I'm only like an hour in, so far I'm a little disappointed, not because it isn't fun but because it's Armature so I expected more polish, there is some cool stuff about it but it's pretty rough around the edges, and I'm not sure I'm digging how the camera and level layout works, I feel like it jumps between 2-D and 3-D too much (perspective wise), sort of the same way I felt about Metroid Other M, both of those games would have worked better if it just stuck to a 2-D perspective ala the old-school Metroidvanias. Aslo, the camera keeps panning in to give close ups of Batman but his character model looks like garbage, it's okay when the camera is zoomed out but they try too hard to be like the console games when it comes to framing the fighting and action, in the PS3 games Batman looks like a badass so large on the screen because you can see every detail of his suit and all his cuts and bruises etc. but on the 3DS he's a blocky mess and the textures are stabbing my eyes with N64-sized pixels. I'm wondering if the VIta version looks a lot better, maybe I'll download that one to compare. I do like having the second screen for the map and waynetech stuff but I'm not sure it's it's 100% necessary.
I love the comic-book style cutscenes, they're beautiful, but... hey wtf no 3-D? Pshaw! And whoever does the voice for Catwoman really overacts, she's annoying!
@PogueSquadron I'm wondering the same thing, you'd think the 3DS would be the lead since it's install base is larger, but then again Armature has more experience with the Vita since they did the metal gear games.
EDIT: I'm downloading the Vita version now so I can compare side by side, yes I just spent $80 on this game! (but gotta support Armature and I'm super duper curious to see these games running side by side, and I have a handheld problem).
If anyone is interested in this game and has a Vita that is the way to go, it looks and sounds much better. It's seemingly the exact same game with only a few minor differences, but the presentation is night and day. I also think the detective mode/analyzer works better on the Vita because you and just directly touch things on the main screen and it will automatically go into the wireframe/x-ray vision mode and give you information about whatever you slide your finger across. Sadly, there is no camera control via the 2nd stick (not even a little) which is wasted IMO, they could have at least let you pan around the screen a bit, but I guess they wanted to have parity between the versions and didn't feel like supporting the CPP, too bad.
But damn, in terms of graphics, dat Vita. It's gorgeous. And for whatever reason (maybe is simply because it's much louder and therefor clearer, or it could be the level of compression) the music sounds amazing, I'm assuming it's borrowed from the console score because it sounds fully orchestrated (or at least very good use of samples).
EDIT: Having the map on the bottom screen is really handy though, gotta give props to the 3DS for that, not sure it that can sway the graphics whore in me though, the Vita version just looks stupidly good on the crisp OLED screen with deep blacks and rich colors and with hi-res textures. When are OLED TVs going to become affordable?!
The graphics really seemed that bad to you on 3DS? It actually looks pretty slick to me. The only part that looked "rough" to me was when the camera zooms in on Batman's cape. The rest of his model (and textures) look good, but for some reason they really just went sloppy with the cape.
I'll play a bit more tonight, I've only gotten about a half hour in.
@GameDadGrant The cape looks atrocious, it's an abomination. It looks a lot better on the Vita, though it's still horrible.
I think it looks fine when it's zoomed out and in 2-D, the camera should stay fixed like that the whole game! Have the camera swoosh around and trying to frame the action like it's a fullly 3-D game is just confusing and annoying. It's like it's trying to pretend it's the console game, gimme a break!
Besides the graphics and the camera I have some other issues as well, for instance I feel like batman's movements are slow and stiff, I think the timing in the combat is a little wonky and unresponsive, and even moves like the roll don't always register. The map is poorly designed (a top down map in a 2-D sides-scrolling game, really?) The game feels rushed and unpolished, it probably was. Despite all that I still love the fact that it feels like a freaking Metroid Prime game in terms of the scanning and exploration, that makes me really happy.
I'm about 4 hrs in now, seen a lot of the map, there are some cool sections, the environments are pretty well done, very detailed and atmospheric. I'm still playing on the 3DS although I feel like it's the inferior version, why? Streetpass that's why! I'm definitely going to have my 3DS with me at all times in my bag, gotta complete my journal in Flower Town, and there's only room in my bag for one giant handheld, the poor Vita get's left at home!
