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Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Go variationless in Mortal Kombat X with this trick


It's pretty easy
Jul 15
// Chris Carter
One of the coolest parts of Mortal Kombat X is how each character has three variations, which drastically change up how they react and adds movesets to your core abilities. However, community member NightmareSteam has f...
Batgirl photo
Batgirl

Here's the first 10 minutes of the Batman: Arkham Knight Batgirl DLC


It's almost half over!
Jul 14
// Chris Carter
The Batgirl DLC is out today for Batman: Arkham Knight, but only if you paid up and bought the $40 Season Pass. For the rest of you, it'll be available next week piecemeal for $6.99. Like I said in my review, it's...okay. It...
Batman DLC photo
Batman DLC

Arkham Knight DLC adds 1989 Batman skin, old-school Batmobile


Keaton-kinkreet
Jul 14
// Steven Hansen
Batman: Arkham Knight just released the most substantive piece of DLC in its Season Pass with Batgirl: A Matter of Family. That isn't saying much as it is still slight. It's just not as short as the Red Hood and Harley chunks...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Ever wonder who trains the Mortal Kombat X kombatants?


This guy
Jul 14
// Chris Carter
Mortal Kombat's official community landing page has unveiled a new video series, which aims to explain how the fighters get so fit. This is probably one of the dumbest things I've seen all year, but it has a "so bad it's good" vibe that made me chuckle a few times. Classic Goro!

Review: Batman: Arkham Knight - Batgirl: A Matter of Family

Jul 14 // Chris Carter
Batman: Arkham Knight - Batgirl: A Matter of Family (PC, PS4, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WB Games MontrealPublisher: Warner Bros.MSRP: $6.99Released: July 14, 2015 (for Season Pass holders) / July 21, 2015 (wide release) The Batmobile takes a backseat this time in favor of a tale told entirely from Barbara Gordon's perspective before the events of Arkham Knight. WB just couldn't resist the chance to bring The Joker back yet again, and it uses every opportunity to let you know that this is his DLC without really having him do all that much. In other more exciting news, Harley Quinn is back, but with her red and black Animated Series get-up for the first time in the Arkham games. It looks great. All of the action takes place in the Seagate Amusement Park, which can be thought of as a tiny little sandbox that hosts the new DLC area. The Joker has captured Jim Gordon, and it's up to Barbara (and Robin) to save the day. Family kicks things off with a by-the-book Dual Play combat session, then it's off to free roam for Batgirl. For the most part (like all the other playable characters so far), Batgirl operates just like Batman -- she even has identical detective vision. Combat is relatively the same, and even though WB Montreal notes that she's "weaker" than Bruce, it doesn't really feel that way at all. It's very cool grappling about with Robin, but other than the use of a new type of gadget (advanced hacking), it's the tried and true Arkham formula. In Family, Barbara can use her remote hacking device as a "catch-all" basically, to do all sorts of things like short-circuit devices or manipulate objects. Think of it like a super gadget that can do a lot. It's presumably done so you don't have to micro-manage all of Bats' tools all over again, and to give Batgirl a slightly different feel. Here's the thing -- it does work at a base level, mostly because it distills the experience down to a lot of the good bits, and takes away the pesky forced Batmobile sessions. In other ways it feels limited, as you're stripped of most of those wonderful toys. [embed]295688:59441:0[/embed] None of the environments are particularly memorable outside of a nice little cameo I found in a water tank (in fact, most zones are even less interesting than the random spots you'll find in Gotham proper), but the linear format isn't jarring, either. That's mostly because of the fact that the DLC is so short. Normally that would be fine, but the story never really goes anywhere until the very end. Even then, it feels like a footnote rather than an impactful part of the overall narrative. In terms of length, it's meatier than the Harley DLC, but not by much. You can complete the main story in roughly an hour, and sort out all of the other collectibles in another 30 minutes. What I would have really loved to see is a full-roam option with Red Hood, Harley, and Batgirl (I mean, the models are already in the game with grappling and combat animations), but it's not meant to be -- the latter is still confined to her tiny add-on area. There are eight Achievements/Trophies though if you're into that sort of thing. Warner Bros. is really employing an odd strategy with Batman: Arkham Knight's post-launch content and the relatively expensive $40 Season Pass. All that's been revealed so far beyond a bunch of throwaway content (skins, races) is a handful of bite-sized episodes such as this; it's a far cry from the competent Cold, Cold Heart add-on for Arkham Origins last year. While A Matter of Family may be worth it for hardcore Batgirl fans, WB will have to do a lot better than this to justify the cost of the pass. [This review is based on a retail build of the DLC purchased by the reviewer.]
Batman DLC review photo
The Killing DLC
Enough time has passed for me to make a solid judgement on Batman: Arkham Knight. For the most part, I agree with the sentiments expressed in Steven's review of the core game -- Rocksteady tried too hard in many respects, and...

Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

A GIF that makes me finally love Arkham Knight's Batmobile


But just for a second
Jul 13
// Brett Makedonski
If I grind Arkham Knight out to one-hundred percent and find out this is what the "Knightfall Protocol" is, I'm going to be so pissed.
ESL MKX Pro League photo
ESL MKX Pro League

cR Sonic Fox wins Season 1 of the ELS MKX Pro League and 60k


Kitana's low-tier?
Jul 11
// Nic Rowen
Today marked the end of Season 1 of the ESL MKX Pro League with cR Sonic Fox taking the belt and a massive $60k grand prize purse after a dominant performance as Kitana in the finals. After hearing so much about how Tany...
Baby steps photo
Baby steps

WB changes internal review process, delays Arkham Knight DLC for PC


Progress is progress
Jul 11
// Jed Whitaker
A community manager for Warner Bros. has taken to the Batman: Arkham Knight forums to post an update on status of the PC version of the game, also announcing that DLC has been delayed for the PC version and that the inte...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

There are some secret brutalities hidden in the latest Mortal Kombat X patch


One of many things in the Predator Patch
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
Hearkening back to a time when you had to figure out special moves on your own in the glow of your local arcade, the latest Mortal Kombat X patch adds some new moves but it won't hold your hand in explaining them. If you...
Batgirl photo
Batgirl

Joker sure makes a mess of things in Batgirl trailer


It's Joker's main event
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
When Arkham Knight's first substantial add-on releases, it'll see Batgirl doing a lot of the same activities Batman partakes in -- namely punching enemies into unconsciousness. They should try not to stay like that too ...
Mortal Kombat DLC photo
Mortal Kombat DLC

Mortal Kombat X players get free Scorpion skin, Klassic fatality pack


Free? From WB?
Jul 07
// Steven Hansen
While you will have to pay to have Predator in Mortal Kombat X, miserly Warner Bros. is throwing some nostalgic scraps players' way. You'll be able to download the hinted-at Klassic Fatality Pack 1 for free in celebration of...
Batgirl photo
Batgirl

First real details and a screen appear for Arkham Knight's Batgirl DLC


Go Barbara go
Jul 07
// Chris Carter
Information is starting to come together for the Batgirl DLC, which will launch as part of the Batman: Arkham Knight Season Pass and on its own for $6.99 (July 14 for the former, July 21 for the latter). Instead of a neb...
Question photo
Question

Will you try to 100% Batman: Arkham Knight?


I'm tapping out
Jul 06
// Jordan Devore
I'm done with Batman: Arkham Knight. I have to be. After wrapping up the main storyline, which ends strong and is worth experiencing first-hand, I went after those pesky side missions. The Perfect Crime (serial killer), Creat...
Arkham Knight photo
Arkham Knight

Video Review: Batman: Arkham Knight


Going arkHAM
Jul 06
// Mike Cosimano
Holy bat-milk, you guys! We're doing video reviews regularly now! This one is based on Steven's review of Batman: Arkham Knight. Since we're not so deep into this scheme that we can't self-adjust, I want to hear from you all:...

