Batman (MD): COMPLETED!

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

This used to be one of my favourite Mega Drive games, not least because of the tiny Sunsoft box it came in, but over the years time has not been so kind and it isn’t as good as I remember it being.

Batman
You’re going down, I’m yellin’ timber.
Batman
That’s how it starts, but later there’s running and screaming.

Part of the problem I’ll say upfront: I totally forgot, until the final level where I did it by accident, that it was possible to double-jump. This afforded Batman a bit more height, a bit more distance, and the ability to damage baddies on contact as he somersaults into them. The other problems were things that have worn me down in more recent years, like bosses that require you to repeat the same action, in exactly the same way, over and over again and leaps of faith. Or grapples of faith, on some of the levels – there’s no way of knowing if you’ll grapple up into a baddie or some spikes until it’s too late. And there’s a SuckySuck(TM) bit, only made worse by the repetitive boss fights. The batmobile and batwing levels should have broken up the mostly dull platforming sections, but the former was way too long and easy, and the latter way too hard and frustrating.

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I suppose not all games I loved when I can younger can still stand up these days, unfortunately.

Batman Returns (Lynx): COMPLETED!

tumblr_o1gvmhnl6y1svmpf2o1_1280What a pile of utter tripe. A game that on the face of it looks a bit like the original Batman on the Megadrive (which was actually pretty good), but is actually nothing of the sort.

In this game, Batman moves from left to right failing to avoid enemies and their attacks because it impossible to dodge them all. Sometimes he’ll fall in a hole because of this, and it’ll be Game Over. That’s right – you have a single life, and if you fall in a hole it’s instant death and you start the entire game all over again. Utter nonsense.

tumblr_o1gvlaq3ue1svmpf2o1_1280You can’t even bide your time and take baddies out when you’re able to avoid their guns or bombs or rockets or whatever, as they constantly respawn and crowd you. The game is impossible.

Thankfully, there’s a level skip cheat that I employed to save having to play the whole thing again every time I died. I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned it’s a missing Continue option.

Batman: Arkham Knight: Harley Quinn Story Pack (PS4): COMPLETED!

_t__PS4share_httpt.cok0DVWyGVjiThat’s a mouthful, innit? In fact, it almost takes longer to say the title of this post than it does to complete this story DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight.

You play as Harley Quinn, who is ordered by The Penguin to infiltrate Blüdhaven Police Department and rescue Poison Ivy. Why, isn’t clear: Penguin says it’s what Scarecrow wants. Since Ivy is instrumental in taking down Scarecrow in the main story (oh, spoilers, sorry) this doesn’t really make sense. Whatever.

Harley obviously has no Batsuit and her gadgets are limited to an exploding jack-in-the-box and a snare. The former is used twice to blow up walls like Batman’s gel, and the latter is completely unnecessary. She’s also got laughing gas that replaces the smoke bomb. And a baseball bat, for some eye-watering takedowns.

_t__PS4share_httpt.coaVfYdjUp5jUnlike Batman’s quiet approach, picking off foes one at a time, Harley seems to make as much noise as possible. Thankfully, for her, the police officers she has to take down are idiots and don’t pose a threat. She can’t grapple to vantage points, but she can jump around like a cat, to much the same effect. All the while talking smack and sometimes chatting to her original “Harleen Quinzel” psyche, which still lurks within and tries to tell her to Do The Right Thing. She doesn’t.

Sadly, this schizophrenia is never explored enough because after a handful of fights, a few Predator-style rooms, and a Nightwing smackdown, that’s it. It’s the end. Half an hour is your lot. If I’d paid money for this, I’d be annoyed. It could have been so much more, but instead teases a new game mode and then ends. Bah.

Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4): COMPLETED!

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150927215726Just a few hours into Batman: Arkham Knight, you’re tasked with taking the Batmobile up onto a roof and effectively making it jump from roof to roof to reach an electrical panel or something. It’s utterly ridiculous, and is not what you’d expect the Batmobile, what with it being a car and everything, is for. This did not bode well for the rest of the game.

