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Hi All ....ive been away for a while, but im back ready to start writing reviews again. ive been steadily working my through games on my 'to do' list - the latestwas batman arkham asylum. I heard from friends that this was a particularly good game and I have to say that they were right.
Firstly the one bad point....as this is an older game I think its 2008 the programming is a little shakey, by this I mean sometimes you can get stuck between a door or a rock and batman cant move, or sometimes you`ll take someone out and you`ll be in a corner and suddenly they will dissapear rather than falling to the ground. But this is one very small bad point in a list of good points.
The good points are that the graphics are very good, even for 2008, the soundtrack is very gothic batman esque and at times of hardship gets the blood pumping...you have got lots of batman characters that we know and love, such as the joker, harli-quin , bane etc and the voice overs, although corny, are fairly acceptable, even for a 30 year old man like myself (all too often these days voice actors have a terribly corny anti hero script and I find it hard to listen too)..also you have all the bat gadgets, the car....briefly, the belt with around 6 contraptions to master and the bat wing...also briefly.
The storyline is fairly well scripted, it does starts to get a bit repitive, beat these guys up, beat that boss , move to the next area etc....but just as it starts to get annoying the game is finished so its OK...also its not the biggest game in the world, but it should provide a fairly decent play time, even for single players like me, all to often games are modelled on their multiplayer capability and not their single player - I hate playing online and so I often get games that are quite short.
best of all is the batman - beat em up control system...this was all revolutionary at the time...but now other games, such as 'mad dogs' have nicked them. This system slows time down so that you can concentrate on beating up the right bad guys and not get flustered....plus its looks cool in slow mo.
Batman has featured in a number of great computer games over the years. Jon Ritman's classic 8-bit game was a great platform/explorer game, whilst Ocean's Batman Movie licence featured some (for the time) jaw-dropping graphics and some pretty good varied gameplay. Arkham Asylum for the PS3 continues that trend of good Batman games.
In fact, it exceeds previous efforts since Batman: Arkham Asylum is the first game that really captures the Dark Knight of the 80s/90s comics. Previous Batman games have tended to be either generic platform/action games which just happen to feature the character or have focussed solely on the combat element. Arkham Asylum, on the other hand, successfully integrates all the different, complex dimensions of the character from master combatant through to ace detective. This is not simply a game where the Batman character has been lazily stuck onto a standard game, it is a title which has been built from the ground up around the character of Batman and the location of Arkham Asylum - home to some of Batman's deadliest enemies.
On the face of there's nothing particularly innovative about the gameplay and it shares a lot of its DNA with games like Tomb Raider. Much of the game is centred on exploring the interior of the Asylum, completing missions in order to progress. Some involve solving simple problems (such as finding a way to clear an area of poisonous gas); others require stealth to outwit and outflank enemies, whilst some sections rely purely on fighting skills. At key points, you will come across more aggressive/stronger foes and these act like "boss fights", requiring you to use your fighting skills and precise timing to bring them down. There's also an excellent Detective Mode which allows you to scan the otherwise bland surrounding area for clues that will help you accomplish your goals which brings in the more cerebral side of Batman's character. True, it's slightly frustrating that you really need to play the whole game with Detective Mode turned on (which gives everything on screen a slightly odd colour and detracts from the graphics) to avoid missing a clue, but at least there's been a strong effort to use the character properly. All the elements of Batman have been integrated somewhere into the game to make the action interesting and varied.
Of course, as with any game it can get a little frustrating if you get stuck on a certain section and have to keep replaying it endlessly. There were a few sections where this happened and repeatedly dying and being returned to the same point was annoying. If you persevere, you always get past these blocks eventually, but it can have you gnawing on your PS3 controller in frustration!
The game really benefits from a having a proper coherent story that really adds to the atmosphere and makes you feel as though you are taking part in a genuine Batman adventure. The tale starts with The Joker taking control of Arkham and releasing its inhabitants. You, as Batman, have to regain control of the building and discover The Joker's motives. Each objective you achieve adds to the overall storyline and so gives a real sense of progression. The narrative is well-constructed and as you move deeper into the game, you find yourself becoming engrossed in events and as determined to take The Joker down as the "real" Batman.
The characters you encounter throughout the game have also been well realised. Many will be instantly familiar to people who don't necessarily read the comics, but Batman fans will also be pleased that some less-well known villains (Victor Zsaz, Amygdala) also put in an appearance. Characters are faithful to their comic counterparts and for the most part well-voiced (particularly Mark Hamill's brilliantly unsettling Joker). Even where characters have been created especially for the game, they feel like they belong and slot effortlessly into Batman's world.
