Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

Score: 96 / 100


*Good:* Amazing gameplay, beautiful graphics, tons of gadgets, creepy perfectly done Batman enemies, actually feel like Batman, lots of replay with challenge mode


*Bad:* Some annoying gadget sequences, movement mechanics somewhat fail at trying to drop off ledges


Ever since I was a little kid, I have always wanted to be able to play Batman exactly how I saw him in the movies. The ability to use all of the gadgets, glide through the air with just a cape, and kick bad guy ass in a rich white man with too much money fashion, were just some of the things that I dreamed about doing.

The Backdrop...

Enter Batman: Arkham Asylum. The game is based around Batman, the dark bat-dressing knight, who has filled our movie and television screens with awesome comic book action for decades. While a lot, if not all, of Batman games have focused on emulating a movie, AA (Arkham Asylum) creates its own flavor of the Batman universe. This video game will rest on your Batman tasting palate somewhere between the most badass comic book version of Batman to date and the Batman from the new Bale movies.


The next order of business when talking about a Batman title is, of course, the villains. What Batman anything would be complete without Batman's enemies?! The good news about AA is that most of your favorite baddies are here. While most of the game focuses around the Joker taking over Arkham Asylum, you will see guest appearances from Killer Croc, The Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy just to name a few.

Let's Get Down to Gameplay...

The gameplay is where AA shines through the most. The combat, the puzzles, the exploring, the riddles, detective mode, the storyline and more make AA one of the most diverse and compelling action / adventure titles on the market. Whether you are beating up bad guys, fighting a boss, or just trying to figure out how to access the next room, AA keeps it all fresh.

A specific feature that helps with keeping it fresh is the upgrade system. This will allow you to upgrade your armor, your gadgets, your combo moves, and your detective skills all for the mere price of just playing and exploring the game.


Another specific feature that adds to the overall amazingness of this game is the detective mode. Simply by hitting X on your keyboard, you are taken into a Batman X-ray vision mode that detects bad guys, secrets, and trails through the entire game. My favorite part about the detective mode though is that it costs nothing to use and you can use it whenever you want.

I should also mention that the fighting doesn't get old. If you have seen or played the demo, then you know that it may look like a bunch of button mashing. With the ability to time counters, upgrade combo attacks, and use gadgets while fighting, the button mashing theory is kind of mute.

The Visuals...

Batman: AA is flat out beautiful. Whether you have the graphics maxed or toned down, AA does a fantastic job of capturing the Batman universe and making it look better than real life. Also, little things like your cape and armor ripping throughout the game, cuts appearing on Batman's face, and enemies actually looking mentally crazy all make this title have some of the best graphics I have ever seen on the Unreal engine.


While most of you will play through this game without any real life gadgets, I got the chance to play through using Nvidia's 3D technology and PhysX maxed out. Let me just start by saying that Nvidia has made a product that is going to revolutionize gaming with their 3D vision (once it comes down in price and more gamers get a chance to use it).

Batman: AA is one of the most intense games I have ever played, with the addition of the 3D technology and PhysX. Not only does the 3D vision add incredible, and literal, depth to the game, but the PhysX provides those extra visual elements like smoke that looks and acts like real smoke or paper that actually floats in the wind. I really can't stress enough how awesome this game is with the addition of PhysX and the Nvidia 3D vision. On a side note, Scarecrow was pretty much terrifying in 3D.

The Disappointments....

Though AA is a really solid title, there are a few drawbacks. For one, the Crypto Sequencer is one of the most annoying gadgets I have ever encountered. Spinning the two wheels with A + D and Left Click / Right Click is so clunky I was literally yelling at my computer when trying to crack a security box. While you do get the hang of it later in the game, your first few timed crypto puzzles will drive you up the wall.


Overall...

If you are a Batman fan in the slightest, go get this title now. If you aren't, this game could possibly make you see the holy (dark) light of all that Batman has to offer. With solid action, outstanding graphics, and hours of compelling storyline driven gameplay, Arkham Asylum is the best comic book game I have ever played.

- Tyler (Chiko)

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