Batman: Arkham City Catch-All

ianunderhill wrote:

Finished this today, outstanding game.
Seriously. I loved the controls for Catwoman - holy crap, locomotion that beats that of the Bat!- but even beyond the boob-tacular ludicrosity of the character model and the exaggerated hipshake of her walk, I found the scripting and acting for her to be horrible and offensive.

I fail to sympathize. There are more worthy things in this world to offended with than Catwoman in a Batman video game.

I enjoy her portrayal here boobs and all and would like to see more of her story.

ianunderhill wrote:

I want the full-on rogue, self-interested interpretation of the character - that's when she's most compelling!

I haven't played B:AC yet, but this really sounds like you want to write a different character.

TrashiDawa wrote:
ianunderhill wrote:

Finished this today, outstanding game.
Seriously. I loved the controls for Catwoman - holy crap, locomotion that beats that of the Bat!- but even beyond the boob-tacular ludicrosity of the character model and the exaggerated hipshake of her walk, I found the scripting and acting for her to be horrible and offensive.

I fail to sympathize. There are more worthy things in this world to offended with than Catwoman in a Batman video game.

I enjoy her portrayal here boobs and all and would like to see more of her story.

Agreed. Catwoman has always been sultry. Both Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar were sultry and it continued from there.

Also, were you really expecting subtlety and nuance from a game where every third to second line of the main character's dialogue can be summarized as either:

1.) "When I find him/you / if he/you cross me, I'm going to punch him/you SO HARD,"

OR

2.) "Get off my case, ma, I'll find a cure for my deadly disease after I'm done playing with my friends."

hbi2k wrote:

Also, were you really expecting subtlety and nuance from a game where every third to second line of the main character's dialogue can be summarized as either:

1.) "When I find him/you / if he/you cross me, I'm going to punch him/you SO HARD,"

OR

2.) "Get off my case, ma, I'll find a cure for my deadly disease after I'm done playing with my friends."

Go back and read what I said again. I'm mostly angry because there are hints of agency in Catwoman's admitedly thin storyline, but her dialog and the voice acting for that dialog screws it up. As a one-dimensional self-absorbed cat burglar, she's not believable in the slightest because every line out of her mouth is of the "li'l ol' me and my ass!" bent. It's moronic. She claws peoples' faces off and breaks necks between her thighs. She should be assertive, borderline psychotic instead of...well, hell, what is it? It's not even vampish, because it's not assertive. It fails on every level.

karmajay wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:

I enjoy her portrayal here boobs and all and would like to see more of her story.

Agreed. Catwoman has always been sultry. Both Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar were sultry and it continued from there.

Yes, and Frank Gorshin and John Astin define The Riddler? Please. My point is you can do more with the character. The AC take on Catwoman only gets a pass because that version doesn't bone Batman on a rooftop for the sake of cheap sensationalistic thrills. AC's Catwoman *doesn't have a story.* That's what I'm objecting to -it's possible to have an independent and sexy female character and yet portray her in such a way where every line of dialogue isn't written and performed so as to emphasize how wet she is.

Seriously. The only thing dumber than Catwoman dialog in AC is that henchman who talks about how he'd drink his own pee if he thought it'd keep him warm.

Scratched wrote:
ianunderhill wrote:

I want the full-on rogue, self-interested interpretation of the character - that's when she's most compelling!

I haven't played B:AC yet, but this really sounds like you want to write a different character.

I'm not you. You really sound like you're only familiar with particular iterations of the character. It has been and can be done better.

And wait, I'm defending my opinion why? I'm entitled and so are you! You guys have fun with your sex-doll-with-claws reading of the character. I'll count myself as let down and/or part of the prospective market for Something Better.

ianunderhill wrote:

You guys have fun with your sex-doll-with-claws reading of the character. I'll count myself as let down and/or part of the prospective market for Something Better.

I know, I want more story about sex dolls with claws and bad ass combat moves! Your sanctimonious 'Catwoman character is sexist' shtick may play better in P&C.

