This is another third person beat-em-up; or is it? Personally I'm not a fan of third person, except GTA series; never had the urge to swing from building to building via my web. However, I am a lover of anything dark, and this Batman game certainly is dark in colour. The graphics really are on par with most other things out there at the moment, excluding Assassins Creed - the next level up. Equally the sounds are good, especially pumping through your 5.1 surround.
Whats it like to play? Pretty good; its not the usual button bashing beat-em-up, as this requires a tiny bit of skill; you'll have to know when to counter/block etc. And although Batman has an array of gadgets, he certainly doesn't go packing a shotgun. Possibly a weak feature, you cannot pick up weapons dropped by the bad guys, but what it does mean, is that you're encouraged to use your array of brilliant techniques for taking those badmen down.
The combat feature is a bit of a lure. You may have heard people playing this game online; you cannot pit against each other, but what you can do is post your best scores in the arcade type section of the disc. Here you can either beat up bad guys in great numbers, while accumulating massive scores of hits, or you can take on stealth missions for more take downs. For the PS3 you also get to play as joker.
During the game, in story, life is made much easier with your Batman x-ray vision. At any time in the game you can switch to this alternative vision, thus allowing you to find hidden parts of the game, or to highlight dangers. Personally I found I had it on too often whilst looking for the bad guys and hidden walls; therefore meaning I was missing out on the nice graphics and textures. A clever gimmick.
Back onto the story, its certainly not a bad story line; what do you expect from a beat em up. All we need is a reason to go head smashing. And yes, be warned for the very young, there are a few broken necks in this game, with realistic crunching sounds to match.
The controls are typical third person and easy to use. Not sure if you can customize. What can be said is that luckily you can set the brightness setting, without twiddling your TV settings.
The game eases you into the controls with some easy walkthrough steps, while in game, with on screen prompts - so no boring pre-game lessons thankfully. There are three difficulty settings, all of which doable for the average gamer.
You couldn't call this game linear, as you can roam wherever you feel like. But once in a while you'll come to a Big Boss part of the game. Otherwise you can roam; this is advantageous as you'll want to go back to old areas of the map to find hidden parts - yes the added part of the game - a side story if you like - is you find hidden riddles set by The Riddler. This is a bit like finding those hidden easter eggs in GTA; but the riddles are more fun.
Find a riddle and you're rewarded with some Batman facts; ideal for the comic geek in you.
The game is simple to play. And with its continuous rolling theme, I constantly wanted to unlock more of the map and story, until I soon finished it. Hence this game truly is captivating, as I rarely bother to complete a game within a week.
Once the story is done and riddles found, that's pretty much it; hence everyone wants the next game out already - hinting for a Gotham location this time. Yes there is a combat added game feature, allowing you to post online scores - but that gets old quick. Look out in your pre-owned section for a bargin, as its got little re-play value.