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Batman: Arkham Asylum (Windows)

91
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.3
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  NeoJ (428)
Written on  :  Dec 06, 2009
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars4.71 Stars

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Summary

Fear the dark knight

The Good

Batman is been paid somehow as he deserves. After some good films directed by Tim Burton (films that have little to do with comics, but good films anyway), Joel Schumacher buried and destroyed the bat. Since that moment, nothing remarkable, but then, without a great fanfare, Christopher Nolan directed Batman Begins, an incredible film about the superhero that was a new beginning., and the film that Batman deserved. Nolan did what he should with Batman, and the confirmation arrived with The Dark Knight.

This evolution of the superhero in the movies has a similar path with the evolution in the games. We have some good games for the 16-bit (maybe the best one Adventures of Batman & Robin for Genesis), but they're only funny games and nothing more. It all changed when Batman Arkham Asylum arrived.

The most important thing is the fact that Batman Arkham Asylum is not just the best superhero game released, we're talking about one of the best games made in some years. When people started to talk about this game, some people started to think that it was not going to be as good as it was looking at the moment, but when they played the game themselves they realized that an incredible game was released, a game made with respect, an homage to Batman as never made before. Talking about the homage, we have a lot of information during the game with biographies of many characters, as well as many different antagonists selected for the game.

The game is the perfect combination between beat 'em up and Stealth games, that made the game more dynamic. Without a doubt, the Stealth parts are the most remarkable, you'll feel like a true superhero with many different weapons (none of them are useless) and different ways to defeat your foes. Your foes will react at every action that you do in this game, they'll fear you once you start defeating their partners, which is something really funny (for you, not for them of course...) The beat 'em up parts are good too, with a perfect battle system with many different and suitable movements. In spite of this, when you begin the game you don't have the special movements and it may look a bit limited, what's more, in the first battle you may think that his game is just a beat 'em up game where you're only going to push a button many times to fight your foes, but nothing further from the truth.

At the beginning, the storyline looks a bit typical, but when you progress the storyline turns better. The depth of the story is enormous, specially when you face the scarecrow, which is one of the best parts of the game. Facing the scarecrow means facing yourself, your fears and all the things that made Bruce Wayne to become Batman. Every confrontation with the scarecrow is placed in an strategic point of the story, it's good because it made the game varied. The number of confrontations with him are just the confrontations that the game needed.

Music has an important part of the product. It's more gothic than orchestral in some parts, and it's the perfect ambient for the perfect game. The music is the perfect accompaniment to carry out your plans to defeat a handful of thugs without being noticed. Voices and FX are great too, like the other aspects of the game.

Graphics has no defects, making a compact game without nothing to threw it up. Animations are amazing, special facial animation, and textures are magnificent. You can admire that work with the models in the main menu, by unlocking some concrete secrets. Stages are big with many details and different elements.

Gameplay is precise, not just the incredible battle system. Moving all around the island is a pleasure using all your "powers", soon you'll feel comfortable with the controls and you'll be exploring the whole island without any problem. A good point for the game is the fact that you don't have to open the menu to select a weapon, you only have a map screen (and the secrets and biographies) and nothing more, so, the game is very flowed. You have also different difficulty levels.

If all that's not enough, there are secrets all over the island. You'll be addicted soon to find them all because it's not something really difficult, and it's really funny. To help, you can take the secrets map (which is also a secret) in the game to know where they are hidden. That's something good because most of the times you'll find that valuable item once you've reached most of the secrets of a concrete area, and with the map you will not spend a lot of time wondering where the hell are the rest of the secrets.

To finish with, besides the main story and the secrets on it, you have a challenge mode where you have to reach a score (in beat 'em up challenges) or achieve concrete goals (the stealth ones). Stealth mode is specially funny, with many different goals to gain the medals. Without any doubt, a extra mode for a perfect game.

The Bad

There are no things that I didn't like of this game. The worst thing of the game is that it's not long, but it's so funny that it looks that it lasts the half. When you're near the end you'll start to pray for more.

To find fault with the game, most of the big enemies need the use of the batarang to defeat them. Only the battle with Joker and the one with Poison Ivy are different about that.

The big problem of a game like this is the fact that the shadow of the game is going to be really long, and to repeat its success something really hard.

The Bottom Line

Arkham Aylum is one of the best games made in a long time, not just the best superhero game, I'm talking in general terms. You'll feel like you're the dark knight, knowing all the things that you're going to do in each moment making possible incredible strategies for a game that combines stealth with beat 'em up.

Fear the dark knight.