Developers of the first two Arkham games Rocksteady have handed the reins over to Warner Bros Montréal. Toast’s heart is a welcoming place, and a change of personnel never really worried it, for two reasons. The first of which is that the Arkham template is a sturdy foal, and it would take some doing to cock it up. The second is, simply put, Metroid Prime.
So, how have they fared? In short, not as well as they could have. The first games excelled by empowering the player; the mantle of The Bat was well and truly assumed, and anyone getting in your way would rue that folly, and hard. Perhaps acknowledging Batman’s formative years in this regard, AO appears to have fiddled with the combat, making it much more of a chore this time around. Throwing those annoying Knife-wielding types at the player early doors serves only to provide a grind for our hero, and with the more trained thug being able to counter your counter moves the whole process of despatching a group into a laborious territory.
And then, there are the bugs: many and varied, they throw up machine-resetting freezes with an alarming alacrity. It’s all very similar to the games we know and love, but without Rocksteady’s guiding hands, the title is flawed beyond recommendation. And that’s a crying shame.
By Hal Walker