Review by DouglasFett
"Just another movie-game. Move along, move along"
Where to begin [no pun intended]? The Batman Begins game is an adaptation of the 2005 movie that revitalized the Batman film franchise, which tanked years earlier. The movie was an amazing accomplishment, there is no doubt about that. Does the game live up to the film? I gave this game a try back in 2006, and while it had its moments, it was hardly a keeper.
1. Sound + Graphics 10/10: The game's aesthetic and aural qualities were good enough for their day back in 2005. Obviously, developers have come leaps and bounds since then, but I never had any problems here. Nevertheless, kudos to the game developers for really setting the mood here. Gotham's darker corners are very well recreated. Batman, Scarecrow, and the whole cast of characters from the film make appearances in the game. To boot, their respective actors (Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Katie Holmes, Liam Neeson, etc) voiced the characters in the game. No complaints here.
2. Story: As with all movie based games, story and plot construction are forced to take constructive and creative twists from the film to throw players a bone, give them something to do. Would anyone really want to play a movie-game EXACTLY as the characters did their thing in the film itself? Hell no. Its no different here. The player takes control of Bruce, from his training with the League of Shadows to his rise as the Bat, with various scenes from the movie (and even off-camera events) extended.
3. Gameplay: And here's the thing. BB is an action/stealth game. It was developed by the same fellow who created the Splinter Cell series, JT Petty. There are plenty of elements from that series (gadgets, stealth techniques, sneaking, etc). This was the reason I got into the game. This was one of the big hooks about the game, its stealth edge. Yes, there is stealth in the game, along with plenty of 'beat em up' action. But alas, here's the dilemma.
For those who have not played the first two Splinter Cell games, it might be helpful to know that they are VERY linear. As Sam Fisher, stealth operative working for the NSA, you go through level after linear level, using the tools you have at your disposal to get the job done. Sure you can deviate [slightly] from what Ubisoft developers had intended, generally you stick to the path. But there was a compromise with those games. It was called "trial and error." The player had the freedom to do what they wanted, learning how to get through levels by themselves.
Unfortunately, that compromise was not held in BB. The player is often overtly directed by the developers, forced to progress and/or have their hand held to get through sections. The formula that was developed for the first two Splinter Cell games is a very fragile one, because while it does force the player down specific routes, it does not smother the player. Its a very thin line, and that line was crossed with Batman Begins.
Are there positives to the Batman Begins game? A few, sure. The Batmobile missions are a blast. The ability to unlock alternate Batman costumes was also pretty neat too. Its fair to say that in its day, BB topped all previous Batman games. Is there any reason one should get it now, some nostalgic feeling for a good classic? Perhaps, but I can't recommend this game. Batman: Arkham Asylum is a damn good buy. Even Splinter Cell Conviction is a keeper. But Batman Begins is no keeper, nor is it a classic. Stick with the films.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 03/29/11
Game Release: Batman Begins (US, 06/14/05)
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