Thankfully for all concerned, that was it. Sure, there were a few car-based acrobatics later on, but those – such as lowering it down the wall of a giant fan shaft – seemed to fit. By that point in the story, a lot of things had happened that just made you accept the things the Goddamn Batmobile does. That, and it’s a tank that scurries around like a spider. Oh yes.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150914223231Gritty and weighty like previous Arkham games, but bigger in scope than the rest put together, going into Arkham Knight was a torn experience. As great as Arkham City was, it was too big, too dispersed and less focussed than Arkham Asylum. The core was the same, but fragmented over a wide area. More Batman, on a current gen console especially, was something to look forward to. The nagging doubt it would be spread even more thinly was a worry. Do you remember how many times you visited the same damn steelworks before, despite having a massive city to play in? Aside from Riddler trophies, much of Arkham City was empty. Not so here, which was a relief.

In common with past Bat-outings, the story progresses through set pieces: detective sections, brawls, predator takedowns, boss ba…oh wait. No boss battles? Perhaps Rocksteady realised those in City were almost universally rubbish and ditched them. You still have to confront and defeat major foes, but by other means instead. It actually works well and you don’t miss them.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150919212246

As you work towards taking down the Arkham Knight himself (finding his true identity along the way – I’d guessed very early, but there is a massive signpost if you hadn’t before I did) and Scarecrow, the usual Batman events I’ve mentioned pop up. In addition there are now tank battles. The Batmobile, impossibly, is used to take out the Knight’s army of drones, rocket launchers, cannons, helicopters and what appear to be mechs. Of course it is. Surprisingly, these battles are actually a lot of fun, and there’s an entire side quest devoted solely to them. In fact, almost every one-off task in the main game has a side quest full of that sort of event. Take down a watchtower (Assassin’s Creed Borgia style), and there’s a load more if you want. Like detective work? Why not find out why a load of bodies are literally hanging around Gotham. And so on.

BATMAN™: ARKHAM KNIGHT_20150912211226These seemingly optional side quests, however, are not. In all, there are 14 or so of them, with many terminating in the capture of a major Batman foe (Penguin, Two-Face, etc.). Once you’ve finished the main story in the game, it turns out you haven’t actually finished the main story at all – you have to complete at least 7 of these “optional” questlines to do that. It felt a bit of a cop-out, frankly. They’re mostly fun to do of course, some more than others, but it was disappointing to finally overcome Scarecrow only to be unable to finish the game because some lesser crimes haven’t been resolved.

That’s the structure of the game, but how does it actually play? Gloriously. The combat is meaty. The driving is a welcome addition. Wiping out an entire room of armed guards without a single one spotting you is a fantastic as it ever was. Soaring over the city is never less than stunning. Batman’s array of gadgets are a joy to wield and integrating his car into some of the combat is a masterstroke. Gotham feels so much more alive than in previous Arkham titles, with something happening on every corner and car chases going on all the time – which you can assist in, should you choose.

It must also be said that the voice acting is fantastic, especially Mark Hamill as The Joker: Yes, that’s a spoiler. No, Joker is still dead. Yes, that is confusing. There’s a scene where Mr J does his karaoke routine which is hilarious and grim in a way only Mr J can be. The game is so, so, Batman. Even with Alfred’s “Gordon’s alive?!” quote.

Being so, so Batman in every way does mean that Batman’s allies are pretty sidelined. Robin is constantly told to stay out of it and Batman reluctantly lets Nightwing actually do something as long as it’s nothing to do with the main story. Oracle is central to the plot, but Catwoman is now tucked away in a Riddler sub-story. Scarecrow is playing on Batman’s only fear – that revealing his identity will hurt his “family”, but in trying to protect his friends Bruce is only getting them in more trouble. Silly Bruce. Much of the game would have been avoided if he’d accepted help when offered. Still, that’s Batman for you.

With the story complete and enough side quests mopped up to see the ending, there was a little sadness. Rocksteady have already said this is their last Batman game, and as the end credit roll the montage of moments from all three Arkham games (Rocksteady don’t consider Origins or Blackgate canon it seems) retell the trilogy. It’s been a long road, but that’s it. No more Batman to look forward to from that corner, and it’s hard to see how any other Batman game can be as Goddamn Batman as Arkham Knight was. Arkham Asylum was purer, but Knight was truly an epic sendoff.

Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4): COMPLETED!

Cyborg_is_just_Mega_Man__innit.__t__PS4share_httpt.coxYawU3SQbuWell this was a surprise. The Mortal Kombat series left me cold after UMK3, and although this isn’t technically a Mortal Kombat title, it clearly is a Mortal Kombat game. It’s the same team, it’s a fighting game, it’s a followup to Mortal Kombat vs DC, and it’s even got Scorpion in it. And I enjoyed it.

Man_or_Aquaman.__t__PS4share_httpt.co6XyPVpBgTTThere’s little depth to the fighting, and in many ways the fights just seemed like the gaps between the story in single player mode, but something made me want to keep playing to the end. I liked how you’d flit from character to character as the story progressed too. Perhaps this is how more recent MK games have done things anyway, but it’s way better than the standard “tower of fighters” of old. It forces you to play as roughly half the roster as well, including some I’d never have picked through choice (Aquaman? LOLZ) who turned out better than expected in many cases.

I don’t think I’ll bother with multiplayer (I did try to play online, but I was alone), but the free PS+ rental was well worth  a story mode playthrough.

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Gold_toiletYou know pretty much what to expect with a Lego game. You know there’s a series of levels with fixed characters and loads of secrets you can’t get see or access, some sort of hub world with more secrets you can’t see or access, a lot of silliness, and approximately two thirds of the game locked off until you’ve finished the story.

Then it’s back to the earlier levels with new characters and abilities you didn’t have previously to attempt Free Play mode in order to find some of those secrets and unlock even more characters and abilities, mopping up minikits and red and gold bricks along the way. Usually a third run of the game is then necessary too.

Check_out_Daft_Punk_s_new_single_if_you_get_the_chance._Sound_of_the_summer.Lego Batman 3 doesn’t deviate from these blueprints set out in so many previous Lego titles. It refines them, modifies them, expands on them, but the structure is ultimately the same. You’d think, after playing what must be almost a thousand Lego games, I’d be bored of the formula and seen everything Travellers Tales have to offer, but no – they keep coming up with more addictive and playable titles.

Green_Loontern_The main improvement over Lego Batman 2 is the massively increased roster of characters. Even in Story Mode, you get to play as most of the Justice League (but not Hawkman – there’s a running joke about him being trapped under the Hall of Justice), a pile of villains, several Lanterns of assorted colours, and more. Once you start unlocking more characters, you realise there are hundreds of them, including Daffy Duck as the Green Loontern, 60s Batman TV series characters, and even Kevin Smith. Travellers Tales have also fixed one of the main complaints with previous Lego Batman titles – cycling through all the various suits for the characters. Now, most of the time, standing where the suit is needed and pressing A will swap you to the correct costume automatically – very useful!

Gold_toiletSadly, the open world of Gotham City is absent, replaced with several small hubs: the Batcave, the Hall of Justice, the Watchtower, some Lantern homeworlds, the Moon, and so on. Although there’s a lot to do, probably as much as in Gotham overall, it’s not as impressive. I realise they couldn’t just stick Gotham in there again, but why not Metropolis or Coast City? The latter especially makes sense given the Green Lantern-focussed story.

Oh yes! The story! At the end of Batman 2, Brainiac was en-route to Earth, and in Batman 3 he nears it and starts turning cities into bottle cities and then shrinks the entire planet. Several of the early levels are then set in these cities which as well as being shrunk, are entirely constructed from Lego (which is borrowed from The Lego Movie The Game of The Lego Movie: Lego The Movie Lego Game). Brainiac has used the combined power of all seven coloured Power Batteries to do this, and it’s up to The Justice League, who, teaming up with DCs Most Wanted Villains (And Cheetah), have to reverse the damage and defeat Brainiac.

Lego_Batman_60s_TV_series_set_As always, the game is filled with humour. The dialogue is funny, and a lot of the “background action” with other characters doing stuff while you’re supposed to be paying attention to the foreground action is not to be missed. There are loads of nice touches that make you chuckle too, for example the character select screen. Hover over Batman and you can hear him singing “Nanananananananana Batman!”, but do the same over other characters and…  “Nanananananananana Plastic Man!” and “Nanananananananana Cheetah!”. Every level also has an Adam West minifigure that needs rescuing, with plenty of cheesy puns and one-liners from him (the actual Adam West providing the voice too) as he awaits your assistance.

