The size of Hermione Granger’s teeth, the shapes of the ice when Frankenstein is chasing the monster, the floor layout of the building recreations in Ready Player One, or even the way Lincoln’s axe hits a vampire and how the blood splatters, all these details are what helps makes a book come to life. A reader sees every aspect of a character and world that the author is creating. Without these tiny details, the world doesn’t become as real and we aren’t drawn into it. Possibly one of the best feelings in the world is knowing the world of one of your favorite books, from the cast of characters to the variety of buildings, inside and out as though you were actually there. With video games, the same issues come to play. If the world and characters you create are lacking the small details, it’s hard to really become and invested and enjoy yourself.
With the E3 ending a few weeks ago, gamers are even more anxious about what’s up and coming for new consoles and new games. Some of those games are completely new series or fresh ideas based on a hope and a dream, or possibly a comic or current “trend.” Others are continuations or prequels of series that are loved by gamers across consoles. One of these games is a prequel to a series with an extreme amount of success. Both of the other games in this series became “Game of the Year” for their release years (2009 and 2012), so there is a lot of expectation from this prequel. I am talking about the Arkham series.
The game that I am so excited for, is Batman: Arkham Origins. I am an EXTREME fan of this game series. Not only have the graphic specs grown tremendously between the two games, but the way the gameplay is really draws you in to the story. You feel like you’re really Batman because every aspect of the game play is in your hands.
I really don’t want to go into too much depth about the storyline of the previous two games (Batman: Arkham Asylum & Batman: Arkham City) in the series because that would spoil some of the fun. However, I’m pretty sure the basic storyline can be guessed: Batman has to kick some Villain butt to save lives. In Batman: Arkham Asylum, Joker escapes from the Asylum and Batman brings him back, but little does he know it’s a trap. In Batman: Arkham City, Old Gotham is turned into a Prison City that is mixed with the Asylum’s most notorious and Blackgate Prison’s most infamous, with corruption at the heart. I strong recommend investing in these games.
Though the narrative can’t be changed depending on the situation, the narrative is full of various Batman villains and character that it’s not a big deal because it’s so well written. This mostly applies to Batman: Arkham Asylum. With Batman: Arkham City, there are side missions that you can play whenever you wish (in the middle of the main story or after you’ve beaten it) and in some ways it makes the game feel like you’re in control. Though that is the only way these games give you narrative options, it’s still 100% worth it, just as if you were reading a comic.
Who would have thought that the setup of the fighting gameplay would contribute so dramatically to a narrative? With these games, they mesh together perfectly to create a magnificent video game franchise that keeps gamers wanting more. Not only is the storyline written well, but the free flow style of fighting really leaves you feeling like you’re the one doing the fighting.
It’s imperative that the gameplay contributes to the storyline and vice versa. Having a game with horrible gameplay can ruin a magnificent storyline and having a horrible storyline can bring down spectacular game play. As with any type of writing, from creative to essays, it really comes down to the small details. They determine whether or not a piece is successful at persuading the reader to your thought process or into believing the world that you’ve created. In this case, it’s those small details that help create the environment and give the illusion that you’re “in” the game.
Some of these small details are very similar to thoroughly creating characters in a fiction/creative piece. In both games, as you play along and collect riddles and progress through, you unlock character bios of many of Batman’s foes. Not just those that are played in the game, but some you may have never heard of. By doing this, they have a database built within your computer system of your villains and it gives a sense of total immersion in the Batman world.
There are really so many of these small detailed additives in the games. I don’t want to spoil them all for you though. With the new Arkham Origins game coming, we can only expect them same great writing and techniques that we’ve seen in the previous two. Whether it’s creative writing or digital writing, it really does come down to the details. That’s what can push a good piece of writing, or a good game, over the edge to great.