Batman: Rise of Sin Tzu Review

Batman: The Rise of Sin Tzu is a bit of an anomaly. It’s got all the bits that a fun game requires, and it has enough of a production value to win over fans of the cartoon show, but something seems like it’s missing. Instead of a fun and well put together brawling game, The Rise of Sin Tzu is instead just one boring slogfest through cookie cutter bad guys and a hackneyed story line.

This game actually looks really good. The character models don’t have as much detail as usual, but it strangely fits in this type of cartoon world. It accurately emulates the cartoon show to a T. Environments are also well detailed, littered with lots of interactable objects, ripe for the breaking.

The levels themselves, though, tend to drag on a bit. You’ll notice this when you’re running through the levels; by the end of the level, you realize that you’ve just gone through about 10 minutes of the same looking area. Each level looks different enough that the entire game doesn’t look the same, but the levels tend to get a bit boring near the end.

Another gripe I have is that the enemies all look the same. Each level has its own theme for the bad guys you’re fighting, but there are a total of maybe four or five different types of enemies that you’ll face when you’re playing. It makes things more repetitive than it could have been. There’s also a problem with some slowdown at times, but for the most part, the game runs smoothly.

The music is fairly well done. It’s a bit generic, but it’s upbeat and doesn’t really get old after a while. Sound effects and voice, however do get very repetitive after a while. For what it’s worth, the voice actors from the TV show have reprised their roles as the characters in the video game, but, I personally thought a lot of the acting was bad. This is partly from the script, which isn’t going to win awards any time soon, and partly because of the acting. But that’s my opinion. Whether you like the acting or not, it still gets annoying when you’ll hear the same lines over and over again. Whenever Batman’s health gets low, he mutters phrases like “Stamina… fading…” or other such variations. It gets old after the thirty times you hear it

Control is spot on for the most part. B button is punch, A button is kick. X button is jump, Y button is grab, L button guards, R button dashes, and Z uses your gadget. The control pad controls camera and taunts while the C-stick selects gadgets. They seem a bit unresponsive at times, but for the most part, the controls work just fine… it’s the application of these controls that kills the game.

This game is just no fun to play. It has all the elements here… multiple players, an experience based system, new moves and combos. But for the most part, there’s no strategy involved. You run up to a bad guy, jam the attack buttons, let him fall, let him get back up, then repeat the process until dead. There are some arbitrary goals strewn about the levels, like saving hostages or defusing bombs. You’re doing the same exact thing for each of them (just making sure you find them in time and walk into the highlighted circle to free the hostage or disarm the bomb), just with different skins. There’s really no point, other than to keep you moving fast through the levels.

The first level is the worst, too, because it shows you how basic the combat is. You have no combos… all you’re doing is the same three button attack. I went through the first two levels of the game, jamming on nothing but the B button. And it was easy.

The characters are all very similar too. They have somewhat different stats (Batgirl and Robin are faster but less powerful than Batman or Nightwing) but all FMV contains Batman, no matter which character you choose. They all have the same attacks, just with different animations. They each have a few different combos between them, but Batgirl and Robin share the same ones, while Batman and Nightwing share each others. It’s just not enough to make the game interesting enough.

And throughout five levels, you’re running through, killing similar bad guys, running through long and drawn out maps, performing arbitrary tasks, all up to the end boss… which all have some sort of easily exploitable pattern. At the end, you can use the points you earned to buy the next, more powerful combo you’ll use over and over again in the next level. Lather, rinse, repeat until bored.

There’s really not a whole lot of stuff here to do when you’re done. Sure, you could play through with the other characters, but it’s basically the same exact game. There’s a new difficulty, new maps for challenge mode, and some other extras like comic book covers and character models you can look at, but to unlock them requires tokens you have to buy in the various game modes. You can buy Easy tokens in Easy mode, Normal Tokens, in Normal mode, etc. Each item can only be unlocked with a certain token. And since the actual content it adds to the game is nothing, there’s really no value in it, unless you really like Batman.

For fans of the show, there’s a lot to like here. It takes place in the realm of the cartoon show, with graphics that really give it the feel of the show. They used the same voice actors from the show. They even created a new villain to use. But, sadly, all of these special bonuses don’t mean anything if the game isn’t fun. It’s just a derivative brawler game with a Batman-sugar coating. If you like Batman, it’s worth a rent, but everyone else should stay away.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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