A Different Dark Knight
So here is the point where I admit that I have never actually played any of the recent crop of Batman games. I own I believe all of them other than the latest one that just came out, because I keep thinking that they are games that I would really enjoy, but for whatever reason like so many games in my Steam backlog I never end up playing them. With all of the hype surrounding Batman Arkham Knight lately I have had this massive desire to delve into these games and see exactly what they are made of. Last night was an odd night in that I got home relatively early, but knew I would have to leave and go pick my wife up as she was getting in from our last trip of the summer. I knew I had an hour or so to kill so I opted to delve into this game and see how far I could get. So far there is a lot to like but some things that are a little bit maddening at times as well. Combat seems to take place in a three dimensional “final fight” style manner. NPC bad guys approach you in waves and you can beat on them to turn them away from your position.
The problem I have however is that the game employs a “bullet time” mechanic that I seem to have no real control over. Sure it looks cool to zoom in as your fist cracks against the jaw of a bad guy, but it is jarring in the same way that slow motion kills in Fallout 3 were. It pulls you out of the action and forces the entire world to slow down for a moment before unfreezing and expecting you to pick up combat where you left off. Hopefully this is something I will just get used to, as I didn’t make it terribly far into the game last night. I have to say the storyline and the plot are compelling enough to make me want to keep playing. I’ve always been a fan of Batman, and the dynamic between him and joker have been the stuff that has driven me to read more Batman comics than I can recall. Harley Quinn is another of my favorite characters in the universe, and she seems sufficient so far… but really I have not gotten to interact with her terribly much. Yes I realize at this point that this game is pretty “ancient” but I am going to enjoy it nonetheless.
I am still very much loving Heavensward but I wanted to take a moment to talk about my biggest frustration with the game so far. This game has some phenomenal story that makes you want to push forward so that you can see what happens next. The problem is quite frequently you hit a wall where you must be the next level in order to continue the quest chain. The red quest icon taunts you until you have managed to push through that next level… only to grant you access to a few more steps of story before locking you out again. I realize as I leveled my way through the original story in A Realm Reborn I experienced this… but it has been almost two years so I guess my memories had faded. Partially I think this is the fault of the way that I am currently playing the game, where I mostly focus on the Main Story, hoping to leave a lot of the side questing for secondary classes to get some experience off of. Unfortunately I think the designers intended you to do all of the new quests that open up in each area to help you push forward into the next content goal.
Thankfully I have dungeons to augment my leveling process, and since everyone seems to be comfortable asking me to tank for them… I am getting quite a lot of access to running these dungeons with my free company. The only problem being that I never know exactly how I want to level when I am left to my own devices… and have run out of story. I absolutely love FATEs but the problem being that they simply do not seem to be worth the effort. We have a running theory that they have watered down the FATE experience in an effort to force players to complete their main story content, rather than simply FATE grind their way through the levels. The whole FATE grinding to the end thing happened a lot in A Realm Reborn, and I could see them wanting to maybe nip that in the bud at least for the early players. The problem being that side quests, really don’t reward that much experience either. I’ve recently unlocked the second their of Clan Hunts, so I will have to see if they reward significantly more experience than the first tier that unlocks at 53. As it stands right now… I am hoping the first major patch gives FATEs a significant tweak as far as XP goes so I can return to doing those for my alts.
In That Old Place
This coming Tuesday in theory marks the end of our World of Warcraft raids break, and as I find myself moving closer to that date I realize… I am just not ready to resume raiding. In fact I am not really ready to play World of Warcraft right now on any level. So for the time being I will not be rejoining them in raiding, and more than likely won’t be playing at all for some time. I feel like my primary issue right now is there really isn’t anything other than the raiding tying me to the game. Sure I had some fun faffing about trying to farm mounts or doing old raid content for cosmetic gear… but that ultimately has a limit to just how long I can do that without something else keeping me rooted in the game experience. I’ve explored the new areas, and pushed three characters to the level cap in Warlords of Draenor. While the content was extremely fun to level through that first, second and even to some extent third time… the whole experience feels extremely disposable because it is also exactly the same each time you do it.
In many ways this expansion reminds me of the way I felt after leveling my third character in Star Wars the Old Republic. While the individual class quests there were excellent, it was all the other content that I kept having to repeat that ultimately wrecked my enjoyment of the experience. I thought walking into Draenor I would be awash with nostalgia about how much I enjoyed The Burning Crusade… and to some extent that worked for a month or so. The problem is it is like going back to your High school twenty years after you graduated… while some of the aspects are similar it is still very much a brand new place that does not synchronize with your memories of it. The reboot timeline just feels wrong, and with this patch and the reintroduction of Hellfire Citadel, I just find myself not caring anymore. Arthas and Illidan were bad guys I could really get behind taking down… a constant parade of grim dark future orcs… not so much. I made the mistake yesterday of checking my account to see when it would renew, and when I saw September I went ahead and cancelled it. I figure if the game has not grabbed my attention and made me want to play again in that time… it will just quietly close the door on another chapter of my own personal Warcraft timeline.