flaminghobo's Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC) review

You'd be insane not to enroll at Arkham Asylum

NOTE: I used an Xbox 360 pad to play Batman: Arkham Asylum.

There have been many Batman games over the past few years which have tried to capture the essence of the comic book hero, but none have captured it quite like Arkham Asylum, not by a long stretch. Make no mistake; if you want to play a game that truly honours the Batman source material, you need to play Arkham Asylum.

The game starts off with Batman apprehending The Joker and returning him to Arkham Asylum, you first gain control of Batman as you walk through the Asylum's opening corridors down in to the abode of Arkham's criminally insane inmates. Batman is suspicious, as the Joker seemed to "give up with a fight," as usual he was right to be suspicious and soon all hell breaks loose thanks to The Joker and you alone have the power to stop him. The asylum varies between two types of environment, there are the closed corridors of the main buildings or you may "free-roam" around the outside of the said buildings. The island in itself is beautifully detailed, Rocksteady have definitely paid attention to detail on every little thing be it the vines draping down the sides of old buildings or the Joker Teeth that sprawl around the island, mocking you as they chatter away.

This amount of detail kept me very immersed in the game, at one point I started playing the game and ever so quickly 9 hours went by! I also didn't want to stop playing because the game is actually fun, I enjoyed hitting The Joker's henchman in the face as I flew gracefully from one to the other. While the combat is fun, it is fairly simplistic. You're basically button mashing X and occasionally pressing Y when a dude is about to hit you. However, that didn't ruin my fun at all as the combat is so slick and stylish and actually packs a punch; you'd think you were an expert at Street Fighter. The stealth sections are also great, and add a bit of variety to the whole package. Planning your attacks while perching on a gargoyle and then picking off henchmen one by one really does make you feel like the Dark Knight, though if you're not careful things can quickly go pear shaped for Batman.

To help you plan your attacks, Batman can use his visor to activate "Detective Mode," this is a very useful tool and I used it very often during the game. It will show you where henchmen are located, in an x-ray vision esque way and will also show you things you can interact with in the environment. While Detective Mode is a helpful tool, I felt that I was using it a little too often, and if only a little, it spoils the amount of work the artists have put in to making Arkham Asylum look great.

As you go about your mission on Arkham Island, there is something to do apart from the main story. The Riddler has left riddles, hidden trophies, around the island and has challenged you to find them all. This adds a little more variety in to the mix, and it's a great addition. While you probably won't find them all on your first playthrough, searching for trophies and answers to riddles is very fun, and in some cases is very rewarding. There are also a couple of "Patient Interview Tapes" to find around the island, this adds some added backstory to the characters and helps to flesh out the experience.

Arkham Asylum isn't just a solid action game it's a title that pays great respect to its source material and by doing so Rocksteady have crafted the first truly great Batman gate to grace the video game medium. Don't miss this one, or the joke's on you.

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