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SummaryBuilding A Better Batman Game
The GoodFrom Rocksteady, who previously released Urban Chaos: Riot Response, Comes Batman: Arkham Asylum. Batman is of course one of the most popular comic book characters of all time, with some 80 years of history. Yet oddly, most Batman game are just not that good.
And out of those most are based of a movie or the animated series. Of the few that are based directly on the comics, pretty much none are any good. Can Rocksteady turn the tide?
The Man Who Laughs…
In Batman: Arkham Asylum, we find that Batman has just captured the Joker again. He returns the clown prince of crime to the infamous Lovecraftian asylum. After a badass and lengthy intro, The Joker escapes. Now Batman is to be the guest of honor in the madman’s homecoming party.
And The Batman, will be in for a long night. He will also face the likes of: Bane, Killer Croc, and Poison Ivy. Just to name a few.
No prior knowledge of Batman, is required to enjoy the game. But for those who are long-time Batman fans, the game will be an additional treat. As there are many references, that only Batman fans would get. These often revolve around obscure Batman characters that have not been seen in years. Or recent infamous ones, like Hush.(Sorry, to find out more, you will have to play the game.-MM-)
Oh, and did I mention that the game was written by Paul Dini? Who was a writer on the animated series, and has written Batman comics as well?
The World’s Greatest Detective
There are various modes of play in Batman. One you will use often is detective mode. In this mode you can track clues to find your next objective. See which enemies have guns and plan your attack accordingly. See which walls can be destroyed and find hidden paths and items.
The game contains some 240 riddles. Given by none other than The Riddler himself. These involve: finding hidden riddler trophies, to solving riddles, in which you must scan the area, once you think that you have worked it out. By doing these you not only increase your completion percentage, but you can also unlock character bios, some 40 in all, as well as character trophies, these are highly detailed and use the in- game graphics. There are also achievements to be had.
The combat, in off the chain. And looks great, almost like it was choreographed. You can attack, stun, and counter. And when you have to fight 10 or more enemies you can easily take them down, because you are Batman. There are also various “takedowns”. In and out of combat. From stealth, to inverted. Speaking of stealth. It works like this…..
Stealth, is called: “invisible predator” mode. In these set pieces, you have say six armed goons, and it is up to you on how to take them out. One of the most useful and just downright badass ones, includes inverted takedowns. In which Batman, strings foes up with his grapple gun. You can also sneak up behind them, for a silent takedown. Or you can grab them with your grapple-gun and pull them down. There are just tons and tons of ways to do this.
You also get to play with a lot of cool gadgets. Like: batarangs, explosive gel, and a grapple gun, among others.
You basically get to be the reason why they are afraid of the dark. Which is too cool.
The graphics are great, and use the Unreal engine. Believe it or not Arkham Asylum, kind of resembles Bioshock’s Rapture. This game also proves that multi-platform games do not have to take a backseat in the visual department. The lighting is great, as are the rag-doll physics. Batman, and all the inhabitants of Arkham look great, many classic villains sport a new creepy design, like the Scarecrow, and Killer Croc.
The music is great, and fit’s the game perfectly. The sound effects are also very well done. But it the voice actors that steal the show. Reprising their roles from the legendary animated series, are Kevin Conroy as Batman, and Mark “Skywalker” Hamill, as The Joker. And they do a stellar job. And while this game is NOT based on the T.V. series many other actors from the show reprise their roles.
This game was clearly made by people who have a passion for the character, and I hope to see more Batman games from them in the future.
The BadThe Killing Joke
This may seem strange. But I actually wish that the game was longer. I have already finished it twice!
The difficulty selection is unbalanced. Easy is almost no challenge at all. While Medium and Hard, are too difficult. Why is this so common in videogames?
Almost all of the bosses in the game have the exact same strategy, which is disappointing. (To say the least.-MM-) The only boss fight that strays from the norm, is the one with Poison Ivy.