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Batman: Arkham Asylum - Game of the Year Edition (Xbox 360)

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4 Reviews
  • Has the right idea of what to do with the character
  • Good story for a videogame
  • Stealth options feel undercooked
  • master of none
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    4 Reviews
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      04.10.2014 17:17
      Very helpful
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      Advantages

      • "Good story for a videogame "
      • "Has the right idea of what to do with the character"
      • " music - general atmosphere"
      • Visuals

      Disadvantages

      • "Stealth options feel undercooked"
      • "Combat feels a tad limp"
      • " master of none"
      • "Jack of all trades"

      While entertaining, Arkham Asylum is an ambitious attempt that doesn't totally work for me

      There are few fictional characters that seem to transcend their source material quite like the Batman. Making his debut back in Detective Comics in 1939, Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s Dark Knight has made the leap from the comic book panel to television, movies and videogames more successfully than any of his comic contemporaries short of perhaps Marvel’s Spiderman. The character’s enduring popularity has seen to it that Batman has not only made a plethora of appearances in games, but he has also had more luck than most of his buddies in the Justice League when it comes to the quality of these games.

      This brings us to 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum. Released in the midst of a popularity boom for the character thanks to Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of movies, to say Arkham Asylum was well received would be an understatement. It’s appeal reeled in comic book fans, Nolanite movie enthusiasts and video gamers alike, leading to plaudits from critics and fans. I went into the game with relatively high hopes, Batman isn’t my favourite superhero, but his lack of super-powers is actually the thing that has led to him translating so well to the medium over the years. Batman fights crime using a combination of high-tech gadgets, physical prowess and unparalleled detective skills – offering developers a variety of routes to pursue in their depiction of the character. Where Arkham Asylum really appealed to me is that it also seemed to incorporate the stealthy nature of the character.

      Arkham Asylum Batman escorting his arch nemesis The Joker to Arkham Island – home to the DC Universe’s most infamous home for the criminally insane. Needless to say this transit does not go smoothly, and it doesn’t take long for the Clown Prince of Crime has not only broken free, but taken control of the entire Island. Trapped in a maximum security facility full of his deadliest enemies, Batman must find a way to bring the Joker to justice and restore order in Arkham.

      Played through a Third-Person perspective, Arkham Asylum puts you in control of the Batman, where you must use his combat prowess, equipment – including grappling hooks, Batarangs and explosives , stealth and detective skills to defeat a host of Batman’s most famous foes including Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Bane and Poison Ivy. Arkham Asylum offers one of the most interesting interactive takes on the Dark Knight, with the majority of its predecessors focusing on just one aspect of what makes Batman such an enduring character, with a slew of Beat ‘Em Ups and Platformers comprising most of Batman’s gaming CV. Arkham Asylum on the other hand forces you to use a combination of all of the above; Batman’s hand to hand fighting skills are impressive, but you will need to use more tact when dealing with armed enemies, all the while utilising Batman’s detective skills to solve puzzles to help you on your quest.

      It’s an ambitious take on the character, and while I applaud it for the idea, I am sadly not as impressed by the execution of it. While attempting to convey the skills of the Dark Knight, the game’s developers have instead given us a Batman who is something of a jack of all trades, master of none.

      The game utilises a combat system that is fairly simple to pick up. Attacks are thrown using the X button, with the Y button activating a counter that lets you turn an enemy’s attempt on your life into an attack of your own if timed correctly. The B Button is used to whip your opponents with your cape, which can be used to either stun foes or break their block and the A button is used for jumps and dodges. Pressing the triggers can also throw a Batarang into proceedings to stun foes. The system is easy to pick up, however for me I find it rather lacking. The game places a lot of emphasis on combo attacks, but with only one true attack button these are somewhat lacklustre and more of a distraction to perform while dealing with a group of foes. You will come up against armed enemies who require you to Cape-Stun them or dodge over their heads to attack them, which to me seems like not only a cheap way at attempting to install some diversity in combat, but also a laughably antiquated one you would have expected in a PSOne 3D Beat ‘Em Up. The system isn’t the worst I’ve ever used, everything responds nicely and there are no complaints regarding hit detection or even button layout, but as someone for whom these sections of games are normally the ones I enjoy the most, Arkham Asylum just left me somewhat cold.