Well, I'm convinced. Clearly we're all Pabst-swilling Philistines for not having as big a problem with a video game character based on a comic book character as ianunderhill, and clearly he's a culturally superior Übermensch for recognizing all the horrible horribleness we already hashed over twenty forum pages ago.

...So, who's played the Robin DLC? Any good?

ianunderhill wrote:

And wait, I'm defending my opinion why? I'm entitled and so are you! You guys have fun with your sex-doll-with-claws reading of the character. I'll count myself as let down and/or part of the prospective market for Something Better.

For the record, a lot of people (including myself) expressed similar disappointments surrounding Catwoman in this thread.

hbi2k wrote:

Well, I'm convinced. Clearly we're all Pabst-swilling Philistines for not having as big a problem with a video game character based on a comic book character as ianunderhill, and clearly he's a culturally superior Übermensch for recognizing all the horrible horribleness we already hashed over twenty forum pages ago.

...So, who's played the Robin DLC? Any good?

Opens door to possible rant about underaged sex slaves wards, held against their will, but infatuated with their captor, Stockholm style.

I'm convinced, might crack the plastic open on this one tonight.

ianunderhill wrote:

And wait, I'm defending my opinion why? I'm entitled and so are you! You guys have fun with your sex-doll-with-claws reading of the character. I'll count myself as let down and/or part of the prospective market for Something Better.

You're awful sanctimonious for someone that just posted four times in a row instead of writing it all in one big post.

I don't know if you've noticed this in the community before, but most of the time when people disagree, they don't get so emotional about it that they start hating each other. That's part of what makes Gamers With Jobs great. A lot of us have argued the issue of whether Catwoman is Sexist here without, well, tirades like yours. So calm down and remember that we're all human beings, we're all adults, and we all have valid perspectives.

I'm gonna be honest, I found Catwoman a bit annoying in Arkham City as well, though it's not surprising. I mean, let's just do a Google Image Search and see how much of it screams "I'm a multi-dimensional character"[/url]. When you get right down to it, she's a female comic book character in a mainstream super hero comic whose big shtick is the fact that she is a confident woman who isn't afraid to show her sexuality, and in fact uses it as a weapon against men disrupting the traditional masculinity of the "Big Boys" playing their little games.

I mean, that really is the best way to summarize her persona as Catwoman (note, as Catwoman, not Selina Kyle, just as Batman and Bruce Wayne are two different personas). To that end, AC just played an interpretation of that character. Could they have done better? Oh, definitely, considering this writer has one of the best interpretations of characters like Scarecrow, Mad Hatter and Riddler. But it's not like he did much for Killer Croc either. Or...

Spoiler:

Not much for Clayface, after all. I mean, let's face it, I love the big reveal at the end, but it's not like Clayface's justification made any sense.

But no one is complaining that Killer Croc has no depth, or some of the other male characters. I mean, Hell, even Two Face doesn't have much depth in this game, and he's one of the greatest villains in the Batman universe. Here? He's just the first boss in the game (and then an annoying guy you gotta fight as Catwoman with constantly respawning goons forcing you to face him in a specific manner even if you're bad ass enough to eliminate his help).

So it's okay to be disappointed, it's okay to think the writer's interpretation is way too two-dimensional, especially for a primary character in the story that you get to play as. Just don't hate on people for disagreeing with you. Then nobody gets any intelligent discussion going and everyone loses.

karmajay wrote:
TrashiDawa wrote:
ianunderhill wrote:

Finished this today, outstanding game.
Seriously. I loved the controls for Catwoman - holy crap, locomotion that beats that of the Bat!- but even beyond the boob-tacular ludicrosity of the character model and the exaggerated hipshake of her walk, I found the scripting and acting for her to be horrible and offensive.

I fail to sympathize. There are more worthy things in this world to offended with than Catwoman in a Batman video game.

I enjoy her portrayal here boobs and all and would like to see more of her story.

Agreed. Catwoman has always been sultry. Both Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmar were sultry and it continued from there.

Nth'd. Take away the sex appeal and you get Batman without gadgets.

m0nk3yboy wrote:
hbi2k wrote:

Well, I'm convinced. Clearly we're all Pabst-swilling Philistines for not having as big a problem with a video game character based on a comic book character as ianunderhill, and clearly he's a culturally superior Übermensch for recognizing all the horrible horribleness we already hashed over twenty forum pages ago.