Man I hope this game does well for Armature, I'm not so sure the Arkham franchise was the right choice for this kind of game (the combat doesn't translate well), but I'd love to see Armature make an original IP of this nature, or hey... what if Nintendo had them make a handheld Metroid? Hmm... could be some bad blood there.
What confuses me more is why Armature didn't just make a 3D action game like the rest of the series is. It's not as if the handheld systems of today couldn't handle it. I mean, has the development team not seen Uncharted: Golden Abyss, and Gravity Rush, or Resident Evil: Revelations and Kid Icarus: Uprising?
I don't mind a good 2.5D game, or even a straight-up 2D game...but if a series is built on 3D space, why not just continue that? If the hardware can carry that, I mean. Why not? It made sense during the GB/GBC and GBA days, and maybe even the DS days. But now that we have the 3DS? And the freakin' VITA? Make the game 3D. Why not, right?
Whatever. The top-down map for a 2D game is weird, though.
Maybe, but why? It didn't stop Capcom (Resident Evil: Revelations) or Square-Enix (Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance) from making 3D action games. And it's not as if WB is a small company or anything, and it's not as if (the goddamn) Batman is some no-name IP. Why couldn't they do something "big" for the portables?
@GameDadGrant The 3DS is the lead platform for this title yet the 3DS is lacking the 2nd analog stick, it would be kind of hard to play a full 3-D Arkham game with no camera control, especially for fans of the series who are used to playing a certain way, even if you could get it to work it would feel like a huge (and entirely unnecessary, if it wasn't for Nintendo's absolute refusal to think about what developers besides themselves might need in a system) step backwards.
That was probably why they chose 2.5D, out of necessity.
But beyond that, 2.5D is awesome, I'd love to see some 2.5D Metroid-style games on the 3DS, just look at how incredibly awesome Guacamelee is, there's a game that does everything this game does but better, and it's essentially the same formula. If anything, Armature tried to get too 3D (IMHO), it starts to feel like an old Resident Evil game where you're never quite sure which direction to press to get to where you want to go, it's bizarre. I just played a section where you were in a big room shaped like a square donut, and Batman could do a complete 360 around the entire room if you just hold "right", he'd walk to the corner make a sharp turn, the camera would get behind him and all of a sudden you were pressing right to move "forward", I kept instinctively pushing forward to move forward, but no... Bats would just stop, you have to press right! Ugh! It's just needlessly complicated. I've said it before and I'll say it a million times, this game works much better when it sticks to the zoomed out 2-D perspective, when it tries to get fancy it doesn't "ooh and ahh" it's just pisses me off. The few exceptions to that have been the boss battles, some of them have their own unique perspective and so far they've been smarty designed and made sense, for the most part, it would be hard to give an example with spoiling so here's one from about 2 hours in: when you're fighting Deadshot, you're looking at it from Deadshot's perspective, literally down the sight of his sniper rifle, its pretty cool.
EDIT: I feel like I'm being a little too hard on Armature, I see what they were trying to do with the camera system, they were trying to take the 2.5D thing to the "next level", to make it feel more dynamic, it's a lot like Other M... so if you liked the way that game work you might like this better than me, though I will say Other M didn't go as nuts with the camera angles, it usually kept it so you intuitively knew which direction to press to get Samus going where you wanted to. Anyway... I sound like I hate this game or something, and I don't, I actually really like it, if it was any other developer I'd be much more positive. But this is Armature, I expect a hell of a lot. The detailed and moody environments and lighting they nailed. The exploring, scanning for secrets, collecting and upgrading, nailed. Does Batman feel like a badass? Yep. Lot's of things they did right, but there are also some pretty big flaws.
Eh, I don't buy that "it needs a second analog stick or it'll confuse the fans" excuse. They're already disorienting the fans by changing the game to 2D - why not try and keep it as close to the original formula as possible? Again, I'll point to both Revelations and Dream Drop Distance - neither required the second analog stick (though they did make it available) but they played fine without it. If Armature really wanted camera control without the requirement of the second circle pad, then they could have just mapped that to the touch screen. Worked well for Resident Evil and Monster Hunter, IMO.
Oh well, whatever. I'm not too hung up on it. I'm cool with 2.5D too - I really enjoyed my time with Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate, for example. That game maybe should have been full 3D as well, but I complain less about that because I feel Castlevania is best in 2D.
