Review by Luke_the_Duke15
"I am the Batman."
When I first heard of this game I did not expect much. I thought, "A Batman game? HA! Doubt it'll be good." I then saw that it was getting good reviews. Great ones even. So I looked into it, and it eventually passed on by and I forgot about it. I then started to look into it again about 9 months after its release. I played the demo, and was blown away. I had high expectations from it now. After a (long) three months later, I got the game. Played throughout it. Blown away. Played through it again; blown away again. Then I (dramatic pause) played through it for a third time in a row. Still an amazing game. So I thought to myself, "Why not go for a fourth time?" In case you haven't caught on right now, it was the middle of Summer, and I have no life. During those... ahem... four playthroughs I never got tired or playing it. It's that good.
Story 8/10: Surprisingly deep. I was not expecting this. What I did expect was Batman to take Joker to Arkham Asylum after capturing him, Joker escaping, and Batman has to find him and kick his ass. The end. OR IS IT? That is a very, very, VERY basic plot synopsis, and it's only the tip of the iceberg. Joker doesn't just try and escape. He planned a conspiracy against Gotham City, and fooled many people to advance it. I won't dive too deep into it, but like I said, the story was surprisingly deep, but it's Batman. You aren't going to have a full-on story that will grip you from minute one. While the story is deep for a Batman game, don't expect a plot twist bigger than Godzilla.
Gameplay 10/10: If you don't agree with me, there's something wrong with you. Everything, ranging from the main story, to the puzzles, to the stealth aspects, the gadgets, the riddles, it's all wonderful. ESPECIALLY the combat. You have your main story, which is a lot of fun. In the main story, you solve puzzles, fight Joker's henchman, scan forensic evidence, track people down, fight classic Batman villians, and you even have to sometimes think about what you're going to do about Joker's henchman when they get their hands on guns because the guns will rip you apart in seconds. The combat is absolutely amazing. It flows very well, and it's easy enough for the casual player to figure out, but hard enough for the hardcore gamer to have trouble mastering it. Batman flows seamlessly from one enemy to the other. There's one button to strike, and one button to counter. That's all you need to know going in. There's more to it, and it gets expanded upon as you progress through the game, and this makes it even better. By getting better combos, and adding variety into the mix when you're fighting you get bonus experience (XP). The XP system in this game is fairly simple. The better you do in combat, the more XP you're rewarded with. The more XP you have, the more frequently you get to level up. When you level up you get to choose what you buy with the XP. You can buy new combat moves, abilities that will allow you to silently take out armed thugs, health upgrades, and new gadgets. It isn't Batman with the little gadgets. As you level up you need more XP to upgrade again, and this keeps on going until you need 5,000 XP to level up. Some of the gadgets are neat, albeit useless. You have the Batarang, the Batclaw, Explosive Gel and others. You can buy upgrades for the Batarang, but these upgrades are treated as entirely new gadgets. Some of them are useless too, like I already said, so you might not use some at all. There are some puzzles, but they won't stump you, and can often be completed in a minute or two. What will stump you is the Riddler's Challenge. There are optional objectives in the game (240 of them to be exact!) and these can get very confusing. These range from riddles, to a collectathon, to a side story even! They'll add on another 5 or 10 hours if your having trouble with them. You get 200 XP for every objective you fulfill, so it's a good way to max out Batman, but beyond that, they don't give you anything beyond the satisfaction that you are the world's greatest detective. There's a Detective Mode that will allow you to see suspicious areas in detail, and this can help with solving some riddles. The bosses are great, and some of them are even pretty hard, but you'll notice a trend with the story that they follow after a while. There is a challenge room of sorts where you can put your combat and predator (stealth) skills to the ultimate test, but I've never done them, and I have no interest.
Graphics 10/10: Wow. Just... wow. They aren't joking around here. These are the best graphics in a game I've ever seen. They are extremely detailed. You see the rips in Batman's outfit, the cracks in the wall, the sweat on Batman's face, and he even starts to grow a beard through the night! No problems here! They can actually draw your attention away from the game! I can't think of anything wrong, and it's amazing how real it looks!
Sound 5/10: I was not impressed. I was actually disappointed. Most of the tunes are forgettable, and don't really impact you much. There are some that sounded decent, but they were still forgettable. Save for boss fights the music is mostly just there to be there. You don't really pay attention to it because it isn't good. It's a minor downfall, and the rest of the game more than makes up for it. The sound effects are... well... their sound effects. What can I say? They sound realistic for the most part.
Length 7/10: I don't factor this, or replayability into the final score, but the game will last you 8-10 hours for the main story, 12-15 if you wish to do all of The Riddler's challenges. I would imagine the challenges would tack on another 3 hours if you wish to be perfect on all of them. I like my action/adventure games at least 20 hours, but it isn't that bad. After all, I did play it 4 times in a row.
Replayability 10/10: This is largely just opinion, and I would imagine others don't agree, but I thought the game had great replayability value. Some of what I think about with this is the overall quality of the gameplay, because I am the kind of person who will play through game again, and again, and again. If you are not that kind of person, there is The Riddler's Challenge, and the challenge room. There is a difficulty setting which can provide a greater challenge in the main story.
Overall I was very surprised with this game. Great story, excellent gameplay, excellent graphics, good length, average music. The sound is the one thing wrong in this game. It's its only downfall, but it is made up by the gameplay alone.
FINAL SCORE 9.5/10 OR 10/10
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/24/10
Game Release: Batman: Arkham Asylum (US, 08/25/09)
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