Video Game Review: Batman: Arkham Knight (PlayStation 4)

*I played the PlayStation 4 version. The game is also available on Xbox One and Windows.

Playing this was long overdue.

This is one of my favorite video game series of the last ten years and it is the best video game series to star a comic book hero. Also, it stars the coolest hero.

Out of all the Arkham games this is probably the best one overall. I think I liked Arkham City a bit more but this one had so much content and new elements added to it that it really takes the cake from a narrative and technical standpoint.

I guess the biggest addition to this chapter in the series is that it is the first game where you can drive the Batmobile. And you don’t just get to drive it, you get to do battle with it. There are a lot of parts in the game where you have to go into vehicular combat and there are different styles, as well. There are side missions that play out like straight up car chases and then there are other missions where you go into “battle mode” and you are essentially a tank in a firefight with other tanks and aerial drones. It’s actually pretty incredible stuff and this element never got old.

The only Batmobile stuff I didn’t like was the racetrack sequences, which are worked into the Riddler side missions. I don’t play Batman games to race cars, I play them to save Gotham City from scum and villainy. They also work the Batmobile into the equation where you have to solve some of the Riddler’s puzzles. I love the Riddler, I just liked his side missions the least because of these bits.

I liked the new Arkham Knight character, even though it became fairly obvious who he was and that he wasn’t actually a new character but just a new twist on a known character. I also like that changes to his character were instrumental in Deathstroke coming into the game. But sadly, you don’t get to exchange fisticuffs with him. But that leads me to one other minor problem with the game.

There are no real boss battles. Well, there are big boss battle feeling moments like when you take on the Arkham Knight’s tank or when you reach the big crescendo in the Mr. Freeze side missions but you never actually fight any of the major villains with your fists except for Killer Croc.

Still, I do like how the big battles go down in the game. I just wish that I got to have more intimate physical encounters.

And man, there are a ton of villains. And even though the Joker is dead, he is very much a big presence in the game but I don’t want to reveal how, as that will spoil the story. But Mark Hamill, as the Joker, probably has as much dialogue in the game as Batman.

I liked that Scarecrow was the biggest villain in the game, as he’s a character that gets shafted in favor of the better known villains in Batman lore. Plus, the version of Scarecrow used in this game series is my favorite version of the character to date.

Ultimately, this is the best game in the series overall and thus, I’d say it is the best superhero video game that I have ever played. It brings the story full circle and is a nice conclusion to Rocksteady’s Batman franchise.

But really, I hope that this isn’t the actual end. I’d love to see a Nightwing, Red Hood or Batgirl game spun off from this series.

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: The three previous Batman: Arkham games.

25 Best Racing Games In History

Racing games have been around since almost the beginning. They have come in several forms over every generation of gaming. Here I am ranking the best ever. In some cases, I am just listing a series as a whole, as some of these have spanned generations and been consistently good over that time.

1. Gran Turismo series
2. Forza Motorsport series
3. Need for Speed series
4. Forza Horizon series
5. F-Zero series
6. F1 series
7. Tourist Trophy
8. Super Mario Kart series
9. Road Rash series
10. WipEout series
11. Out Run
12. Rad Racer
13. Hang On
14. Midnight Club series
15. Pole Position
16. Dirt series
17. Crazy Taxi
18. Blur series
19. Virtua Racing
20. Ridge Racer series
21. Burnout series
22. Project Gotham series
23. Final Lap
24. RC Pro Am
25. MotorStorm series

Video Game Review: Toy Soldiers: War Chest – Hall of Fame Edition (PlayStation 4)

There is one reason why I purchased this game and that is because I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to lead a Cobra army into war with G.I. Joe. Granted, I also wanted to play as the Joes and to try out the Eternia army lead by He-Man. If it wasn’t for the licensed properties that this game had, I wouldn’t have cared about it all that much.

The game also features an army lead by Ezio from the Assassin’s Creed games. I didn’t care about that one so much and actually haven’t played as them because I wasn’t motivated enough to buy access to it or to play through the game long enough to unlock them. And that’s one of the problems with this game, the fact that you have to buy the extra shit or work your way through countless missions in an effort to unlock stuff. I just wanted to jump in the game as Cobra and kill stuff.

I can’t complain though, as unlocking Cobra only cost me like $5 and I got the game for about $12. It’s been out for a few years and by the time I got around to it, it was more than affordable. Which is good because I would’ve been unhappy had I paid full price.

