Tag Archives: Arkham City

Favorite Games I Played in 2014

2014 was the Year of the New for me as I never before had played this many games that were either just released or released within a year that I played them.  This mainly stems from my 3DS which even though I got in October of 2013, I wasn’t able to exploit the games on it until 2014.  Another small boost came in the form of my used Wii U which I bought it and Mario Kart 8 at a decent price.

Even so, I still played many games that were released several years or more ago including quite a few for the DS, one on the PS3 (Arkham City), and one on the Gamecube (Metal Gear Solid: the Twin Snakes).

With this being a noteworthy year for my video games, I will give you my list of the new games I played for the 2014 year along with small awards for the “Best of” for that category.  Here’s the full list of them:

DS: 999: 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors, Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Miles Edgeworth Investigations, Phoenix Wright Trials and Tribulations

Gamecube: Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes

PS3: Batman: Arkham City

3DS: Bravely Default, Pokémon ORAS, Fire Emblem Awakening, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Pokémon TCG (via Virtual Console), Super Smash Brothers

Wii U: Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Brothers

Most Hyped: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright

Okay, this was pretty close for me, it was either PLvPW or Super Smash Brothers.  True, I’ve been waiting for Smash Bros longer than PLvPW but I just love the professor and the lawyer so much.  It was very agonizing for me to just sit here in the U.S. seeing Japan get the game…and then Europe get the game…and we don’t!  I was sure it wasn’t going to come…and I was soooooo happy that it finally did.  You see, I knew Super Smash Bros would get to the U.S. eventually but not PLvPW.  But opening up that game and turning it on and hearing that music and seeing that title screen and seeing the characters gloriously animated was quite a treat and would have been hard to top.

Best Multiplayer: Super Smash Brothers (WiiU)
This should be pretty obvious, Mario Kart 8 was super fun and it’s nice to play against your friends on the 3ds version of this game but come on, 8 players!  That just seals the deal for me right there.  Playing with my friends on a variety of controllers with a variety of characters was just simple fun with simple madness.  Can’t be beat.

Best Game to Play with Mary: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

We smashed, we raced, and we played Pokemon together but Animal Crossing is the best game to play with her.  True, I love doing all three of the previously mentioned games with her before but Animal Crossing is different.  We are in a town together with our own homes interacting with our own villagers.  And though we can’t directly interact with each other, our interaction with the town and its quirky villagers makes this a nice gem to play.  Animal Crossing towns do have a vibe of loneliness if you’re the only human player but this is cured if you have other people inhabiting your town, it makes it feel more active.  Plus it makes funding projects that much easier!

Best Story: 999
I played games that had a good story in them whether it was the trials in Phoenix Wright, Snake infiltrating Shadow Moses, or Professor Layton duking it with Phoenix Wright but none took me on the twist and turns of 999.  Perhaps it was because I was not familiar with the series but the game took me on a wild ride and that never stopped (until I failed an ending and had to restart).  I was legitimately creeped out by some of the moments in the game and I regretted playing it while I was in bed.

Special shoutout though has to be done for the story behind PLvsPW as that story took me on an emotional roller coaster with some good twists.  Another special shoutout has to be done for PW: Trials and Tribulations because that final trial was definitely a doozy and remains among the best in Pheonix Wright’s cases that I have done so far.

Unexpected Hit: 999 and Pokemon Trading Card Game
These two are on top of the list for different reasons.  I knew 999 was critically acclaimed but I just didn’t get why until I played the game.  I devoured this game in less than two weeks (normally it takes me at least a month to finish games).  On the other hand, Pokemon Trading Card Game was just so much fun to play.  I first played this game more than ten years ago and I suuuucked at it even with the cheat codes.  My brief dance with the TCG in real life made me learn how to play the TCG and so when I bought it on the Virtual Console it was just too much fun.  Creating your own deck was fun and beating the game (which is hard mine you) was quite rewarding.  I definitely hope Nintendo decides to release an updated version of this game!

Biggest Disappointment: Bravely Default

For all the hype and praise surrounding this game, I was honestly burned out by it.  The amount of grinding I had to do was intense and it just got to me.  I haven’t played the game in awhile but I’ll probably pick it up again later.  The same thing happened for Fire Emblem Awakening (which was fantastic btw) where I got frustrated by it and stopped playing for three months.  I picked it up again, powered through it, found out I loved it, and finished it rather quickly.  I’m hoping BD will be the same thing but I won’t be touching it again for awhile.  I’m still surprised by people’s praise, anyone want to give me their thoughts on this game and why you might have liked it?