...So, who's played the Robin DLC? Any good?

Opens door to possible rant about underaged sex slaves wards, held against their will, but infatuated with their captor, Stockholm style. ;)

Listen, I hear what you're saying, but the truth is that being Batman's gay underage sex slave has always been a part of Robin's character. Burt Ward? Might as well have been named Burt Catamite.

The male-male makeout scene followed by coming-of-age road trip to Burning Man in AC was just one legitimate take on the character. I don't see why you have such a problem with it.

(-:

ianunderhill wrote:

You'll note that no one's complaining about Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, or Talia, either.

Speaking seriously for a moment (and in that spirit, I do apologize if I was a bit too snarky earlier), I actually did say something along those lines in the thread 4xis.black linked to earlier.

Me wrote:

There's an interesting conversation to be had about the treatment of women in the game. We could talk about how Batman dismisses Harley as "not too bright" when he of all people should know better: she's an educated woman, a clinical psychologist, whose sick codependent relationship has tragically lead her to ACT far dumber than she actually is.

We could talk about Talia Al'Ghul, whose entire existence is defined by loyalty to a father who's indifferent to her (up to and including instantly and permanently falling in love with a man her father chose for her for seemingly no reason other than that he's the man her father chose), and whose only purpose in the game is to be kidnapped by Joker.

We could talk about Oracle, how she is such an awesome, strong, self-realized character in the comics, and how in this story she apparently has nothing to do but coo lovingly to Bruce to let him help her help him and listen to him lecture her about how not all prisoners are bad guys, like she hasn't been functioning in this world long enough to recognize a little moral ambiguity when she sees it.

The truth is, I don't think any of the female characters get particularly good treatment in this game. And the really sad part of it is, the reason it doesn't really stick out too much is that it's pretty par for the course for the way female characters tend to be treated in both superhero fiction and video games in general.

TrashiDawa wrote:

You're awful sanctimonious for someone that just posted four times in a row instead of writing it all in one big post.

I realized that I fell into that trap after making the post. That's why I made the follow-up disclaimer about personal opinion and made a hyperbolic reduction that I thought would be pretty transparent as "Hey, yeah, kinda got overly emotional about the opinion there, folks, my bad". Next time I'll just come out and say it, as I don't have long-standing presence on the forums to lend my postings a particular tone of voice.

I don't know if you've noticed this in the community before, but most of the time when people disagree, they don't get so emotional about it that they start hating each other.

Why yes, I have noticed. It's a big part of why I came to these forums and after substantial lurking, started posting. See above for the rest. I'm not happy about my transgression and I apologize. I like the sense of order and friendliness here.

But no one is complaining that Killer Croc has no depth, or some of the other male characters. I mean, Hell, even Two Face doesn't have much depth in this game, and he's one of the greatest villains in the Batman universe. Here? He's just the first boss in the game (and then an annoying guy you gotta fight as Catwoman with constantly respawning goons forcing you to face him in a specific manner even if you're bad ass enough to eliminate his help).

You'll note that no one's complaining about Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, or Talia, either. My disappointment with Catwoman here is that she's not very interesting as a playable character with her own missions. Oh, sure, I know - what can I really expect from someone who has four missions in the whole game which largely focus on a heist job gone wrong? And that's all true. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I'd have enjoyed them a lot better if the aforementioned "li'l old me" schtick was either absent or thrown as a one-off joke to contrast with her brutality and ruthlessness. That's the Catwoman I'd want to play as for a full-length single-player campaign. And that idea of a full Catwoman game was what solicited my increasingly nonsensical vitriol in the first place.

So it's okay to be disappointed, it's okay to think the writer's interpretation is way too two-dimensional, especially for a primary character in the story that you get to play as. Just don't hate on people for disagreeing with you. Then nobody gets any intelligent discussion going and everyone loses.

