Review by angleslam99

Reviewed: 09/10/09

"I'm Batman"

Those two words together make this the game an enjoyable experience. This is more than just your average superhero/comic book game, this is more than just a Batman game, this is a Batman simulator.

It's no secret that Batman is one of the most iconic superheroes of all time, second to the most iconic Man of Steel himself, and this game really makes the player actually feel like they are the Caped Crusader himself. Batman is equipped with Detective Vision which gives the player the ability to study and begin putting together a plan (because Batman always has time to plan) before waltzing up to an armed thug with an automatic weapon. Batman isn't stupid, he's still a human underneath the cool gadgets and costume, he can die by gunfire which is why it is important to make use of the Detective Vision whenever possible.

This game truly packs a punch. You are Batman and just the thought of thugs standing in your way is just a laugh because being the truly skilled fighter Batman is, it's just a walk in the park for him. Alongside the creative Freeflow combat, Batman is also equipped with several gadgets ranging from 4 different types of Batarangs, a line launcher and a batclaw, and then some.

Not since Bioshock has a game been so enriched with detail. Eidos and Rocksteady obviously took precious time in developing this game. The environments, detailed even down to the tiniest bush, is definitely a site to see. There is always a constant undertone of something creepy lurking around, this is afterall Arkham Asylum where the criminally insane are committed for life. Aside from the truly amazing visuals, the game is also littered with patient interviews which gives each super-criminal more of a backstory and full developing their characters. Plus you'll have the Riddler taunting you over your headset after completing and solving riddles he's left scattered all over the island.

Now what's Batman without his rogues gallery? Of course the Joker (voiced by the iconic Mark Hamill from the 90s Animated Series), is the main antagonist as he is Batman's arch nemesis. Arkham is also home to some of Batman's most popular criminals such as Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, Killer Croc and Victor Zsasz just to name a few. The biggest point on choosing which villains to incorporate into the game was the fact on how they relate to the story and Joker's grand scheme set for Batman.

This game has a lot going for it. The story mode itself can take anywhere between 8 and 10 hours considering you don't just rush through the game. As I've mentioned before, Mark Hamill is back voicing the Joker, but the Batman universe also welcomes back Kevin Conroy as Batman, Arleen Sorkin as Harley Quinn and the famous writer Paul Dini who pens the entire story for this game. This is as authentic as a comic book game can get. Aside from the story mode, there several challenge maps that can test the players true skills in freeflow combat and silent predatory tactics.

Now comes the time where I have to list the cons of the game as much as it grieves me to do this. The only area where I feel that this game really falls short is the boss battles which is a shame. Starting from Bane, every "Titan Henchmen" is basically a Bane clone so the variety of tactics that can be used to winning is very minimal. The only real "creative" boss battle is Killer Croc (and it isn't even a battle, just a sort of constant tension and a "watch where you step" kinda thing). This also brings me to the final battle between Batman and Joker. I won't get too into this as it contains a major spoiler, but it is a pretty big let down as well. Shame.

In a quick run down -- PROS: Visuals, voice acting, story, combat :: CONS: Boss battles

Batman Arkham Asylum is now the pinnacle of comic book games. Eidos and Rocksteady have given us the 70 year history of Batman condensed into this one game and it doesn't even feel rushed or shoehorned into the plot.

Now since this review is filed under "Collector's Edition" I feel I should comment on the CE of the game. The CE comes with a plastic, mounted, scratched up Batarang which isn't very impressive, but is a cool piece of memorabilia for any Bat-fan. Also included is a doctors journal where it contains information and small notes from Dr. Penny Young on 48 characters from the Batman universe (where some even hint at something bigger, i.e. Freeze escaped). Now if you ordered this from Gamestop you also got the codes for downloading 2 exclusive challenge maps. For the price, it's a bit of a let down, I'd rather suggest you just buy the standard game.

Overall this is a very good game, you can sit down and play for hours and not get tired or bored. This is an experience that every gamer should immerse themselves in whether they are a Batman fan or not. I was completely satisfied with the game and have gotten my money's worth. The only question now is: When does the sequel come out? I know it sounds a bit greedy but the ending of the game really teases the players into wanting more, which I can't blame them.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Batman: Arkham Asylum (Collectors Edition) (US, 08/25/09)

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