Batman Begins Review: Is It Worth It?

Batman Begins

Batman Begins Review: Is It Worth It?

Batman Begins is an action-adventure game based off of the film with much of the same feel. Developed by Eurocom and released in 2005 for Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and Xbox. Played from a third-person perspective Batman Begins consists of a mix of action and stealth aspects attentively following the films story line. 

If you’re wondering whether or not Batman Begins makes the cut the answer is yes and no. Eurocom’s product isn’t nearly as ambitious as Treyarch’s Spider-Man 2, which although repetitive, allowed the player complete freedom in a virtual New York. Batman Begins relies far more on the usual video game conventions and doesn’t elevate itself from being anything more than an interactive interpretation of the movie. The levels are extremely linear, rarely allowing the player a second alternative route and rely simply on getting Batman from point A to point B. The storyline flows almost haphazardly and the cutscenes, while from the movie, appear to be there simply because EA secured the rights to use them. They neither enhance nor detract from the game. They’re just there.

Gameplay Aspects

The theme running throughout the movie is fear; how to conquer it and use it to your advantage. Since Batman’s presence in the comics and the movies often elicits fear in the criminal underground, it’s definitely a kick to be able to play on the nerves of enemies within the game.

Before Batman can take on a room full of enemies, it’s best to startle and rattle them as much as possible. This is done usually by pressing a button at a context sensitive area which sets off a chain reaction such as a falling crate or exploding pipe. This will spook the enemies and allow Batman to swoop in. Terrifying the enemies before you show up will affect their aim – which is a good thing. The negative aspect to this mechanic is that it’s far too canned; meaning that you won’t be able to use your imagination.

You will always be led by the hand to the context sensitive area and after a while it just seems forced and extremely linear. The Batmobile levels are done well and are by far the best Batmobile levels ever featured in a game. Batman has to ram enemy cars off the road which results in a “Take down” while picking up Nitro boosts along the way that float on the road in holographic bubbles. There are two themed Batmobile levels with a few checkpoints each and once you beat them, you’ll be able to replay them via the Bonus menu. You’ll also unlock the prototype Batmobile from the movie. Unfortunately, even though you can unlock three different Bat suits you won’t be able to drive the classic Batmobiles.

Real Batman Film Feel

Batman Begins
Batman counterattack on enemies depicting realistic visuals.

Certainly the game will go a long way with movie fans thanks to the generous amount of voiceover work provided by the acting talent from the big screen. Options are definitely limited when voicing a character that’s supposed to be tough and scary. Michael Caine (Alfred) is a kick to hear, simply because he’s Michael Caine and he’s in a video game. 

Last and certainly not least we come to the visuals of the game which are fantastic. All of the character models in the game resemble their onscreen counterparts to a proverbial tee. None of the characters in the game suffer from that hollow “Silent Hill” look we’ve come to tolerate in this generation and Eurocom really came through in terms of overall presentation.

Is It Worth the Money?

Batman Begins is rife with missed opportunities and it’s a much lesser game because of it. Fans will enjoy the game especially due to the lower price point, but the game isn’t all that long nor does it allow a level select once the game has been completed. Extras such as classic Batman costumes, interviews and other goodies are decent but certainly don’t provide any extra play value. A 3-day rental would certainly satiate those looking for a temporary Bat-Fix as you should be able to plow through the game within 6-8 hours depending on your skill level and the difficulty mode you select. As it stands, Batman looks very good from a visual standpoint. The fighting game engine is decent, but more moves would have been preferred.

Final Thoughts

If following a strict story line with evident instruction is something players enjoy and value, then Batman Returns is the game to go for. However, if not, perhaps the best way to approach Batman Begins is as a little movie primer, something you can use in conjunction with the summer blockbuster to wring some extra enjoyment out of everything Dark Knight.

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