      This wouldn’t have been so bad had the game’s deployment of Batman’s stealthy nature worked better. As someone who always enjoyed the Tenchu: Stealth Assassins videogames, the premise of a Batman game where you could swoop down from the shadows and pluck off foes is tremendous. Batman’s stealth attacks are, just like the standard combat, not bad as such, just somewhat undercooked for me. As you sit poised atop a gargoyle and swoop down, stringing up one of the Joker’s goons, it really is fantastic. Sadly 5 minutes later, when you try it again, the command prompt to perform it doesn’t appear. So you press the button anyway. Nothing. This is beyond frustrating. As is a section later in the game, where you are forced to take out a group of armed adversaries in a stealthy manner, where you are given no scope for hiding to pluck these villains off, and I found ducking back into the same vent inbetween attacks the only way to successfully achieve it. This laborious process was not much fun.

      One aspect I did enjoy was the deployment of Batman’s many gadgets. Batarangs, Bat-Claws for grappling, Explosive Gel...all of these and more are all vital to your success in the game, and not just the ‘Special Attacks’ they are often reduced to in Bat-Games. One thing I feel the Jury is out on however, is the game’s much touted ‘Detective Mode’. This mode, activated by the press of a button, allows you to see the World in X-Ray style. This is primarily used for locating enemies, and is especially useful when it comes to trying to perform those stealthy takedowns, however it also highlights all interactive aspects of the game, removing any real notion of detective work. The temptation is there to play through the majority of the game in this view, as it makes proceedings far too simple.

      One thing that simply cannot be faulted with Arkham Asylum is its presentation though. From the use of voice actor’s Keven Conroy, Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin to reprise their respective roles as Batman, The Joker and Harley Quinn from the 1990s Batman: The Animated Series to the dramatic music and superior, gritty, visuals – Arkham Asylum really does look, sound and above all else FEEL the part. The game feels like a cross between that 90’s cartoon, serious enough for more mature enjoyment without overdoing the adult elements, and the comic books, with plenty of nods to some of Batman’s more obscure villains scattered throughout the game’s World (the most admirable thing about this is that they don’t even feel shoehorned in.

      The plot is another of the game’s most endearing traits. ‘The Joker as the main villain, with more of the Rogues Gallery roped in’ may not exactly be re-inventing the wheel, but it is all laid out in a thoroughly pleasing way by comic scribe Paul Dini to ensure it keeps you more than interested in proceedings.
      I seem to have spent the majority of this review citing faults with Arkham Asylum, but it really is far from a bad game. On the contrary, I did enjoy playing through it, I just couldn’t help but feel...underwhelmed. The game is set up so beautifully, the atmosphere, music, graphics and story are so spot on, it’s hard to not be frustrated by the gameplay’s shortcomings. It has sold me on its sequels, because there is definitely the foundation of an incredible experience there, for me it just isn’t all there in Arkham Asylum.

      Fans of Batman have probably already played this to death, uncovered the many nice ‘Riddler Challenges’ along the way, but for any who haven’t I would recommend it, as it is the first time in a while a Batman game has actually FELT like a Batman game. I’d even go as far as saying it is worth a playthrough to gamers in large, as it is a fairly enjoyable romp, but for me it’s far from the classic it is made out to be.

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    • More +
      01.09.2010 17:59
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      The best Batman game ever

      Finally, we have a good Batman game. Batman Arkham Asylum feels like it is straight out of an official comic. Character design is amazing, with the voice acting of Mark Hamel and Kevin Conroy from the animated series. As you'd expect, an all star cast of Batman villains are present on the island. The atmosphere of Arkham is a perfect setting for the stealthy detective to battle the Joker. Most importantly of all it feels like the game is staying true to the source material. This game can get seriously dark at times which is why Arkham island is all the more fitting.

      Combat it super satisfying. Labelled 'freeflow' you can move between enemies with ease. It has a kinetic feel that is great to pull off. Gadgets are prevalent in the game, you'll get hold of explosive bat gel, grappling guns and a variety of batarangs. The difficulty is ramped up over time as you fight a higher number of enemies. Gadgets are introduced sequentially which is an effective way of making you pay attention to each one.

      One of the best aspects of the game is the 'riddler trophys'. Scattered around the island are miniature statues and riddles for you to solve. Batman is a master detective after all. He even has a 'detective mode' which is like an augmented reality, highlighting enemies and points of interest.

      You will struggle to find a better character action game this year.The atmosphere, pace and satisfying combat make this a hard title to put down. With all the riddler trophies and challenges to unlock it also has great depth.

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      16.08.2010 19:29
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      This game is magnificent and not just another movie rip off aimed at churning out more cash,

      Batman dark asylum takes place in you guessed it arkham asylum. For the Batman fans amongst us youll be pleased to see a game with a story that has yet to be made into a film but still has all the classic bad guys from the movie franchise.Within the game youll do battle with the likes of joker,baine,harlequin and poison ivy.

