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Batman AA Day#8: Good Narrative Touches and Bad Gamery Bosses

By and large, this session reminds me I’m playing a console action game in 2009.  There’s some typical game boss stuff that is well crafted, but has no place in a Batman game. This is countered by some very nice narrative touches. They are nothing big, but they show craftsmanship and care, and I adore every one of them. Spoilers within.

On my way back to find Ivy, I get into another Titan plus thug fight. It’s a hard fight; I die once remembering the controls and then three more times just trying to get through it (once dying right as I killed the last enemy). The game has gotten about as hard as I want it to, but it still feels right.

I end up using my new grabber to pull down all sorts of walls to get back to the surface. The grapper animation takes a couple seconds longer than I want, and it’s making me reluctant to use it. Eventually, I get back to the surface and have to end run around tons of those stupid shooting plants. There are also some human snipers to take down, and I have to go through the scene a couple times because I’m shot once when I think I’m behind cover. Cheap, but that’s emergence for you. In one retry, I make it to the garden again.

I end up making my way around the garden, following Ivy’s voice (doing a good job with pulp-style seduction), and fighting some Ivy-hypotized guards. This leads to the Ivy boss fight. Ivy gets sucked into a giant plant that alternately makes strangling vine traps and summoned guards, and then shoots pink energy bolts at me. It’s a pretty boss, it has a good pattern, the vines are quite nicely animated — in essence, it’s a good Zelda boss. And in Zelda, it would be awesome. But again, this is Batman. Batman does not fight giant, energy-gun-wielding plants. Decent boss, but totally breaking immersion. It doesn’t help that I die a lot because my tap of the left shoulder to throw a Batarang is occasionally a bit too long.

Anyway, I defeat her and head back outside to a very cool fireworks display and nice Joker monologue calling me to the Penitentory for the party. Traversing the map takes me forever for some reason, but I eventually get to the location. There are a handful of guards outside, and then a nice guantlet of guards in party outfits inside the building clapping at me. It’s a very nice surreal scene. I stand there watching them clap and hoot for a while, not sure what I should do. Can I just walk past them? I decide not to take the chance, and punch one, triggering a massive fun brawl. I very much like clever little touches like this, and Batman is full of them.

Getting past the room triggers a 1st person section. I walk down the hallway to a cell where the Joker is. He monologues, exits, and then a bomb goes off. This scene is good, but a little dissonant, since I’ve only had weird perspectives during Scarecrow scenes, and so I think for almost the whole time that this is a hallucination.  It reminds me a lot of Bioshock, actually.

I enter a room with the Joker on a makeshift throne. He gives a villain finale speech about how I’ve defeated everyone else. I feel the end of the game upon me. Honestly, it’s feeling a bit rushed if this is the end. The Ivy fight was a tangent, and I would have liked a better lead into the final confrontation with the Joker, not to mention another shot at Croc. Still, the game’s not over yet. Let’s see what happens.

Two Titans and a bunch of thugs descend. This fight is kicking my ass, but that’s appropriate if I’m near the end. I die several times before I give up for the night. Let’s see how I do next time.

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