The depressing interiors of Arkham Asylum are well rendered to create a claustrophobic atmosphere, but one which Batman can use to his advantage to outwit the bad guys. Indeed, mastering the use of cover and shadows or using handily placed gargoyles to get an aerial overview of the combat area are crucial skills that you will need to learn early on. As with every other aspect of the game, the environments have been well-integrated so that they are a crucial part of the action, not just a backdrop to it.
There's a lot of long term challenge too. Even in Easy Mode, some sections can be quite challenging and with two other difficulty levels, it will be a while before you've overcome every challenge. There are plenty of sub-objectives or items to uncover along the way (trophies which The Riddler has hidden or secret markings which tell the true history of Arkham Asylum) which add extra depth and result in a title which will keep occupied for many hours of game time. The downside is there's probably not much replay value. Once you have beaten the game and uncovered all its secrets, there's no real pull to go back and do it all again
Controls are often quite complex, but well-implemented. Virtually every button has two or three different functions, depending on context or when pressed in combination with other buttons. This creates a potentially bewildering array of functions, but it never feels awkward. Basic controls (movement and fighting) are easy to access; others are introduced gradually so that you never feel swamped. The game also gives you handy reminders at times as to what you should be pressing when. If all else fails, you can always consult the instruction booklet which has a comprehensive list of all the controls. I have to confess when I first saw the list of controls, I had a bit of a panic attack. In reality, I found them pretty intuitive.
For me, the most frustrating aspect was the Save function. Personally, I prefer games where you can choose when you want to save your progress; Arkham Asylum only lets you do it at pre-determined points. Moreover, it's not always obvious when a save point has been reached (indicated by a small arrow moving in a circular motion). There were a few occasions where I reached a point I assumed was a Save Point and switched off my PS3, only to find when I returned that I have lost some progress and had to replay sections which I had already completed.
Arkham Asylum has been out a while now, so can be picked up pretty cheaply (I got mine for a tenner, second hand). For the hours of gameplay it delivers, this is excellent value for money.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is fun, deep, engrossing and living proof that if developers stop to think about it, they can successfully use a high profile licence AND make a fantastic game at the same time, rather than just producing a cheap, lazy cash-in.
© Copyright SWSt 2011
Batman Arkham Asylum is the critically acclaimed first instalment of Batman on the current generation of consoles and PC. The game surprisingly does not follow the film franchise in anyway and this can only be seen as a positive; giving the usually offering from publishing companies from films. The game is actually more closely related to the cartoon series, as the same actors are used from the cartoon series.
The game itself follows the tradition batman story of good vs evil, Batman vs the Joker. Batman is escorting Joker personally to Arkham Asylum, where the worst of the worst is kept, but the Joker has other ideas. The Joker escapes and all hell breaks loose and as usually it is the job of Batman to take control and restore order.
Throughout the game we are introduced to many of the villains of the Batman universe, the Riddler, Scare crow, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Each with their own unique quirks that we would come to expect.
In terms of the story of the game, it is engaging that makes the gamer want to play the game to the end, as it almost takes a detective element mixed in with the action. As in between the action Batman gets the taunts of Joker that makes you want to find out what he has planned.
In between sections of the main story you almost have mini parts with the story, although while you play for the ten minutes almost take on an alternative reality. The Scare Crow messes with the mind of Batman and it challenges the player to regain the sanity of Batman and return to normality.
Another side mission is that of the Riddler, who sets out puzzles for Batman to search for, some of which can be difficult to find but makes you want to find everything.
Throughout the game you will be given access the various tools Batman needs, starting off the game with the icon Batarans to the grappler that can be used to down walls or enemies.
One criticism that I would make of the game is of the detective mode, this is a mode that changes the view the surrounding area. This means enemies and usable environment becomes obvious to you. The problem is, I found myself wanting to use this mode than the normally view and made the game slightly easier than it needed to be.
In terms of the graphics, it is what everyone has now come to expect now on the current generation of consoles. I got my copy on the PS3, and the graphics are vivid and life like and almost at points as if you are watching a movie. As you progress throughout the game and Batman takes injuries you can see these on the screen, as a cut on his face to a tear in his costume.
This game is a must buy for any game lover and those that love Batman. It stays true to the nature of Batman and his basis. I am very looking forward to the next instalment, Batman Arkham City.
If you love Batman then you will love Arkham Asylum! Absolutely loved this one, although completed the story mode there is so much more play left in this game! There is loads of down loadable content which has meant I have lost myself for many an hour! Set in the mad house Arkham Asylum you are subject to the jokers mad games, as he controls where you are able to go, and who you meet. You come face to face with most of the 'badies' already established in Batman's past, and on certain missions you get to become your very own detective, with 'The Riddler' setting you challenges and riddles to complete as you go along. The missions are complex, and I would say fairly difficult, they at least get you thinking! Some of the missions had me stumped for a fair while and addicted to complete. I was definitely hooked on this and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone who enjoys DC character's or just a brilliant PS game.