Batman: Arkham Knight full combo and move list

Jul 06 // Steven Hansen
□ (square) - Hit. This is Bruce Batman's main way of interacting with the waking world. "Hit" manifests itself in a surprisingly diverse manner of ways, going from a "punch," to "elbow," to "knee drop," to "why the fuck is the brake mapped to square, fucking hell why do I have to use this car tank at all." It's a triple threat!  △ (triangle) - Counter. This is like "Hit," but with the excuse that someone else is trying to do a "Hit" on you first. ↑ (up) (d-pad) - Detect. Like soccer is "the beautiful game" or Jim Harbaugh "the zodiac killer," Batman is the "world's greatest detective." Pressing "up" on the d-pad runs a filter over the game that highlights things in the environment Batman wants to talk to you about, like how much he needs to use the power winch. L1 (ell won) - Even the odds. Use this button to even the odds. R2 + R2 (are two, are two) - Freeze, sucker. Not to be confused with the garbage can robot from Star Wars, this unleashes a grenade that freezes enemies, provided you noticed the gadget sitting on a random bar stool in Batman's prison, just waiting for an unattended child to stick the dang thing in its mouth. ← (left) (d-pad) - Oops. The "oops" button is what you push when you mean to push → (right) (d-pad) to open the mission select menu, but accidentally make an oopsie instead. I don't blame you, there are a lot of buttons. ↓+↘+→+□ (quarter circle forward, "hit") - Switch characters. This combination will instantly switch from Batman to one of the other playable characters while in combat, initiating a tag-team fighting system, as Rocksteady definitely did not make the "Dual Play" system just so you could do dual combat once or twice and never again and instead you'd have to do more "kill 50 tank" segments. Rocksteady would never do that. Yell "Catwoman" - Switch to Catwoman. In Arkham City, you could roam around the entire game as Catwoman after beating the main story. Arkham Knight adds so many fun new gadgets and pieces of technology (like the Batmobile) that there simply weren't enough buttons to have a dedicated "switch to Catwoman" button. Instead, just yell "Catwoman" into the built-in controller microphone. If it doesn't work, you're not yelling loudly enough. → ← ↑ ↓↖↗↘↙ (right, left, up, down, up-left, up-right, down-right, down-left) - Batarang. Use this button combination to make Batman throw one of his patented Batarangs. | (weird touch sensitive line) - Eject. This button will eject Arkham Knight from your console. Depending on your playstyle, you may use this after your fill of killing 50 tanks, or upon hitting "96% completion" and noting the 700 Riddler trophies and puzzles left to go. - I hope these tips help you really feel like the gosh darn Batman!
Arkham Knight...guide photo
Tips, tricks, highlights, scores & stats
Holy guacamole, Batman! Arkham Knight sure does have a lot of buttons. Left (d-pad), up (d-pad), up (analog stick), square -- it's got 'em all. Grab any modern day controller and there are more buttons by default than on the ...

Predator in MKX photo
Predator in MKX

Predator drops cloak and puts up dukes tomorrow in Mortal Kombat X


Those lasers can't be good for you
Jul 06
// Brett Makedonski
Predator only hunts in tropical jungles, right? We don't need to be worried about keeping an eye out for his tell-tale shimmer anywhere else? It seems too stressful being constantly on guard against the world's finest hunter...
Superman photo
Superman

Could this be a new Superman game from the Arkham Origins Developers?


Looks fairly legit
Jul 06
// Laura Kate Dale
Following the recent release of Arkham Knight, the Batman game that Rocksteady has been insisting is the final in its series, many have been wondering what it'll move onto working on next. Thanks to a heaping handful of refer...
Arkham Knight DLC photo
Arkham Knight DLC

The first Arkham Knight DLC takes place before Arkham Asylum


Featuring Batgirl
Jul 03
// Brett Makedonski
Batman: Arkham Knight may be the third and final title in Rocksteady's trilogy of Caped Crusader games, but its first add-on travels back to before the origins of the series. Okay, well, it's the first add-on save for th...

The Red Hood DLC pack for Arkham Knight is disgustingly short

Jul 03 // Chris Carter
[embed]295280:59335:0[/embed] [Straight-up, I'm not going to spoil the story for you, but be aware that this tale takes place after the events of Arkham Knight, and that many commenters may indeed spoil it for you below -- you have been warned.] First, the good news. Red Hood takes the path of least resistance, and can be seen as an anti-Batman vigilante of sorts -- Under the Red Hood was a fantastic film, and I think Rocksteady nailed that vibe here. Red Hood is pissed (for good reason), and he isn't going to let anyone get away with their crime sprees -- unlike Batman, who is content with putting people back in Arkham only for them to break out at a later date. Similar to Harley and all of the other characters in Knight, Hood feels the exact same in the close-combat sections (just mash attack and the counter simple-minded AI), with the added power of some unique animations like...murdering people with his pistols. Unlike Harley who simply couldn't use silent takedowns, this gives the DLC a distinctly different feel, and the tone is fairly unique to the series in general. I'm also a fan of Black Mask, so seeing him return was a treat. All of this is cut short by the fact that it's roughly 10 minutes long, which naturally gives it no room to grow any of the characters or deliver anything worthwhile. You'll be greeted with a combat scene, a brief Predator sequence, then another combat bit with Black Mask, who doesn't exhibit any real unique boss qualities (again, it's "this boss throws adds at you constantly, have fun"). It's a disappointment, to say the least, as both DLCs could have been so much more if they were an hour long, had more involved stories, and interesting boss mechanics. Rocksteady is teasing a few more of these "Arkham Stories" with the Season Pass, and I sincerely hope they're more than this.
Red Hood photo
Man do I love this character though
Just yesterday, we gave you the rundown on the Harley Quinn DLC pack for Batman: Arkham Knight. Much like many aspects of the core game, it was a letdown, mostly due to its length and the fact that it doesn't really provide a...

