Review by intrazone26

Reviewed: 08/28/09

For the First Time in His Career in Gaming, the Dark Knight is in Capable Hands

After playing a few of the ps2 Batman games, I, like many others, was very disappointed. They had reduced Batman to a generic action brawler in a game that required little thought of strategy and lacked any kind of puzzles.

As a Batman fan, this was atrocious. The caped crusader is supposed to use his head as much as, if not more than, his fists. Rocksteady puts into our grubby little hands a game that will blow away not only Batman fans, but any fan of action games.

Sound/Music: 10/10
Simply incredible. Many of the cast from Batman: The Animated Series (from the 90's) have returned to voice their respective characters. You have Mark Hamill as the Joker, Kevin Conroy as Batman and many other recognizable voices.

This makes it feel like you are playing through an episode of the series. But make no mistake, this is not a Batman for kids.There is quite a bit of cursing for a game with a T rating, but there are lines they don't cross. The voice acting itself is spot on, with the exception of a few random guards.

The music is incredible, it sounds like music in a batman game should sound. A few themes seem to be inspired by the movies, and each one helps draw you more into the game.

Graphics: 9/10
Simply amazing. The environment of Arkham Asylum looks quite beautiful and really draws you in. There is great attention to detail in everything from plants to prison cells.

As you look for the many riddles scattered throughout the game, you will appreciate all the little things they put in the game. Some people have said the ps3 version has worse graphics, but I can't speak for that as this is a review of the 360 version.

Anyway, you won't be disappointed in the graphics in this game as they live up to the standard set by games like call of duty and dead space.

Story: 9/10
With a script written by Paul Dini, who wrote the animated series and is still writing Batman Detective Comics, you can't go wrong. The plot is based very loosely on the Arkham Asylum miniseries written by Grant Morrison. While some plot points are taken from that miniseries, the story is very much its own thing.

The story begins with the Joker, having been captured once more by Batman, being dragged back to his cell in Arkham Asylum. You walk through parts of the asylum until something goes wrong.

Joker escapes custody and his goons flood the island, taking over. Joined by his..."girlfriend" I guess...Harley Quinn, Joker assumes the title of warden and plans to bring mayhem to Gotham.

So, with many inmates free from their cells and many more goons freed from Blackgate prison, its all up to Batman to stop the Joker's "Dark Reign". All in all, an enjoyable story and well worth playing through.

However, if you are no fan of Batman, don't let that stop you from playing this excellent game as we come to the best part...

Gameplay: 10/10
Ah, yes, the only part of a game that should really matter is the gameplay. Well, this game has the most addicting, amazing, astonishing, and animated gameplay of any game out this year thus far.

Basically, the game takes elements from things like: Zelda, Metal Gear, Metroid Prime and Dead Space. It takes all these different types of games, throws them in a blender, and what comes out is one amazing experience.

The game will have you not only fighting up to 16 thugs at once, but will throw interesting intellectual challenges at you as well. The Detective Mode is what lets you see different hidden things like fingerprints, vents to sneak through, walls that can be destroyed and riddler puzzles.

Other than your basic hand to hand combat, there are times when you will have to use stealth. You can jump around on gargoyle statues near the ceiling to get the drop on guards. Or you can make your way through a maze of vents to sneak behind a joker goon and silently take them out from behind.

What makes this game great for completionists are the riddler challenges. Each room has a riddle to solve, which means you have to scan the answer to the riddle in detective mode. There are also chronicles of arkham to discover, which are diary entries of the asylum's founder, Amadeus Arkham.

All in all, the gameplay is simply astonishing. The only real complaint that can be made is that the game is too short.

Overall: 10/10

When I started this review, I really didn't want to give this game a ten. But for me at least, that is the score it deserves. No other game this gen has forced me to like it so much. I wanted to savor the gameplay, but ended up beating it in three days. I wanted to write it off as another action game, but it wouldn't let me do that.

This game will take your expectations, throw them back in your face and demand to be treated with respect.

Hopefully, we can expect a sequel from Rocksteady, a company that, with this game has made a name for itself. Also, maybe this game will set a new standard for the superhero genre of games. Only time will tell.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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

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