We're sorry to say this Batman, but even though you're The World's Greatest Detective, you haven't had a great history in video games. You starred in the rubbish Batman & Robin game, and the abysmal Gotham City Racer, as well as many other games. But one Batman game emerged just over a year ago. It was called Batman: Arkham Asylum. Not everyone was anticipating it because it was a Batman game, but it turned out to be brilliant. Fabulous combat, a great storyline, breathtaking visuals and amazing voice acting. You can't get much better, can you?
First I'll talk about the story. The Joker plans to attack Gotham's Mayor's office but Batman stops him, taking Joker to the sinister Arkham Asylum. Many of Joker's henchmen are already there. As he is taken to his cell by guards, he manages to escape their clutches and runs away, unlocking the cell doors of the henchmen along the way. Batman chases Joker down.
He is guided over speakers by Oracle, who leads him to the Batcave, hoping to find out Joker's plans. He discovers that the Joker is looking for Titan, a chemical which is being made inside the Asylum. If this is injected into someone, they are made much bigger and stronger. But Joker is hosting a 'party' in the Asylun on the same night. Can Batman hope to stop him then?
The gameplay is excellent, mixing combat and stealth with a touch of platforming. First of all, the combat is arguably the best part of the game, despite being very simple. You only need the square button to attack and the triangle button to counter to create a flowing string of moves. There is much more to the combat, of course. You can also use Batarangs to temporarily stun enemies, use explosive gel to blow them up or take them down on the ground. So, the combat is some of the best you'll see in any game.
Stealth is also great. It involves a lot of sneaking around in the dark, grappling onto gargoyles and ambushing henchmen in the shadows. There are plenty of ways you can take out a room full of henchmen. For example:
Method 1: Climb onto the gargoyles, and tie each henchman up to each one, leaving them suspended in the air.
Method 2: Creep along the shadows, taking each opponent out from behind.
Method 3: Spray some explosive gel on the floor and when an enemy walks over it, press the L2 button to blow it up. Do this for every enemy.
Method 4: Use the loud option and take each enemy down on the ground, regardless of whether this will alert attention and have loads of henchmen onto you. Be aware though: your suit isn't very resistant to bullets. That's a warning.
The stealth is also quite unique. Batvision allows you to see through walls. With this on, enemies with guns are shown in red and opponents with no guns are shown in blue. You know that if they have guns, you need to use stealth because otherwise bullets will be coming at you from all directions. This mode can also be used to locate forensic trails. For example, at one point in the game you need to chase down a security guard, who is an alcoholic. Follow his vodka trail to locate him.
To add to the already long 10+ hour length, there are all sorts of secrets hidden around the asylum. First, there are 'riddler trophies' scattered around the asylum. Finding these unlocks new challenge maps and PS Trophies. Also, there are challenges you can complete to get points for new skills.
Challenge maps are in two categories: combat and predator. Combat challenges put you against henchmen across several rounds. Your aim is to knock them all down and try not to get hit. Predator challenges are stealth-based. You are placed in a room with henchmen walking around looking for you. You have to fulfill three challenges you are given without getting spotted. There are leaderboards for these challenges, meaning they can be quite competitive.
Arkham Asylum: amazing. The story isn't as deep as games like Heavy Rain or Half-Life but is still great. The combat is simple but fluent and the stealth sections are brilliant. The visuals are beautiful and looking down at the Asylum from the air is stunning. The voice acting is also good, with Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) voicing the Joker. This is an essential game - get it.
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM (PS3)
God and Satan. Luke and Vader. Liverpool and United. Tango and Cash! All revered rivalries that have become part of popular mainstream consciousness. They all have another thing in common though. When it comes to rivalries, all bow down and worship at the feet of Batman's eternal struggle with maniacal loon The Joker. Since 1939, their battle on the streets of Gotham has become the archetypal conflict of good overcoming ever more diabolical evil. And like all good franchises their rivalry has continuously adapted to accommodate and relate to more modern audiences. From the high camp TV show of the sixties, to the darker take of Year One and The Killing Joke of the eighties, to Christopher Nolan's recent slant on The Dark Knight, one thing remains consistent; the unresolved love/hate, ying and yang relationship of these two titans of popular fiction. This remains the focus of Batman: Arkham Asylum, Bats' most recent foray into the gaming market.