Badman photo
Badman

Warner Bros. reportedly well aware PC Batman: Arkham Knight was hot garbage


Duh
Jul 02
// Steven Hansen
"I will say that it’s pretty rich for WB to act like they had no idea the game was in such a horrible state," an anonymous quality assurance tester on Arkham Knight told Kotaku. "It’s been like this for months and...

The Harley Quinn DLC pack for Arkham Knight is painfully brief

Jul 02 // Chris Carter
[embed]295181:59315:0[/embed] Much like Azrael and Batman's other playable companions, Harley's fighting style is nearly identical to the Dark Knight, and other than a few new animations, feels exactly the same -- though, she does have a "party popper" batarang substitute that functions like a Spider-Man web trap. Sadly, the most enemy waves will throw at you is roughly four standard foes and a shield-wielding cop, which doesn't really allow you to dig deep with the Free Flow combat system. A lack of nuanced gameplay permeates in the stealth portions too. In the few Predator sequences that are included, stealth is not really a priority for Harley. She employs laughing gas rather than smoke bombs, tumbles and leaps up walls instead of grappling, and so on, including exploding jack-in-the-boxes rather than explosive gel. Thankfully there are a few differences, most notably the fact that her "detective vision" shows her more demented side with graffiti written on the walls. Harley also cannot employ silent takedowns -- in fact, they're called "loud takedowns," and will always alert guards. She can however use a "Mayhem" ability that lets her knock out enemies in one hit for a limited time, and use Ivy's plants to take out enemies from afar. The entire affair is far too linear, taking place in the Blüdhaven Police Department. It's a prequel, so you know exactly how it plays out if you watch the intro, with a bit of stupid Penguin chatter (I never really liked Arkham's rendition of him) littered between the loose collections of challenge rooms. It all culminates with a final battle with a major hero from the story that uses the tired "throw adds at the player until he wins or loses" mechanic. There are some bright spots, like the idea of Harleen's inner self trying to reason with her insane "Harley" personality, but those concepts aren't really explored in half an hour. If you're a huge fan of Harley you can buy it this fall once its "pre-order exclusivity" (so dumb) is up, or you can just wait for the Game of the Year Edition where it will most likely appear as well. The same goes for the GameStop exclusive Red Hood pack, the PS4 exclusive Scarecrow DLC, and all the costume exclusives.
Harley Quinn photo
Less than 30 minutes
Harley Quinn is at it again this time with a pre-order exclusive DLC (yuck) for Batman: Arkham Knight. I have good news for everyone who didn't bother pre-ordering -- you aren't missing much. The entire add-on basically amounts to less than 30 minutes of the same core gameplay as Knight, minus the Batmobile-fest.

Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Predator's Mortal Kombat X appearance contains an unlikely movie reference


Nice work NetherRealm
Jul 01
// Chris Carter
Just this week, the Predator was unveiled by way of Mortal Kombat X's Tower Mode, where players were able to face him as a CPU opponent. People have been recording nonstop since then, trying out every single possible ability ...

Which is your favorite Batman: Arkham game?

Jun 29 // Chris Carter
[embed]294941:59268:0[/embed]
Batman photo
Don't say 'Origins!'
Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Batman: Arkham Asylum, through and through, is just a good video game. It took a simple concept ("Be the Bat"), introduced the free-flow combat system and the Predator stealth...

UK sales photo
UK sales

Batman: Arkham Knight has best 2015 week one UK sales


Beat out Witcher 3 and Arkham City
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
A reminder that Arkham Knight has "Batman" in the name and no volley of excoriating 7/10 reviews (or broken PC ports) can do it harm: Rocksteady's new Batman is the top-selling game of 2015 in the UK by its first week sales, ...
Batmod photo
Batmod

Batman: Arkham Knight mod lets you play as 10 extra characters


Forget DLC
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
While the PC version of Arkham Knight was busted enough Warner Bros. stopped selling it on Steam (probably wouldn't have happened if Steam didn't just start allowing refunds), some users are making the best of a bad situatio...
It gets better photo
It gets better

Batman: Arkham Knight PC gets status update, new patch


Console graphics obtained!
Jun 28
// Jed Whitaker
Rocksteady has posted the following update on the Steam Community for PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight, which you can read below. Basically, they've acknowledged all the problems people were having and already release...