Best NPC: Joker from Batman: Arkham City
999 had a host of characters that I enjoyed interacting with.  Most of the characters I originally passed off as Trope characters that had only one particular trait, however, as the game went on, they would continuously surprise me by the things they did, their knowledge, and their history.  Number 7 was one of my favorites.
However, Joker was by far the best NPC.  Mark Hamill was as usual great in his role as the Clown Prince of Crime.  Plus, Joker’s role in the game was a I think better than his main antagonistic role in Arkham Asylum.  His joking personality was at his height here and let’s not forget those hilarious answering machine messages he left for Batman.  Classic Joker.

Best Line Delivery: Twin Snakes

Enough said.

Best Sequel: Pokemon ORAS
I played a lot of sequels during this year of franchises that I love.  A good sequel in my book is one that retains the original charm of the first game while adding new stuff to it that makes it a refreshing experience.  For that, Pokemon ORAS was probably the best sequel of them all.  ORAS not only was a good Hoenn remake but a good step forward in the evolution of Pokemon games.  The sneaking mechanic for Dexnav made catching pokemon a whole new level of fun!  Hidden abilities, special moves only learned normally through breeding, and held items made it fun to find the best pokemon.

Not only that but the map and pokedex features improved a lot making you want to catch odd pokemon even if you didn’t want them in the first place.  The New mega evolutions are great and Hoenn getting a full 3D remake was just amazing.

Best Item(s):  The Brave Weapons from Fire Emblem Awakening
In the Awakening game, weapons matter a lot to you especially for the higher ranked ones as they can give more damage with better bonuses as well.  The brave weapons as such were among the best weapons in the game that I liked to equip my warriors with.  True, they may not be the strongest ones, but they’re among the best weapons to buy and that goes a long way.

Best BossThe Grand Masters from Pokemon Trading Card Game

As said before, defeating the Pokemon TCG was challenging mostly thanks to the Grand Masters.  All of them were packing Legendary cards that I couldn’t access yet.  Getting my butt kicked by Courtney, the first Master, several times made me rethink deck strategies to the point of dismantling them entirely and working from the ground up again.

Ironically, one of my easier battles came from the final battle against Ronald, your rival in the game.  He flat out refused to call back his Zapdos despite the fact that he only had fire and water energy cards.  I chose not to kill him on a gamble that he wouldn’t return him so I just outwaited him.  He ran out of cards before I did and I won.  One of the most hilarious victories I ever had.

 

What is the Source of Batman’s Villains: Gotham or Batman Himself?

I’ve been doing research on a major upcoming article on Batman but unfortunately it is not ready.  However, while I have been combing the literature, films, video games, and TV shows, I came face-to-face with an interesting question that has pondered Batman fans and creators alike for the past 30 years or so.

What is the source of the Batman’s crazy villains, Gotham or Batman himself?

To the casual person, this may be surprising; Batman, one of the most famous superheroes of all time, is the source for his own antagonists.  But to anyone who has been exposed to Batman before, this idea is not farfetched.  There have been times where he not only causes a supervillain to be born but he actively encourages their existence as well.  Many of the supporting characters in Batman’s world, such as the Gotham Police Department, psychiatrists, hell, even Hugo Strange accuse him of making Gotham worse because of his supervillains.

Opponents to this argument, however, firmly believe that Gotham City is the source of madness.  This is perhaps a more recent argument though I could be wrong here.  While growing up, I always assumed Gotham was just like any other big city; yeah, it may have its fair share of problems but it’s still a place many people would call home.  This is further highlighted by the rest of DC’s cities as Metropolis, Central City, and so forth have their supervillains as well.

But Gotham’s status as a truly messed up city was not brought to my attention until Nolan’s Batman Begins where Ra’s al Ghul wanted to purge Gotham of its sin by killing everyone in it.  You might think this is an overreaction to how bad Gotham is but if you go through the literature, you begin to realize how right Ra’s was (except for the genocide, that’s bad).  Gangs own the city, police officers look the other way, city leaders are corrupt, and simple necessities like safety are just non-existent.  And through this corruption, normal people become corrupted and turn into the supervillains that we know and love today.

Both of these arguments have some merit of truth but which has the stronger influence?  Let’s dive in and find out.

Spoilers for Arkham Asylum and City, Gotham as well as a host of other Batman universes.

Batman initiates and encourages his own supervillains’ existence

Let’s start off with a controversial subject, the Joker.  I think the Joker is probably the best example for this argument.  In some interpretations (such as the Burton movies or the Killing Joke) Batman is indirectly involved in creating his arch-nemesis.  To me, I’m totally fine with that as it makes the rivalry that much stronger.  But many people like a Joker that has no background, one whose origins are as mysterious as his motives.

Even so, some people interpret Joker as the living embodiment for the force of Chaos with Batman as the symbol for Order.  Joker knows that Batman has a strict code of honor and he tests, goads, and pushes Batman to his limits.  I first became aware of this symbolism in the Dark Knight where Joker’s actions eventually came to experiments Batman and wondering if he can break him (“an unstoppable force meets an unmovable object”).  These two opposing forces, which have rarely been equaled, make them the most famous superhero and supervillain combination ever.