Some_days_you_just_can_t_get_rid_of_a_bomb_The best bit is a bonus level accessed from the trophy room in the Batcave. There’s a Lego set of Bruce Wayne’s manor office from the 60s TV show, complete with bust you punch to reveal batpoles behind – just like in the series. Pop down the poles and you’re suddenly in a Lego episode of Batman from that era, complete with comic book cut scenes and biffs and zonks as you fight. Adam West narrates the short plot, and most of the TV series baddies make an appearance. Even The Joker has badly applied white make-up over the top of a barely hidden moustache – just like Cesar Romaro did, famously because he refused to shave it off for the part. Batman and run around carrying a bomb, as a callback to the film of the series, and naturally, the level ends in a dance number. Of course.

The_RiddlerThere’s a lot to like in the game, and although it has the usual Lego game bugs (I broke one scripted sequence, and I managed to get stuck behind scenery twice), it’s definitely one of the best of the series. I’ve completed about 30% of it so far, but have barely touched Free Play mode, so I’ll be a while yet!

Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate (3DS): COMPLETED!

tumblr_ndjhn4svpf1svmpf2o1_400On the one hand, this is a perfectly serviceable Metroidvania style game with meaty Batman Arkham type combat and a story to follow on from the Arkham Origins game. On the other hand, it’s a 2D game that tries to fit into a 3D space, with the plane you’re on frequently changing and disorientating you, and a map that serves to confuse as much as direct.

Detective Mode returns, but is rarely sufficient to show where to go or what items are “suspicious” enough to blow up or hit with a batarang. No, you have to hold a “soft” button on the touch screen and scan the area for things. The entire game turned into move along a screen, scan the entire screen, repeat, with puzzles or fights taking a back seat.

tumblr_ndplntadjb1svmpf2o1_400Sometimes even scanning stuff isn’t enough. A rusty hatch is described as “may break off its hinges with enough force”. Which do you use? Your batclaw to pull it down? Your explosive gel to blow it off? No – your batarang. Obviously. Later, another similarly described hatch needs gel instead. Another time, the claw. Or a fan, which is “possible to stop with explosive”, only you actually need the second gel upgrade. It makes you wonder if you’re doing it wrong, or if you just don’t have the right tool yet.

tumblr_ndploeotfz1svmpf2o1_400Overall, though, it was fun. The actual game bits proper, and some of the boss fights, are excellent. The hacking sections and complicated level layouts were not. Oh, and the bit you have to do after beating the last of the three main foes? Meaning you have to run round pretty much the whole map again? That wasn’t great. Perhaps if a bit more time had been spent trimming the fat, even if it meant cutting the length of the (already pretty short) game down a bit, that may have helped. As it is, it was well worth the reduced entry fee, but with hindsight I’m glad I didn’t pay full price.

Things I’ve been playing recently

It’s another lazy post saving roundup! Yay.

Abyss (Wii U)

Just_44p_There was a sale on recently where Abyss was a stupidly low price of just 44p, but you needed to own UnEpic in order to get it for that price. So I bought UnEpic, and got Abyss. I had no idea what Abyss was, but it was 44p. Plus the £8 or whatever UnEpic was. Erm.

Turns out, it’s a gravity physics cave navigating arcade game. Sort of like the old Spectrum game Thrust, but without having to drag collected cargo around – you just pick it up. It’s pretty good too, but I’ve not played it a great deal yet. The level select screen suggests it has 12 levels but I’m half way through that already, so I hope something else is unlocked afterwards otherwise it’s going to be very short. But then, it was only 44p.

StreetPass Games (3DS)

Although I’ve completed Garden now, I’m still playing it and have grown almost half of the 80 known breeds in the game.

I’m still working through StreetPass Battle, which is very, very slow going. My army is up to almost 300,000 people, but each full set of 10 streetpasses still only gets me about 12,000 at the most, and usually it’s far less than that. I’ve beaten 9 other nations, and the next one was about 350,000 people in its army, so I’m a way off attempting that yet.

