Sadly we live in the present. Due to that fact I've had to settle for playing the currently released products on the market. I mostly played The Witcher 3 this month, and ended up completing it the day Batman: Arkham Knight was released. I absolutely loved it and am very much looking forward to the expansions. I spoke a lot about that game in last months edition. This month it's all about the Batman. Much to the surprise of absolutely no one, the game is quite good!
The only other game I really put any appreciable amount of time into this month was Halo: The Master Chief Collection. While watching the Halo 5 demo during E3 I realized I had never played a Halo games campaign before. I have now completed the first game, and am close to the end of the second. I can see why people like the series, but don't really understand how it blew up so big.
It's Game Time!
Batman: Arkham Knight
For some reason I didn't play Arkham Asylum right when it came out, but I will never forget when I did play it. The Christmas after it came out my parents bought me an HD TV for my college dorm room. One of my friends had let me borrow the game to play over Christmas break, so Arkham Asylum ended up being the first game I ever played in HD. I wasn't expecting a lot from the game, but ended up playing it in three sittings. It would have been two, but I went to see a movie right before fighting the final boss. Arkham Asylum did so much so well. It more or less invented modern melee combat, and proved that even licensed games can be amazing when the developer does it right. It's crazy to think about how almost every single game with melee combat uses the free-flow combo system introduced in Arkham Asylum. The sequel Arkham city lost a lot of the charm its predecessor had on me. While it was cool to have a large open world to explore I missed the confined corridors of the Asylum. I skipped Arkham Origins and went right for Arkham Knight. It keeps the open world of the previous two games, but for some reason I like it a lot more.
The open world in Arkham Knight is the whole of Gotham, where Arkham City was a condemned part of the city used to hold criminals. While it was cool it just didn't feel right. The Batmobile adds to my enjoyment of the open world as well. Even though it's faster to fly around and grapple building with Batman I enjoy sliding around the streets, because the car feels so powerful. It helps that it can turn into a tank. I'm willing to say that I actually enjoyed the Batmobile segments of the game, which were pretty frequent in the beginning, but taper off towards the end. My opinion seems to be at odds with most other people though, because all I see is non-stop complaining about the Batmobile and all of it's tank fighting battles. Listen, the Batmobile is cool. At first it's kind of squirrely, but once I figured out how to drift properly I thought it was just fine. The combat scenarios are easy to maneuver in as well, because when it's a tank it can strafe with no issue. It has a powerful cannon and most enemies die in a hit. I can see the sequences getting annoying eventually, but the game isn't super long to begin with so it didn't have much time to wear out its welcome.
|The Arkham Knight is a brutal villain.|
As for the rest of the game it's standard Batman fare. The city has been evacuated because Scarecrow has threatened to release his fear gas on the city. This means that all the streets are free of civilians and filled with thugs to beat down on. You do still beat down on tons of thugs with the patented free-flow combat, so don't freak out about the Batmobile. I can't really talk about the plot a whole lot, because there are so many good character moments that happen in the game. For starters Batman gets hit with some fear gas early on and it has some pretty amazing side effects. There's also the new villain in play aptly named the Arkham Knight who is more or less a robot looking Batman. He has a grudge and desperately wants Batman dead. I was very excited to find out who he was, and the reveal did not disappoint.
I really liked the game, but still don't think it was as good as the original. Arkham Knight is still easily my second favorite though. There was just something missing from Arkham City for me, and from what I hear Origins wasn't a whole lot better. I truly hope that this is the last Batman game that Rocksteady makes. They keep referring to it as the end of a trilogy, but we all know that if Warner Brothers makes enough money they'll run the franchise to the ground. The ending to the game isn't conducive to another game, but in general I think that Rocksteady should be allowed to put their talent to work on a new franchise.
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
After everything was said and done on the first day of E3 I took a trip to the local Gamestop. While there I picked up a second Xbox One controller, and a used copy of the Master Chief Collection. Halo 5 looks like it has a solid plot for its campaign, and since I have an Xbox One I figured I might as well find out what all the fuss is about with the previous games in the series. Yes, like everyone, I played my fair share of Halo multiplayer. However, I never owned an Xbox, or Xbox 360 of my own, so I've never really sat down to play through a Halo story. I have now done that co-op and don't really get how Halo got to be as popular as it is. I realize that the main appeal came and still comes from the multiplayer, but I'm talking purely about the single player story here.
The plot of the original Halo is lame. That's really the only way I can describe it. You play as Master Chief, but you don't really know anything about him. We know he's a Spartan, he's got an AI companion named Cortana, and he has to kill the Covenant. The plot is not very well explained, and then when the flood is introduced it gets even worse. The Covenant accidentally released a race of what seems to be a plant-like parasites that take over dead bodies. This is where the Halos come in. An ancient race of aliens created them to wipe out all life in the galaxy, because apparently that's the only way to stop the Flood from growing. That seems like a terrible plan and obviously Master Chief doesn't want to do that. Things get kind of real, and you end up destroying the Halo. Turns out there are more Halos, and they need to be destroyed too. That's where Halo 2, and 3 come in!
|Man, the Arbiter is so dope!|
So, the plot in Halo is very generic. You control a super human soldier who is on a quest to stop the annihilation of the entire galaxy. It's been done before. It's even worse that I hate the Flood with a fiery passion. They're not challenging enemies, they're bullet sponges. All they do is run at you while you pump round after round into them! It's not fun! Halo 2 at least mixes it up quite a bit. You still fight the Flood, but you can kill them instantly and easily with a single sword swipe. That brings me to Halo 2, which I think is infinitely better than the original.
From the jump it's very clear that Halo 2 had a much larger budget than the first game. It looks worlds better, and plays even better than it looks. It starts with a full CG cinematic, which the first game definitely had none of. My favorite part is that you get to play as a member of the Covenant who is known as the Arbiter. He's pretty cool and starts off with an energy blade. The energy blade is by far my favorite weapon and does work on the Flood. I'm somewhere near the end and the story is taking a turn for the weird. Recently Master Chief and the Arbiter spoke with a horrific plant monster. The world is actually being developed quite a bit and I'm much more invested in the story now. I know that it ends on a terrible cliffhanger that everyone hates, but it's okay because I can just go right to Halo 3 when I'm done.
There's always a point in the summer when all major retail releases dry up. We have reached that point. Do not fear though, because I'm getting at least two games this month and they're both incredibly weird. The first is the new Godzilla game for PS4, which looks like it will be a stupid fun time. The second is a hot import release for the Vita, because I can't resist a good rhythm game. Taiko Drum Master V should be a fun one, but what sucks is I don't think it's compatible with the Vita TV so I won't be able to stream myself with a stupid smile on my face.
As always I'll be streaming Inazuma Eleven on Wednesdays, and random old fighting games on Thursdays. I look forward to talking to you all again next month! Peace out!