Gaming Update: Batman: Arkham City | Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts Games | My Reviews 02 OCT 2013

A quick round-up of the latest games to worm themselves onto my XBOX console.

Batman: Arkham City (2011)

Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles. Based on the DC Comics superhero Batman, it is the sequel to the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum and the second installment in the Batman: Arkham series.

Written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini with Paul Crocker and Sefton Hill, Arkham City is based on the franchise’s long-running comic book mythos. In the game’s main storyline, Batman is incarcerated in Arkham City, a massive new super-prison enclosing the decaying urban slums of fictional Gotham City. He must uncover the secret behind the sinister scheme, “Protocol 10”, orchestrated by the facilities warden, Hugo Strange. The game’s leading characters are predominantly voiced by actors from the DC Animated Universe, with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman and the Joker, respectively. The game is presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on Batman’s combat and stealth abilities, detective skills, and gadgets that can be used in both combat and exploration.

I bought Arkham City from the XBOX Online store for the ridiculously low price of R89 and seriously haven’t looked back since. I thoroughly enjoyed the original Arkham Asylum outing, and pleasingly this follow up does everything the original did, on a bigger scale, and in the process makes the experience even better than the first (plus, it doesn’t ask you to avoid daft plants – seriously, that was my only major gripe from the first game).

The visuals are outstanding, the voice acting superb, the story epic, but most important of all, the fantastically beautiful and rewarding free flow combat system continues to be as engaging as ever, despite the fact that when you look at it, fighting has been boiled down to a two button system! Incredible.

A definite recommendation to anyone who enjoys action games, and even more so if you are already a fan of the Bat!

batman arkham city game screenshot

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Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (2008)

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is an action-adventure/vehicle construction/platformer video game developed by Rare and published by Microsoft Game Studios.

The game takes place following the conclusion of Banjo-Tooie, in which Gruntilda’s body is destroyed by Banjo and Kazooie. Eight years have passed since Gruntilda’s defeat. While Banjo and Kazooie are eating pizza, playing video games and listening to the radio, they discover Gruntilda’s detached head returning to Spiral Mountain. They are about to fight when they are stopped by Lord of Games (L.O.G.). He attempts to settle the conflict between the two by devising a series of worlds and challenges. He uses his powers to give Gruntilda an artificial body and to restore the duo’s physical fitness, but not their moves from previous games.

L.O.G. transports the characters to Showdown Town, his headquarters, and starts the contest. The winner would be set to own Spiral Mountain; the loser must endure eternal hardship at L.O.G.’s video game factory. While Banjo and Kazooie seek to win by completing the challenges, Gruntilda uses her powers and abilities to try to stop the duo. An army of mechanical Gruntbots also assist the witch in her goal.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts landed up on my console courtesy of the curent Mirosoft XBOX Games for Gold promotion, and so I gave it a quick spin to see what it’s all about. Now if you were hoping for a traditional platformer adventure game in the spirit of the earlier games, then you would be sorely disappointed – instead the game is more of a tricky driving adventure game, awarding those more mechanically minded in the process. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and does make for a fairly engaging experience as you race around trying to collect parts to put together a vehicle you think will be able to access a particular area for you.

Lots of silly (if misplaced and often a little too adult for the intended child market) gags makes for a light-hearted, brain-teasing, colourful romp, but I have to say, I didn’t spend too much time behind the controller on this one – strictly for kids, or if you have to, for playing with your kids.

banjo kazooie nuts and bolts xbox game

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.