In Mansion, I’ve stopped trying to progress as quickly as possible, and am instead attempting to completely fill every floor. I’m on 16 at the moment (of 20, I think?) and apart from the already laid rooms of different colours, I’ve almost filled the floor entirely blue. I’m getting a lot of nice treasure as a result. Only thing is, my weapon kills even bosses in one or two hits and I’m virtually indestructible, so even other weapon types are pointless and substantially less powerful than my Windbag of Woe +2.

Zen Pinball 2 (Wii U)

PinballJust a few games of the Wolverine table, which I’ve barely played before for some reason. I always seem to gravitate towards World War Hulk and Iron Man. I’m second on my friends leaderboard now, although I’m pretty sure the scores must have been reset at some point as the leaderboards seem a bit empty.

Hitman Absolution (PC)

tumblr_n9zr8glori1svmpf2o1_1280Oh my is this terrible. It doesn’t help that it’s completely uncontrollable with a keyboard and mouse, not least because it seems to need every single key on the keyboard when just a single “use” or “action” button for most actions would suffice.

Add that to the fact that Agent 47 keeps vanishing – literally becoming invisible to me, but crucially not anyone else. See the screenshot for my Guard vs Hollow Man fight.

It’s no Assassin’s Creed, that’s for sure.

Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate (3DS)

tumblr_n9mq0pevj31svmpf2o1_400I started this right after finishing the Wii U Batman Arkham Origins game, mainly because it was a continuation of the story. It looks fantastic, and plays pretty good too even though it’s all in Shadow Complex style 2D rather than 3D like the other games. This does limit your takedown options a bit, but that’s not really a problem.

What I am finding an issue is the controls. For reasons I don’t understand some things that ZR was used for on the Wii U has been mapped to L on the 3DS, which is proving tricky to get used to. Bataranging works differently too, and the map is a from-above floorplan, but the action is from the side with fixed points where it rotates 90 degrees to move into and out of corridors and doors – which makes navigation via the map almost impossible. I’m not far in yet (my SD card died and I couldn’t use my 3DS for a week while I got a new one), so I don’t know if the expected Metroidvania-type backtracking and exploration will be hindered by this or not.

Batman: Arkham Origins (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Is_this_some_sort_of_jokeWhat’s this? Two Batman games completed in a single day? What are the chances?

Before today’s session I was actually pretty close to the end anyway, so it only took about half an hour to finish off. Well, over an hour if you count the ludicrously long credit sequence which listed every single person who has ever existed ever, and plenty of other people who never existed at all. Probably.

Anyway. The game! Was brilliant. Although it started off full of bugs, I actually found very few after the first few hours. Aside from this one, from not far from the end:

Hardly game breaking, I know. Thankfully, that was pretty much it – better than Arkham City by the end. In fact, the whole game was better than Arkham City by the end.

tumblr_n9ho13pr1j1svmpf2o1_1280Yes! It really was! Despite the map being bigger, and that being one of the things I disliked about City over Asylum, for some reason I preferred it here. The combat was more or less the same as previously, and there weren’t many (or any?) new enemy types over the earlier games. I’m not really sure why I enjoyed it more than City, when I come to analyse it – I just know I did.

One thing that was definitely an improvement was in the boss fights. They were more varied, and some of them, such as the Firefly one, were really something new. The Electrocutioner was hilarious with his one punch kill, and Bane’s final fight was pretty awesome.

tumblr_n9ho0irmnz1svmpf2o1_1280I also preferred the plot. I never got on with Arkham City’s “I’m dying and now you’re dying” Joker story, perhaps because although you really had all the time in the world to finish the game, there was this nagging sense of urgency as you needed to find the cure before you died. It was interesting to see the origins (that’s the name of the game, remember) of some of the characters, like Harley and Gordon, but laying the smackdown on a load of cops never really felt right, no matter how bent they appeared to be.

In order then, Arkham > Origins > City. Although I know many will disagree.

Onto Blackgate on the 3DS then.

Lego Batman 2 (Wii U): COMPLETED!