The game is fairly cool as you start to play through it. However, it gets really repetitive very quickly.

You mostly just build turrets and fix them while getting bombarded by enemy forces. As you fight, you unlock upgrades and other weapons. Eventually, you can unlock a soldier to play as on the battlefield but it doesn’t last very long.

In the case of Cobra, you get to run around and kill things as Cobra Commander. But that’s kind of odd, as Cobra Commander is a total coward that usually sits behind the battle in a massive temple or some big armored vehicle protected by a wall of other armor vehicles. It would’ve made more sense to make someone like Major Blood an on the field commando.

Still, this is a fun game for the most part but after a few hours, I was done with it. I may fire it up once in awhile when I want to live vicariously through Cobra soldiers shooting plastic armies but it isn’t an urge I get too often.

It’d actually be cool if this game spun off into its own G.I. Joe or Masters of the Universe real time strategy game but even then, they’d have to make it more exciting, less redundant and add in a solid story of some sort. But it’s a good template for something more ambitious than what this is on its own.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Any good mobile real time strategy game, as this plays more like a highly boosted mobile game than something for a console.

Video Game Review: Friday the 13th: The Game (PlayStation 4)

*I played the PlayStation 4 version. The game is also available on Windows and Xbox One.

I was a bit late to the dance on Friday the 13th: The Game. Honestly, I’m not big on online multiplayer stuff, as I’m an old school gamer and like to work alone; I don’t need a bunch of people holding me back, I can fly on my own!

So because of that, I was holding out for the single player mode to be released, as it was announced some time ago. Annoyingly, it has been delayed and delayed and well, it still isn’t out… half a year later. Therefore, I was growing impatient and being that I’m a big fan of the Friday the 13th franchise, I figured I’d just take the plunge. Plus, I downloaded this on Friday the 13th and it’s October, so I figured I’d celebrate by killing camp counselors.

Unfortunately, I had problems with the game from the start. More than half the sessions I played, dropped due to connection issues. I tested my connection, it was fine. I also fired up some other games and they ran smoothly. I’m not sure if it was the Friday the 13th servers themselves or if there was just a lot of traffic bogging things down, due to playing this on Friday the 13th and it being the day that the physical copy of the game was released, alongside updates of new maps in the game.

I didn’t get to play as Jason until my fourth session. As cool as I had hoped it would be, I enjoyed playing as a counselor more.

To break it down, each game has eight players. One player is Jason Voorhees trying to kill the counselors, the other seven players are the counselors, who have to try to survive until the session time runs out. Counselors can also attempt to escape to safety or take on the ultimate challenge and try to kill Jason – good luck with that!

My biggest problem with the game, other than the connection I had, is that the controls are overly complicated and clunky. The way the controls are laid it, doesn’t make a lot of natural sense. The game is ambitious with giving you special abilities and whatnot but it makes things more difficult, especially without the game having a proper hands on tutorial. It isn’t a game that you can just jump in and play, there is a learning curve that just makes things kind of frustrating for those who want to jump in and have fun. With the connection issues, it made the experience even more frustrating.

Plus, you jump into a game with experienced players. Experienced players who don’t have the patience for some halfwit trying to figure things out for the first time. For a latecomer to the game, you’re just thrown to the wolves and it isn’t a fun experience.

The first time I grabbed a counselor by the throat and was ready to murder the crap out of her, the connection dropped. Then when I was a counselor and was finally confronted by Jason, the action mechanics just didn’t respond well. Most of the time, I survived the game and didn’t even see Jason. Maybe I have great stealth skills that carried over from years of playing Metal Gear games.

When I got to play as Jason again, the action mechanics of the game just felt like a mess. I’d hack and slash like a crack-addled maniac but I’d barely hit anything. Half the time I tried to chop down a door, the hit wouldn’t register. Everything just felt awkward and alien and I’m a guy that has played games since the time I could pick up an Atari 2600 controller. I’ve played a plethora of games on every single system that has ever come out and when it comes to gaming, I’m a completist, so I have my mileage.

I really wanted this game to be great and to live up to the hype surrounding it but it just doesn’t cut the mustard. I’m going to give it a go a few more times and see if something clicks for me but I’d much rather play the original NES game from 1989, which is also, still more terrifying.

Man, I truly wanted to love this game.