Saturday, October 24, 2009

Batman Arkham Asylum

Game: Batman Arkham Asylum

System: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

Release: August 2009

Batman Arkham Asylum is the best Batman game in existence. Much like the Wolverine title I reviewed, this game succeeds in making the player feel like one of the worlds most famous superheroes. Batman has gadgets, he kicks ass in a fist fight, and he can lurk in the shadows to surprise enemies. What more could a fan ask for? How about having the voiceovers performed by the same cast who did the 1990’s animated series? That’s right my friends Mark Hamill is back as the Joker! This time the fight is not on the streets of Gotham. Arkham Asylum has been taken over by the Clown Prince of Crime and only Batman can stop him. Joker, however, is not alone. He has recruited some of the top super villains at Arkham. The Cape Crusader will have to deal with the likes of Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Bane, and of course Harley Quinn. Does Batman have what it takes to save the day? Sure he does…he’s Batman! The journey, however, is the real adventure. I’m not going to spoil this plot, but trust me it fits like a glove.

To complement the fantastic story, and beautiful graphical presentation, Batman Arkham Asylum offers four major gameplay features. First up is brawling. When facing unarmed thugs Batman can throw together counters and punches for brutal combos. Land enough sequential hits and he does critical damage/special moves. The combat is very smooth and satisfying. It also gets better with more enemies. Taking on twenty guys at once is enthralling—not to mention badass!

The second major gameplay feature is stealth. Batman can’t take a bullet to the dome so when the thugs are armed he goes silent. Swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle Batman can isolate his enemies and take them out one by one. A great move is the vertical take down. Batman hangs from a gargoyle until a thug is underneath him. With the press of a button he zips down grabbing the thug. He then wraps a rope around his leg and lets him hang. There are a host of other toys/moves that help Batman isolate enemies and navigate through Arkham.

The final two features are exploration and detective work. The Riddler has hidden numerous secrets across the island. Batman will have to use all his gadgets—Batclaw, Grappling Hook, Explosive gel, etc.—to solve these riddles. To help himself out he can also turn on detective mode which highlights objects he can interact with. It also illustrates all enemies in the area, and points out vital clues to main objectives. If it wasn’t for the top notch graphical presentation I would have left detective mode on for the entire game.

What’s that? Not convinced that this is the best Batman game ever. Well Mr. you have some nerve. Ok fine. What if I tell you about challenge mode? That’s right. If you are bored with the main campaign you can take on stealth or brawler challenges. Complete them with the highest score (brawler) or fastest time (stealth) and post your victory on the leaderboards for all to see. I am hooked on the brawler challenge that sends infinite waves of thugs to take Batman down.

Batman Arkham Asylum is everything I could ask for in a Batman game. The story is just about perfect, the gameplay is smooth, and most importantly fun. The presentation is top of the line, and the challenge modes will keep on coming thanks to DLC packs. Snerts Snazzy Score grants this game a perfect score: 5 out of 5.

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