Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a 2009 action-adventure superhero video game developed by Rocksteady Studios, published by Eidos Interactive and Warner bros. Interactive Entertainment, and released for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, and OS X.  Based on the DC Comics superhero Batman, and serving as the first installment in the Batman: Arkham series, the story follows the Joker who instigates an elaborate plot to seize control of Arkham Asylum and traps Batman inside with many of his incarcerated foes.


Positives:

  • Great characters
  • Great voice performances
  • Great score
  • Rich open world
  • Great combat system
  • Good story
  • Good graphics
  • Extensive campaign
  • Tons of replayability
  • Tons of hidden content

Negatives:

  • n/a

Campaign: Features and extensive campaign that’s filled with puzzles, exploration, and multiple combat sequences.  The campaign is pretty lengthy and although initially linear does take a non-linear approach, giving players the option to explore the asylum and the island.  The campaign  is also challenging while still being fun. Batman, now stuck in Arkham Asylum, must stop the Joker’s plan to destroy Gotham and restore order to the asylum. The story is compelling, gradually revealing Joker’s plan.  There are many fan favorites, including The Riddler, Bane, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Scarecrow. (5 out of 5)

Gameplay: Players take control of Batman who is able to run, jump, climb, crouch, glide from heights using his cape, and grapple to low structures or higher ledges. Finding a group of thugs. Never fear. There are two ways of dealing with them. Players can either use stealth to pick em off (usually when transversing enemy-controlled areas) or use the “Free-Flow” combat system to seamlessly move between groups of enemies (usually with combat intense moments).  Using predatory tactics is fun especially when instilling fear into enemies, making them panic and picking them off in various ways (dropping from overhead, silent takedowns, using floor grates, etc.).  Boss battles are pretty unique as Batman cannot defeat them simply with his fist. An example of this is the Scarecrow fight which reduces Batman to hiding and evasion.

Players can use the “Detective Vision” which tinting the game world blue and highlighting interactive objects, providing information, the number of enemies in an area and their status, and helps to solve puzzles.  Batman has access to several gadgets which players will use to explore (use to open new paths or overcome obstacles) or fight (to help stun or knock out enemies).  Finding hidden content, solving puzzles, and completing combat scenarios rewards players with experience point, which are used to unlock gadgets, combat moves, and health upgrades.  There are a number of different enemy types and must be engaged in different ways. Fighting a criminal with a gun will be different from fighting one with a shield.

Graphics: Visually the game’s graphics are pretty good. The character designs have undergone a complete overhaul. Killer Croc is a 10-foot tall behemoth, Poison Ivy is a green skinned woman with red hair, Bane is shows an impressive mass of muscles. The asylum and island design is very impressive. It looks dark and gloomy it looks old and the various sections feed into this haunted look. (4 out of 5)

Score: The score is absolutely amazing. The voice performances are just phenomenal. Kevin Conroy comes back as Batman, Mark Hamill gives a great performance as the Joker, and even Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn. The soundtrack is immersive in such a very brooding tone for the setting. And the sound effects are on point giving even more depth to the various areas. (5 out of 5)

Replay Value: The game also features a ton of content. The game world has 240 collectable items, such as Riddler trophies, chattering Joker teeth, interview tapes with some of Arkham’s inmates, and cryptic messages discussing the facility’s bleak history. Finding collectibles and solving riddles with experience points and additional game content, including challenge maps, character biographies, and the statues of Arkham Asylum‘s characters.   Also, there’s the free roam and the island has plenty of places worth exploring and with the progression of the game more weapons and equipment are available so certain areas that couldn’t have been visited in the first initial playthrough can be revisited.  There are challenge maps separate from the game’s story mode that are unlocked while playing, while others are available as DLC.  The maps focus on the completion of either eliminating successive waves of enemies in combat or subduing patrolling enemies using stealth.  The challenge maps are definitely worth replaying especially trying to get a better score. (5 out of 5)


The Verdict: In the end, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a terrific game and easily the best Batman game to date. There is hardly anything wrong worth mentioning. There is a ton of the hidden content to discover, awesome combat system, lots of exploration, great characters, great soundtrack, great voice performances, good graphics, and a great story. Batman: Arkham Asylum gets 4 out of 5.

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