05 August 2011

Fishy's Game Reviews - Batman - Arkham Asylum

As the new game Arkham City is due out soon I thought I would delve back into Arkham Asylum to see why I love it so much

Certificate – 15 or Teen
Demo available? - Yes. PS3 and Xbox 360
Version reviewed - Xbox 360 game of the year edition
Install size on 360 – 6.8GB
Players - 1
Downloadable content - Yes. 4 new challenge maps that are included in the GOTY edition

The plot
The Joker attacks Gotham City's Mayor's office but is foiled by Batman, who escorts him to Arkham Asylum. Due to a recent fire at Gotham City's Blackgate Prison, many members of the Joker's gang have been temporarily relocated to Arkham.

As Batman accompanies the guards taking the Joker inside, the asylum's security is overridden by Harley Quinn, allowing the Joker to escape and take control of the facility. Batman quickly realizes that these events have been part of the Joker's plan and that the Joker had bribed a security guard to help him escape.

The Joker threatens to detonate bombs scattered around Gotham City should anyone attempt to enter Arkham, forcing Batman to work alone

The Graphics
Exeptionally good

Arkham was always portrayed as a dark and gloomy place in the comics, and the developers Rocksteady have gone with this idea and THEN some.

There are also some subtle and not so subtle changes to the characters from the comics, that make them fit into the world of Arkham. Batman has more of a padded, armoured costume, Harley is wearing a corset/nurses outfit, Bane has been pumped up to the MAX on Venom and the first time I saw Killer Croc in this I nearly pooped my pants

Actually I was just joking with Killer Croc, but the first time you come across Scarecrow is a truly awesome frightening experience.

Check out Digital Gigolo’s impressions of it here


You should really experience it first hand because it’s one of the best parts of the game

You ARE Batman!!!

Seriously, you get to use all of his awesome gadgets (apart from the Batplane and Batmobile, unfortunately ;_; )

Want to stalk an enemy like the Bats, and hang from a gargoyle then tie him up with rope and hang him from it?
Go ahead, it’s one of my favourite moments in the game ^_^

One of the best things about the game is the combat. It has something that the developers call “Freeflow combat” which basically means you kick butt while looking extremely awesome at it.

On the medium difficulty and lower when a goon is about to attack there will be a white flash above his head and at this point you push a button and do a really cool counter move, then go on to attack the next guy, then another guy flashes (not in that way) and you keep carrying on the combat doing awesome finishing moves and using your Batarangs to keep the combo meter increasing and getting more points for it

On the hard difficulty? You don’t even need it. You’re the goddamn Batman!!!

It’s not all about the combat though, there is a reason that Batmans first appearance was in Detective Comics #27 and his other nicknames include the “Caped Crusader", the "Dark Knight", and the "World's Greatest Detective". You have an awesome tool in your mask that in the game is called Detective vision. At some points in the game you might have to search for fingerprints or a certain fragrance of tobacco and putting on detective vision puts a filter over the screen and allows you to search these out

It also shows you how scared thugs are and what weapons they are wielding but don’t rely on it too much because one of the things it does is filter the screen blue and makes the enemies red skeletons. The artists put too much detail into this game for you to miss it all

Best Weapon/Vehicle/Power-Up?
It has to be the remote Batarang

Yeah like I said Batman has most of his tools at your disposal like the Bat-Claw, Explosive gel, normal Batarangs, multi Batarangs, sonic batarangs. Basically Batman has Batarangs coming out the wazoo, even the collectors edition of the game came with a Batarang used by Batman himself!!!

Why do I love the remote one in particular though?
It isn’t even that essential to gameplay, you can pretty much do without it through the entire game but it reminds me of one of the best moments from Tim Burton’s Batman Returns, and I love the way the camera follows the view of the Batarang and if you’re good enough at controlling it you can make it fly for ages and then make it fly back to you and catch it in your hand!!!

Other versions
The PS3 version has a free download battle map where you play as the Joker, he has a different moveset to Batman and uses his wonderful toys for ultimate mayhem, including his hand shocker and exploding teeth

The PC versions has a better physics engine and allows you to view it in proper 3d if you have a good enough graphics card and Nvidia GeForce 3D glasses, which normally cost about £70. You can also change your costume, but the process is long winded and complicated and you have to change it each time, plus it doesn't change in cutscenes. This is one of the main reasons I'm so looking forward to the sequel because there are a few different costumes to choose from

Still the work that the community put into them is pretty nice. Check out this Amalgamated Batman/Wolverine costume, based on a DC/Marvel crossover event in the mid 90s.

By day, he is an irresponsible, superficial playboy artist called Logan Wayne, but by night he goes by the moniker Dark Claw

Game of the year edition
This edition includes four challenge maps that were available as downloadable content for the normal game

It's also packaged with a pair of glasses (one for Bats and one for the Joker) which may be used to play the game in 3D on any regular 2D television

It kind of works, but I had to keep resetting my eyes by removing the glasses, finding a spot with a lot of depth to it and putting them back on. It all depends on the lighting as well. Don't play for extended periods with them on, as I got a headache when I played for an hour

Also i'm not sure if its just me due to slight colour blindness, but if something is red like the goons skeletons in Detective Vision, it becomes super shiny when viewed in 3d and is really off putting

For you achievement whores who already have the normal version, the Game of the Year edition counts as a separate game so you can get all those cheevs again

It's pretty cheap now as well

Final Thoughts
The developers LOVE Batman and it really shows

From the best voice artists that have voiced Batman characters over the years in the Batman Animated series to all the audio diaries and easter eggs you find throughout the asylum this is truly an awesome Batman game, hell it’s an awesome game PERIOD

My advice?
Buy it!!!!

It’s an awesome game, and you’d be prepared for the sequel Batman: Arkham City which is set to release on 18/10/2011 in the US and 19/10/2011 in the UK for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

And I still want that Arkham Asylum Green Lantern crossover!!!

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