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And Welcome To In-Game Chat

Seven years and we’ve barely ever used this space for anything other than an official place to put our shows. We gave it some thought and figured we should change that and give writing a shot and put our voices to…screen, as it were in between the times we do those shows.

I can’t guarantee we’ll do this as scheduled every day of every week (except Saturdays & Sundays). But we’ll try.

This past weekend both Batman games were on sale on Steam, in what I can only guess was a celebratory manner for having both titles stripped of the GFWL brand and soothed over with the cooling aloe of Steamworks. Not only that, but those who’d previously bought the two games on Steam had their copies upgraded (both of them) to the “Game Of The Year” editions with all the extra content added in.

All this did was remind me that since the time I’d bought these games on my PC, I’d recently rebuilt my machine and made the switch from an AMD graphics card to NVIDIA – almost for the singular reason of PhysX. I’d been with an AMD card for quite a few previous builds of my machine and had watched, almost with heartbreak for me, the videos of games come and go that were using the PhysX stuff in NVIDIA cards. Finally, I could play a game I have a distinct recollection of watching back when I didn’t have the proper equipment to see all of its bells and whistles with PhysX – Batman: Arkham City.

So far it’s been fun. The game that is. I’ve barely noticed the really great ways fog moves, curtains flow, and papers fly around when you walk over them. I mean, sure, they’re there and I’ll take notice occasionally, but for the most part, I’m just too focused on being Batman to really pay attention. Then again, I’m not very far into the game so maybe there’s more of it later on I’ll actually start to see. Still, it’s a bit comforting to know that whenever NVIDIA does release videos of upcoming games using their tech of physics, I’ll know I can play that game and see exactly what they are showing me.

That said, they’ve really been showing off what their cards and tech can do in the next Batman game releasing on Friday – Arkham Origins. The game hasn’t really snuck up on me, but my anticipation for it has. Just a week or so ago I knew it was coming out, but I was very…meh on the issue. Not disappointed or thinking it wasn’t going to live up to the previous games, but just, well…neither here nor there on it. However, since replaying Arkham City over the weekend I’ve gotten more and more excited for Origin’s release. I’ve been reading forums and subreddits, watching videos (even the most recent walkthrough done by someone who got their hands on an early copy), and I’m even listening to the soundtrack sample as I write this*. It’s rare I get this enthusiastic for the release of a game to drown myself in its media and hype, but here I am…wallowing in it, soaking it all up.

I’m not even really worried about the reviews. I’ve only played a bit of the game at PAX and it really plays EXACTLY like Arkham City. Yeah sure, it isn’t Rocksteady making the game, but the guys at WB Montreal seemed to have done a fantastic job mimicking their every move. I find that to be good and bad, in a way. This is good because it means they don’t stray too far from a formula that works and bad in the sense that they aren’t really carving a place for themselves. I mean, the sections of Gotham that were in Arkham City look very familiar, as they should, and it means the team had more time to work on other aspects of the game. Having it set yet again in the winter means most of the areas affected by the weather could go unchanged (that pool on the highrise is still frozen over). Setting it on Christmas Eve and added the element of a terrible blizzard and that keeps them from making Gotham as busy as a city like it would be on the streets – keep in the tone of a locked away prison playground as it was used in the game before. And maybe they don’t have to stand out for themselves. Maybe coming away with a win on a Batman game means they’ve shown they can make things work and build the confidence to work on their own stuff and not be held to a standard of another studio. Maybe. We’ll see when the game releases on Friday.

In fact, I think I’m going to finish this up and get back into Arkham City for a bit. Getting all the DLC in the recent PC upgrade from Steam means I have new content to explore. Speaking of which, I think I’ll stream my playthrough of the “Harley’s Revenge” DLC.

*Check out 10:14, 14:00, & 17:51 for my favorites so far

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