Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC)

Batman: Arkham Asylum is everything you'd want from a Batman video game, giving you the chance to become one of the most popular superheroes of all time.

By RON, Posted 07 Oct 2009

Superhero Batman doesn’t need an intro. A very rich businessman who has made himself into something extraordinary, using his intelligence, detective skills, and with the help of some exceptional gadgets. But, Batman isn't a man with supernatural strength. He can't fire lasers from his eyes and he can't fly or shoot spider webs from his hand. He's a man of flesh and blood, who uses his smarts to find clues at crime scenes, uses gadgets to analyze the environment in ways normal men can't, fights with the skill of the best martial artists, and prowl in the shadows like an invisible man. And, these all had to be part of Arkham Asylum for the game to be a true Batman experience, and it is. No game before has let you step into the shoes of Batman like this.

The game starts with a very exciting and attention-keeping plot and story that was written by the actual Batman author Paul Dini; who is the writer of Batman: The Animated Series. So no wonder the game has some actual plots and stories that make it feel a lot more than a simple single-player third-person game. The story itself will drive you so deep into the game; that you won’t feel like giving it a rest. Let along with the all other extraordinary things you get to do in the game.

Batman Arkham Asylum, PC, Review, Gameplay

The gameplay begins and you are straight into actions. Joker escapes from the Arkham security custody and takes over Iceland by releasing and stirring all the prisoners from the jail. In a matter of one very small mission, the whole area goes under his control. And, the more you walk into the game, you realize that Iceland is not only under his control but also been staged to kill Batman and eventually take over Gotham city. Joker invades the medical facility to gain access to a research facility; which can alter an average thug into a huge hulk sized beast. So, like a Batman, you get straight into business. Finding Joker and rescuing Iceland. Sounds like an easy job for a superhero, isn’t it? Unfortunately, everything goes the other way.

Batman doesn’t use any weapon. His strengths are his hand-to-hand combat expertise, using the right gadget at the right place, and extremely good stealthiness. When you are into any hand-to-hand combat with thugs surrounding you from all the corners, all you need to do is hit the action button and direct Batman’s movement in the proper direction. There are varieties of thugs that will surround you and you will need to use appropriate combos for each type. Thugs carrying a knife will block most of your hits unless you use what’s necessary to take him down. And, you won’t stand too long unless you do it properly. This is what makes the combats system of this game so realistic and exciting. While punching one in front of you; you’ll have to leave back punches to the guy right behind and immediately through the Batarang at the guy nearby; then finish the guy in front and this goes on.

Combats will be getting more and more difficult and tactical as the game progresses and as there will be varieties of thugs to attack you, you'll need to use different tactics on each if you're going to fuel your combo meter and take them down without being hit. Fighting becomes more interesting when you are in the middle of boss fights. You’ll often need to use their strengths against them in some way. And, without being tactical and sharp; it’s indeed too thorny to overcome them. Scarecrow is also worthy of a special mention. Plots with him aren’t in an ordinary situation. You are driven into a "don't get caught by the spotlight" gameplay and time to time fighting with the armed skeleton army while staying under that shadow. Timing is everything when it comes to defeating the Scarecrow.

Before assessing any situation, Batman's main tool is his detective vision. An improved viewing mode that highlights key objects that can be interacted with and the location of the enemies. You’ll be able to locate their positions even if they are on the other side of the wall and identify who is carrying weapons and who isn’t. You’ll also be able to check their heart condition; which I think is an incredible addition to the game. By analyzing the area and thugs guarding it you'll be able to plan your attacks, whether it is a straightforward assault through the front door or a more considered series of stealthy swoops down from the rafters, dispatching foes one at a time. As you carry some extraordinary gadgets with you, the game officers have many ways to conduct your clashes with your enemies. For the most part, stealth is handled well, but from time to time evading enemies can cause a few problems. Batman isn't able to jump at all times, with a single button having different uses depending on the position he's in and this can be annoying from time to time when you are in complex situations.

Batman Arkham Asylum, PC, Review, Gameplay

There are some upgrades to Batman's tactics, his weapons, and gadgets as the game goes on and awards are earned. These upgrades and gadgets are available throughout the game. Batarang is the first you'll get your hands on. It’s good for momentarily knocking down enemies and cutting down objects that are out of reach. Later on, you'll be able to upgrade it to get hold of Sonic Batarang; which sends thugs off searching for them, and multi Batarangs that allow Bats to target numerous enemies at once. Towards the end of the game, you'll have so many gadgets that you won't even use.

The environment design of the game is something that will make you feel contented. Arkham Island is an incredible place to roam around and the characters are highly detailed and responsive. Details like moving fog, sheets of plastic, and broken tiles that slit when something smashes into them. Some of the minor characters such as guards do have some bug eyes goings, but it's not too bad. The sound effects are all very satisfying too. The only part of the sound I would criticize would be the dialog. At times they can be very recurring. But both the graphics and sound are good enough to give you a movie-like feeling. Mark Hamill as The Joker gives his usual incredible in-depth performance. Kevin Conroy as Batman from the Animated Series is also here, bringing the dark knight to life.

You’ll feel dissatisfied once the game ends. Not because you didn’t enjoy playing it but because you can’t have more of the game. Though there will be more to see and do even after the game ends. Tons of collectible items to find that will keep you exploring for ages, with Riddler trophies, inmate interviews, and more. There's also a set of challenges that test your combat and stealth skills, with scores registered on worldwide leaderboards for all to see and compete against. These challenges will take a good amount of time for you to top the leaderboards and if these aren’t enough; Eidos has already released a free add-on pack for you.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is everything you'd want from a Batman video game, giving you the chance to become one of the most popular superheroes of all time and introducing you to all the characters of this series. There are a few niggling issues, but nothing that gets in the way of what is undoubtedly one of the best games of 2009.

Sarwar Ron

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  • i didn't play the game! but the review says it should have & also the rating! wow !

    Posted Oct 08, 2009
  • Great blog Ron. And, I agree with you that this game is one of the best games of this year. In my opinion it deserves a 5/5.

    Posted Oct 08, 2009
  • Great review Ron :) This game deserves every cent spent for it :D

    Posted Oct 08, 2009
  • Nice review, sounds like I need to pick this game up.

    Posted Oct 08, 2009
  • Very nice review.

    Posted Dec 18, 2009

  • Great review @Ron. I have played the game, and have enjoyed it immensely, not only because I am a Batman, and comic heroes fan, but also since the game truly is amazing. Mark Hamill really does a super job as the Joker.

    Posted Feb 08, 2010
  • avatar RON

    @warrant : Thanks. I wanted to write more on this game as I really enjoyed playing it. But didn't want to irritate the readers. lol. BAA2 is on its way. Can't really wait to play it. Been a Batman fan from my childhood. I suppose you recall my facebook profile picture very well ;)

    Posted Feb 11, 2010

  • @RON Cannot wait as well. :)


    And yes, I do. I think our facebook conversation is the longest ever! :P

    Posted Feb 11, 2010


General Information

Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Eidos Interactive
Developer(s): Rocksteady Studios
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Fantasy
Release Date: 2009-08-25

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