Monday, February 29, 2016

Batman: Arkham Knight (2015)

The latest (and maybe last) game in Rocksteady's Arkhamverse is not their best one. The story is decent, Batman's combat system is fun and fluid, but the Batmobile missions are really annoying. For those who played the first two games (or three if counting Origins), Arkham Knight is a must. If it is your first Batman Arkham game, then do yourself a favour and start playing Arkham Asylum.

Rocksteady Studios revolutionized the combat system in third-person action/adventure games and also legitimized superhero genre in video games with Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009). They managed to maintain a certain level of quality throughout the years, and I passionately await their next big franchise - whatever that might be.

The story in Arkham Knight doesn't hit the highs of Asylum and City, but it does a decent fan service to some major storylines in Batman's history. The storyline that I loved the most was Batman's interaction with a particular character, whom for the sake of spoilers shall remain unnamed. Those particular conversations were on par with Paul Dini(*) or Scott Snyder's writing. But the main plot of the game, and the big twist that they had hyped so much, were easily predictable to anyone with limited familiarity with DC Animated Universe (let alone the comics).

(*) The story of the first two games (Asylum and City) was written by the legendary Paul Dini from Batman: The Animated Series fame (some might only know him as the co-creator of Harley Quinn). 

In video games, the gameplay is king! Rocksteady's combat system works as great as it has before. They also introduced Batmobile and tank combat as a new gameplay mechanic. I commend them for their intention to innovate, but I strongly disliked the Batmobile missions. Unfortunately tank missions were a significant portion of the main missions (~25%). The other reviews that I have read also agree that the tank missions tanked (pun intended!).

Besides the predictable story and some frustrating game mechanics, the Arkham Knight holds the ending of the game hostage; the ransom is completing all the Riddler challenges. In other words, if you don't want to waste your time collecting 245 Riddler trophies while listening to his irritating voice, then you have to look up the "Knightfall full ending" on YouTube!... Because of all these things, the game left a bitter aftertaste...

Those who haven't played Asylum and City: I envy you because you can experience them for the first time. Don't play this Arkham Knight first, because it will scar you and you may never attempt Asylum and City.
Score: 7/10

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscar Results

I tried to predict the Oscar results in an earlier post. I included 12 categories on my list, and I managed to hit 8 out of 12 - the misses are marked in red.

My Vote
Best Picture
The Big Short

Bridge of Spies


Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant



Best Director
Adam McKay – The Big Short

George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

Alejandro G. Iñárritu – The Revenant

Lenny Abrahamson – Room

Tom McCarthy – Spotlight

Best Actor
Bryan Cranston – Trumbo

Matt Damon – The Martian

Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs

Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett – Carol

Brie Larson – Room
Jennifer Lawrence – Joy

Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years

Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale – The Big Short

Tom Hardy – The Revenant

Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight

Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies

Sylvester Stallone – Creed

Best Supporting Actress
Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight

Rooney Mara – Carol

Rachel McAdams – Spotlight

Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs

Best Original Screenplay
Bridge of Spies

Ex Machina

Inside Out


Straight Outta Compton

Best Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short



The Martian


Best Animated Feature Film

Boy & the World

Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

Best Original Score
Bridge of Spies


The Hateful Eight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Original Song
Fifty Shades of Grey

Racing Extinction


The Hunting Ground


Best Cinematography

The Hateful Eight

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant