Review: Batman Arkham Asylum

I am not the biggest fan of the game camera or occasionally having to manually position it – apart from that, it’s a great game. Download the demo atleast.

In all seriousness I could just leave the review at that. In not being a fan of the ‘camera work’ (it’s really the only thing I could fault it on, and to be quite honest it isn’t even that bad or big of a deal) I am a BIG FAN of Batman. Without a doubt the coolest cat (or bat? HA HA HA – Joker styles) to hit the tights and don a cape, for me anyway. It’s been a long time coming and having heard of this game quite a while ago, I feel guilty about not paying it enough attention in its initial announcement. Actually I will go as far as to say I was initially disappointed. It was soon after the release of The Dark Knight that I had heard of this and was hoping for something based closer on the current movie-made world of Bats. The more I saw from the game the less I was interested. I am such a nut.

With the release of the demo and actually getting a chance to see these, then screenshots, come to life I was sold. Instantly, I could see the detail to which the developers had popped into this game – from the architecture to the costumes right down to music and scene choices. Everything was telling me that the game will be something special, something I have been waiting for and more importantly, Batman in a game worthy of the greatest crime solving detective to ever crack the crappolla out of bad guys in Gotham City. Everyone involved in the creation of the Batman Arkham Asylum, I salute you with both hands.

Right, so the game starts out with Batman escorting The Joker to Arkham Asylum for processing as he has done so many times before, only this time The Joker has a little surprise for you. I don’t think I need to say more then this, the game is called Arkham Asylum afterall so there is no points for guessing where you will be spending most of your time. However the storyline does have you travel all over the island and gives you an intimate detailing of just what’s on that rock. With that said it has everything to do with The Joker and how and where he wants you that drives the story. He’s toying about with you as he likes to do and you just need to keep up and survive.

Gameplay: Fantastic. Wait, back up, it can be what you make it to be. There are times where a series of executed button mashes or repeatedly hitting X and Y buttons will get you out of trouble, but it is so much more fun to use everything available to Batman. You could rush in to earlier encounters and hope for the best by brute strength but exploring the possibilities early on is much more satisfying and really, it will help you later on. As you progress further enemies will enter with varying difficulty and added ‘extras’ – namely weapons and warning gadgets. You too will get the same, and have the chance via the upgrade system to boost your existing equipment. Remote Batarang perhaps? Super fun!

As large as Arkham Asylum is you will need to re-visit areas you had explored earlier, thankfully these are necessary and not just a simple way of re-using old ‘material’. When you get to these areas you may find a new squad of goons waiting for you, slightly upgraded and laying in wait for you. It kinda forces you to take a different approach then just smacking the X button but it’s for good reason and the game itself mixes it up for you with the new challenge ahead.

In some and many ways it reminds me of Tenchu and Metal Gear Solid. I’ll leave it at that.

Sound: Good! I believe the creators took to listening to most of every musical piece from the Batman series of animation and film work and melded something that feels like it could be from either. While I can’t say that the music is super memorable, it does fit in with what is going on screen. It compliments the action. I would like to see an OST and listen closer to the tracks themselves. Apart from the music, the overall effects and foley are on par with the latest and greatest.

Visuals: Wowie! You know there are times when textures don’t look so hot, or could look better, but dang it. Batman looks hot and so do all other major characters for that matter. When you get the chance to check out some of the characters in the Trophy room you can see how much details went into realising these famed characters on screen. Random guards, not so much. I am not sure if it’s just a problemo with the engine, but sometimes they looked like guys with plastic wrapped around their skulls. I only took notice of this at the beginning of the game. Everyone else looked just fine and dandy.

Arkham Asylum and everything in it was wonderfully displayed, in particular there is this one (or three or four?) series of events that had me hoping for more! I won’t say what this is, but you’ll know when you get to it.

Final Word: Loved it, just loved it. Now there are also Challenge modes available once your done with the main storyline, but for the amount of time I spent in the game itself, I can honestly say it was well worth the price of admission. Thoroughly enjoyable it was and I want more…. more!

Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

About the Author

Dan co-hosts the Gameolio Podcast and handles the administration of the website. Occasional poster and frequent deleter with a strange love of the colour green.