Review by jimfish

"Begin Playing Batman Begins."

Sadly, us gamers haven't seen a good Batman game since...well, can any of us really remember? We've sat through some painful sessions of Rise of Sin Tzu, Vengeance and Dark Tomorrow but has EA finally paved the way to Batman Heaven? I think so.

Released just in time for the movie, this tie-in pits us up against the latest villains of Gotham City. Batman Begins is one of the darker sides of Bruce Wayne's history as we actually see the human side of him - as after all, Batman isn't an Super-Radioactive-Atomic Bat, he's just a man who fights crime for a past time.

In Batman Begins, we see a new element to brawls; fear. Explode some barrels or drop some crates near a group of thugs and they'll be scared poopless (Or indeed Popeless). This is a nice change of pace from simply walking into a room, attack, attack, block, attack and then move onto the next room for another wave of generic baddies. Casting fear into the hearts of the thugs causes them to:

a) Drop their weapons in panic (Hmmmmm...)
b) Be vulnerable in fist fights

If you're scared, why drop your only defence? I mean, c'mon! Batman drunkly stumbles into some crates and the bad guys scream and drop their guns - odd, anyone?

Anyway, once you've weaken the enemy's force, you can move into fighting. The fighting system is not as complicated as some other superhero games *COUGH*Spiderman!*COUGH* but it's satisfactory enough. Holding down the R Trigger lets Batty block, with the X acting as the Count-Attack. These two when in unison lets Batman through most fights unharmed which is slightly disappointing to say the least. That's not all there is to combat, as you are able to string together combos by using the Punch and Kick buttons - not to mention the Special Moves Batman is able to carry out.

Don't worry though, the game is not just one big fight. Trust me on that. The next splice of the game is the Stealth-em-up section. Splinter Cell fans should be pleased by this portion as we get to interrogate enemies, climb along pipes, wall hug, climb through windows...
It may not be as hard as some stealth games out there where you've been foiled countless times by PC Plod randomly turning round when you carry a body into the shadows. The problem is that the stealth is not really a challenge for some gamers who are die-hard veterens for the genre, but that doesn't excuse it from being fun.

On the subject of fun, here comes the infamous Burnout-esque driving levels. It looks and feels like EA has taken the Burnout Engine and slapped the Batmobile skin on top with missiles under the headlights. The speed is astronomical, the Batmobile is robust and uncrashable...bliss.

Back on his own two feet, Batman can travel across massive wide levels filled with great visuals and atmosphere. Granted, it's linear but I don't think you'd mind if you saw the scope of each level. But sadly, there's only 8 levels in total and won't take long for the casual gamer to complete, which I suppose is due to the developer's staying true to the movie's plot. And by the way, I do suggest seeing the film before you play the game, as you'll ruin the movie for yourself as any game tie-in's story isn't as gripping as the real movie.

Anything missing? Not that I can see. Usually games such as this are cursed to have bad voice actors, but not this time. The whole cast of Batman Begins came together to do the voices for the game giving it that authentic feel. Even the music score oozes in awesomeness...

The game doesn't really have a lot of replayability to it, but they do have some really interesting features to it. Including the regular interviews with cast & developers and 3 different unlockable batsuits. Sweet.

Last thing. Buy or rent? I'd go for rent if you were a casual gamer, but it is well worth buying it as it is worthy of being in your collection.


Gameplay - 8/10
Audio - 7.5/10
Replay Value - 6.7
Graphics - 8/10
Final - 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 07/21/05

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