Brighter days for a Dark Knight. Review

Batman Vengeance Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • Ubi Soft

Developer

  • Ubi Soft

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS2

rating

Brighter days for a Dark Knight.

Take your right hand and ball it into a fist. Good! Now how many fingers are

you holding up? You say none? Absolutely correct! That’s about how many Batman

games there have been that haven’t resembled a mother bird’s regurgitated worm

food.

Thankfully, Ubi Soft has recently bought the Dark Knight license and has brought

him relatively close to his true glory. He might have made it even closer if

the game wasn’t hampered by a terrible control scheme and extremely limited

gameplay. Oh well, Batman Vengeance is still the best attempt to personify

the Caped Crusaders and all his gadgetry.

The

Joker has cooked up a devious delicacy of deception. As always, his hope is

to see the death of a certain Gotham City bat. Many of the major Bat-villains

have their hand in this new tale. You’ll recognize Mr.

Freeze
, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and the aforementioned wild card himself.

The story isn’t very inspired, but is very reminiscent of the animated series

after which the game is modeled. The game plays a lot like an episode of Batman

– complete with Batgirl conducting surveillance via the Bat-cave.

As I’m sure you’ve guessed, you take on the role of Batman, moody, brooding

crime-fighter extraordinare. Many of his more popular gadgets are at your disposal,

including bat-a-rangs, bat-nets, bat-scopes, bat-grapples, flash grenades and

more.

Unfortunately, using any of the weapons require you to be in the first-person

perspective. This is very problematic. Trying to throw a bat-net or a bat-a-rang

is much more difficult than I would expect and it isn’t a lot of fun in first-person.

This leaves little room for any impressive visuals or cinematic quality. It

sucks life from the illusory feeling of being in the animated series and throws

you into some pseudo-Turok or Golden

Eye
type experience minus the fun. Big mistake! No one wants to play Batman

in first-person.

Further, the bat-a-rang is distinctively missing the -rang part. Don’t

expect to ever see that flat bat-shaped piece of plastic (or whatever it is)

return to you once it’s left your hand, hence the need to collect more bat-a-rangs

that are carelessly littered throughout Gotham. It’s not consistent and it doesn’t

look good.

Speaking of which…

The games aesthetic value is its strongest leg. Most of it looks just like

the animated series. The cartoon textures are great – characters move with nice

animations and the fighting is fun to watch. Gotham City overall is a little

bland and some areas seem like they could use a visit from the folks at Changing

Rooms, since there’s just too much empty space.

The fighting is pretty simple. Punches, kicks and combos incorporating both

round out the Dark Knight’s repertoire of hand-to-hand punishment. You can even

find new, fancier moves to dish out on menacing grunts. But be wary – a few

of the enemies are pretty damn formidable which makes for some of the more interesting

fight sequences. Of course, you’re Batman, and if the old school fist-to-cuffs

don’t cut it you can always go back to those poorly implemented gadgets.

Thankfully, the enemy AI does not suffer from the same lameness. They’re not

brilliant, but the baddies are smart enough to keep you busy.

My

biggest gripe about Batman Vengeance is the sluggish control, and subsequently,

the camera angles. Moving Batman around, trying to point him in the right direction,

and all the incessant platformer elements make me want to throttle any unsuspecting

citizen who bears even the slight resemblance to a Ubi Soft developer. What

the hell were these guys thinking? Do they know who Batman is? If any superhero

requires precision and grace in his movements, it’s Batman.

When jumping or falling off tall buildings, you can pull Batman’s cape taut

and use it as a type of parachute to safely glide to a lower location. This

is great, but lining him up properly for the landing is really frustrating due

to the finicky camera. These instances become more frequent the further you

get in the game and wind up making you not want to play. The control is really

the straw that broke the

Bat’s back.

Still, you get a good dose of Batman being Batman with gadgets, pseudo martial

arts moves, a few brief stints with the Batmobile and the Batplane and plenty

of gorgeous CGI cutscenes to keep with the animated feel. Even the voice actors

are consistent with the animated series (Mark Hamill as the Joker & Kevin Conroy

as Batman).

The game has some good stuff going for it, but I really wish they would have

made the extra effort. How about a working, dynamic, bustling Gotham City where

I could drive my Batmobile from the elusive Bat-cave around Gotham stopping

crime as I see fit? Or maybe I just want to take in the night air and decide

to leap from rooftop to rooftop routing out crime wherever I find it. When I

heard about the Bat-grapple, I instantly thought of Tenchu,

where you could do a bit of high-flying reconnaissance before you commit

to a mission. None of that here. The only time you can use the Bat-grapple is

when you get an onscreen signal to look for a huge, out of place Bat-insignia

perched on the corner of some overhead location. Oh, I guess I’m supposed use

my Bat-grapple here. Sheesh!

We’re talking about a 50-year-old icon…you’d think they’d know how to personify

his greatness by now. To be fair, Ubi Soft has done better than most with Batman

Vengeance
, and if you like the animated series, this is your game.

Hardcore comic book fans will want to wait for something more substantial.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

2
Rating
Looks good
Some good Batman-ness
Plenty of Bat-gadgets
That are not fun to use
Bland environments
Bad control & camera
Very limited