Review by WhiteFyrex
"Arkham Asylum: Beat it as Easily as the Villains Escape"
Batman: Arkham Aslyum, the highly anticipated action adventure while fun and addicting falls short of expectations. While upholding all the parameters of a good game, I felt the content to become repetitive and the originality wanes.
The character interactions were amazing, I feel as if I'd inserted a lost episode of Batman TAS in the DVD player and was watching a classic. Mark Hamil was the premier voice in this demonstration of Batman and I simply loved Arleen Sorkin reprise her precise portrayal of the silly yet appealing Harley Quinn. Joker's punch-lines had me chuckling and the acute familiarity of Harley brought a tear to my eye as I reminisced in somber moments of childhood comfort.
While Kevin Conroy delivered that familiar Batman tone, I felt as if there was a lack of passion from the voice of the Dark Knight. The epic understated coexisting necessity for one another between the clown prince and the dark knight didn't surface in this portrayal.
Immediately I found the gameplay to be simple enough to grasp at first whim. There is nothing overly complicating or confusing about Batman's movements. In most situations the combat flows and the simple combo variations creates an addicting edge to the game that leaves you beckoning for a fight.
I enjoyed the sneaking tactics and the many various approaches Arkham Asylum expands upon to enable the player to utilize Batman to take out his foes. Batman is able to perform many tactical maneuvers including: rail side ambushes, air glides to kick enemies , plunging from an overhead ledge and hanging the thug in air, grappling a group of henchmen over a rail, or the classic Batarang to the face, not to mention many more precise Batman attacks.
The negative portions of the controls would be the annoying mistakes in mid-combos, directional mishaps, and grappling hook errors. Sometimes when engaged in a massive brawl, you'll be prompted for certain throws or combos to find it crudely interrupted by an unprompted counter, disrupting the hit count.
Dashing to parry your enemies proves to be frustrating at times, while effective, sometimes you'll dash away from one enemy only to dash right into another enemy whose punch seems to lock on no matter which direction Batman eludes. Another cringing mishap is the grappling hook, Batman will often grapple to the wrong ledge either getting him caught or blown up.
The greatest thing about Arkham Asylum is that it stays true to Batman and the characters. The game has a fun and addicting quality to it and is designed for a range of players. The storyline is typical Batman detective work to deduce the villain's true intentions and remain one step ahead of the game with each move. The game offers a balanced mix of brawling, tactical, and detective work to keep you from putting the controller down. Once the storymode is surpassed there are still riddles to solve, challenges to beat, trophies to earn, and Waynetech upgrades to better prepare Batman's arsenal.
The worst thing about this game is that it is terribly short. I found the final battle to be tremendously simple and unoriginal. (Swarms of henchmen surround you, beat them down then go after the boss, hit the boss once then fight more henchmen and repeat until the boss is beaten.) *Yawn*
One may notice that the game is repetitive from the overuse of the Batarang and how it is practically the only emphasized tool to defeat the bosses: Bane, Poison Ivy, and the Mutant Titans. Yet on the contradictory the Batarang can be parried by a lowly henchman, there is no way to knock weapons loose from the enemy's grasp yet a Batarang to the face of Bane will send him clumsily running into a wall.
Once the storymode has been succeeded, there is minimal desire to start up again as the game offers no reward or variation for a second run through. The only real need to continue playing Arkham Asylum is to redo challenges and take rank on the leaderboards, but even that is 100% repetitive.
Overall Batman Arkham Aslyum is a decent, fun game with massive potential to set the bar for a much better game in the future. I suggest renting it first or waiting until the price drops, otherwise you'll spend 60 dollars for a game that you can beat in 2 days and get 100% trophies within a week.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/08/09
Game Release: Batman: Arkham Asylum (US, 08/25/09)
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