Batman: Arkham Asylum

19 11 2009

I’m annoyed and yet at the same time intrigued by the reviews given by average people. There rarely seems to be any objectivity as they always rate a game a 10 or 0. It either sucked and was the worst game they ever played or it was awesome and was the best game they ever played… until the next game they give a review to. For me to give a 100% to Batman: Arkham Asylum may be based on a bit more subjectivity but the minor nitpicks I could make would blemish what is not only the best game I’ve played this year but earns a spot in the upper echelon of my all time favorite games.

The level of quality and polish in every facet of construction is backed by a variety of gameplay makes for a perfectly paced game from start to finish. Brawling is the first system introduced after a lengthy but thoroughly interesting walk into the Asylum. Combat is extremely responsive making used of grabs, light attacks, and parry moves. Animation quality for fighting is stellar making every fight feel choreographed. Then there is stealth combat which has Batman grappling around the ceiling setting up traps and dropping down on suspecting baddies. Then you have environmental navigation and detective work that make use of Batman’s numerous gadgets. Each of these systems could stand on it’s own which makes for a truly amazing overall package. New mechanics and abilities are slowly introduced all the way to the end to keep things fresh.

Now I would not go so far as to say that Arkham Asylum’s story could standup to The Dark Knight but in the context of the game it succeeds. This is perhaps largely fueled by how well the dialogue integrates into the world and the interesting characters that inhabit it. Joker and Harley Quinn being the most memorable of the cast here backed by superb voice acting. The need for Batman to talk to himself to work the player through certain puzzles was a bit offputting but forgiveable. Patient tapes serve as the “lost recording collectibles” except that I found them to be much more intriguing. Cut scenes are shot and edited well and at a slightly higher level of visual quality then the main game.

I could go on and on about Batman: Arkham Asylum but I don’t think there’s any need to. I mean I haven’t even covered the awesome mind bending levels with Scarecrow or how I actually wanted to collect all of Riddler’s Trophies and complete his puzzles. The visuals and audio come together to create a great atmosphere that falls in between the cartoon version (or so I would assume) and the most recent movies. Gameplay and story come together in a fantastic way that will keep you engaged from start to finish and leave you completely satisfied.

score: 100% | metacritic: 92

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