@GameDadGrant Not confuse: disappoint and frustrate, you would be taking away valuable functionality for no reason (other than Nintendo being wrong-headed and short-sighted and not giving a shit about 3rd parties).
I'm sure for you personally it wouldn't matter either way. I realize there is a small segment of the gaming population that is anti-dual analog, but there are also lots of gamers who don't feel that way. What do you think would happen if either Sony or Microsoft removed the 2nd stick from the PS4 or Xbone controllers? Do you think gamers would be cool with that because games control "fine" with only one stick?
I'm with Grant, if they wanted to make a great 3D game on the 3DS, they could have done it. These are some of the guys who took an "FPS shooter" type game and did it on the Gamecube without dual analog... creating a stunning game that is one of the best reviewed games ever in the process. They have experience coming up with working alternatives to dual analog controls. It wouldn't have had to be "Batman exactly as it is on the consoles" but could have been it's own thing, much like Ninja Gaiden on the DS worked by not trying to copy the console games but by being its own thing instead.
I just don't think they wanted to take the risk of putting a huge budget on this game. Sure there are a handful of big budget 3D games on the 3DS, but they're not very prevalent, and I'm not sure if they put up big sales numbers. And they are some on the Vita too but um... I'm not sure much of anything is putting up big sales numbers there.
@Zero Expectations were different in 2002, a 1st person shooting game in 2013 that would not allow you to move and shoot at the same time would be scoffed at.
The only option they would have had to create a full 3-D Arkham game on the 3DS would to have used a God of War style camera, which wouldn't have worked well because God of War is a much more linear experience and doesn't rely on scanning and exploration. It also would not align with what fans of this relatively new/modern franchise expect.
Were expectations different? Because I remember Metroid Prime not being dual analog being a HUGE CONTROVERSY, and pretty much every other console shooter known to man was at that point. I mean a huge controversy in the sense that Xbox trolls would come on the Gamecube forum at IGN and not shut up about it. Even the other Gamecube shooters had dual analog, because Gamecube controllers did indeed have two analog sticks. Metroid Prime still scored great and most everyone that actually played it loved it, Anand aside.
I think Retro could easily have done the same thing today and it would work just fine. I mean, it worked because it worked, period.
And I think you're worrying too much about "expectations" of the fans too. A 2.5D Metroidvania is certainly not what fans of 3D console Batman expected, but it's what they are getting on the handhelds. Some kind of alternative 3D Batman would work out fine, provided it was a good game.
Actually, I think there would be a ton of ways to make it work. Just requires a bit of thinking outside of the box.
@Zero Yes expectations were different, and even though Metroid Prime controlled great for a puzzle-heavy, platformer-heavy, exploration game it probably suffered in terms of sales from not having dual-analog even way back then, that was a huge turn off for many people who after Halo expected to be able to move and look around at the same time. And IIRC even Retro was in favor of using a dual analog set up but it was NCL who mandated the use of a single stick because they didn't think gamers would be capable of using two sticks at the same time.
But again, that was 2002, it's rapidly approaching 2014, the number of people who still hold onto this "one stick" mentality are rapidly shrinking, gamers expect (and rightly so, IMO) to be able to control the camera in a game like Batman Arkham Asylum/City/Origins.
Sometimes you don't need to "think outside the box" to come up with solutions to problems that wouldn't and shouldn't exist if Nintendo was more in tune with the needs of 3rd parties and gamers, especially western 3rd parties and gamers.
I'm not talking about sales though, I'm talking about making a great game (in the case of Metroid Prime, almost universally considered one of the best of the generation.) Realistically speaking, this handheld Batman probably had little chance at putting up real sales regardless... which is why I think they went with the 2.5D, since you can keep the budget down that way and it is less of a risk.
You're talking about how Nintendo should have included a second stick, and I agree, but that's not even really what we're talking about here, is it? I think that is your own personal axe to grind working its way in. The question is... could they have made a great 3D Batman game on the 3DS that at least has, in spirit, enough connections to the console series? And I think they definitely could have. Whatever things they would have to scale down a bit are like doubly scaled down in the 2.5D version anyway.