Arkham Asylum isn`t just a superhero game, it's a great game.
I'll admit, I'm not a huge Batman fan. I know Batman is Bruce Wayne, Joker is awesome, Bain broke Batman's back and some other miscellaneous information about the universe of Batman. But after playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, I not only realize how great all the Batman characters are, but also how to make a successful franchise into a game without making anyone mad.
This game is definitely way more than the sum of it's parts. There's fighting, there's stealth, there's exploration and a bit of puzzle solving, but it's definitely the way it all fits together that makes it amazing. It's cool going to the next room not knowing whether you're going to go in there and punch some heads or stealthily take down several thugs.
The fighting reminded me a lot of Assassin's Creed. There's a button to attack, a button to counter, and a couple other moves you'll use for more advanced enemies. The game animates so well though, that if you watch someone play it doesn't look so simple. When you're getting big combos it looks almost like the fights in a Batman movie would look like.
Of course, there's also the stealth parts, where all the enemies have
guns and trying to run up and punch them would end you up with more than one bullet wound right in the noggin. What you have to do is single them out, then find a way to put them unconscious (Batman never kills apparently) using a decent amount of cool gadgets. You have explosive gel to blow up walls, baterangs to knock down enemies, and much more. You can lure someone right beside a wall and then BOOM, explode them to death, or rather, unconsciousness. As you take out more of the guys in a single room, the rest get more and more scared until they are forgetting to partner up and are shooting randomly at nothing. It really makes you feel like a predator (that sounds kind of wrong) and more importantly, Batman.
It's a fairly linear open world game, which means you could just go straight through the story and still have fun, but you can also backtrack to find hidden items and solve riddles the Riddler leaves for you. There are a lot of Riddler trophies hidden around the world. The riddles usually involve you finding an item that answers the riddle, and then scanning it by holding LB. You can sometimes just walk around a room scanning randomly until you find it, but it's more fun to really look before you scan.
The story seems pretty standard to begin with, because at the start it's essentially the Joker gets taken back to Arkham, but then takes over the island, letting all the inmates out and planning to hold a party where he finally kills Batman. Of course, Batman is opposed to this, and so you have to try and stop him. There are some great villains that appear, but none of them feel too forced.
Probably the best parts of the game and the parts that really impressed me are the parts where Scarecrow gives Batman drugs that make him hallucinate all his worst fears. There is a part that I won't spoil that really showed me how you can make a cut scene work in a game and not make it just feel like a film. It toys with elements that make the game a game and really just made me hopeful that developers play this game and think they don't have to make cut scenes like part of a film, they have to make them unique to games somehow.
This game is a blast to play and an amazing example of how to fit a game into a known universe. You should definitely at least rent this game but I suggest buying it if only to support developers making more franchise-based games like this.