Review by yes_boss_man
An Extraordinary Game That Will Revolutionize Fighting Games
This review is spoiler free.
Wow. This game is simply my favorite game I've ever played, and I have both Gears of War, Mass Effect, Bioshock, and Fallout 3, among others. Batman Arkham Asylum is the closest I've ever seen a game to reaching perfection, and if a few minor improvements are made, I could see its sequel as literally being flawless. If you haven't gotten this game yet, don't bother reading this review; JUST GO GET IT!
As I said, this review is spoiler free, so I won't touch on much here. Basically, Batman has brought Joker in to police custody, but is faced with his most difficult challenge ever, as the Joker escapes and introduces anarchy to Arkham Asylum. Along the way, some of Batman's most classic enemies are encountered, and he alone must face hundreds of madmen.
The plot was very captivating, but there were some minor problems. The villains Batman faced weren't introduced as smoothly as I had hoped; it was slightly annoying to see how easily some characters were able to escape their cells, and a little more on how the night was planned would have been nice. Nonetheless, the plot was engaging throughout, and was really brought to life by a grim theme not previously attained in other Batman games.
The graphics in this game were simply gorgeous; Eidos did a marvelous job bringing Arkham Asylum to life. There was a tremendous amount of detail incorporated into the setting, and players will appreciate it. There are various situations where the detail led to a plethora of options regarding how best to take down some of Joker's henchmen. The graphics really promoted the dark mode connotated with a Batman game, and as a hardcore fan, that's something I greatly appreciated.
The sound was also very good, but I found it to be a bit lacking. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammil were terrific once again, and the rest of the cast was very good as well. In terms of the music, it did suit Batman nicely and it was fun to listen to, but it wasn't very varied and didn't play all to often in the game. Considering the beautiful music from Batman Begins and Batman: The Dark Knight, it was a bit of a letdown, but still very solid.
Graphics Score: 10.0
Sound Score: 8.0
The gameplay in this game is literally unmatched; it's incredibly easy to pick up, yet difficult to truly master. At the same time, all players will appreciate the sheer savageness Batman is able to defeat his enemies. The takedowns are especially satisfying, as breaking a goon's arm or throwing him off a height is immensely pleasurable. The counter system is practically flawless, and blends efficiency with flash. The combat system was truly awesome, and has laid the foundations for all future fighting games. Seriously, it's that good.
The stealth mode was also marvelous. Here, Batman would be placed in a large area and forced to take down a handful of armed goons. The game encompassed all that makes Batman great; the fear I was able to catalyze was very impressive, and the variety by which I could take goons down was abundant. Batman's gadgets were added into his arsenal, making stealth all the more enjoyable. It's always a great feeling to get down to facing that one last opponent as he is literally crapping his pants.
The detective mode was also very refreshing, and a great addition to the game. Unfortunately, this aspect of Batman is frequently downplayed in the movies and games, but Eidos was able to bring it back here. The processes Batman went through were very realistic and really made the game come to life; you feel like you're actually the Batman. The only problem I had here was that the mode was very easy; still, it was great playing it.
The replayability in this game was solid; the challenges posed by the Riddler were engaging, though a tad frustrating at times. However, there really isn't much motivation on the player's part to do them all again. The difficulty in the game was another issue; Hard mode really wasn't all that hard, and was still very easy to beat. The challenge mode and downloadable content was good, though I felt playing as the Joker on the PS3 wasn't all that fun, considering he was just a stripped down version of Batman.
Overall, I'd give this game a 9.5/10. It was incredibly fun to play, had an excellent story and looked/sounded simply amazing. Replayability was a bit of an issue, but the refreshing nature of this game made it easily the best game I've ever played. Get this game NOW because there is simply no reason not to. You won't regret it.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Batman: Arkham Asylum (Collector's Edition) (US, 08/25/09)
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