Batman: Arkham Asylum - GOTY EditionDeveloper
: Rocksteady StudiosPublisher
: Warner Bros. Interactive EntertainmentIntroduction
Batman. One of the world's most popular superheroes. The Dark Knight first made his appearance in 1939, in Detective Comics #27
. Since then he has appeared in countless other comics, several films, several animated series, and a nice handful of video games. Arkham Asylum is the first of the 4 currently available mainstream Batman video game titles. For a long time most gamers considered movie tie-in or superhero games to be....well, sub-par and not very impressive or satisfying. Just look at Superman 64. Wait....don't. Let's take a look at Batman and see how he fares.Gameplay
The Joker has hatched yet another plan; a plan to bring Batman to Arkham to have him face all the criminals he’s put away there. Yes, the inmates are running the asylum, and Batman aficionados are going to get a full dose of Jim Gordon, Oracle, The Riddler, Bane, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Victor Zsasz, Poison Ivy, The Joker, and others. Themed similarly to the graphic novel of the same title, it is nonetheless a completely original adventure as Batman fights his way from one side of Arkham Island to the other rescuing Gordon and guards, doctors and nurses and others, while putting a stop to The Joker’s nefarious scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum does one thing extremely well: It puts you in the shoes of the Dark Knight. It makes you feel like you ARE Batman. You have all of the signature gadgets available to you (not all at the start, of course) and using them to solve puzzles and beat down baddies is a complete joy. The combat system that started in this game has since been emulated many times by other game franchises (Shadow of Mordor, as an example), but none of those are anywhere near as good as the Batman titles. I can only describe combat in this game with one single word: fluid. Batman’s motions are fluid, continuous, and definitely not a set of disconnected moves. He looks like a martial artist (as he should), not the sort of jerky puppet that so often happens in these games. The way Batman moves across the screen, punching and kicking foes in a storm of punishment is simply breathtaking. You have a lot of different combos and actions you can take, depending on your unlocked upgrades which are bought using EXP you earn for doing nearly everything. Enemies have a symbol that appears over their heads when they are abotu to attack, in reaction to this you can hit a button to instantly counter that attack and keep going. There are several types of enemies, each you have to approach and deal with using different tactics. Enemies carrying riot shield will shrug off your punches, while enemies with knives will slice you up if dealt with head-on.
As said before, Batman has all his gadgets available to him throughout the course of the game. His batclaw (grappling hook), Batarangs, smoke bombs/pellets, explosive gel, and even a decrypter. Most of these gadgets can interact with the environment, and you will be using them in this manner very frequently...which further adds to the feeling of you being in the Dark Knight's shoes. Most of the gadgets can also be used in combat to disorient or stun foes. My only complaint is that every encounter is a picnic. You can easily take down 10-12 foes in a small, confined space without any of them laying a finger on you.Graphics
This game is simply stunning, graphics-wise. Even today it still stands up next to newer games being released. The amount of detail that went into just about everything you see on screen is amazingly sharp, very well-rendered, and crisp. Arkham isn’t just dreary, but classic gothic horror dreary. Batman glides with the ease of an athlete, with his the cape swaying with his paces. You can see characters breathing, which is always a nice touch in my opinion. As the game progresses, Batman's suit actually begins to look more and more beatup/tattered after so many battles. Every character, whether hero, villian, or supporting role, has a very defined look. The best one by far is the Joker, and why not? He is literally the star of this game.Sound and Music
One of the best things about Arkham Asylum (and most of the subsequent titles) is that almost every character is voiced by their Batman: The Animated Series voice actors. This means that Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker!) is reprising his role as the Joker, and my god does he nail it! I cannot picture anyone else ever voicing the part of the Joker as well as Mark Hamill does. Batman is voiced by Kevin Conroy, who has played this role/voice since 1993, in nearly every animated feature and video game with Batman in it thereafter. This includes the Justice League and Batman: The Animated Series. Their inclusion makes this game feel authentic, and lends to it a nice atmosphere.
The accompanying music to every scene in this game is very dark and fitting. You definitely feel like you are in Batman's world. It's the usual dramatic Batman fare, which sets the tone of each area and encounter. Performance
Initially, the game ran beautifully. Not a problem whatsoever. But the longer I played, the more I started noticing a short 0.5 - 1 second stutter that only occured every 20-30 minutes. It did not affect my enjoyment of the game, nor did it hinder me at any point, but it was noticeable. Aside from that small irk....there were no other issues with this game during my 31 logged hours. It ran at a near perfect 59-60 FPS at all times.Final Thoughts
Batman: Arkham Asylum is very nearly the perfect game. This game is as close to 100% as I’ve ever seen. It's damn close to a masterpiece. It's a game everyone should play at least once, especially if you are a fan of the Dark Knight. Your collection would just not be complete without it. Likely an entire generation will go by and never find a better gaming dollar spent. Gameplay Demo
==========https://youtu.be/dM7SeDhNt84Nerd House Verdict
A Must Play
Be sure to check out Nerd House Gaming
for more reviews!