Batman has once again captured Joker and quickly returned him to his regular berth at Arkham Asylum, home to the many loons and psychos (the captured ones at least) of Gotham City. But this time something doesn't feel quite right. Capturing Joker, by Batman's standards, was all too easy and the clown-faced goon seems comfortably at ease with his imminent re-incarceration. Add to that a fire at Blackgate Prison and the inmates, including a number of Joker's regular crew, being shifted temporarily to Arkham, it seems a little more than mere coincidence. Joker's up to something and soon enough the asylum has gone to total shit. The Blackgate prisoners have escaped, raining havoc on the overwhelmed and beleaguered prison guards; super criminals Killer Croc, Victor Zsasz, Harley Quinn and Scarecrow are running amok causing their own brand of deplorable chaos; and Joker has set himself up as the new warden of Arkham Asylum and wants a party. Batman is an invited guess. Joker's got a lot of surprises waiting for him...
The first thing you notice about Arkham Asylum is Rockstedy Studios has captured a particular mood perfectly. The atmosphere doesn't relate to any one previous Batman incarnation but elements from the graphic novels, the cartoon series, Tim Burton's edgy, gothic interpretation and Christian Bale's broody, isolated loner are all perfectly reflected in Arkham's plot, scenery and characterisation. It gives the game its own identity; refreshingly different from the mainstay of Batman's multi-verse, including a unique storyline for the game, yet featuring enough common elements of the Batman mythology to make the fanboys let out just a tiny bit of wee. The bonus is this sense of self gives Arkham Asylum a wonderful visual, cinematic style that certainly makes the most of the PS3s hardware. Lush scenery, marvellous character details (such as Batman's outfit slowly degrading as the evening progresses), and the immaculate voice work from the likes of Kevin Conroy and Luke Skywalke... ahem, Mark Hamill (whose insane take on the Joker will never be bettered), instil a quality that makes you often forget you're just playing a game.
So, style wise Arkham Asylum is particularly dreamy, yet you need not worry on the gameplay front; there's plenty of meat on that bone to satisfy even the most packed-out workhouse of starving orphans. An arcade adventure in the Tombraider/Uncharted mould with a third person perspective resembling Dead Space (behind and a little to the left), the game strikes a precarious balance between beat-em' up, platform jumping, puzzles and stealth as Batman roams the site of the asylum beating up prisoners and putting whatever Joker's got planned on hold. Sure it looks like it may be attempting too much at once with the inclusion of varied gaming devices, but they really do segue into one seamlessly. The key to this is three-fold; a quality control system that even a gibbon would find intuitive, the amount of gadgetry Bat's has at his disposal to takedown, evade and flummox enemies and the use of an ingenious "detective mode".
The control system is simply a case of less is more, particularly where Batman engages with more than one enemy in combat. Rather than go for the now typical button-bashing option of many modern beat em' ups, Rocksteady have instead paired back the fight system to just eleven combat options and have instigated an inspired free-flow combo system that makes combat an absolute joy. It's more about timing your blows, dodging and evading attacks and providing the odd counter to build up a combo bonus. What this makes for is fast and frantic battles typical of Batman's unique ability that is easy to pick up but requires a good dollop of skill. Challenging for sure, yet an absolute joy once you've mastered the system and are capable of laying the smackdown with x40 combos and flawless free-flows!
It's not all about combat though. Some of the toughest and most challenging parts of the game centre on large rooms filled with gun-totting goons that Batman can't get close enough to engage in a little hand-to-hand. Here, the requirement is on stealth and silent takedowns using the array of gadgets Bat's has at hand and the use of "detective mode". Such a mode gives Batman the ability to render the background in a darker shade highlighting the heat signals of enemies beyond walls and ceilings, allowing the player to formulate a plan of attack Predator style. Coupled with Batman using a grapple gun to swing around the scenario high above the heads of enemies, it allows for some interesting takedowns. Favourite of which must be hanging from a gargoyle, waiting for an enemy to pass, before pouncing on them and leaving them strung upside down calling for help. An exploding batarang thrown from the rafters is also good fun, as is using the bat-claw to pull enemies off and over balconies. Again, the difficulty is set just right for these sections. They are not easy, but slowly get to grips with the weaponry and tools in Batman's arsenal and they become a great challenge that is enormously satisfying once completed.
Yet there's still more available to do in the game. Exploration is encouraged throughout the Asylum by The Riddler who has left a series of riddles and clues for Batman to locate and answer; a challenge of brains over brawn. The sections with Scarecrow add an additional dimension to the gameplay as Batman's origin story and psyche are explored in a few sporadic but wonderfully nightmarish sequences. Venturing into Killer Croc's lair is also a highly tense endeavour and again adds an additional layer of gameplay to that already available. And throughout there are some delightful little touches. Joker's constant tannoy announcements and presence on the asylum's monitors to taunt Batman is an absolute delight (made more so because of Hamill). And the little nods to other super-criminals at the Asylum, such as locating Mr Freeze's and Two-Faces' cells is just enough for the fanboys to cream in their jeans.
If there is any criticism of Arkham Asylum it's that the boss battles aren't the challenge you'd expect. Apart from Scarecrow's excellently designed 'world' there's too little differentiation among bosses, and once you've defeated one 'Titan' the familiar Titan style boss that subsequently follows are all too easy to defeat. Indeed, whilst the final battle between Batman and Joker has a sense of fun and grandiose scale, as you'd expect from the Joker's madcap antics, it sadly fails to deliver and plays out like a damp squib. Additionally, over-use of the detective mode does make the game a little too easy (as well as ensuring the player misses out on the great visuals on show). Perhaps it would have been better to limit the use of this device, maintaining the degree of difficulty that exists in other parts of Arkham Asylum's design.
Still, these are minor quibbles. The plot of Arkham Asylum is enough to see the player through to the end and it's a story that good, give it six months, you'll probably want to play through again. In the meantime the free-flow combat and stealth challenge maps available, where you can undertake scenarios from the story mode and post high scores (lordy, a high score table; I haven't seen one of those since the mid-nineties!) and fastest times, are highly rewarding ensuring increased longevity. The 'Extreme' maps are actually as tough as vindalooed mutton; you'll be tearing your hair out for many moons to come but returning for more just because of the trophies available. These bad boys aren't easy to achieve.
In all, Rocksteady have done a marvellous job in producing a game for Batman fans without neglecting gamers, ensuring that for once this is the one time DC have managed to usurp Marvel. It might not make up for Krypto the Wonder Dog, but the visual style of Arkham Asylum, combined with the depth and variation of gameplay means that there's more than enough substance here to match the quality plot and characters. That Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are involved speaks words; this is easily one of the best titles available on the PS3 and makes the wait for Batman: Arkham City infuriating! Get. It. Now!
Overall - Batman and Joker still rule. Batman: Arkham Asylum is an awesome game that will do little to hurt that perception.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is available as a PS3 platinum title for £19.99, but you can get it from Amazon for a few less clams than that, £12.91 to be precise.
And I've obtained the platinum trophy for Arkham Asylum. Who wants to touch me?
© clownfoot, February 2011.
The Batman franchise was reawakened back in 2005 after Christopher Nolan's 'Batman Begins' was released. In comparison to the original four Batman movies, Nolan gave his film a much darker edge, removing the comical elements completely. 'The Dark Knight', released two years later, was even darker still, and the franchise became even more popular. What was seen was a boost in interest everywhere - toys, books, comics, and also video games. Although there was a 'Batman Begins' game, due to the bankruptcy of Pandemic Studios, 'The Dark Knight' game was never released. What we did see however was a Lego game based on the franchise. It didn't follow Nolan's films, but instead used a new story, that was loosely based on the comics. 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' was released in 2009 and Rocksteady Studios too decided to create a new story for their game.
Batman has prevented Joker from attacking the Mayor's office of Gotham City, and personally ensures that he returns to a cell in Arkham Asylum. The game opens with you, Batman, escorting Joker, strapped up, through Arkham Asylum. However, as Joker persistently reminds Batman and the guards, he has some tricks up his sleeve. He manages to escape with the aid of villain Harley Quinn, and Batman now must deal with Joker and his antics once again. However, it's not that straight forward. It seems that the whole situation is part of Joker's plan, and certain factors hinder the simplicity of the mission. There are bombs scattered around Gotham; prisoners from Gotham's Blackgate have been temporarily moved to Arkham due to a fire (many of which are part of Joker's gang), and the chemical known as Titan that is present in Arkham - Joker is after it for his master plan.
Batman must make his way through Arkham Asylum to find Joker. Along the way, you come across various characters - from Arkham security guards to Joker's gang members, and from allies such as Commissioner Gordon to villains such as Bane and Killer Croc. In the game, you must explore the various departments on Arkham Island in order to complete your overall mission. Along the way, you must use stealth, combat, cunning and of course, your gadgets, such as your batarang (the bat shaped disc used to cut things or attack enemies) and your 'detective mode' vision to find clues, and to see where your enemies are, even if they are through a wall.
The plot, as described above, in my opinion, is quite amateurish and typical. This is maybe due to the way in which it is portrayed however, through the cheesy dialogue and unconvincing direction. Another reason would be due to the shadows that Nolan's Batman films create. No video game story is going to live up to those of 'Batman Begins' and 'The Dark Knight', so although Paul Dini (writer) but in a decent effort, it seems quite poor in my opinion, and very 'already been done before'.
