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Batman Vengeance Package Art

Batman Vengeance

Batman Vengeance is one of the very first next generation titles taking part in the seemingly new trend of dual-licensing over different mediums, UbiSoft retaining exclusive rights over the Batman franchise as it applied to the popular animated series. Kemco, however, managed to snag the rights to produce Dark Tomorrow, a self-perpetuating rendition of the dark night not really based on any existing interpretation. The former is widely considered superior to the oft reviled latter, as well as its spiritual successor, Rise of Sin Tzu. UbiSoft applied much effort to their license, making the always wise decision of creating an original narrative rather than have byzantine missions revolve around an already existing plot-scheme from the Batman universe. Is there substance to back up such ambition?


With the rise of machines that weigh in at 128 bits, properly displaying animations as shown in various cartoons and such has become a trifle task at best. Likewise, the graphics are the very best they can be, crisply translating the cool, methodical sketches of the animated series directly under your control. Animations are fluid and well executed, creating atypical white lines following speedious movement, and colorful bursts at detected points of collision -- sans slowdown, of course. These are, in fact, Batman’s signature “thwacks” and “pows” at their finest. Also, while laid out in linear format, the environments are well etched and expansive, taking a cue from Activision’s successful Spider-Man titles. Though the experience on the whole is far from flawless, this secular aspect of the title is indeed perfect.


“Thwacks” are birthed into the next generation amidst lightly atmospheric tunes, significant amounts of voice-overs, the clanking of thunderous footsteps on metal surfaces, and Batman’s intimidating, jet-black cape roaring in the Gotham winds. Aye, the sounds surpass the sights in Vengeance, the visuals only “immaculate” by artistic default.

The actor’s have done their part in successfully rendering believable villains (and other personalities); Harley, Mr. Freeze, and the rest of the included troupe indistinguishable from their cartoon counterparts. Much to my delight, however, was the sporadic cackling of Bruce Wayne’s arch nemesis, The (nefarious) Joker.

Since Wayne prefers to ride at night, the most common sounds from within the environment are the industrial creaks and soft winds that permeate a sort of mood that is uniquely “Gothic.” This foreboding stillness is occasionally interrupted by the footsteps and earshot conversations of the vile wretch that Batman will frequently encounter. These enemies consist of hired thugs and isolated degenerates that dominate the pseudo-sinister city. Aside from such, game players are endowed with expected situation-based sound effects and a seamlessly integrated composition inserted to denote highs and lows in both emotion and activity.


Unfortunately, this is where our pleasure cruise happens upon shallow waters. Enough effort has been administered throughout the development process for the industry to stand up and take notice, sure. Therein lies the problem, however; UbiSoft wields but a firecracker.

Your playtime with Vengeance is as menial, mundane, and cliché as any old gaming session can possibly get. Traverse about beautiful, harshly standardized environments kicking the crap out of countless insignificants placed in your path explicitly to hinder your ongoing detective work. “Thwacking” off isn’t as fun as you’d imagine, as the combat system is unexpectedly slow going and brawl-esque, without the added aerial attacks to shuffle things up. Batman is adorned with a variety of gadgets as always, but you must toggle (in almost all cases) to a limiting first-person perspective to take advantage of them. Not often will you use your devices to aid you in the middle of heated battle. The coolest egg in the basket is by far the ability to glide open-caped as a sort of double jump.

There are items and such scattered about the levels to boost Batman’s status, but they are there for the sole purpose of linear progression, lacking the visible and physical augments akin to series like Metroid or The Legend of Zelda. Add that to aggravating, archaic puzzle work, and you’ve got yourself a bitter disappointment.




Master filmmaker Tim Burton honed a vision of Batman on the big screen that was that of noir, applying his uniquely offbeat style to the existing franchise. His film became and has remained the template upon which all future iterations of the dark knight are based. UbiSoft has certainly performed admirably in recapturing this spirit, but has ultimately failed to provide the intuitive gameplay necessary to guide ‘joe’ gamer through its creation. In noir, there are no heroes; malevolence absolutely dominant in the corrupted Gotham wasteland. Batman however, is a constant, an ever-glimmering paradox that may someday lead the land into a brightened future. One can only hope that his virtual sculptors at UbiSoft mirror his own destiny by rendering the definitive, consummate videogame we’ve been waiting for. Alas, Vengeance is not it.

final score 6.2/10

Staff Avatar William Jacques
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"Oh oblivious, naïve Humanity... How ignorant we really are - safe only in our blind "superior" view of the world."

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