Downloadable Deal: Batman: Return to Arkham & Life Goes On
Console: Batman: Return to Arkham available on Xbox
This week while looking at what Xbox Live had to offer for specials I came across Batman: Return to Arkham. The combo pack offers two fantastic games, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Even though they are a little dusty, they are two of the best games I have ever played. Admittedly, as a huge Batman fan I may be slightly biased. In Arkham Asylum, Batman must stop the Joker from taking complete control of the asylum. The game is full of some of the best Batman villains including Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and the Scarecrow (my personal favorite). The boss battles are some of my favorite; every boss is different and every battle is new.
Arkham City is a sequel to Asylum but it does a great job standing on its own as well. In City you must find out why Dr. Hugo Strange has teamed up with (you guessed it) the Joker. Something sinister is going on in the city filled with criminals and, as Batman, you must use your detective skills to figure out what the Joker and Strange are up to. Again, you will encounter some of Batman’s greatest enemies: Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Two-Face.
The gameplay is essentially the same. Stealth is Batman’s greatest weapon and you will want to use it whenever necessary by doing dropdowns from up high or glide kicking the bad guys. However, there are a number of spots where you will have to jump into the middle of the fray. In these cases, I strongly recommend using Batman’s combo attacks and use the counters, or you will die. The graphics for both games also look fantastic. They have been remastered for the Return to Arkham set and the game still holds up. The colors are rich and the characters all look fantastic.
One of my favorite elements to the Batman games are the extras such as Riddler’s puzzles. Admittedly I like the puzzles in Asylum better than the ones in City, but that is purely subjective. The riddles give an extra little fun distraction to the games. In Asylum there are also tapes that can be found that give you further insight into the many villains of the Bat-verse. I loved this extra addition to the game and am slightly disappointed that City does not have the same thing. Arkham City has its own special extras though. There are augmented reality trainings that you can do that help your crime fighting skills. There is also a side mission where you and Bane work together to find some extra barrels of TITAN.
Overall, this is one of the best buys I’ve seen in a while. Both of these games are fantastic and are well worth the $10. With the great character development, fun gameplay, and sinister plots these games are bound to bring you hours of enjoyment.
PC: Life Goes On: Done to Death available on Steam
It is the most morbid platformer I have played. To win each level you may have to sacrifice many of your fellow knights. To clear a level you must kill a number of knights to make it over pits or to shut off fire valves or electrical wires. After each death and a new Knight spawns a scroll pops up and your old relative is crossed off and a new one added. The knight’s whole family is a glutton for punishment and they keep entering the cave to find the treasures deep into the cave. It features tight controls, allowing you to make precision jumps and the only frustration you will have is from difficulty not awful controls. The graphics stand in contrast to the grimness of the situation. They are bright and vibrant and in some cases cheery while the knight gruesomely dies over and over. It reminds me of Live, Die, Repeat, but without Tom Cruise. For a measly $2.50 you could he having a blast, I really think Life Goes On will knock you dead.