The gameplay of 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' is great however. There is a subtle mix of both stealth and hand-to-hand combat (with the help of your gadgets). When using stealth, Batman can grapple from gargoyles that are at high points in rooms, and from these, one has a good vantage point to either glide down silently behind an enemy and take him down, glide straight into enemy whilst kicking him down, or waiting for the enemy to pass underneath you, whilst on a gargoyle, and hang him. In combat (which takes up the majority of the action sequences), you are encouraged by the game to create a 'combo' of hits in order to defeat your enemies, as that way, you receive more points. The amount of enemies at once will range from one to twenty, depending where you are in the game. You also get an array of gadgets to help you move from area to area, or to help you defeat enemies or villains. What I liked about the game was that as you approached a new area, you always had to think of the best way (or the only way, in a lot of cases) to complete your objective. There is a lot of logic involved, which often takes trial and error. However, the freedom and flexibility of these solutions are limited. I really didn't like how the gameplay was completely laid out for you, and that you pretty much had to follow it almost exactly like that. The only variable was how you took out your enemies. But then again, I suppose that's all just part of Joker's plan...
One thing that spoiled the gameplay for me was the camera. I like games in third-person, as they always seem easier to control in comparison to first-person, but the 'over-the-shoulder' view was just plain annoying. Half the time, Batman was getting in the way of your sight! I always found myself manoeuvring the camera so I could see my target, or even just ahead of me, and it became quite frustrating.
I also like my games to have extras, whether that be interesting things that enhance the gameplay on the second or third time round, or nuggets and easter eggs that make the game slightly more fun. What you get in 'Arkham Asylum' is 'Riddler's Challenges'. He has laid out riddles that you must solve, as well as hiding various objects around Arkham Island for you to find. Some of these are interview tapes of various Villains, and some are echoes of Amadeus Arkham, the founder of Arkham Asylum. But that's it. Nothing you receive will improve your gameplay in story mode whatsoever, except for some extra points - the same sort you get from defeating an enemy. You do however unlock challenges, for 'challenge mode', which is accessible outside of story mode. These, I found disappointing. The stealth ones were merely recreations of moments in story mode, with a few uninventive challenges you need to complete, and the combat ones were nothing particularly interesting. And if you complete a challenge, having completed all three objectives, you get nothing back in return. I really felt that some extras to story mode would have sufficed, improving gameplay a second or third time round, like you'd get in 'Resident Evil 4', for instance.
This leads me on to the replayability factor of the game. I felt that if the game had provided extras to enhance multiple story mode gameplay, it would have improved the replayability factor somewhat. The game itself is stupidly short, but due to the 'combos' for combat and the variability of the stealth sequences, there is some replayability to the game - but not much. If you played the game again, you'd pretty much be playing the exact same game. The second time around, you'd be able to string together longer combos in combat, and also complete your stealth sequences better. That is all. I really hate how short the game was, and I feel it should have been at least twice its length. But what I felt the creators were trying to do was make this into a film-like story. The fact that it is all set in one night limits the length, but why does it have to be set all in one night? Just so the sky stays black? That is most likely why. The darkness completes the moody, sinister aura that is set in the game. As you stand on the tallest tower on the island, you look down on the island and see craved lunatics running around, strange spore plants, trashed buildings and fires. Corruption and chaos clearly reigns over the island, and it is an idea that is derived straight from the Nolan films.
Another thing that is very derivative in the game is the music. I shake my head at the fact that the game received an "Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Composition" award, 'original' being a particularly annoying word. Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's 'The Dark Knight' soundtrack is one of my favourite soundtracks to a film, as not only do they write fantastic music, but they evoke such auras that reflect the film very well indeed. The soundtrack to 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' is good, but not that good. Written by Nick Arundel and Ron Fish, it does evoke auras well, but to me it sounds like a recreation of the 'The Dark Knight' soundtrack (and 'Batman Begins' for that matter). There are moments of uniqueness that often sound very good, but mostly, the music in general is a copycat of Zimmer and Newton Howard's work.
Finally, the graphics. This is the first PS3 game that I have played and completed, and I was stunned by the graphics. They are just lightyears ahead of the graphics of the previous generation consoles (PS2, Xbox, Gamecube...), and 'Batman: Arkham Asylum's' graphics are particularly good. On menus and maps, there is also a very artistic feel created, and it works. In general, the graphics are sharp and very detailed, and the visuals are very good too. Looking at the sea that separates Arkham Island from Gotham City from a height however, there was a lack of detail and it didn't look great, but I'm only nitpicking here. Overall, the visuals and graphics are fantastic and enhance the game a lot.