I think the best example of this comes from Miller’s Dark Knight Returns.  When Batman retired, the Joker became catatonic and could barely function.  He had lost his purpose, he had lost his drive.  But when he saw that his best friend had made a return, he fully recovered.  It was like nothing had ever happened.  And their rivalry and battles in the comic I think is among the best in Batman history.  Of all the sources you can use, this is probably the pristine example of Batman promoting his enemies.

The Riddler is another fine example of Batman promoting his enemies.  This guy’s ego is something.  He yearns to prove his intelligence.  He wants to be three steps ahead of everyone else and laugh at them for their stupidity.  Only Batman can match his riddles and put a stop to his crime.  This only further stokes the Riddler’s ego as he wants to find that Riddle that can even outsmart the Batman.  I assume that if Batman decided to not even play Riddler’s game and leave him alone, the Riddler would go mad and not know what to do with himself (he would probably go into a catatonic state such as the aforementioned Joker in the Dark Knight Returns).

Bane is another villain that Batman inadvertently creates.  Bane’s nightmares as a child always took the form of a bat.  When he heard about Batman’s control over Gotham through fear, he realized it was his destiny to conquer his childhood fear by conquering Batman himself.   Much to Batman’s displeasure…

One of the most famous episodes in the Animated Series, “the Trial,” actually confronted this topic.  In this episode, Batman’s supervillains kidnap him and accuse him of making them who they are today.  Representing Batman was Gotham’s new district attorney, Janet Van Dorn, who herself accused Batman of promoting the supervillains and preventing them from facing true justice under the law since they were captured by a vigilante.  This accusation initially seems well-founded but…

Gotham is the source of Batman’s psychotic supervillains

…Janet Van Dorn defends Batman and breaks down each of the witnesses’ accusations by saying they were the cause of their insanity and crimes, not Batman.  Jervis Tetch would have still kidnapped the girl he pined for and Poison Ivy would have still been the Bioterrorist she is today.

Even so, the Animated Series does not support this side of the argument that Gotham causes supervillains, to find proof, we’ll have to look elsewhere.

I want to get the TV show Gotham out of the way first.  I think it would be cheating to use this as a source to prove that Gotham makes its own villains.  Mainly, when you see a Batman-prequel, you want to see all the bad guys and what they are up to.  As such, many of them are already messed up.  Zsasz, Penguin, and even Ivy are already sadistic, cunning, or just plain odd.  And Harvey Dent is…errgh…let’s not go there.

Regardless, there is one scene I want to talk about from Gotham.  In episode 8 of Season 1, “The Mask,” Gordon and his Captain were musing why Gotham had a sudden surge in crazy people.  They then supposed that the source was from the death of the Waynes.  Their deaths caused the city to lose hope and begin this spiral of insanity.  I kind of like that, it points to why we see these weird people coming forth and doing awful things.

I think one of my favorite explanations for crazies in Gotham, surprisingly enough, comes from the video game Arkham City.  Now, this is subtly imply so take this for what you will, but if you solve some of Riddler’s riddles, you are revealed the story about Wonder City and holy crap I love it.  In old Wonder City, Ra’s Al Ghul’s Lazarus Pit had caused all of the city’s inhabitants to go insane and be transferred to Arkham Asylum.  And guess what?  Lazarus Pit is directly beneath Arkham City!  I love it!  The Pit could be the reason why so many people just go insane in Gotham.

Real direct proof does come from Arkham City though.  In the Victor Zsasz side mission, he explains to you over a series of phone calls how he became the wonderful person he is today.  When he was financially broke, he decided to gamble his last bit of money at the Iceberg Lounge.  Eventually, he came to the final table with the Penguin himself.  However, the Penguin and his goons had scammed poor Victor and he lost everything he had.  Defeated, he walked through the streets of Gotham and found his first victim and…er…relieved him from his sorrow of this world.  This is pretty good proof how Gotham’s messed up nature can lead to its supervillains.

I think by far the best example of Gotham creating its own supervillains come from none other than Harvey Dent aka Two Face.  Here is a man who fought against the corruption and cowardice of Gotham.  Elected on a fair campaign of a promise for a better tomorrow, he fought tooth and nail to clean the streets of Gotham.  His do good attitude had even made him a suspect in many different universes that he may be Batman himself.

But his obsession and his passion drove him to a breaking point.  When the acid was flung to his face, he had changed.  A change that was driven by the incomprehensible evils of Gotham.  And through this change, he split.  Half still retaining his do-good attitude, and half mirroring the ugly city that had created him.

What do you think?  Both have their elements of truth but which do you think has the stronger influence?  The Caped Crusader or the Worst City Ever?  I want to hear what you have to say!