Or, how i learned to stop worrying and hate Batman: Arkham Asylum
Take a look around any videogames website over the last week or two, and you’ll notice a few things.
1. Everyone is doing ‘best of 2009’ lists.
2. Everyone is doing ‘best of the decade’ lists
3. Everyone is furiously fondling their dicks over Batman & Modern Warfare 2
Which leads us nicely into our most overhyped games of 2009 award. First up..
2. Batman: Arkham Asylum
Arkham Asylum was released in late 2009 to the sound of game journos across the world slapping their dicks together in a massive circle jerk that resembled a Great White feeding frenzy, and gamers Batman fetishists soiling themselves in ecstasy because the guy who played Luke Skywalker is slummign it doing voice overs for videogames because he cant get proper acting work. Taking a look at our old Chums Eurogamer, and their article on how life affirmingly amazing Batman is:
Fans of the caped crusader really shouldn’t hesitate – this isn’t just the best grown-up Batman game, it’s the best superhero game, bar none.
There you have it folks. Arkham Asylum is the best grown-up game about a childrens comic book bar none. This is the best game OF ALL TIME based on a world that consists of:
- A man who thinks he’s a bat, but it’s really just an excuse to wear rubber
- A woman who thinks shes a plant
- A man who thinks he’s a Crocodile but really its just a nasty case of Eczema
- A man who thinks he’s a Penguin
- A woman who thinks she’s a Cat
- A clown who thinks he’s funny
The hallucinations caused by Scarecrow’s fear gas are cunningly conceived slices of pop psychology
For those not in the know, these cunningly conceived slices of pop psychology are the sections where the game turns into super fucking mario and batman jumps around ledges avoiding what is essentially a spotlight that cackles.
I’m in the cowl, thinking like Batman.
I really hope not. Lets not forget here, Batman is a mentally divergent schizophrenic who believes he is part Human, part Bat, wears PVC Rubber outfits recreationally and has a Butler. If you’re thinking like Batman, youre a fucking mentalist and should seek help immediately. Arkham Asylums gameplay generally consisted of either one of two things:
1. You’re tasked with clearing a room full of enemies
2. You’re following a trail to find a room full of enemies
Oh sorry, make that 3 things
3. You’re listening to the Joker on the intercom for the 687th time in the last 5 minutes, taunting you to come and find him
No wait! FOUR things!
4. You’re holding your head in your hands sobbing uncontrollably at yet another woeful ‘find the weak spot and attack it for MASSIVE DAMAGE’ boss fight.
But, despite all the hate, Arkham Asylum is a decent game. Not a great game, but a decent game. A game based on a schizophrenic man who believes he’s a bat, yes, but thats not the problem. The problem is the rabid slavering bat-fanboys, who somehow tore themselves away from desperately trying to vote The Dark Knight into ‘best film of all time’ category on IMDB and instead hyped Arkham Asylum up beyond all reasonable levels, which certifies it as the 2nd most overhyped game of 2009. Moving on…
1. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Modern Warfare 2 – a.k.a Pvt. Ramirez averts Nuclear war and kicks the Russians out of America single handedly – didn’t try and re-invent the wheel. In fact, it barely even had wheels. It was so devoid of wheel-invention it was practically a surfboard. Yet MW2 was one the most played, and most well reviewd games of 2009. So how can a game as uninspired as an Oasis greatest hits album be getting such amazing reviews? Could it be the plot? Heres a brief synopsys:
Evil American General is pissed off some soldiers got killed in the Middle east in MW1. Orchestrates nefarious scam to train a raw army private in international espionage, including but not limited to:
- Getting him fully fluent in Russian in a matter of weeks
- Hoping Russias greatest terrorist will be so fooled by this super secret agent he will adopt him into his tightly knit terrorist clique
- Assuming Russias greatest terrorist is going to find out that he is indeed an undercover agent, and isntead of just killing him, will take him to an airport and massacre everyone in it, and then blame it on the american, and thus pave the way for going to war with America so that Evil American general can kick some Commie ass
After this nonsense is done playing out, MW2 prays to Jesus that youve never seen, or read the plot to, seminal Patrick Swayze flick Red Dawn, and then the Russians invade America, much like in seminal Patrick Swayze flick, Red Dawn. Once the Russian invasion kicks off, its down to plucky young Private Ramirez to save America. Starting with the Russian invasion of Burger Town. Yes, when the Red menace came knocking on Americas front door, it wasn’t the White House, or The Pentagon that got it in the neck first. It was Burger Town. Followed by an amassing of troops next to some Steak House across the parking lot. And it was all down to one man to literally do fucking everything to repel the assault.
Joking aside, Infinity Ward are to games development what idiot savants are to mathematics. They produce the end results but christ only knows how they got there. What the fuck is the point in being part of the U.S. Marines if you’re the only person in the entire military capable of firing a gun with any level of competence? What use are squadmates if they just sit on their arses look at you, waiting for you to go throw the entire Russian army out of fucking Burger World?
Lets take a lok at what the Critics said about this ridiculous one man against the Russian bear ridiculousness. Take it away Eurogamer!
In taking the fight to American soil, and in actualising combat in the familiar respectability of middle-class life, Infinity Ward moves to explore rare themes in gaming. Its previous game, while praised for its gunplay, won no accolades for nuanced politics. Modern Warfare 2 also starts with Cheney-era rhetoric, celebrating “the most powerful military force in the history of man” before claiming, “every fight is [America’s] fight, because what happens over here matters over there.” These statements stick in the throat somewhat. But after the airport massacre, the tone shifts. As you sprint towards the White House, the sky above thick with murderous, parachuting Russians, Modern Warfare lives up to its name, revealing a US military defiant yet on the back foot.
Yes, so no mention that the gameplay is essentially DOOM only theyv’e replaced red and yellow keycards with retrieving stinger missiles from the roof of Burger Town and hellspawn with Russians. So no big change there. It’s great that EG thought it pertinent to discuss the socio-political themes of MW2, but the fact that they fail to mention the gameplay is as linear and repetitive as its predecessors was back in fucking 2007 seems a slightly large omission.
That Modern Warfare 2’s biggest strides have been made in storytelling is unsurprising.
Unsurprising because its storytelling is ridiculously cack-handed, overblown and would make a Michael Bay movie look like a hard hitting Documentary, and that its core gameplay remains the exact same, yet somehow worse than, its almsot 3 year old predecessor?
MW2 is much like Arkham Asylum in that at its core its a decent game, but a game that had it been released under a different brand name, wouldve struggled to puck up scores of a 7 or 8, nevermind 9’s and 10’s. Not to mention it’s all encompassing, life consuming much vaunted multiplayer has been riddled with bugs and glitches since its release. Therefore MW2 claims its rightful place as most overhyped game of 2009