1337I actually started this over a year ago, but I don’t seem to have made any mention of it. What happened, was that I played the first three levels in co-op with my daughter, but because it didn’t support the Wii Classic Controller I had to use the Wii Remote which is terrible for this sort of game. I wasn’t enjoying it, so I intended to play something else for a while and come back to it to play solo or when I bought a Wii U Controller Pro. Other games happened, and it got put away.
Evil_receptionistThen it came back out a few days ago, and, since I have a Wii U Controller Pro now, I thought two player was back on! Only it doesn’t support the Wii U Controller Pro. Player 2 is Remote and Nunchuk ONLY. Which is rubbish.
Thankfully, in this case, my daughter mainly just wanted to watch, so I flew through the game in single player while she was back-seat driver.

Yep.Like most Lego games, it’s a lot of fun. The voice acting is great, and the tasks and levels are suitably silly. The best bit, however, is the huge open world hub, which is even more impressive than Lego City Undercover, despite that game coming out later. Yes, Lego City is more fun and there’s more to do (and there’s traffic too), but Gotham is seemingly bigger and the loading sequences are virtually non-existent – especially in comparison. The music is lovely too, especially the Superman film theme triggering each time you take off as Superman.

New_Transformers_film_is_a_jokeAs always with these titles, completing the story is just the start. I’ve still almost 200 gold bricks left to find for a start, and haven’t managed a single full minikit yet. I have found most of the red bricks though, which should make collecting enough studs to buy every character and vehicle a bit easier. Not that they cost very much in Lego Batman 2, and I was surprised at how cheap the red bricks themselves were as well – 500k or so for the 8x multiplier? I’m sure that’s been 8 million or more in other games.

Batman: Arkham Origins (Wii U)

tumblr_n73izflgay1svmpf2o1_1280Despite not “digging” the Arkham Asylum demo all those years ago, I got thoroughly hooked on the full game. This surprised me, as I’m normally not a fan of stealth action games, but you don’t have to play 100% stealth with Batman and even when you do, the hiding is varied and fun, rather than rigid and frustrating.

I played Arkham City and enjoyed that as well, although it wasn’t as good as the first game. The interior sections were great, but the outdoor city traversal bits didn’t really fit so well. I’d heard that Arkham Origins was a little further away from perfection again, but I figured that even it it was half as good as Asylum, it’d still be better than most other games.

Batman_realises_he_s_run_out_of_Mach3_blades_and_really_needs_a_shave.So far, I’ve been mostly right. It’s set before both previous games, but in the main city so much of the map I’ve been through so far is familiar, if a bit less run down and ruined. It’s still pretty much devoid of anyone bar thugs though, which seems silly.

The plot is mainly about Black Mask, a shadowy mafia type boss who has hired a load of assassins to bump off Batman, and Batman’s attempts to find both him and why he’s doing this. Although most of the assassins are lesser known Batman villains (at least one was created for this game, I believe), I’ve already come up against the Penguin in his arms dealer role. One of his floozies, Tracey, has this awesome British accent and kept saying I was “proper nawty”. Was almost a shame to break her arm and chuck her in a cage.

Would_you_kindly_find_the_PenguinI’ve had two boss fights so far. One was incredibly easy (literally one hit) with “The Electrocutioner”, who was all mouth and no trousers. The other was really pretty difficult against Deathstroke, who took a lot of counterattacking and bat-clawing to take down. Many, many retries there.

Aside from those bits, it’s all what is now pretty standard Batman fare. Picking off guards one by one by stringing them up, creeping up behind them, or grabbing them off ledges. Hacking computers. Scanning things in Detective Mode. It’s all the same as what went before, but that isn’t a bad thing as that’s what makes these games so good. That and the meaty you-can-feel-the-punches combat, anyway.

What isn’t good, and what seems to be a common thing with more and more games these days, are the bugs. Some really nasty ones which really break the game, and have been pretty frequent. There are two main recurring bugs I’ve come across: The first is when all the on-screen prompts disappear, which makes it harder in general but when it happened fighting Deathstroke and it’s essential for countering attacks, a nightmare. Image QTEs only without any prompts. Somewhat hard.