'Batman: Arkham Asylum' was designed to be a work of art. In addition to this, the gameplay is good and other elements are acceptable. But I feel that this game is lacking. I see influences from the likes of 'Manhunt' and the 'Splinter Cell' series, yet the game doesn't quite reach their level. I certainly do not believe it should have received the acclaim that it did, particularly all the awards. I feel that the main reason for them was that this is a 'Batman' game, and is probably the best 'Batman' game you will play (except 'Lego Batman', of course!). That doesn't make it the 'Game of the Year' of 2009. But, clearly a lot of people think so. I am giving you my opinion that this game is good, but it doesn't go beyond that. There are some fantastic elements to the game, but there are also some very poor ones too. I read the only other 3-star review of this before writing my review and their summary was 'rent it, don't buy it'. I think that sums the game up well. You will enjoy it, but it is incredibly short and doesn't have a great replayability factor, and it doesn't have the extras that really bump a game up a notch. 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' doesn't quite live up to the hype.
They know they did well though, because a sequel is on it's way. Look out for 'Batman: Arkham City' in 2011. Or don't, your call...
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publishers: Eidos Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive, Entertainment/DC, Entertainment, Square Enix
Distributors: Time Warner, Square Enix
Writer: Paul Dini
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Genre: Action adventure stealth
Modes: Single player only - Story and Challenge mode
One of the best games I have played on the PS3, I am a big Batman fan so was excited when I heard that they making a Batman game that was rumoured to be good. I downloaded this from the PSN (which is free and a good representation of what the full game is like) and was immediately impressed. The full game is a good 10-12 hours of story that would make a good film itself. The game has a mixture of action and stealth mixed with a little bit of puzzle. The combat system is very fluid and is easy to pull off difficult looking moves. The stealth mode brilliantly emphasises the fact that Batman is not invincible, you have to take out armed men one at a time or get killed. There are also hidden things to find throughout the asylum which will keep you playing after the story is complete. Some of Batman's most famous villains need to be defeated like Poison Ivy and Killer Croc and the encounters with Scarecrow are really freaky (a good kind of freaky tho). The attention to detail that you can see in the asylum is breathtaking and only second to Rapture from Bioshock on the PS3, it really lets you feel like you are there. Even when the story mode is complete there are the challenge rooms which will keep you going for a long time as some of these are hard. One downfall with the game is some of the bosses are a bit of a let down.
I recently bought this game from GAME for £15.00, I was looking for a game with a good storyline, even better graphics, and that will last me for at least a couple of weeks, without breaking the bank.
The storyline entails the Joker being arrested and imprisoned on Arkham Island, but when he manages to escape with the rest of his henchmen who were also imprisoned there, Batman is sent to recapture the Joker and take control of the Island again.
Through the game you take back the Island in stages, but not without the Joker throwing the odd spanner or two in the works to make it more difficult.
There are different stages of difficulty to make the game suitable for all levels of skill and also to prolong the game play. You can also play as the joker, this is a feature only available on the PS3 format of the game.
The only flaw I have found so far, is that it can be difficult to navigate your way round.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys, first hand combat games.
Batman Arkham Asylum is pure and simply an excellent stealth/ action/ adventure game and its not just for those of us that are fans of the superhero genre but for all gamers.
It was very well recieved by critics and gamers alike with reviewers consistenly scoring it in the 90% area and naming it the best game of 2009 and as such only a few months ago, in March 2010, an updated 'Game of the Year' version was released complete with a new 3D version of the game.
For those of us more familiar with the batman character, you will gain even more enjoyment from this game. Arkham Asylum is expertly written by Paul Dini, a veteran Batman comic book writer and has everything you would hope a high quality Batman game would have.
As you play through the game there are dozens of hidden details and characters files for you to discover in between using your trusty batarang to defeat those well known characters such as the joker, poision ivy, scarecrow, bane and more.
A batman game thats good? I no wot your thinking... noway its bound to suck like all the other comic book/movie tie in games. But not arkham asylum. When i heard about this game i wasnt holding out much hope but a as batman fan i bought it anyway and boy was i surprised. First of all this game is true to the batman franchise with bosses and villans everyfan will be familar with from the joker to croc to the scarecrow. The game starts when you catch the joker and take him to arkham where you think your jobs is finished but the joker has other ideas. He breaks loose and as the sayin goes the inmates truly do run the asylm. In the game you encounter lots of batmans old foes as you travel through the many levels and sections of arkham not to mention the truly un-nerving scarecrow sections. Arkham asylum plays mainly like a stealth game as you hide in the shadows and use batmans array of weapons and tools to plan your attack. this game is a must have for any comic book fan or stealth game fan. Its so good infact i bought the new game of the year addition which is in 3D!!!!
Two of my favourite past times are comic books and video games so when i found out about this game i did what any self respecting fan does, prayed that it didn't suck. I'm pleased to say that it doesn't, in fact it is one of my favourite games of all time. The premise is a simple one, Joker has taken over the Asylum and it's up to Batman to stop him. There have been plenty of Batman games in the past but never before has he felt like such a badass! The developers decided to simplify some of the controls but far from dumbing down the experience they let you genuinely feel like Batman can take on anyone. The game is a mix between action and stealth, with a heavy influence placed on the stealth in the later levels. He may be the ultimate super hero but he is still human after all.
