Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Every Game is Batman - A look at The Dark Knight's impact on the medium

1UP - An accurate portrayal of Batman was something of an enigma until Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009. Many companies had tried, ranging from Sunsoft and Konami in the '90s to Ubisoft and EA in the 2000s, but no one really captured the idea of being Batman in any notable manner. Most of those games were 2D side-scrolling beat-'em-ups, and while some turned out to be good, they weren't so much Batman games as they were games that happened to feature Batman.

Through the years, there have been a few games to nail that Batman-esque feeling, each in their own special way. The most notable one, which debuted shortly after Arkham Asylum, is Assassin's Creed II. Ubisoft, who worked on the mildly underrated 2001 Bat-game Batman Vengeance, took the stealth assassination action from the original and added a new character with a familiar back story.

Ezio Auditore da Firenze, the star of Assassin's Creed II and its many spin-offs and sequels, was a privileged member of a prestigious family in Renaissance Italy, who was a bit of a spoiled brat until he witnessed the hanging of his father and two brothers. Ezio hid and trained in the art of the Assassin until he returned to his former home and avenged the death of his family while saving various Italian cities from the rule of the villainous Templars. If you're familiar with Batman, then this story will seem awfully familiar, as Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne lived a life of privilege before his parents were murdered.

Following that, he trained and returned to Gotham City to save the city and avenge his parents' death. The biggest difference between the two characters is that Ezio kills, while Batman is averse to the practice.

Spot Art

Assassin's Creed as a series also puts you in control of a character who acts rather similarly to Batman. Ezio, or the first game's star Altair, works mostly in the shadows, blending in with crowds while waiting for the most opportune time to strike. Both characters are forces to be reckoned with, and even have a collection of gadgets. Hell, before Assassin's Creed II's release, Game Director Benoit Lambert told several outlets that the game featured sections of "Batman-like" gameplay.    More