      The Game itself is very well made and the controls and movements are easy to master. The combat system is revolutionary and truly epic. It involves pressing the basic attack buttons which will produce a variety of combos then add in the twist of the reversal button and slow mo kill shots it make a truly enjoyable combat experiance.

      With batman you ofcourse cant overlook the gadgets which there plenty off. As you unlock more gadgets different parts of the open world island of arkham asylum become accessible allowing you to progress further and face new villans.

      I originaly purchased this game with mixed feelings but after a few hours of play i can see why its regarded as one of the best games around.

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      20.05.2010 12:35
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      Probably one of the finest videogames ever created for current gen consoles

      When comic book artist and writer Bob Kane first combined the features of a bat with those of a man I'm sure he had never ultimately envisioned his creation becoming one of the most popular characters in the world, on par with known brands or entities such as Coca Cola and Mickey Mouse ask anyone on the street what links Bruce Wayne with a cape and cowl and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn't mention Batman's name.

      When Rocksteady studios set out to create the ultimate superhero game In Batman: Arkham Asylum not only did they completely embrace the mythic status of the character but they created a masterpiece that won over millions of fans worldwide. In Batman Arkham Asylum the player assumes the role of Batman as he drops off his nemesis The Joker to Arkham Asylum once again. Within Arkham the imprisoned 'super-villains' have set an ambush and an incredible combat gaming experience begins. Bringing such a character to videogames is important to get right, much like it is with film and with that Rocksteady knew they had to bring in someone who was familiar with the characters who could create a credible backstory to the game , penned by Emmy Award-winning Batman writer Paul Dini, co-creator of "Batman: The Animated Series," Batman Arkham Asylum brings the universe of Batman to life in spectacular fashion.

      The Game of the Year Edition comes with several rather unique features that the standard edition doesn't ,Expanding the game-play it comes with all six previously released Downloadable Content Challenge Maps on the disc, Players can do combat against Arkham Asylum's criminals in a range of iconic environments from the game including the infamous Crime Alley and the insane Scarecrow Nightmare. The Game of the Year Edition also offers a play-in-3D option compatible with all standard and high definition TV sets.

      The 3D concept for videogames is one which is just emerging and Batman: Arkham Asylum utilizes TriOviz 3D technology a company who worked to bring Batman: Arkham Asylums visuals an added depth without the loss of impact from the colour and visual integrity of the game, 3D tech works along two lines Polarisation Imagery used by Avatar allows full colour viewing with images projected on screen simultaneously, the other Anaglyph uses two colour layers superimposed on the other, one for each eye. Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition uses the latter form enhancing subtle areas in the games environments giving it a great visual enhancement not previously experienced.

      Added to the fact that the game is as visually impressive as it is smart it's also a well written adventure story and without doubt probably the best licensed game ever created.

      Rocksteady have ticked all the boxes with Arkham, they been careful to stay true to the character and back story that fans of Batman embrace with such passion. "Animated Series" vocal actors Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill, and Arleen Sorkin (Batman, the Joker, and Harley Quinn) bring the game a familiarity that ties everything together, the fact that you're now getting a 3D experience and the new maps with superb game design and characters voiced by their TV persona's is, well, just sublime.

      In terms of game-play most of your time is spent in detective mode searching high and low for clues as you try to track The Joker down. A visual effect in the form of a blue-hued "Detective Mode" directs you through the story and highlights objects of interest, these can be things like fingerprints, security consoles and even the structural compromise in walls and floors. It's true to say that Batman isn't Batman if he didn't have his gadgets, Batman's diverse arsenal of gadgets grows at certain story points and through a basic experience system allows players to purchase upgrades as you get further into the story. Most of the gadgets fit a purpose too so you're not wasting effort to get items to clear certain compounds that need essential kit.

      The stealth-combat against armed criminals and the superb combo fight system that allows you to chain several moves together to defeat several foes is almost balletic in terms of choreographed violence.
      Ultimately though you're reading this review to find out if the Game of The Year Edition is worth purchasing over and above the standard edition, the simple answer to that is yes, without a doubt especially if you haven't yet bought it, winning Bafta's for Best Game and Best Game-play coupled with an incredibly high 92% rating as an average across its reviews not to mention plaudits for Outstanding Character Performance and Outstanding Achievement in Game Design it remains a game that has set an incredible standard for game design.

      Batman Arkham Asylum Game of Year Edition is probably one of the finest examples of video game brilliance to grace modern current gen consoles and is highly recommended.


      Players who like this may also like: Splinter Cell Conviction, Assassins Creed 2

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