Game Review: Batman Arkham Asylum (PS3,360)
Super hero games over the years have been a lot like dating.For every twenty that you pick up, there is only one that warrants spending any real time with. Will Arkham Asylum be one we want to write home to momma about or should we change our number and hope the next one is better? Read on to find out as we check out Batman: Arkahm Asylum….
It seems that a bulk of Superhero games usually coincide with a release of a movie and try to follow the storyline of said movie and in a nutshell are cookie cutter game using the same “Sandbox” style gameplay over and over. Basically change out the skins and change the missions a little and you have the same game. I would like to stress that this is not one of those titles.
Batman Arkham Asylum has its own storyline written by Paul Dini and is a third-person, action-adventure game with stealth elements. The basic story is that The Joker has been brought back to Arkham and during his transfer, he escapes and takes over the island. It’s up to Batman to stop the Joker and the inmates that he has freed and set things right. That is about all you will get regarding the story from me as it is definitely a good one.
Visually the game looks great and has a dark feel to it as you would expect. I did experience some clipping issues primarily during some of the sequences while I was fighting but other than that, I had no real issues and certainly nothing that detracted from the experience. The art style for all of the characters was great, my two favorites besides the Joker would have to be Scarecrow and of course Harley Quinn.
There is a lot of variety to gameplay which is always welcome.You can try to blaze in with your batarangs flying but more often than not, you will be defeated and you need to use the element of surprise in order to survive. This is typically the case when inmates with guns become more prevalent. I typically not a stealth gameplay person but actually really like this aspect of the game. I enjoy hiding on top of a gargoyle and grabbing a lone enemy and use him as bait. The cinematic for sneaking up onto an unsuspecting inmate and silently taking him down are very satisfying .
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of opportunities to pound on multiple enemies. Combos play an important role in the game and chaining them together on a bunch of inmates is a lot of fun. As you level up and unlock new ones, you get anxious to get into a fight to try them out.
Boss fights are great as you would expect and vary quite a bit. These range from sneaking around in an old school side scrolling type of gameplay to an enclosed arena where you have to figure out a weakness and exploit it.
What would be a Batman game without gadgets? Not a very good one, thats for sure. This game has plenty of gadgets to unlock and upgrades become available to them as you level up. I particularly like using the plastic explosives to lay traps down for multiple enemies then drawing their attention and drawing them into the trap.
A big part of the game is “Detective mode”, this mode gives you an enhanced view of the world which highlights points of interest as well as gives you a x-ray view of enemies so that you can see them through walls to give you a bit of tactical advantage. This mode also allows you to analyze compounds and fingerprints used to track individuals and find clues left behind by the Riddler.
While the game basically leads you around, there is a lot of opportunity to explore Arkham as you see fit. This is nice because there are plenty of things to check out and you will find yourself getting sucked into finding all the clues left by the Riddler to unlock bonus material. My favorites are the interview tapes of the inmates which give you a good insight into them and often times can be pretty funny. Well at least to me they are.
As you can guess, I give this game a BUY IT rating as I have enjoyed it immensely and expect that I will spend a lot of time collecting everything. While both versions look and play identical (Neither one is better) if you have both systems, I would recommend the PS3 version over the 360 version simply for the Joker levels.
Brian Ellis is a co-founder and senior editor of Bag of Mad Bastards and co-host of Drunken Monkey Tech podcast found here. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions/comments.