The other was when the camera decided to “lock on” to something which I’d been forced into looking at (e.g. another character), but was then never released properly, meaning I (as the viewer, not Batman himself) continued to look at the same point even when walking away from it. This also happened in the Deathstroke fight.

There are other bugs (I had a FMV sequence hang, but only for video – the sound, and then the game, continued but I couldn’t see anything but a frame of the video), but nothing as major as these. Just more sloppiness, I suppose. It’s a shame coming into another bugfest right after The Lego Movie videogame, but at least the game good enough that I still want to play it.

Batman: Arkham City (Wii U)

Completed: More.

As in, I competed the Harley’s Revenge story. It was DLC in other versions of the game, and if I’d bought it as a separate purchase I’d count it as a separate completion (like I did with Fallout New Vegas and Bioshock 2 DLC), but as it’s on the disc, I’m not sure I can do that here. Either way, it’s done.

It was pretty short, and the actual map you play on was tiny (and reused over and over and over), but at least it wasn’t the Steel Mill again (well, aside from a short bit as previously mentioned). Harley was a complete pushover at the end, and the bomb defusing against the clock was annoying as you didn’t really know where they were and the “detector” to tell you wasn’t a lot of help.

Still, it was fun, and although playing as Robin was sadly over too quickly it was well worth playing.

Batman: Arkham City (Wii U): COMPLETED!

Well, look at that. It turns out the final 15% of the main story takes less than 20 minutes to do. I literally just had to make it to a cinema, then have two fights inside with the end of game boss. Two very, very easy fights. I have to say, the difficulty, and quantity, of the “big” fights in Arkham City both fall way short of those in Arkham Asylum. I think there’s only been one I didn’t beat first time.

So, yeah. Done.

That slight downer aside, I did really enjoy the game. It’s not as Metroidvania-y as Asylum was, and considering the size of the map you seem to spend half your time in the same few locations (particularly the Steel Mill and Museum), but it is still lots of fun. Finding ways to take out all the baddies in a room or area, in secret, is still the “big win” for the game, and the combat is truly glorious.

After finishing the main story, and trying to stay awake during the 76 minutes of credits at the end, I played the next chapter with Catwoman, finding (in the Museum… again) Two-Face and taking him down. Now she has to take down random guys across the city, but I’m not sure if that’s just a side mission now I’m done, or actually something that needs to be done to “finish” her story.

I also made a start on the used-to-be-DLC but is-included-in-the-Wii-U-version epilogue story – Harley’s Revenge. After a quick jaunt as Robin (who is pretty awesome with his sticks and shield), you play as Batman for a bit again. In the Steel Mill. Again. Sigh. It’s great, but there’s so much map you could use! It also plays host to another blood trace detective mode scan trail thing too, which I’m sure happened a lot more in the first game. Detective Mode in Arkham City is very much underused in the main story (and possibly side missions – I’ve not done many), which is a bit of a shame.

Batman: Arkham City (Wii U)

Dinner dinner dinner dinner fightman! Dinner dinner dinner dinner hideman! Dinner dinner dinner dinner glideman! Climbman! Batman!

85% done now. With the story, at least. It would appear that only equates to about 30% of the overall game, which presumably includes all the side missions, Riddler trophies and after-game fun. Of which there is clearly a lot for the maths to work.

Having beaten up Mr Freeze and found his wife for him, lost the cure for Batman’s poisoning, and punched the Joker a lot – too much, I’d say, given his weak and spindly frame, yet still he walks – I set off to rearrange Strange’s face. Which was all too easy, and I did wonder what exactly he was playing at to make it so easy and then… SPOILER! I genuinely didn’t see that twist coming. I was expecting something, but not involving that particular character. Clever girl.

Er, by which I mean the game, not the character.

What next? Well, off to punch the Joker again it seems. For a painted twig, he’s remarkably resilient.

The Irregular Lazy Catch Up Post

Yep. Another one of those. You love them really. So, here are things I’ve been playing recently:

Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 (360)

I’m now, I dunno, half way into the first of the two year 7 films? I have no idea. Things seem to have hit the fan though, as the beardyman has died and the moon has turned into a Lego skull and everything was on fire.

