Monday, March 7, 2011

batman arkham asylum

DEVELOPER: Rocksteady Studios
ESRB RATING: T (for Teen)
Progress: 70%

I'm mostly what comic fans call a Marvel Zombie; meaning I'm strictly a Marvel fan but I am also no stranger to Batman. Eidos Interactive and Rocksteady have out done themselves with this latest game by presenting this amazing looking and grown up version of the Dark Knight. This is nothing like the cartoons or previous NGC Batman games that have been very popular; this is a dark, violent and edgy Batman story that is aimed at adults and long time fans.

The entire game takes place on Arkham Asylum. Arkham, a high security prison and insane asylum, harbors all the dangerous villains Batman has captured. It is a staple of the Batman stories and the setting for many of his adventures. The classic Grant Morrison and Dave McKean Batman graphic novel of the same name was certainly a resource as they made this game. Much like the plot of that book, Joker has taken control of the asylum and is daring Batman to enter and face all of his foes, working his way to the clown prince of crime. A perfect video game script if there ever was one.

Game play is like most 3rd person games with great control of the character and camera. Batman does not have a dedicated jump button but instead he acquires an arsenal of bat-gadgets to get by. There is something masculine about not being able to jump and reserving it for only times that make sense in the story. The nifty bat-gadgets are collected at a conveniently located "bat cave" within Arkham. Fighting is done through some great button mashing and combo moves. The more you play the more combat moves you can unlock, keeping the combat interesting and fun. You could get by with just pressing the action button during combat but it is much more fun pulling off special moves and "attacking from the shadows".

These graphics are gritty perfection. They are not afraid of trying to freak you out with the eerie atmosphere of the dark asylum. The asylum is designed as a throwback to older art deco style architecture that works really well. Although the games have a completely different look, I would compare Batman Arkham Asylum to the Uncharted franchise as far as quality goes.

There are some great gaming scenes here that I won't soon forget. For instance, I love the parts with Scarecrow and the recurring dreams. I don't normally enjoy stealth levels, but in this game I did. Another great part involves fun banter with Miss Harley Quinn; sexy and stupid never looked so good. Even the cut scenes after you die provide great insight to the current bad guys persona.

It wouldn't be a review without some complaints; although these are pretty easily forgiven. Scattered throughout the game are "Riddler's challenges". While the challenges are fun, I think they should have been more about solving riddles than collecting trinkets. Finding the patient interview tapes adds depth to the story (especially for those familiar with the lore) but audio clips? Really? They should have made video clips. Finally, I won't say these incredible graphics come free of consequences as I experienced the occasional lag and one PS freeze up during my first playthrough.

All in all, a great gaming experience that I thoroughly enjoyed and will likely play through again. There is even a whole challenge mode I have yet to explore. Great bonuses like "making of" videos and free DLC make this a great value. I've seen this game going for as low as $20 on I'm now very interested in the sequel, due out this year, Batman Arkham City.

Sometimes, though, you just want to pick up a gun


  1. I'm hoping to get my hands on this one soon, everything sounds perfect about it.

  2. I loved this game. My only criticism was that I hated playing the game in stealth mode because it detracted from the awesome graphics. Stealth mode made the game way easier and sometimes was the only way to actually progress though the game. I hope they made some changes to this for Arkham City.

  3. I'd love to get the chance to play through this. I played the demo and loved the graphics, the atmosphere, and the fighting style. Plus, I've been learning more and more about Batman lately and I find all of the villains to be great (Seriously, how many of them have PhDs?). A game with most of them in there sounds like a good plan to me, although it must be said, LEGO Batman is also a lot of fun. There are a few..umm... differences of style though. :)

  4. @SubspaceEmmisary
    Glad your getting into Batman. Its a great character. Be sure to read the classics: BM Year One, Dark Night Returns and of course Arkham Asylum. I like the Lego games too and even get into the NGC Batman games from time to time.