Batman: Arkham Asylum967 views
by SolveSoulDecember 25th, 2013Before even starting to review this game I want to state that I'm normally not a real Batman fan nor I'm really into the series. However, I wanted to give this game a shot since it was awarded the "Game of the Year" title. And oh boy, do I certainly NOT regret playing it. It was one hell of a great experience. Maybe because my expectations weren't too high because I'm not into Batman. Either way, this game was a great experience and we're going to discuss the good, the bad & the ugly of the Dark Knight.
The game starts you off with entering the Arkham Asylum. After recently escaping the Asylum, The Joker has been re-captured by Batman and now he and some guards are bringing The Joker back to his cell. The Dark Knight is suspicious of the fact that The Joker was caught so easily. Luckily, he is being suspicious because The Joker did have a trick up his sleeve as Batman suspected. Being freed of his straitjacket The Joker immediately captures Batman in a room closed off by electric fences, opens the cells of some convicts and commands them to beat Batman up. Of course, it's the other way around and Batman whacks all the convicts. But now he is facing a bigger problem. The Joker is in control of the Asylum and he must be stopped!
What I noticed after playing for a while is that this game has a real dark tone to it. Many disturbed convicts are being held at the Asylum and Batman is in the middle of it all. It's hard to stay sane yourself if you're being surrounded by mental villains, all being so unpredictable. The Batman series have been brought into life in various ways: a kids show, the series of the 60's, comics, movies, etc. The Arkham series are the most dark and sinister of them all. The game resembles the latest Dark Knight movies the most but in it's own and awesome way.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is filled with many of the great characters from the Batman series. The most important ones can be encountered by Batman during the game. The lesser important villains are somehow tucked into the story as small cameo's, easter eggs or secrets. Talking about secrets, the Asylum is full of them. The Riddler has placed many secrets for Batman to discover and he enjoys teasing him with... you guessed it right: riddles. Some are easy to find, others can be a real pain. For example, there are some riddles where you have to stand in a specific spot to see a question mark. The question mark can only be seen in detective mode (a mode that let's Batman see more details and track normally invisible stuff.) and is split up in two parts. The dot and the hook that form the "?" are the symbols you have to look for. So in order to see the complete question mark you need to find the perfect spot to stand and then you have to scan the ?-symbol to unlock the riddle. This is a great way to have players find a secret but the only downside is that aligning the hook and the dot is a real hassle. *walk forward* *walk backward* *a bit more to the left* *zoom* *a bit more to the right* These are the steps you'll see yourself doing a lot to FINALLY align the dot and the hook to form a question mark. Even if it looks right to you the game can still state that it isn't aligned yet.
A lot of the convicts you encounter are all muscles and no brain. So to take them out you often use your gadgets or stealth rather than brute force. Especially if they carry guns, if the enemies are wielding guns in a large room with vents and floor grills then you can safely assume that stealth will be the way to win, if not the only way. The stealth aspects are beautifully executed with the player feeling as being too smart for those dumb villains. But I mean, REAL dumb villains. The AI can be a bit too silly sometimes. For instance, you can sit on a gargoyle and when a bandit is underneath it you can grab and tie him up, leaving him hanging upside down. If the other enemies notice the hanged criminal then they won't even look up to the gargoyle and check if Batman is there. You can easily wait there and they will not see you. Many similar situations occur and that's why I think the AI falls a bit short.
Whilst progressing in the game you can also gain XP. Everytime you discover a secret, kill an enemy, etc. Some bats come flying out which indicates you earned some XP. If there's XP then there's also levels, Arkham Asylum isn't any different. Batman levels as the story progresses and with each level you can upgrade some gadgets/armor. The leveling itself isn't all that special as it doesn't add much to the game but it's a good way to be able to upgrade your gadgets at a perfect pace. There's one downside to all this leveling and that's the fact that upgrading your Batarang for instance is completely useless. I found myself barely using any of the upgraded weapons (except for the Explosive Gel upgrade that detects if an enemy is nearby and explodes, because that's funny as hell!) In other words, the upgrades are there but they serve no real purpose.
The combat system in the game is called FreeFlow, it's a rather unique way of fighting, trying to get as many combo hits as possible without a miss. Unfortunately, there are a few minor flaws with this system. If only a few bandits are encountered and you knock 'em all down with your combo's then there's no one left to hit which ruins your total combo. Also, some moves are a bit unrealistic, if you hit an enemy and then want to hit one that is 15 meters away then Batman makes a rather weird jump to reach the other enemy and kick his butt. When fighting a lot it may feel a bit redundant to fight with FreeFlow.
All things considered this is a pretty neat game that is surely worth a few hours of your time. It made me a bit more of a Batman fan, heck it even made me a full Batman fan!
Batman: Arkham Asylum967 views
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
seriesBatman Arkham Series
releasedateAugust 28, 2009
* Beat'em up
- Great atmosphere
- Satisfying combat
- Low replay value
- A few minor things totally break the atmosphere of the game.