Batman Arkham Asylum Review

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Game reviews
Tags: , ,

Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and I am here to give you a review.

I love super heroes. To me super heroes are idols that we can look up to not only because we like their super powers but because of the types of characters they are which made us all want to be just like them. So to honour who is probably my favourite super hero of all time (and to celebrate the release of a certain game) I am going to review ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.

Unknown

I was first introduced to Batman when I was a kid through the Adam West television show. I used to dress up in an awesome costume of him too. It was after I watched the 1989 Batman movie that Tim Burton made that I went off him. Now bear in mind I was a squeamish scaredy-cat when I was little. It wasn’t until I played ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ in 2011 that I finally got back into Batman. ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ was developed by ‘Rocksteady Studios’ under the supervision of ‘Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’. I have never played any other ‘Batman’ games before this game but I have heard that most of them weren’t any good. So does this game that began the most successful super hero video game franchise of all time still hold up today? Let us find the answer.

Story

The story of the game isn’t tied in to any other media in the Batman Universe. Batman managed to capture his most notorious villain ever (and my personal favourite Batman villain), The Joker after he tried to attack the mayor of Gotham City. Batman then takes Joker back to Arkham Asylum where he can be rehabilitated. Batman senses that something isn’t right and goes along to see that Joker is properly secured this time. Shortly after, Joker manages to break free from custody and manages to take over the Asylum not only because his sweetheart Harley Quin hacked into the security systems but also because swarms of his goons where moved there from Blackgate Prison because it was destroyed by a fire. Now it is up to Batman to stop Joker’s plan and restore order to Arkham Asylum.

images

I’m not going to spoil the rest of the story for you because I want you to go out and spend your money to support the people who made this game, but I will give my opinion. I think that the story is pretty good. It manages to keep you engaged with what is going on, it has a good premise and it is a great way to introduce newcomers to the Batman universe.

Gameplay

‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ is a 3D action-adventure game. You use the left analogue stick to move Batman around while the right analogue controls the camera angle. You hold the ‘X’ button to make Batman run which instantly has me playing the 1960s Batman theme in my head. Holding the L1 button and using the D-Pad allows Batman to choose one of his gadgets to use. The R1 button allows Batman to use the gadget he has selected as well as use the grapple hook to get to a higher point. The L2 button allows Batman to use his new detective mode, which allows him to investigate his surroundings to solve crime scenes, hidden secrets, secret passageways and follow trails such as blood or traces of alcohol in someone’s breath (That is not a joke). The start button takes you to the menu and the select button allows you to check the map of the area you are in as well as allowing you to do a couple of other things which I will get into later. The HUD contains your health bar well as how many experience points you have earned.

Throughout the game you will be exploring different sections of Arkham Island as well as the Medical Facility, Botanical Gardens, the Penitentiary, the Arkham Mansion and the Intensive Treatment Centre. All of which will be crawling with bad guys which you must defeat in order to progress. During combat sections when Batman has to use his martial art skills to beat up thugs the square button to strike, the triangle button to counter thug attacks and the circle button to use your cape to stun enemies. The left analogue stick controls the flow of your combinations. There are also some attacks that require button combinations that can take down thugs a lot easier.

images-1

Aside from battling thugs fist to fist, there will be times where Batman will have to use his stealth tactics to take out thugs armed with guns. The best way to deal with them is to silently pick them off one by one either by silently taking them down or being even more creative with your knockouts such as using exploding gel when they are right next to a breakable wall or using an inverted takedown from a gargoyle. Don’t get caught though or you will be barraged by machine gun fire. The only way to escape is to swing from gargoyle to gargoyle or find a quiet spot and wait for them to lose you. Swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle is the more successful route.

images-2

Batman is famous for using a wide range of gadgets for both combat and field progression. The gadgets include the batarangs, the explosive gel which breaks down weak walls, the batclaw which can pull down hard to reach ventilation shafts, the line launcher which can help you cross vertical distances, the cryptographic sequencer which allows him to open security gates and an upgraded batclaw that can pull down breakable walls that are too out of reach for putting explosive gel on it.

images-3

Along the way, you will earn experience points from beating up thugs and completing certain tasks. If you earn enough experience points, you will level up and you can spend the experience points on upgrades to your gadgets, extend your health meter and learn some new combo techniques to take thugs down faster.

images-7

Not long after the start of the game, Batman’s most intelligent enemy, The Riddler, will hack into your communication systems and offer you all kinds of challenges and riddles to complete. These can range from finding green question mark shaped trophies, solving a practical riddle by scanning it with your detective mode or destroying chattering Joker teeth toys. You can also score character biographies and interview tapes of most of the characters in the Batman universe. This isn’t tied in to the main story in any way but it does earn you more experience points and listening to the Riddler getting more and more irritated as you solve them is pretty entertaining.

images-6

Since we are in Arkham Asylum, this is a great excuse to bring in more of Batman’s famous gallery of rogues to encounter. We get to fight Zzasz, Bane, Killer Croc, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy while we are our way to stop the Joker. That sounds awesome but the boss fights themselves are actually not that good. The boss battle with Bane is going to be pretty much every single boss in the entire game and it gets really repetitive really fast. The only villains that are any different are Killer Croc’s lair which always makes me tense and Scarecrow’s encounters where he uses fear toxins on you and you have to complete platforming challenges without getting spotted by him are the best boss encounters in the game. But besides those two, the bosses are pretty much the same. One super villain occasionally attacks you and a whole gang of thugs doing most of the work for them.

images-4

After you have beaten the story, there is a challenge mode that you can go for where you can either take on the combat challenges to rank up your combos and compare your high scores online or you can take on the stealth challenges and take out all of the thugs under a time limit.

There was also DLC for the Playstation 3 version of the game where players can download the Joker challenge maps where you can actually play as the Joker beating up security guards. Unfortunately you cannot purchase this downloadable content anymore unless you have the ‘Game of the Year’ edition. Believe me, I tried to download it a few times but I never got it which sucks.

images

Graphics

The graphics in this game really make you feel like you are venturing through a dark and dank environment which I think really works for a game about Batman. The character models are structured really nicely too. However there are times where the characters look like they are made out of clay and that can get kind of distracting.

The high-quality cutscenes are great but the in-game animations with the character models contain very stiff facial animations.

Music

The soundtrack for this game is very atmospheric. They aren’t catchy but I think it really does work in this situation and there are some tracks that I really do enjoy such as the theme that plays during stealth sections and Scarecrow’s level theme.

The voice acting in this game is one of the greatest highlights. ‘Rocksteady Studios’ managed to get a couple of the original voice actors back from one of my all-time favourite television shows ‘Batman The Animated Series.’ Kevin Conroy is back as Batman and Mark Hamill once again does a delicious Joker performance. It is obvious that they have both aged a bit since their days in the Animated series but they are still really great performances.

Control

The control for this game is great. The smooth and fast control of the combat sections combined with the controls used in stealth sections really make me feel like I’m controlling Batman. There are times when the control isn’t as flowing as I want it to be but it is a minor complaint and it doesn’t happen often.

Final Thoughts

Overall I feel that ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ is still a really great game. The combat and stealth sections are fun, the gadgets are great and I feel that the game does a really good job of introducing newbies to the Batman universe. The game isn’t too long or too short in terms of length. It should only take you about eight hours to beat it if you don’t want to go for the Riddler challenges. My only real issue with the game are the boss battles because of how repetitive and boring they are. But with a good story, great controls as well as a good amount of replayability, ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ is still a fun game to play (even if the sequels do a much better job).

Final rating: 9/10

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s