What other superhero games can learn from Batman: Arkham Asylum

What Superman should learn

The Man of Steel’s games have infamously ranged from super shitty (Superman 64) to not quite so super shitty (Superman Returns). While the flying in Supes’ last game was pretty decent, it couldn’t plaster over the fact that all you were really doing was beating up massive tin men using a rubbish combat system. So Clark clearly needs a lesson in beating people up, then. And if there’s one thing Arkham does really well, it’s kicking baddies in the crotch.

Obviously, Superman being as hard as week-old bread, coated in steel and laced with reinforced titanium means fighting traditional goons in balaclavas is out. So the developer might have to upset fanboys by pitting you against fellow Kryptonians, even though they’re all supposed to be dead. At any rate, give us a meaty combat engine, built on convincing animation that sells Supes’ strength (i.e. copy the one in Arkham) and we might forgive DC for never giving us a Jimmy Olsen stealth game.

What Spider-Man should learn

Oh, our beloved Web-slinger. Where did things go so horribly wrong? Well, we’ll say around about the time the novelty of Spider-Man 2’s ace swinging mechanics wore off. Still, Spidey and his powers have been nailed, so at least there’s a solid platform to build on. If developer Treyarch is handed the reins again, it should treat Manhattan with the same reverence Rocksteady has given Gotham’s asylum. That means no sacrificing detail for scope and no more rescuing f**king kids’ balloons.

Sure, swinging from Central Park to the Statue of Liberty is great. But what’s the point if there’s nothing to do but rescue bags of air or hang criminals from lampposts? We want Spidey’s next bite at the Big Apple to be filled with inventive objectives and interesting missions –like Arkham’s Riddler challenges – that encourage exploration and lateral thinking.

What the X-Men should learn

The recent Wolverine tie-in almost nailed it. Focus on the best thing about your character – namely his ability to grow his skin back and slice men’s spines in two – and build your game around that. Trouble is, it got too bogged down in slashing, torn vests and rippling bicep… eh, killing stuff. Most of the other X-Men games, be it the movie titles or Marvel Ultimate Alliance, have also been too samey. Arkham, however, constantly mixes up its gameplay.

Rather than merely focusing on throwing explosive cards at evil doers’ groins with Gambit or freezing folk with Storm, future X-Men games should combine different styles to create a more interesting, varied game. How about stealth sections where you strategically sneak past baddies with Nightcrawler’s teleporting skills or on-rails flying sections with Rogue? Mixing the action up would also help pacing. So hopefully, we won’t want to mutilate our eyeballs with adamantium claws the next time we pick up the mutants’ game.

Coming up next...

The lesson continues, as the Bat lectures Iron Man and the Hulk.

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  • AntistasBoneShield - September 4, 2009 1:15 a.m.

    Batman has always been my favorite character of all time. This game has reinvigorated my love for him.
  • TheWebSwinger - September 3, 2009 11:09 p.m.

    One lesson Batman can learn from Spider-Man? How to have a personality.
  • theHeadCase - September 3, 2009 10:17 p.m.

    I think the Joker's transformation in the game was based off of an episode of The Batman when Joker got a hold of Bane's Venom. In that episode Joker had a ponytail instead of a mohawk.
  • RC5052 - September 3, 2009 9:25 p.m.

    First time posting! I don't have this game yet, but I'm glad that the first REALLY good comic game is of Batman cause he has always been my favorite (Wolverine 2nd) And I love how a guy with no powers is "teaching" a bunch of superheroes how to better their games lol. By far, this is the best article ever!
  • Corsair89 - September 3, 2009 4:15 p.m.

    lol'd at "no more rescuing helium in peril"
  • Conman93 - September 3, 2009 3:49 p.m.

    I can't read most of the articles this week without spoiling this game!!! I loved the demo.I have to get it!!!
  • Pr0fesserCha0s - September 3, 2009 2:31 p.m.

    You guys should do a Bat Week or Batman Week anyone this is one awesome article
  • Seabread - September 3, 2009 12:24 p.m.

    It hsould be a stipulation that no more games are to be made as a movie tie-in. they're always terrible. B:AA is the best superhero game, ever and all due to the fact it didn't try to mimick anything before it. it took the fundamentals of what made Batman Batman and built upon that with good characters, good story and, most importantly, great gameplay. More of the same soon please Rocksteady.
  • WankyShitDemon - September 18, 2009 6:21 p.m.

    I think alternavtive costumes and cheats should come back. If you could make batmans cape bright blue like adam west, or have heath ledgers joker in AA that would be amazing. And like a code (thats right, "hold L2+R2 and press OOXX square) to get you to fly or something? or to make batman have boobs, who would like to see the come-back of real cheats?
  • MattressGiant - September 9, 2009 3:21 a.m.

    Great article. It mentions lots of good tips, but I keep getting distracted by the main image at the very top. It looks like Batman's embracing Spider-man and kissing him on the cheek.
  • petaboil - September 6, 2009 3:48 p.m.

    mary kate and ashleys nascar tycoon?
  • ChuckB - September 6, 2009 7:13 a.m.

    I guess they never thought of the DMC part and minus Crackdown, GR seems to be able to predict the future.
  • Counternub - September 4, 2009 11:08 a.m.

    Best game ive played in ages, the combat is fluent and fast, the sneaking elements of the game are so much fun, such as hanging them from ledges and the cieling, and silent takedowns, everything just feels right, and you can have lots of fun with his gadgets :D well worth every single penny. B:AA has been given lots of love and attention, maybe enough to get a week to its self on this site maybe? lets hope more things like this come out. kudos to the creators.
  • gmilf71 - September 4, 2009 6:20 a.m.

    YES! It's so true. I kinda wanna get Arkam asylum now. It sounds awsome.
  • FoxDieAlive - September 4, 2009 4:10 a.m.

    My fav ccomic book game is still Spider-Man 2 even with the gay ballon wrangling. This game was good, but the boss battles were way too easy and I was disappointed with the Joker fight. They had a badass idea of Joker being a Incrediable Hulkish guy and you spend the whole time fighting his cronies. One lesson Bats could learn from Spidey = More Combat Upgrades! Maybe like a human sheild or being able to hog-tie someone cowboy style.
  • Lazydidwhat - September 4, 2009 1:20 a.m.

    so is the game worth buying? If it sounds rude i'm very sorry
  • mertor3190 - September 3, 2009 11:33 p.m.

    Man this game seems awesome. Great article, very true. Maybe superhero games will actually start shaping up
  • LedMonk - September 3, 2009 11:05 p.m.

    Batman: AA is definitely a game that got it. One of the things that I loved most was how open it was, and yet still kept a good and focused linear plot. If Iron man could do something like that, that game would be amazing!
  • gutlessVADER - September 3, 2009 10:49 p.m.

    totally. learn it.
  • JeanBaptisteEmanuelZorg - September 3, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    great game, was more than I could have ever hoped for from a batman game. I just hope comic book games like Arkham become the norm instead of the exception to the rule. developers take note: this is how you make a comic book game, no longer can you hide behind a legacy of crap as an excuse for mediocrity.

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