Monday, February 13, 2012

Arkham City, Great Game, Crappy Player

I bought Batman Arkham City before Christmas but I waited until last week to give it the attention it deserves. I really loved its predecessor Arkham Asylum and being about half way through 'City I have to agree with the majority of critics who say that this is even better. All of the batman goodness with a much bigger more open world to explore.

I cannot forget however that I left Arkham Asylum on a bit of a downer because my lack of proficiency with combo fighting prevented me from finishing the game. I managed to get almost to the very end using a combination of stealth and mindless button mashing but my lack of proficiency at the game's combat system eventually caught up with me. This time I am better prepared. I have acquired an Xbox 360 controller which is better suited to this type of game than mouse and keyboard and I am determined to practice fighting techniques as much as I can while progressing through the game. It is still quite a struggle for me though as my middle aged muscle memory refuses to accept new routines.
I have encountered three basic problems:

Split minute timing:  The secret to Arkham combat is to keep landing blows and blocks without missing or being hit in order to charge up a combo meter. It is all a matter of timing. Wait too long between hits and the counter resets. Don't wait long enough and miss, again the counter resets. Make the wrong move at the wrong time and the counter resets. I really struggle with this timing even though the intervals are actually very generous. I just cannot seem to achieve fluidity and most of the time I end up mashing buttons.

What does this button do again? most of the buttons on the controller have multiple fuctions depending on the context. To be fair many of the combinations are logical enough (pushing the hit button after the cape stun button initiates a stun hit combo for example) but my fingers struggle to remember this in the heat of combat.

Rudder panic: I fully accept that twin joysticks are better fro third person action games than mouse and keyboard but I still end up fighting the game pad on many occasoins as I inadvertently back my character into a corner while the camera orients itself wildly. This most often happens in the heat of battle. I find it incredibly difficult to move quickly and accurately when my blood is up. This isn't helped by the fact that Batman's default speed is a a slow walking pace and that the key to sprint also has several other functions. Whenever I try to run I am just as likely to find myself doing a cartwheel, jumping, climbing the walls, hiding under a grate or cowering in a corner.

Despite these challenges I am persevering and I while I don't expect to win any trohies for combo play I do intend to make it to the end of this game. I even harbour a secret hope of being able to go back and finish the first game afterwards with my new found controller prowess. 


Tesh said...

I played the first on the XBox, and while I'm no pro, I was able to play well enough to finish it. I've started AC on the PC thanks to OnLive, and, well... I miss the controller. I'm thinking of getting a USB corded XBox controller specifically for AC.

Martin Richard said...

I bought a wired Xbox controller pretty much exactly for games like these, and I don`t regret it. Don't need a pricey MS one, third parties are great here (it's also my 4th controller for the once-a-year 4 player games)

I finished BM:AA Asylum Recently (100% Riddler done) and last night I've finished the story mode in BM:AC (about 300/400 Riddler done).

Tips: do get the upgrade to access special combos each x5 instead of each x8. Because the takedown combo is really nice to thin out crowds.

Get used to critical strikes: instead of spamming, wait for a move to finish to THEN press for another attack. It'll give you +x2 instead of +x1 on the combo meter, so now you're at 3 moves per special move.

Forget spamming attack to get another punch in before you get hit -- way better to counter a move and keep the combo flowing.

Evade is both a life saver, and a great way to move around the battlefield. It'll also keep your combo going. Same goes for stun. Don't really need to do the super stun (except on Titans), just stunning a couple of ennemies will give you a break.

Counters and special moves have long animations -- take this time to re-orient the camera to watch ennemies.

Do use Detective mode to easily see who is armed, who is armored, etc. Prioritize them.

The grappling attack is a nice way to remove weapons. Keep in mind anybody else can pick the weapon up again.

When you're under fire, you can use the smoke pellet. Really handy.

When there's Titans or the Hammer brothers around, always watch THEM and move around a lot.. Also, the batarang does NOT have the same effect on Titans here as it did in Asylum. Need to super stun them here.

That's it off the top of my head ;-) I did manage to get the "40 moves combo" and "use all moves in a single combo" in Asylum, but not yet the "x50" and "all moves" in City..

mbp said...

I second Martin's recommendation for a wired Xbox controller Tesh.

Congratz Martin on getting so far in Riddler stuff.

Useful tips there too. I am going to try them out tonight. By the way I am playing the Gamers gate version which is why you don't see me on Steam.