It’s been a pretty busy week despite it being a short week here (due to a public holiday on Monday) and my return from New York on Monday. Let’s start with the games I’ve been playing, eh?
Or perhaps that should be “game” that I’ve played this week: Batman Arkham City. That’s all I’ve played for the bulk of this week – at least till this afternoon when I played some Kinect 2 with my son and some of the inFamous 2 DLC, Festival of Blood.
I finished the campaign yesterday morning and without a doubt it is the best super hero game I’ve played in all my years of gaming – and a fitting sequel to Batman Arkham Asylum. Ever play a game and once you’ve finished it you just sit back and soak it all in and say “Wow”? For me this year, Batman Arkham City is that game. It’s just made my Game of the Year list even longer!
I’m now working my way through all the side missions that I didn’t complete before completing the game and trying to get the achievements I didn’t get.
I’ve already talked about Arkham City here so I won’t tread over old ground but everything just seemed to work with the game: the story made more sense that Arkham Asylum, it’s one of the most beautifully realised game worlds I’ve played in some time (if a grimy, gritty and depressive city can be made to be beautiful) and the combat is some of the best I’ve ever played. It flows and you can almost feel every punch to the sternum when Batman delivers the final blow.
In today’s recording of the Well Played podcast a topic that came up was whether the game is courting controversy with its language toward the female characters in the game, namely Selina Kyle aka Catwoman. In the game banter between inmates of Arkham City (parts of which are now a prison closed off from the rest of the city) as you wonder the game world, you often hear the prisoners referring to Catwoman (and other women) as “bitches”.
Personally, the language didn’t offend me – and actually, I didn’t notice it until an email from someone on the Well Played crew telling me were going to discuss it.
Why didn’t it offend me? Because it fitted in with the story and fitted into the context of the narrative: these are hardened criminals who aren’t going to have tea with their grandmother on a Sunday after and chew on cucumber sandwiches. They’re psychopathic killers who no doubt call women “bitches”, so the language doesn’t cause me any concern.
Perhaps one part of the game that was little more contentious was the sexualised nature of the outfits worn by Catwoman and the other female characters in the game. The black catsuit is skintight, revealing and doesn’t leave much to the imagination – neither do the outfits of Poison Ivy or Harley Quinn.
I know that since the dawn of time, female comic characters women superheroes have worn provocative costumes (Wonder Woman for example. Sorry, I can’t think of any other female comic book characters) but is it really necessary? Ok, I realise that catwoman can’t pounce across the rooftops of Gotham City wearing a trenchcoat and a loose fitting blouse but does her outfit have to show off an ample amount of cleavage that it does? As Aylon Herbet on the Well Played podcast said today: he was surprised Catwoman didn’t have a wardrobe malfunction like Janet Jackson during the game. I agree with him on that, actually.
This week I also had the pleasure of chatting with Naughty Dog’s Keith Guerrette, who lead all the special FX work in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. I’ve yet to transcribe the interview – I’ll get onto that in the next day or two – but he was the most obliging and pleasant to talk to developer that I’ve talked to in a long time. He was here to present a talk on Uncharted 3 at the weekend’s Armageddon event in Auckland.
On the hardware front, I’m looking at Kaiser Baas’ Series 8 Game Recorder software and it’s pretty darn good. It’s a USB dongle that connects to your PC and console of choice then records the footage of your favourite game to your PC or laptop. You can then edit it using CyberLink’s PowerDirector 8 editing software.
OK, that’s about me for the past week. This week I want to play the Festival of Blood DLC for inFamous 2 as well as get an Assassin’s Creed Revelations interview written up. I’ll post that one when it’s done.