Review: LEGO Jurassic World

Jun 26 // Ben Davis
LEGO Jurassic World (PS4 [reviewed], PS3, PS Vita, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS, PC)Developer: Traveller's TalesPublisher: Warner Bros.MSRP: $59.99Released: June 12, 2015 As a huge Jurassic Park fan, LEGO Jurassic World is pretty much exactly what I expected from a dinosaur game themed around children's toys. There is no shortage of humor, plenty of satisfying references to the movies and books, playable dinosaurs, and I get to run around as Ian Malcolm with his shirt torn open. What more could I ask for? LEGO Jurassic World's story is built around the plots of the movies, but while the movies can be tense and thrilling, the game remains silly and lighthearted. Death scenes from the films are played out in a comedic fashion. The LEGO characters are never actually killed; instead, they usually end up sharing a goofy moment with the dinosaur that attacks them. For example, Gennaro can be seen cleaning the T. Rex's teeth with a toilet brush after being pulled from his restroom hiding place, and the raptor tamer who dies in the very first scene of Jurassic Park only loses the precious sausage he was holding onto rather than his legs (there's a weird recurring sausage joke for some reason, which I can't say I really understood). Meanwhile, other parts feature raptors riding motorcycles, wearing fruit hats, and chasing lawn mowers through the long grass, so the dinos are generally more charming than they are terrifying. Of course, for a LEGO game, this was kind of a necessity. [embed]294839:59241:0[/embed] Gameplay is heavily puzzle-based, requiring obstacles to be solved by choosing the specific character required for the task. Most of these obstacles are accompanied by button prompts, and there are numerous quick time events scattered throughout as well. There is also some light combat, whenever the party is attacked by dinosaurs or InGen employees, but it involves little more than punching things until they get dizzy or fall apart. Characters do have health bars, but the only penalty for dying is losing a few studs, so it's not really a big deal. The health bars honestly feel wholly unnecessary, as there aren't any lives and characters already essentially feel invincible. They could have probably scrapped that mechanic entirely. It's possible to play as nearly every character from the Jurassic Park films, even minor characters such as Mr. DNA and that weird boy at the dig site who says raptors look like giant turkeys. Each character has their own unique skills which typically play off of their personalities and roles in the films, all of which will need to be utilized in order to traverse each level. Some characters, like Dr. Grant and Gray Mitchell, are good at building things out of dinosaur bones; characters like Lex Murphy and Kelly Malcolm can scream loud enough to shatter glass; characters like Tim Murphy and Ian Malcolm have items that can illuminate dark areas (night vision goggles and flares, for example); and others like Ellie Sattler and Owen Grady aren't afraid to get dirty and rummage through dino droppings (by diving in head first, no less!). It's necessary to play as many different characters in order to clear all of the puzzles and obstacles in the game. Of course, there's not only human characters, but dinosaurs to control as well. Most dinosaurs are unlocked by collecting amber bricks hidden in every level. They can be summoned via dinosaur creation pads, and sick dinosaurs can be healed in order to join the party as well. The dinosaurs come with their own sets of skills; Triceratops can charge and bash open large objects, Dilophosaurus can melt certain things with its venom, T. Rex can roar loud enough to shatter stuff, and Velociraptors can pull switches and sniff out hidden objects. The craziest option is the enormous Brachiosaurus, which can be used to crush certain platforms with a huge stomp, but it's so gigantic and slow that it's almost hilarious. It's even possible to play as Pteranodons and Mosasaurus, although they're restricted to the aviary and aquarium, respectively. Story mode will take the player through twenty levels centered around many of the most memorable and action-packed scenes from the movies. It's really fun to reenact classic scenes like the very first T. Rex attack, the raptors in the kitchen, the San Diego crisis, and more through the playful lens of the LEGO world. Every level is filled with puzzles to solve, obstacles to overcome, and a set amount of collectibles to find. Many levels implement chase sequences, such as running from the Gallimimus herd, or puzzle-based boss fights, like taking down Indominus Rex. There's nothing too complicated, though, so it