Literally no idea.

Skylanders (360)

My daughter is able to play this really well now, so we play in co-op and she pretty much manages by herself without me needing to control her or anything. She even goes and collects keys and things, and knows to hang back when there’s a load of baddies to dispatch. Awesome. We’ve done a few more levels, and redone some earlier ones again, but I’m not sure how far from the end we are now.

Batman: Arkham City (Wii U)

It’s fantastic. I’m now almost 9 hours in, and have just completed the Demon Trials bit, which is how far I got on the PC version before giving the PC version up because it’s the PC version and who plays PC games? Eh? I’m surprised I’d played it for that long on the PC though. In fact, I probably played it a lot longer, as I recall a lot of aimless wandering, side quests, and Riddler Trophy hunting – none of which I’ve really done in the Wii U version yet.

The Wii U Game Pad makes it a lot easier to manage gadgets and stuff too, and it doesn’t look any worse than the PC version did on my machine, so it’s better overall. Nice.

The Cave (Wii U)

Still on my first runthrough. I don’t know how long the game is, but I’m now doing the third “individual” puzzle section – for the Time Traveller – having already done the Hillbilly and the Twins bits. The Twins one was hilarious. And dark. The controls have clicked now too, which is great. It’s a shame there’s no Game Pad Only mode, though.

Zen Pinball 2 (Wii U)

I still only have the Marvel Infinity Pack of tables (I think that’s what it’s called, anyway – Avengers, Infinity Gauntlet, World War Hulk and Fear Itself), but they’re all great. I’m at the top of my friends list on all the high score tables now, and have broken the top 50 in the world on a couple of them – and 5th in the UK on one!

F-Zero (Wii U)

The SNES game for 30p. I’m not a fan of F-Zero (and never really have been, actually), but at that price, you can’t say no. So I didn’t say no.

It’s as good (or “average”) as I remember it. Quite good fun, but the tracks with the 90 degree “square” corners are too hard, the “cars” are too floaty, and the collision detection, particularly with walls, too ropey, to really enjoy properly. At least it’s in 60Hz. Miiverse would explode if it wasn’t…

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Demo) (Wii U)

It’s Monster Hunter Tri, only in HD. And with more bits. But basically, that. It looks utterly fantastic, plays well, and I really want it, but… the controls! Oh my!

They were terrible on the Wii, but you’dathunk on the Wii U, with more buttons and a touch screen for easy item access, they’re be easier? Right? Wrong. You still have to hold L and press Y and A to cycle through your inventory. Why?! Madness.

Tank! Tank! Tank! (Wii U)

This is now free. At least, being able to play one of the multiplayer game modes up to three times a day is free. Rude not to download it, really.

It plays like EDF 2017, only with big happy cartoon graphics, Japanese photobooth style silly photo avatars, and tanks. It’s fun, but it’s Story Mode I think I’d get most out of, and that’s not free. Sure, it’s only £7.99, but I’ve a lot of other games on at the moment and it’s likely the disc version will be nearer that price (with all the other content included) soon. I’ve seen it for £15 so it’s only a matter of time.

2 Fast 4 Gnomz (Demo) (3DS)

I played another game in this series on the Wii U. It was terrible. This, however, is… good? It’s a simple autorunning platformer, but it was fun. Fun enough to buy when there are a billion similar cheaper-or-free alternatives? Not so sure.

Fractured Soul (Demo) (3DS)

Erm. I’m pretty sure I’ve played an almost identical game to this before. Maybe on the Wii. It’s a “two planes” game, where you swap from one to the other (one on each screen) to progress – as enemies, switches, platforms and lasers only appear on one or the other. It’s a bit like Mighty Switch Force, but not even one tenth as good. I won’t be buying this.

escapeVektor (3DS)

Another few levels into this. Still great.

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate: Demo of Game: Sub of Title (3DS)

It’s a 2.5D Castlevania, that looks like the 360 “reboot” graphically, plays a bit like it in terms of combat, but have the classic Metroidvania blue-map-filling thing going on. I hated the 360 game (it just wasn’t Castlevania), but this… this is awesome. It’s now on the list!