Holy 5 star review Batman!
Batman, Batman, Batman! Where to begin with Batman: Arkham Asylum. First off this game is well worth the price of admission. From the opening interactive cinematic that has you as Batman ecsorting the Joker back into the bowels of the namesake asylum, to the final ( & somewhat) anti-climatic batlle with ol' Ruby Lips himself, this is a ride worth taking. Not since MGS4 has a game pulled you into it's storyline with great voice acting & dialogue that is this crisp, engaging, & in the case of the Joker, very funny.
I won't go into story plot points, there will be enough of that on the net in short order. I am going to focus on the gameplay mechanics and other factors that make you want to keep playing "For just a few more minutes." You'll find yourself saying that often. First the movement of Batman & all other characters onscreen is very natural. Imagine if the pages of a classic Batman comic came to life. This is how those characters would move & act. It's that convincing. From the way Batman's cape flows & trails behind him while walking, jumping, running, or during some well choreographed fisticuffs, you'll get the sense you are the Dark Knight. As for the colorful & rather intelligent AI enemies that are the cannon fodder for you, they give you a sense of what it must be like to be a 'Real Badass' & then everything around you starts going wrong. Your buddies begin to get knocked out one by one, or hung from a gargoyle in the hallway, & you suddenly realize that your not the hunter but the hunted. This one of the more shining moments in the game. Batman can easily best 5-6 enemies at a time in the game with some simple combat controls that translate to an ass whooping on screen. You will find yourself feeling sorry for these guys. Especially when they begin to panic & shoot blindly around corners while the Joker taunts them on the PA system & moniters. This clearly demostartes what has always been the most glaring flaw with Batman games since the earliest efforts on the NES. Batman was always a weakling compared to the most rudimentory bad guy. Boss battles were always hit or miss in those games also. I mean do you really believe that Penguin could beat batman in a fight? Of course not & this game doesn't present that scenario. What does happen in the boss fights is the creative manner that you have to approach them & figure out the startegy to win. Again no spoilers here but there are some unique moments. One glaring omission is some of the more iconic Batman foes make an appearance, but you don't get to take them on. But a minor gripe such as this shouldn't deter you from playing this game.
As for graphics & sound effects & soundtrack etc., this is the Unreal engine underneath so you can expect good things. It's comparable to any recent game released for it's visual flair & presentation. The dialogue & voice acting is spot as mentioned earlier. Just keep saying to yourself if i saw a Batman comic come to life it would look like this. You'll have a good time.
The game is not that difficult which reflects the current trend in the biz toward earier games. I finished it on normal difficulty in just one day. But I enjoyed the ride from beginning to end. There is also enough extra modes & bonus content to keep you busy for good while after you've grown bored with the story. From online to challenge rooms & extra unlockables, this is a treasure trove of Batman goodness.
If you are a fan of Batman in comics or movies, buy this & have a blast. If you just want a good action romp then maybe a rental is for you. Either way the folks at Rocksteady & Eidos deserve much credit for doing what has never been done before. They actually made a believable Batman game that is fun to play & will make you want more at the end!