A Great Game for Hardcore Fans and Gamers Alike
In my opinion Batman: Arkham Asylum was going to be just another comic book game that was destined to suck due to the fact that it was a comic book game. As more and more footage of it came out I became more and more interested. Also, as more and more time went on I wanted the game to suck less and less. My excitement and expectations for it was built up by the hype and constant delays and in short: all were surpassed.
Batman: Arkham Asylum was developed by Rocksteady, a virtually unknown English developer whose only game was a mediocre FPS where you played as a riot control officer. With Batman, however, the company seemed to focus on breaking the comic book game curse and the result of this was a game that appealed to both fans of the dark knight and gamers alike.
The storyline of Batman: Arkham Asylum is captivating and is able to involve many characters from my childhood hero’s adventures but I won’t spoil the twists for those of you who have not heard about it yet. The gameplay involves two major components: being a stealthy detective and bad-ass fighter. The detective mode is slower than the fighting, obviously, but that is not a bad thing. Using Batman’s high-tech cowl you must search surrounding areas for blood trails, fingerprints, chemicals in the air, solutions to the Riddler’s riddles, and for a path that isn’t being impeded by the Joker’s henchmen and colleagues.
The fighting mechanics at first seem to be just button mashing however as you progress through the game, enemies become more difficult and you will need to use more than just your standard melee moves to defeat them. Enemies are extremely easy (even on the hardest difficulty) when you are outnumbered 5 to 1. It is only when you progress far enough that you deal with the Titans, elite henchmen, lunatics, and the general henchmen armed with pipes, guns, or tasers that mashing the strike button will not get you very far. These are the points where you have to plan what gadgets to upgrade in Batman’s tech tree.
Rocksteady did an excellent job mixing in detective work, predator mode, and fight scenes so that the game does not feel repetitive and at any point in a level you can stop progressing through the story and search for answers to riddles, since there are riddles scattered throughout the island. The graphics look great on the Xbox 360 version and the dilapidated buildings and torn up bat suit, towards the end, really show off a darker, grittier Batman. One of the cons of the graphics is that everyone during a dialogue looks like they are suffering from horrible skin conditions that make their faces really greasy and shiny. The voice actors for the main characters in this game, such as Batman, the Joker, and Harley, are all the same voice actors from Batman: The Animated Series, which is a huge plus in my opinion. The voice acting for the average thugs can get repetitive at times, especially in predator mode.
The pros in this game heavily outweigh the cons. What Rocksteady created was a true-fan’s adaptation of a comic book game that was enthralling, entertaining, and captivating. The use of voice actors who had portrayed the characters in the past added an authentic feeling to it. It was nothing less than excellence. Calling it the best comic book game does not do it justice. Batman: Arkham Asylum was the best game of 2009.
***Most screenshots are from the GB community. Thanks to everyone who uploaded images. I cannot guarantee that all of these are from Xbox 360 versions of the game. I used the screenshots based on the part of the game that I was talking about.***