should be an easy ride for most players. Upon completing each level in story mode, free play mode will be unlocked, allowing players to choose any character they want and switch to someone else at any time. Many of the collectibles can only be obtained in free play, since the characters in story mode might not have the required abilities, so it's necessary to play each level at least two times in order to find everything. Outside of story mode, players can also freely explore each of the four parks. The parks contain more collectibles to find, sick dinosaurs and workers in peril to help, characters to unlock, photograph locations, races, and more. The parks on Isla Sorna are unfortunately rather small and unexciting, but Isla Nublar's Jurassic Park and Jurassic World are both huge and full of all sorts of attractions and cool areas to discover. Strangely, though, once story mode is completed, free play in the parks takes place entirely during nighttime, which kind of bothered me as some areas just seem much less exciting in the dark. I'd prefer to view these beautiful parks in the bright sunshine. [Edit: Apparently, this can be changed, but only by fast travelling to specially marked areas on the map. Still an odd choice, but at least there are options!] Split-screen co-op is also an option, and players can jump in and out of the game at any time. Co-op can make solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles much easier, as players will not need to switch between characters as often and multiple tasks can be completed at once. For such a light-hearted adventure as LEGO Jurassic World, I can definitely see co-op being a popular option. The best aspect of LEGO Jurassic World for me was all the little nuances and nods to the films which were sprinkled throughout. Idle animations for characters usually highlighted certain aspects of their personalities or referenced specific moments from the movies. For example, Zach Mitchell will put on his headphones and start dancing, Amanda Kirby will test her megaphone (put that thing away!), and Ian Malcolm will run a Chaos Theory experiment by dripping water onto his hand. Many of the trophies also make great references to the movies; I think my favorite is the "Hello John!" trophy which is awarded for having both characters set to John Hammond. I also loved that Mr. DNA was in charge of all the tutorials and loading screen trivia. Aside from borrowing plot, characters, and locations from the movies, LEGO Jurassic World also borrows sound clips. While some new dialogue was recorded specifically for the game (mostly for the Jurassic World section), a lot of the dialogue is taken directly from the films. This can be entertaining at times (hearing Jeff Goldblum's ridiculous laugh on the helicopter never gets old, even when it's coming out of a LEGO character's mouth), but it can also be quite jarring. Since the tone of the movies does not match the tone of the game, the dialogue is often way too tense and emotional for what should be silly, light-hearted scenes. There are also many instances where background noise from the films can be heard in the game's dialogue, which sounds really strange when compared to the newly recorded dialogue. Unfortunately, LEGO Jurassic World is not without its fair share of bugs. During my time with the game, there were several instances where I had to restart a level after a character got stuck between a wall and an object and couldn't move or jump to escape, or after they fell through the ground when I switched away from them. There were also a few instances where, after spawning a dinosaur and taking control of it, I could no longer switch to any other character and was permanently stuck in my dinosaur body. Usually, this meant I lost all progress on that level up to the point where I got stuck, so that was always a bummer. While it may have its flaws, I was still perfectly satisfied with my time in LEGO Jurassic World. Fans of the LEGO games should basically know what to expect, and Jurassic Park fans should be more than happy with the story, cutscenes, characters, and references. It captured all of my favorite Jurassic Park moments and added its own unique sense of humor into the mix, and that's essentially all I really wanted. And if you still need a reason to play this, just remember that is has LEGO Jeff Goldblum. Let's be honest: that's all anyone really needs. [This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]
LEGO Jurassic World photo
Hold on to your butts
Another year, another beloved franchise gets the LEGO treatment. This year, blocks and dinosaurs come together in LEGO Jurassic World, a compilation of games spanning the entire Jurassic Park film franchise. Released simultan...

