Video Game Reviews – October 2009

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Batman: Arkham Asylum
Rocksteady Studios / Eidos Interactive / Warner Bros. Interactive
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Also On: PS3, PC
Street: 08.25
There have been countless manifestations of the Dark Knight in the gaming world, but none of them have truly captured the demonic essence that surrounds Gotham City’s renowned villains or the meticulous detective nature of Bruce Wayne and his alter ego. After capturing The Joker for the umpteenth time (this instance being a little easier than usual), Batman personally delivers the psychopath to the padded walls of Arkham Asylum. With the help of a few classic criminals, the legendary hero falls victim to a well-orchestrated trap and must prepare for a surge of battles with some of DC’s greatest bad guys (and girls). Rather than providing a rock ‘em sock ‘em type of gameplay, the majority of the encounters force gamers to carry out shadowy stealth attacks, making for a much more interesting experience. To say that the animation and character designs are stunning is an understatement. The vocal performances provided by members of the 1992 animated series original cast (Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin) are remarkable. While the game can be defeated rather quickly by today’s standards, the captivating storyline of Bob Kane’s creation makes this one of the greatest adaptations of the caped crusader. –Jimmy Martin

Fallout 3 – DLC: Mothership Zeta
Bethesda Softworks
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also on: PS3, PC
Street: 08.03
Need a reason to return to playing Fallout 3? Mothership Zeta is the last of five game add-ons that have become available since the original game’s release. The concept for Zeta is truly out there, even for the realm of the Fallout franchise. At the beginning playing Zeta, you’re beamed aboard the alien ship and there is no return to the wastes of the world of Fallout 3 until you’ve completed all the quests pertaining to Zeta. Early on, the ship provides some refreshingly clean and easy-to-navigate environments, though objectives and exploring can get old in a short amount of time. The set-up, while a bit clunky, does give way to satisfaction when you get to blow aliens to pieces in vengeful bliss. The aliens remind me a lot of the aliens from Mars Attacks! with their barking dialogue that leaves you with no idea what they’re saying. But take heed: These short-statured little buggers pack a challenge with their strong weapons and their strange, stealth-type armor that provide a challenge to even high-level characters. You’ll find yourself at times suddenly surrounded by the little stinkers in the blink of an eye. Zeta adds a lengthy and challenging bit of gameplay, even with its tendency to become tedious. –Bryer Wharton

Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Also on: PS3, PC
Street: 08.18
Wolfenstein is a video game franchise that will always have my heart. Wolf3d.exe was the beginning of my love for first person shooters, and at the tender age of 13 there were few things more exciting than seeing the “GET PSYCHED!” loading screen for a few moments as the next level of Nazi-killing, maze-exploring goodness loaded onto my computer. This is the seventh installment in the Wolfenstein IP, and it doesn’t disappoint. On the other hand, it’s nothing really special, like just about every other release from the same series. Raven Software, responsible for some classics such as HeXen and Soldier of Fortune, uses id Tech 4 (the Doom 3 engine) to create a typical Raven-esque adventure in a relatively cartoony World War II setting. The story arc immediately steers toward Nazi occultism and by commandeering occult artifacts that the Nazi’s have dug up for themselves, you waste no time in becoming a one man army determined to stop Heinrich Himmler’s and the SS’s occult force called Black Sun. What the game turns out to be is a non-stop action narrative with decent level design and combat with a few twists thanks to some zany artifacts. The game is by no means amazing, but it certainly is worth checking out if you enjoy FPS games, slaughtering Nazi jerks and all of the benefits that come with it. –Conor Dow