Okay, deal. I'll even spare you the "man, people sure abuse the living crap out of the word 'hate'" tirade! Thanks for both your patience and calling me out in a sensible way. Greatly appreciated.

hbi2k wrote:

The truth is, I don't think any of the female characters get particularly good treatment in this game. And the really sad part of it is, the reason it doesn't really stick out too much is that it's pretty par for the course for the way female characters tend to be treated in both superhero fiction and video games in general.

I could agree with that. Even the better instances are pretty insulting - when I think about it, I'm always led to believe that a lot of us dudes hold up, say, Alex from Half-Life 2 as a shining example of a good female character simply because she's presented as a strong, non-stupid woman who flirts with us for the whole game - she's a fantasy woman and she likes us. She likes us. Etc. etc.. Of course, as was said upthread, that's really more P&C fodder.

Relevant to AC, though: the more think about it, the more I wonder about the process for writing a lot of the game's dialog. How is it that the "not too bright" line even exists re:Harley when in game canon alone, Batman has gotten schemed and thwarted by Harley multiple times? This is even discounting that fact that her background's touched upon through collectibles in game - just straight-pathing it, it's still obvious she's a pretty serious threat, right? I know there's a crapload of dialog in the game and a lot of it had to be written for the sake of variation (at least I hope that's where the pee-drinking joke comes from), but the stuff concerning non-mobs leaves me wondering how that stuff gets divvied up and reviewed. Anyone know of any interview materials regarding this subject for AC (or even AA)?

I can't help thinking that we might be dancing around the "bad writing" elephant in the room. Not everything is great, and it seems like in this particular interpretation of the characters, it might just be poor writing. At least that's how it looks to me.

Scratched wrote:

I can't help thinking that we might be dancing around the "bad writing" elephant in the room. Not everything is great, and it seems like in this particular interpretation of the characters, it might just be poor writing. At least that's how it looks to me.

If it's an elephant, it's a question of mass, isn't it? Which is to say, "I don't think it's a badly written game overall, but parts of the whole certainly are." The reasons I wonder about the process is because there are a lot of bits of good writing (qualified in that "as a video game derrived from genre fiction and/or comic books" sense) that are apparent, and I'd say the previous game was even better in that sense, so are the exceptionally bad bits tend to stand out as awful, stupid, clumsy, or whatever adjective is appropriate depending upon the example. Is the process at fault in this, or is it a question of volume/scale in a let's-make-it-bigger-and-better! sequel, or were the responsible parties just not as on their A-game this time out?

(Yes, I said "as". I'm happy with the good I can get. This isn't one of those skeleton-xylophone-one-bone-two-tones uhr-nerd criticisms.)

I've always felt that videogames have the potential to avoid ending up in the weird cultural ghetto that Western comics currently inhabit, so seeing such broadly-popular games as this one totally faceplant on gender issues worries me.

4xis.black wrote:

...the weird cultural ghetto that Western comics currently inhabit...

The only distinction Western comics have from other media is that their mass appeal genre fiction is dominated exclusively by superheroes. Every other medium has its questionable yet popular products, they just happen to be in a handful of different genres rather than just the one. I'm just glad there's no equivalent to Twilight in video games.

Calvin and Hobbes is a Western comic, right? I like how Mom is portrayed there. I like how Susie, is, too. I think a significant part of the problem is that the mainstream Western audience has essentially pigeon-holed all their comics into broad genres, and will not entertain significant departures very well. Despite its excellent nature, Calvin and Hobbes is still essentially episodic, occasionally political funnies.

That said, I have noted an increase in Western comics that increasingly "get" what it is that makes manga so popular in the Japanese market (hint: it's not the obvious illustrative techniques and visual idiom).

It's notable in video games that Shepard could be a woman, and she's not portrayed as some girly-girl, but she's not some asexual man-in-a-woman-suit, either. Her demeanor is believable for her rank and station in life.

LarryC wrote:

It's notable in video games that Shepard could be a woman, and she's not portrayed as some girly-girl, but she's not some asexual man-in-a-woman-suit, either. Her demeanor is believable for her rank and station in life.

