The Backlog: Of Dark Knights and Dead Consoles

It's been a bit of a difficult week for the Silicon Sasquatch staff. Nick spent much of the week reformatting and fine-tuning his computer before hauling it up north for the sixth annual Penny Arcade Expo and its thousand-seat LAN -- a stressful experience, and one that leaves precious little time for gaming. Doug's third Xbox 360 fell under the alluring spell of the Red Ring of Death and is currently drifting towards Valhalla. And Aaron? Well...Aaron's the lucky one who actually got to sit down and play through Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Biff! Pow! Zing! Bort!

Aaron:

I've spent a wonderful portion of my week with Mr. Bruce Wayne in Rocksteady's amazing Batman: Arkham Asylum. To be honest, I didn't expect the game to turn out as masterfully as it has. Thankfully I misjudged the project, because this game has it all. The pacing's perfect, the combat is always fresh and the various cameos from Batman's rogues gallery are worthy of giddiness. Even someone like me, who hasn't read a Batman comic in years, can feel like they're the Dark Knight and become absorbed in the comic icon's universe.

It's baffling how Rocksteady makes creating the best Batman game ever look like child's play. Why couldn't anyone do this sooner? Oh well, at least we have Arkham Asylum now...and, if the ending pans out, a sequel to come!

Read our final thoughts on the game when we post our review next week.

Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do

Doug:

Well, the week started off on a sour note as my Xbox 360 succumbed to the throes of Red Ring of Death failure in the midst of playing Fallout 3. Since shipping it out on Tuesday, I've turned my attentions to playing some games on my PS2 instead. I fired back up Winning Eleven 9, still my absolute all-time favorite soccer game, which is what I'll probably also play tonight; I also popped my copy of Gran Turismo 4 back in and took to the virtual track.

I honestly don't know what to say about that game, especially after putting some good time in with Forza 2 on my 360 last weekend. Considering that I have genuine emotion and history with the GT series, putting GT4 back into the depths of my game wallet felt more like a break-up than anything else. It looks pretty and has an amazing car selection, presentation and sense of aesthetic, but man, it feels horrible to play with a controller. It drove me away from wanting to play anymore (no pun intended).

What's on the docket now is to finish Shadow of the Colossus. It pains me that I haven't given this game as much attention as it requires, but hopefully I'll be able to wrap it up before I receive my fourth Xbox 360.

Punch-Out!! - Endearingly racist prizefighting since 1984

Nick: Apparently my Windows XP machine got something called "Spy-Ware" and wasn't keen on running smoothly. While I spent a couple days backing things up and reformatting, I decided to plow through Nintendo's latest entry into the Punch-Out!! series on Wii.

While it was a joy to see so many familiar faces, my nostalgia-drunk adoration turned to disappointment by the time I'd claimed my rightful title as world champion of the WVBA. Dropping Glass Joe in the first round felt great, but it was also something I'd done twice before. While sticking very close to its roots was a smart decision, I couldn't help but feel like the game's familiar trial-and-error design just wasn't compelling enough to have justified a full $50 purchase.

But with Punch-Out!! back on its way to GameFly, I've got time for two fantastic titles that arrived this week:

  1. Dissidia: Final Fantasy -- Like most recent Square Enix games, it's a convoluted, bizarre mess of a story. But thanks to some impressive depth of design and scalability of play modes depending on your commitment level, it's shaping up to be a fantastic game.
  2. Batman: Arkham Asylum -- Until we post our review next week, there's just one thing I want to make absolutely clear: This game is every bit as good as it looks.

So, uh, if you'll excuse me...