Review: Batman: Arkham Knight

Jun 25 // Steven Hansen
Batman: Arkham Knight (PC, Xbox One, PS4 [reviewed])Developer: RocksteadyPublisher: Warner Bros.MSRP: $59.99Released: June 23, 2015 Arkham Knight is stitched together with exceptional technical proficiency at the cost of tonal instability. City shared this problem. It insists on the direness of the narrative while letting you busy yourself with 69 (hah) AR challenges. It's worse in Knight, with even more dire stakes (there is nothing to do but escalate, of course) as Scarecrow intends to ruin all of Gotham with the help of the titular Arkham Knight.  There is so much "content" beside the main story path, but most of it is busy work. I've still not rescued all 20 captive firefighters spread throughout the city. Militia members set up dozens of roadblocks across Gotham's three islands that impede the Batmobile, but you can always go around them, or avoid driving except when mandated, given that Batman's grapple and glide are some of the coolest traversal methods in games. Clearing them isn't even that useful. It's just about getting to the super villain (most of whom have no story aside from "they're doing crime") at the end and notching the completion percentage. And of course this brings us to the Batmobile. It is cool and god awful. Calling it to pick Batman up; ejecting from it at high speeds and doing takedowns; the fact that all of Gotham's pillars and corners are destructible, so you typically don't do much crashing; remote control driving it towards Batman, who automatically jumps into it while you maintain control and momentum; the tank mode convincing me I need a Transformers game or Armored Core reboot. [embed]294804:59235:0[/embed] This all works well. It was also a lot of work for Rocksteady. Thus, there are heavy, mandated Batmobile segments, like the aforementioned waves of tank fights, and even a hilarious tank stealth section against bigger, stronger tanks. The Batmobile is cool as something I might occasionally use, but all the work that went into it means it needs a lot of screen time. It's actually pretty fun to chase Firefly through the streets in it, even if you have to do that several times before he's been punched enough to quit. When I'm forced to ferry passengers to the police station in it just so more drones can be thrown my way, it becomes a nuisance. When one side mission involves chasing missile-spongy armored cars while smaller armored cars attack me, over and over, it's not so fun. Everything is strung together nobly, but it's a case if "they were so concerned with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should." Disjointed content put together as well as possible mirrors a main story that works too hard to put Batman in his car. The shorter side missions that pop up woven into the narrative are much more fulfilling than saving 20 different firemen, stopping Two Face's goons from robbing several banks or destroying five or so of Penguin's weapons stashes (though the latter teams Bats with Nightwing and the dual fighter segments are fun). Thankfully I hardly looked at the map screen this time around because there's a d-pad button just to bring up a mission select wheel so it's easy to ping pong between waypoints like an errand boy. I also hardly looked at the upgrades, usually going several hours at a time before dumping like 50 points into skills I mostly didn't use (but do reinforce that car for the mandated tank segments). I can't tell if there is less punching this time around. Maybe it's been replaced by Batmobile segments. There are also more stealth options, including fear takedowns that can be used to instantly incapacitate up to eight enemies at a time (ok, upgrades are sometimes helpful, as it starts at three). I can string together perfect, room-clearing 60x combo fisticuffs with the best of them, but combat never drags in Arkham Knight, which I appreciate because my favorite thing to do is to explore the city. That does bring up a series-long issue of detective mode and waypoints guiding you to the point of feeling like a middle manager. It's nice to just notice side missions -- hearing strange shrieks, hearing opera blaring over a PA system, seeing a building on fire -- rather than being directed towards them, but that's the problem with dealing with this size of open world necessitated by the series trending upward as far as stakes raising goes. But when you stumble on mutilated bodies and every time -- five times! -- the answer is to scan one obvious thing on each of three layers (skin, muscle, bone) with detective mode, you're not really doing anything, much less detecting. Batman is boring, right? The character. Sad about parents, righteous, rich, mostly ideal. When comic fans point to his spot at the top of the echelon it's always about the supporting cast (villains, namely). And so, post Joker, what is there to do? Two things, neither of them original, but one of them done well. Without getting too spoilery, the Joker has inevitably left his mark in the Arkham universe and these ramifications are handled nicely in one half of Arkham Knight, even if they open the door for perhaps the most unoriginal and obvious Batman story to take seed beneath Scarecrow's reign of terror in the other. Scarecrow, to Rocksteady's credit, plays a great villain here, though he does so from the shadows. Because Batman is Batman, it's hard to feel the stakes sometimes, but Scarecrow is good for manipulating Bats and leaving him one step behind, more and more panicked and fragmented. The Arkham Knight, meanwhile, mostly tries to kill you with very large vehicles. The whole tenor of the character feels at odds with his Scarecrow partnership. There's the weird red tactical camo print and his general, impotent rage. His voice, which seems to waver beneath the autotune, is a mix of haughtiness and incredulity. He hates Batman, knows Batman is strong, is sure that he's better, and gets real petulant every time something goes wrong. His hugely amassed, literal army -- ex-United States soldiers now mercenaries -- occasionally remark about how better outfitted they are now than when they were government employees and ask if all this gear is overkill for just one man.   And it's not, because Batman is Batman and he feels immune to even the direst of straits. It makes the villains -- Knight, namely -- look goofy as plan after plan are foiled, though Scarecrow holds it together fairly well as the story takes shots at characters adjacent to Batman. The most interesting story stuff is happening within Batman's head, though, and that's where the series returns to effective use of jump scares (not a bad thing!), Dutch angles, and unreliable world distortion. Shifting the world around the player, moving things that the player isn't looking at. There's some cool, occasionally chilling toying going on, but it's mostly wrapped up in the end of the game. Getting there, Arkham Knight struggles to surprise and delight as Asylum and City. One musical boss "fight" stands out as a show stealer, but it would have been nice to have more inventive moments like the Mr. Freeze fight from City.   If the Batmobile was Rocksteady's gambit in that regard, it failed. It makes for a better occasional use gadget than core gameplay system. The Riddler side mission sums up Arkham Knight's issues fairly well. Apropos of nothing, he becomes a racing aficionado and constructs massive death tracks beneath the city to go with his death traps. This is to cram more Batmobile segments in. He does his same, tired shtick for a third game, this time holding Catwoman captive, but also he's made both race tracks and robots to fight, just to add more. He even explains in-game why if he wins because Batman can't beat the robots, it still counts as a victory of cunning. He's doing mental loops to defend padding. At one point, he taunts that even a chimp can follow basic instructions. Sometimes that feels like Arkham Knight. More of the same isn't all bad; too much more of the same is, especially at the cost of upsetting the balance between familiar and new. Riddler's story can't be resolved (nor can you get the full ending) until you do the 300 or so Riddler trophies/riddles/whatever, but you can at least take it far enough to free Catwoman. Arkham Knight is a solid, if uneven send-off for Rocksteady's trilogy. Combat and predation are still satisfying. The narrative mixes unsurprising, but well done segments with unsurprising and uninteresting elements. It's full of nods, winks, nudges for batfans, even if certain super villain side missions feel needlessly tossed in. It makes me worried about what will happen with Batman in a new developer's less comfortable hands, and excited for what Rocksteady might do, itself free of the Batman myth. [This review is based on a retail build purchased by the reviewer.]
Batman review photo
Long Halloween
[Note: This review is based on a retail PlayStation 4 copy of Batman: Arkham Knight, not the PC version that is so broken publisher Warner Bros. temporarily delisted it from sale] If the difference between the real Batman and...

