"Step into the
shadows of Gotham City’s perilous criminal underworld as DC Comics’
legendary Dark Knight in the Batman Begins video game."
Movie based games are generally very poorly received by the gaming
community because they often swap gameplay for storyline in order to
keep with the movie franchise. Fortunately, Electronic Arts is one of
those few companies that not only manages to successfully keep the
spirit of the movie but also add "true" gameplay to the title as seen
with their recent hit, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
In Batman Beings, gamers
take the role of Bruce Wayne whose parents were murdered over 15 years
ago that now fuels his motivation for justice. In Batman Begins, this
passion takes darker overtones and Batman must constantly balance his
internal rage with his sense of justice. The game starts off in the
Himalayas, where you learn the dark arts of being a ninja from a
mysterious sect that is run my by the madman, Ras al Ghul. Your mentor
is a man named Ducard, voiced brilliantly in the game by Liam Neeson who
adds an interesting twist to the game. As you reach the end of your
training under Ducard and his odd band of ninjas, you're confronted with
a moral dilemma that involves justice or cleansing.
The gameplay of Batman
begins features two predominant forms of gameplay that include stealth
and combat. As with Splinter Cell, Batman must also use the shadows to
his full advantage while the gamer uses the radar to see the mission
objectives and also the enemies in the game. From time to time you'll
also see a picture-in-picture screen pop up, which can show you nearby
conversations between enemies or a security-camera view. Unfortunately
the picture-in-picture screen causes some extremely arduous slowdown on
the PlayStation that almost makes certain sections unplayable.
The fighting system of
Batman Begins allows you to punch, kick and do a variety of
combination moves that is ideal for fending off multiple attackers.
Although the combat element of the game is the most enjoyable aspect of
the title, Batman must also use "Fear" to his advantage that allows you
to scare unsuspecting criminals. Batman also has access to a variety of
items that go hand-in-hand with the gameplay of the title, especially
the batarang that can be used to cause "chaos" in the game.
Graphically, Batman is a
visual treat on the PlayStation 2 that also contains a plethora of well
defined gaming areas such as the Himalayas and Gotham City with its dark
undertones. Probably the most impressive feature of the game are the
character models that actually look like the actors themselves and when
you see Bale or Neeson, you actually get the feeling that you are almost
watching the Batman movie. All the characters move with a human like
grace but unfortunately in certain areas where the background detail is
high, the game does suffer from some horrible frame rate issues. I
believe the framerate problem is only evident in the PlayStation 2
version with the XBox and GameCube not suffering this problem. Apart
from the awesome graphics, Batman also contains actual footage from the
movie that flows flawlessly with the ingame graphics engine.
The musical score in the
game features a very dynamic soundtrack that helps immerse the
player into the Batman universe and although not as memorable as the
original Batman movie, it does help for some great background ambience.
The sound is probably the best aspect of the game, with fantastic voice
acting from Bale as Bruce Wayne and Batman and from Michael Caine as
Alfred. The Sound effects are also sharp and well rendered, between the
thumps and thuds of hand-to-hand combat and the believable impact of
explosions and gunfire
conclusion, Batman Begins is a decent game that features some extremely
playable gameplay and a beautiful graphics engine with an interesting
storyline. The only downside to the game is that it suffers from
framerate problems that will peeve the perfectionists in the
world. Apart from that, if you loved the movie, then you might want to
check out this title. It's DYNAMITE!