I'm probably stepping on a discussion land mine here, but something about that, while it's good, could be better. I'm reminded of discussions elsewhere on GWJ over racism, and being 'colour-blind' with regards to race. With a few minor exceptions gender doesn't really matter in Mass Effect, and that's probably for the best as it's not the focus of the game, and the voice actors aren't reciting lines but making each gender of Shepard a bit distinct. What ME does do a bit is to bleach out the differences between genders, which is a little bit of a missed opportunity in a game that touches on racism and other bigotry.

It's a fine line to walk between making characters that are just stereotypical males or females (for good or bad), but also not to push too far the other way and make every character the same with a different body shape. If anything pushing for a character without taking into account what gender brings to the table makes for shallower characters as you're eliminating ingredients you can use in interactions between characters.

Minor exceptions! *sputter, sputter* I recall playing through one go of ME2 as if it were a dating sim. I'm not sure it isn't. Surely gender mattered there, right?

When it comes down to it, the chief differences between men and women is the plumbing, and most of life really isn't concerned with that. I think ME2 shows the ideal manner of this - it really shouldn't matter what sex you are, most of the time. I think it isn't a matter of ME2 bleaching out the differences, so much as it is showing how it should be - that there really aren't that many essential differences to begin with. At the same time, it doesn't shirk where it counts. You can't date Garrus as a man (he doesn't swing that way) and you can't date Miranda as a woman (she doesn't swing that way, either).

Apart from Shepard, I think that Tali is a surprisingly realistic portrayal of a feminine character - a rather endearingly shy one, too. Her bumbling manner in romantic encounters does not, however, imply that she's incompetent as an engineer (she's the best one in the series), or that she's indecisive in battle. She can shoot that shotgun as well as anyone!

Latrine wrote:
4xis.black wrote:

...the weird cultural ghetto that Western comics currently inhabit...

The only distinction Western comics have from other media is that their mass appeal genre fiction is dominated exclusively by superheroes. Every other medium has its questionable yet popular products, they just happen to be in a handful of different genres rather than just the one. I'm just glad there's no equivalent to Twilight in video games.

I sort of wish there was an equivalent to Twilight in video games; I honestly feel like it would be more interesting than another Call of Duty-type thing. Also, I've heard that the distinctions between Manga and Marvel/DC extend well beyond who is and isn't a super hero.

If you're curious about the idea of comics re: Cultural ghetto, I borrowed the concept from here.

FemShep is great except for her animations. Her walking/running don't look like a woman. And worse, many of her sitting poses on shipboard conversations just look awful... legs spread wide open and such. They look even more awkward with the Kasumi outfit on. It's pretty laughable.

Latrine wrote:
4xis.black wrote:

...the weird cultural ghetto that Western comics currently inhabit...

The only distinction Western comics have from other media is that their mass appeal genre fiction is dominated exclusively by superheroes. Every other medium has its questionable yet popular products, they just happen to be in a handful of different genres rather than just the one. I'm just glad there's no equivalent to Twilight in video games.

Final Fantasy 8

ccesarano wrote:
Latrine wrote:
4xis.black wrote:

...the weird cultural ghetto that Western comics currently inhabit...

The only distinction Western comics have from other media is that their mass appeal genre fiction is dominated exclusively by superheroes. Every other medium has its questionable yet popular products, they just happen to be in a handful of different genres rather than just the one. I'm just glad there's no equivalent to Twilight in video games.

Final Fantasy 8

Mwahahahaha

Scratched wrote:

I can't help thinking that we might be dancing around the "bad writing" elephant in the room. Not everything is great, and it seems like in this particular interpretation of the characters, it might just be poor writing. At least that's how it looks to me.

Which is weird, because the guy with the writing credit for the game is Paul Dini, who has a history of very GOOD work with the Batman franchise. He CREATED Harley Quinn, for crying out loud, and basically created the modern incarnation of Mr. Freeze (before Dini, he was just a dude with a freeze gun and a bunch of silly ice puns, a lot like the Arnold Schwartzenegger version).

Makes you wonder what the circumstances around the writing of the game were and how hands-on Mr. Dini actually was, because he's usually fantastic, and IMHO the writing in AC is utilitarian at best.