Some of the design is just inspirational, the game looks stunning but some of the set pieces are amazing to behold. The biggest stand out is the Scarecrow sections but to give away anymore than that would spoil the game. What also amazed me was the attention to detail, a video game fan will be able to enjoy this game for what it is, a well made great experience. Fans of the comic however will find so much more with hidden references and some not so hidden. If you own a 360 or PS3 you owe it to yourself to give this game a try, comic book fan or not. There must be a reason it's been nominated for so many game of the year awards
Finally a game has been released that is worthy of the Batman name. I managed to pick this up at a bargain price after hearing all of the rave reviews from magazines about it. After a couple of hours play I will admit I would have been more than happy to pay full price for it. This game really is exceptional. I have had this game for around 4 months now and am still enjoying it. Graphically as you would expect from a PS3 title it is top drawer and the story really is as good as you are going to get on a game. Basically the Joker has taken over Arkum Asylum which houses some of Gothams finest criminals. In fact any baddie you can think of is in the game with a few 'goons' thrown in for good measure. On top of this epic story you also have side quests like picking up Riddler Trophy's that are scattered around or destroying joke teeth with your batrang, more fun than it sounds. The best in my opinion though is the Riddler challenges. When you enter certain areas of they asylum text will appear at the top of the screen in green. This text is a riddle set by the Riddler about something in that area and to solve the clue you have to find it. Once you have found it you hold down the L2 button which takes you into analyze mode and the riddle is solved. These little side quests will add hours onto your gaming experience. The combat system is easy to use whilst also rewarding those who choose to master it. I have find you can survive most battles with the goons with simple button bashing but if you take your time and time your counters and combos you are rewarded with brutal takedowns and some really exceptional animations. When it comes to the boss battles then button bashing will get you killed plain and simple. In these encounters you will need to use your brain and work out how to take these characters down. In fairness there are clues on how to do this and if you are killed by them then they often offer up another clue when taunting you.
So all in all this is a top title and one that I would recommend to any PS3 owner. The only word of caution I would offer is that it may be unsuitable for young children. It is by no means the worst game out there but there are some parts which some youngsters might find a bit scary.
In short, this is an excellent game!
The story line is excellent throughout and the movement, gadgets and skills of Batman make sure there is never a dull moment.
You have control of a variety of martial arts moves to take out villains (creating your own amazing hit combos), a number of gadgets which you gradually unlock which both help you through the story and enable you to take out villains in new and entertaining ways. The game makers have kept Batman within the grounds of Arkham to have some realistic limitations to his movement which may dissapoint some people (you don't get to drive the batmobile!), but it is all well interwined with the story and the map is huge anyway. You'll only be dissapointed if you're expecting a Batman meets GTA syle of game.
There are however some limitations to this game, firstly the linear story line (everyone who plays the game will experience the same story line), although as previosly mentioned, it is a good story! There's also a major downside that there is no online gaming, which is suprising as all of the top games recently released have included it in at least a limited format. A third problem with the game for me was you could occasionally get lost within the grounds if you save the game at particular points (eg you save, and then don't reach a new checkpoint, you will return to a previous one and not be sure what you must do next).
Overall these a small problems with a big, great game. This is definately worth buying, even more so now the price has been reduced over time. BUY IT NOW!
BATMAN: Arkham Asylum
This is a good quality comic book action game which provides enough fighting and puzzles to keep you entertained for hours.
The story starts with you as Batman having just captured your arch enemy the Joker and taken him to Arkam Asylum. However all is not what it seems and the Joker has a devious plan instore for our favourite hero. He manages to trap you inside the Asylum it is up to you to find you own means of escape.
The gameplay for this game is mainly undertaken in the third person which I found a bit unusual to start off as I had become use to first person games in recent time but I soon got used to it and the simple fight button configuration. All of the other actions are explained well and relatively simple to master. They are also great fun when you see then in action my particular favorite move is the one with the use of the grappling hook although some of the finishing fight move are particularly impressive. There is an added extra later on in this game where you get to play as the Joker which put a interest twist on the game play.
The cartoon like graphics in this game are not to my particular taste but they are neat and crisp and look good. They do capture the dark mysterious nature of the caped cusader. Batmans cape flows and moves as you move to make it a bit more realistic but it does have an ever so slightly dated feel to it in my opinion.
This is a decent enough beat em up / puzzle game that sales are probably helped by its association with Batman.
I would rate this 7/10
WhiteMarion - KOTEJ
"King of the Entertainment Jungle"