I recently read that Batman Arkham Asylum has been awarded a Guinness World Record for the most critically acclaimed superhero game. While I would certainly agree that it is an excellent game I would say that it hasn’t had a lot of competition especially when it comes to Batman.
A few months ago I was not expecting much out of this game. It was a licensed Batman game by an unproven studio. My expectations were rightfully low but then the demo was released and my excitement sky rocketed. It was an excellent vertical slice of the game from gameplay to graphics to story.
Let me start with the story. It begins with Joker being transported by Batman to Arkham Asylum. Within the first few minutes everything goes to shit and Joker takes over the Asylum and sets his plan to bring down Batman into motion. It is a classic batman story drawing many elements from Batman’s comic history including Arkham Asylum: A Serious house on Serious Earth. It even includes reference to Amadeus Arkham.
Another point worth mentioning is that voices actors Kevin Conroy (Batman), Mark Hamill (Joker) and Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn) are back to reprises their roles from the animated series. The story is also written by Paul Dini furthering the connection to animated series.
The Gameplay is split into three main sections: Combat, Stealth and Exploration/Detective Work. Combat works on a combo building system which is easy to pick up and play but difficult enough to master. The stealth was my favourite element of gameplay. It involves hiding in the shadows and picking off the Joker’s henchmen using a variety of the Dark Knight’s gadgets including batarangs and batclaws. Batman has a special detective mode where he goes into a sort of thermal vision and can identify things about the environment like structural weaknesses and he can look for evidence trail. All of these parts work well and are paced excellently throughout the game. There is never too much of one or not enough of another.
Graphically the game is quite strong. The animation work is fluid and the environments detailed. I did not experience any technical issues like texture pop in either.
A few other things worth mentioning are that the game has
unique twist on the collectible items called Riddler Challenges which are fun
to do and add backstory to many of the characters. The Challenges room are a nice extra and
getting top medals in them is quite difficult and adds a lot of longevity to
I would recommend the PS3 version over the Xbox 360 version because the PS3 gets a free Joker mode DLC which allows you to play as Joker in his own original set of challenge rooms.
My main complaint about the game would be that I did not think that the boss fights were that well executed with some repeating the same elements over and over and others are lacking originality near the end. There are other things I could moan about but they are not worth mentioning because the bottom line is that this is a game worth getting and that’s all there is to it.
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