Origins was fairly good, with the introduction of many infamous Batman villains as “assassins” for Black Mask, trying to hunt down Batman on Christmas Eve for a fifty million dollar bounty. The beginning seemed slightly abrupt to me, and probably not quite on par with Arkham City. I think it would have been a more interesting storyline if the game was similar to Frank Miller’s: Batman Year One, with the plot starting at the very beginning of Bruce Wayne’s crime-fighting career. I say this because although the game was titled Arkham: Origins, it wasn’t so much an origin story as it was a tale of Batman’s earlier career, when he didn’t have as good a relationship with the Gotham Police Force, and people still weren’t sure who or what Batman really was. On that point, I thoroughly enjoyed the younger, more angry and unpredictable Batman portrayed in Origins. Unlike in previous games that took place later in Batman’s career, I was never sure how far Batman would go when it came to violence and interrogation.

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Things parents should know:

The Arkham series has been fairly kid-friendly, keeping the rating of all the Batman games to a T for Teen, the second-lowest age rating. Batman is more — well what can I say — mean in Origins, yet on the other hand their is significantly less of an overall horror or slightly creepy theme to Origins. There are some portrayals of women you might not feel comfortable letting a very young child see, for example the Penguin’s girlfriend, who wheres skimpy clothing and acts suggestively — classic mobster girlfriend. If this seems like something you’re uncomfortable with, you can skip over the scene at any time. There is very little foul language if any, and nothing extremely offensive. There is a torture scene in which the Penguin beats and zaps a rival mobster with a tazer, so if you don’t want your kid to see that kind of violence, I would recommend skipping over that scene as well.

Overall:

All in all I really liked Batman: Arkham Origins, and was happily surprised by what a quality game it truly is. If you have any questions about the game feel free to ask me in the comments below, and if you enjoyed the review why not share it, or leave a like ;D.

Review: Assassin’s Creed 3

Introduction:

I liked this game a lot. I’m a huge fan of the Assassin’s Creed series – I like the story, gameplay and visuals. When this game came out I was super hyped, because it involved the AC storyline, plus American Indians, naval ship battles, and awesome close-combat sword action. All these elements of the game are things that make this game very cool. The combat is seamless with awesome moves and cool finishers. Not to mention the cities in the game; they are huge and faithfully accurate to their real life counterparts, and are exciting to explore by rooftop – the assassin’s way.

Gameplay:

The control interface was very simple to use, the buttons were laid out much like previous games. The gameplay itself offered a varied set of things to do, from eavesdrop on enemy fortresses to sabotaging ship cannons. One of my few gripes about this game was the ease of fighting gameplay – it seemed as if I could take downs dozens of enemies without even getting scratched. AC-3 also has a huge open-world, one which I gladly explored. The environments are chock full with hidden treasures, side missions and other various things to do.

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Issues parents should know about:

The main reason this game has an M rating is that it has a lot of bloody violence in it. Almost everything you do to progress in the game has some sort of violence involved, with blood. This is about as bloody as it gets in AC3:

Other than that the only things you guys might worry about are sexual references in the dialogue of the game. One guard says something like: “I slept with your sister.” There are also uses of course language in the game, but I don’t think that’s a big deal, considering most kids here that kind of stuff in school nowadays.

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Story:

AC-3 follows Connor Kenway, a half Native American assassin who fights for America’s freedom in the Revolutionary War. To my disappointment, the game also follows Desmond Miles, ancestor of Connor and recurring protagonist of the present day side of the series. Although I enjoyed the parts of the story with Connor, the Desmond saga was all too sci-fi and predictable, jolting me out of the awesome feeling of being a super-awesome American Indian assassin.

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Overall:

All in all I thought AC3 was a really outstanding game, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although the story was disappointing at times. If you’re a fan of the series I say go and get it — you won’t be disappointed.

Review: Temple Run 2

Clocking in at over 170 million downloads over many mobile platforms, Temple Run had set a new standard in mobile gaming. Recently Imangi Studios gave us the much-anticipated sequel, Temple Run 2. TR2 is already catching up to its predecessor with over 50 million downloads during the first few opening days.

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At first glance the game looks pretty similar to the original version, however Imangi has put in some new features and tweaks, but is that enough secure the top download position on the App store?

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Graphics:

As soon as you tap play you are greeted with much improved graphics; detailed environments, vivid colors and fluid animation. These enhancements make running away from a man-eating mutant monkey much more appealing to the eye. Built from scratch using Unity game engine, Imangi developers have made the game look really good, while keeping it compatible on devices over 3 years old.

                Gameplay:

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The original Temple Run had you sprinting through a dense forest – in Temple Run 2 you are running for your life in a mysterious floating temple. The basic swipe controls remain the same, however Imangi Studios added many new obstacles and environments. Upgrades such as fire-breathing sculptures, dips and ups, and spinning grinders add more unexpected dangers to the game, keeping you on your toes at all times. Additionally, the landscape in Temple Run 2 is more dynamic in general, with waterfalls and zip-lines replacing the dull t-junctions featured in the first game.

            

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In-game Store:

With the coins you collect while playing the game you can upgrade your abilities to help beat your high scores. These include increased shield duration or doubled coin value, among others. Temple Run 2 has seven different characters – sometimes there are special offers like Usain Bolt. Each character has their very own unique powers, however buying characters can be costly – upgrading your power ups might be a better idea.

Conclusion:

 Overall, Temple Run is a great game with beautiful animations and simple controls making the game very enjoyable. If you liked Temple Run you’ll love Temple Run 2, or if you’re new to the series and like endless-running games, give it a try it’s only few taps away – Oh wait! Did I mention that this game is free?

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