Warner Bros., stop outsourcing your broken PC releases

Jun 25 // Chris Carter
As a PC gamer since 1989, I'm used to the occasional PC-related issue. I remember installing games on multiple floppy disks, only to have it error out on the last disk, forcing me to start all over again. You thought DRM is bad now? I remember dealing with physical dongles that didn't work, or copies that didn't come with notebooks or materials required to complete the game -- at that point, your only option is to write a letter to the publisher or just buy a new game entirely. It wasn't ideal, but we've made strides since then. At least, some publishers have. For whatever reason, Warner Bros. continues to outsource the PC versions of its major games despite the fact that it pushes them quite heavily, boasting enhanced features that don't actually make it into the final version -- presumably because they weren't given the same amount of care as the console editions. You know what? If WB deems the console business more lucrative and easy to control, so be it, just focus on that, and don't release a half-finished PC port. Or at the very least, wait until the inevitable Game of the Year Edition and release an enhanced PC version then -- one that works. Whatever you decide, I hope you get your act together for Mad Max this September. It seems as if Avalanche Studios is handling the PC version, but for all intents and purposes, we thought that was the case with Arkham Knight all the way up until launch. As it turns out, it had an "external PC development partner," which was revealed to be Iron Galaxy Studios in the game's credits. Play it safe until WB decides to play it smart.
WB photo
We can wait for a working version
Another Warner Bros. PC release, another nightmare for those of you who pre-ordered the game. This just happened with a broken Mortal Kombat X port and it's happening again with Batman: Arkham Knight. While man...

#CrusaderGate photo
#CrusaderGate

Really hilarious #GamerGate joke in Batman: Arkham Knight


Hold onto your sides
Jun 25
// Jed Whitaker
So apparently there is a small jab at #GamerGate -- or is it at everyone? -- in Batman: Arkham Knight. I guess it is pretty funny, right? Especially the part where they allude to a slur for gay people, right guys? Is everyone laughing? I'm not but maybe I like my humor a bit more highbrow. 

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