Batman: Arkham Asylum review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 2 Old 02-12-10, 09:56 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2009
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Talking Batman: Arkham Asylum review

Game Title: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Rocksteady
Genre(s): Action
Players: 1
ESRB Rating: Teen
Release Date: 2009
Review Rating: :5 stars - Honestly (spoiler-free review)
Since this if my first review, I am wary of beginning with a five star, because I am aware that most games are way over-rated, or at least over-scored. 5 out of 5 does not mean perfect, in my view, but it does mean fantastic. And yes, this is a fantastic game.

Story: Batman is stranded on Arkham Island after a breakout staged by certain villians. However, the goal of the breakout isn't to leave the island... I'll admit up front I am a huge Batman fan. Not the kind that wastes money on little trinkets and figurines, but the kind that is a fan of the man, and the idea behind the man. Batman Begins and Dark Knight of two of my favorite movies of all time. I was also a big fan of Batman: the animated series as a kid (and still am). I understand that this may affect my view of the game, but I know a lot of people that also love this game, and are not batman fans like me. The story in this game is awesome - it perfectly fits in the batman universe. You will continually want to progress to new areas to find out what is going to happen. Without giving anything away, there are sequences that brilliantly play to the strengths of the batman character and the villians involved. If you aren't a batman fan before you play, you will be after because of the story and the characters. The villians are used in a way that is smartly directed. No villian is over-used (can you even have too much joker?) and the little tid-bits about other villians are just enough to wet the appetite and leave more for the sequel, which has been announced. The island (including the asylum) is also a big part of the story. It is perfectly designed to make it feel like this story and game simply couldn't take place anywhere else and still be as good. The different areas of the game feel like they are almost as important as the characters themselves.
The characters in the story are some of the best ever in video games. The writing is top-notch, strengthening the conflict between, not only batman and the villians, but between batman and himself.
Granted, there are video games with better stories, (some which i may review soon) but I can only think of two right now.

Gameplay: So the story is it any fun to play? Yes....Yes.....Yes. The best way to put it is this - you feel like Batman. I don't really need to say more, but I will. There is a very good balance between puzzle solving/detective mode, combat, and exploration. At no point did i get tired of exploring the island, at no point did i get tired of using detective mode to figure out clues, and i definitely didn't get tired of the combat because you will progressively get better and better at it. By the end of the game, you will love seeing a large group of thugs up ahead because it is such a blast to use all of your different moves and tools to connect together some extensive combos. I personally am thankful that the puzzles weren't insanely difficult to solve. They were just enough to make you think for a while, but you never get frustrated, you simply feel like a great detective Oh, and did i mention you feel like batman? Using his tools is so fun. You progressively unlock tools throughout the game, which means you aren't overwhelmed at the beginning so you can learn how to use the tools in different ways to their potential. The majority of the game is clearing a room of baddies, but the awesome thing is the planning you can make. Oh yeah, I forgot stealth. You will love sneaking through a gutter underneath a baddie, and then bursting out to take him down, rappeling to the ceiling, then swooping down to take out the next guy that comes to check out his pal. There are so many different ways to clear rooms you will never get bored. Oh yeah, and you feel like Batman the whole time.

Graphics and Sound:
Graphics: This game looks beautiful - not only on a technical level, but on an artistic level. The different areas of Arkham feel pulled right out of the Batman universe. The characters (especially Batman) look amazing. Even Batmans cape looks awesome (it even becomes more worn as you progress throughout the game). The only downer is the recycling of the models for the henchmen, but they stilll look great. The design of the villians, however, more than make up for it. This is one of the best looking games on every level that I have ever played. If you play this on an hd tv, you will often find yourself simply looking around, seriously.
Sound: Ahh, the sound - what a sweet sound it is. Mark Hammil as the joker - are you kidding? I've played a lot of great games in my life, and I can honestly say that this has the best voice acting of any game I have ever played. Now I didn't say of all-time, because I know of games with great voice acting that I haven't had the chance to play.
The music of the game is also great, you will love the combat music, as well as the sounds of batman breaking his foes after a well-fought combo. I forget the name of the guy who does batmans voice, but he also does a spectacular job. By the way, I don't talk this way about a lot of games....this one really deserves it.
The sound of this game does exactly what it's supposed to. It immerses you in the world without drawing attention to itself, just like good sound in movies. You will enjoy this alot more on a good sound system because of the voice acting, music, ambient sound, etc. Just don't expect to use this game to show off your sound system - this simply isn't that type of game.

Extras: There is no multiplayer which is absolutely fine for a game like this. There are, however, challenge rooms that are tons of fun for using your sneaking or combat skills. My personal favorites were the combat rooms where you simply fought tons and tons of baddies. There is a ton of satisfaction in beating the final, toughest room all in one combo.
Also, apart from the main story, there are riddles throughout the island to figure out. I won't give anything away, but I will tell you I completed every single one and enjoyed every second. That is saying a lot, because I usually avoid these types of segments entirely becuase they are usually boring and/or frustrating. It also gives you an excuse to explore the entire island.

Summary: I chose to review this game first because it is such a fantastic game. Yes, it came out last year, but if you haven't played it yet, that is even more of a reason to pick it up. Since it is a year old, you can find it a lot cheaper on, ebay, or amazon. (I wouldn't recommend the store that begins with g and ends with stop, they'll charge a lot more.
This game is one of the best single player experiences you will ever have. I must say, however, the final boss is a dissapointment. Every minute leading to that point is incredibly enjoyable.

I will be reviewing Dead Space soon, which is another fantastic game that came out in 2008, I think.

Last edited by diehard; 02-12-10 at 12:53 PM. Reason: oversight
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post #2 of 2 Old 02-14-10, 10:00 PM
Senior Shackster
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Victoria BC
Posts: 164
Re: Batman: Arkham Asylum review

Great review Diehard thanks for the info. Superhero games aren't usually my thing but after this glowing review I think I will give it a try!
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