The game that much like the film has returned Batman’s title of the dark knight, the much feared vigilante that prowls the night hunting the criminals of Gotham city. This game delivers a true to character portrait of Batman including the bat mobile, gadgets, a gliding cape and of course kick ass martial arts.
The game begins with Batman racing his way through the streets of Gotham before reaching the High security psychiatric prison known as Arkham Asylum. shortly after you arrive control is given to you and you make your way through the asylum. It’s not long before Joker makes his move and breaks free from the guards taking him into the depths of the asylum, aided by his lovely assistant Harley. The story progresses steadily from here and I have to say I really enjoyed the game, the combat system is described as innovative on the box but to be honest it seems to be a run of the mill combat system. It has your strike, stun and counter attack all with their own unchallenging method of pulling off your finishing moves. Beating down a variety of bad guys can be entertaining and as your gadgetry grows with your upgrades, you can also purchase new finishing moves adding to the combat experience. This helps to prevent the game from becoming too repetitive and as you make your way through the asylum the thugs get new weapons and attack methods keeping you on your toes. alone nobody is really a challenge but in groups you can find yourself mashing buttons trying to strike, counter and throw your baterangs all at once.
On the other hand you also get a predator style approach to taking out your enemies where you’ll need to remain hidden and stay silent as you try to take out an entire room. This is much more fun than it sounds as each time you take out a guard then return to hiding you can hear them running around in the darkness terrified they’ll be next. All the while you watch from the darkness or high in the roof. The predator mode of picking off your enemies has a whole variety of gadgets to itself as well as a selection of silent and dramatic takedowns such as the smashing through a roof method and of course the infamous glide kick. The detective mode activates Batman’s high tech vision which allows you to see enemies through walls and points of interest around the room such as collapsible walls and places to hide giving you the extra advantage.
The game was a lot more in-depth than I had thought it would be as well as having the main storyline of Arkham asylum Edward Nigma aka the riddler contacts you and presents you a challenge. The challenge is one of those annoying find and seek type challenges that also requires the solving of riddles in each new location you enter. The good thing about this however is that you can find out more about Batman than just running through the asylum on the main story. This gives a pretty detailed look at most of Batman’s enemies that are deepened with the discoveries of interview tapes from the asylum, some of which being pretty disturbing themselves and as if that wasn’t enough there is a big mystery to be uncovered in the asylum.
The game is perfect for hardcore comic book fans and any casual gamer looking for a good interesting game to play. The creators managed to achieve a beautiful mix of both comic book story telling and cinematic look to the game. The graphics are ore than a little impressive and the design of the asylum is perfectly dark and sometimes twisted to really help reflect the inmates that inhabit it. Arkham is a pretty big facility and you’ll definitely visit the same locations more than once, especially if you’re out for the riddlers riddles. Some may see this as a bad thing some may see it as a good I personally thought it was a good touch by the creators as each time you return somewhere you can find it more enthralled in the madness of the joker and the other psycho’s he let loose changing it more each time you see it, so enjoy the view while it lasts.
Arkham is choc a block of crazies and bad guys waiting for some Batman branded punishment and it’s more than enjoyable to deal it out. The gadgets and toys Batman uses also make it more interesting to travel as you’re walking one minute grappling the next and finishing with a glide to the floor. The storyline is interesting enough to keep you wanting to play through the game and with a dose of scarecrows fear gas the game takes a few interesting looks into the mind of Bruce Wayne. The game play is smooth and easy to enjoy. The controls are simple enough and it doesn’t take long to master the finer points of Batman’s combat techniques. All in all just playing through Batman shouldn’t be too hard to get a grip of so if it’s a challenging game you’re looking for it falls down a little there. The game boasts a host of interesting bosses to fight all of whom old enemies of the Batman himself.
All in all Arkham Asylum is an amazing game that has something to give any gamer hardcore or otherwise. The time spent on the game is obvious in every aspect whether it be design, game play or graphics. If you take the time to do the riddler challenges this only heightens the games enjoyment by helping you feel more like the detective that Batman is known as instead of just the vigilante. Not to mention with each puzzle solved you unlock another character bio or interesting fact about the Batman comics helping you to appreciate the character a little more. The way all these aspects of his past are put into the game also makes it enjoyable to seek them out. The only real disadvantages of the game is that it can get a little repetitive as each progression is usually you finding someone or tracking them down which isn’t as exciting as it sounds. also at the end of the game you get free run of the asylum but without anyone to fight or any puzzles to solve it begs the question what exactly is the point?
The challenge modes feature just combat or predator based challenges to achieve points to be compared on the world leader boards. These challenges usually come with specific goals which can help to make playing them more fun but they would probably get boring after a couple of plays. All in all I give the game an impressive 9 out of 10 and if you really spend the time to enjoy the game I know you would agree. So get out there and put on your cape it’s time to fulfil your childhood dreams in the most true to character game yet.