Batman: Arkham Asylum

I’ll start out with a confession, when it comes to comics I am normally a Marvel kinda guy. My older brother was always into DC. Just like how I had a SNES and he had a Megadrive but as well as sneaking into his room to play Altered Beast (why?) I would also sneak in to borrow comics. Specifically Batman comics.

There is a lot to like about Batman and he’s recently been making a bit of a mainstream comeback with two excellent films. So it’s about time we got ourselves a quality game to keep this comeback alive. Well I have some good news Batfans, Batman: Arkham Asylum will soon be in your hands and it’s excellent! BAM! POW!

Many of you will have played the demo by now and although this would have given you an idea of what to expect from the combat and movement in the game, a lot is held back. Playing through the full game I found a good deal of puzzle solving, optional collectables, side missions and a deep combat system that is only hinted at in the demo. As the extensive character profiles make clear, Batman is not just a hard bastard with a thirst for justice and some wonderful toys. He is a master detective and there is plenty of detecting to be done in Arkham when tracking hostages and criminals across the sprawling island.

As a setting, Arkham Island is ideal for a videogame in that it’s a naturally finite area that never leaves the player running into immersion severing invisible walls. Rather than being a simple nuthouse, the whole island is covered with buildings and riddled with tunnels and path ways. The beauty of this game being an original work is that it’s not tied to a previous envisioning of Arkham. You can see that the developers have made an effort to mix the clean, modern and scientific hospital with the gothic architecture of a prison for the insane from a darker past.

As was the case with Bioshock’s Rapture, Arkham Island is the star of this game; it oozes character and atmosphere and begs to be explored. Despite the story being fairly linear in nature you are left to your own devices when travelling from one part of the island to the next. I found myself trying to work out more and more elaborate routes to my destination, looking out for hidden items, gangs and thugs to pound along the way.

I wanted to avoid revealing too much of the story for fear of ruining it for you so excuse me for being vague. Luckily there is a common phrase to sum up what is going on. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. The king of all the crazies, The Joker, has set in motion a plan for chaos. It seems he has been planning this for some time and the final setup is getting himself caught and thrown back into Arkham. This is where we join the fight, tracking and chasing The Joker through Arkham where he always seems to be one step ahead of our hero, assisted by his ever faithful and wonderfully envisioned partner, Harley Quinn. Through every twist and turn Batman follows The Joker’s crazed plan, playing his game. I’d love to tell you about who you will meet along the way but I so enjoyed meeting them that I’d rather leave you to discover them yourself but rest assured, the favourites are all here hidden in Arkham waiting for you. One crazy I will spill the beans on is the ever present Riddler. The Riddler’s presence in the game serves to provide a scavenger hunt side game that covers the entire island. In every area you will be given a clue to an object or location that you must find and scan. This unlocks bonuses and earns you XP to put towards upgrades.







2 responses to “Batman: Arkham Asylum”

  1. Mark avatar

    Sound great Dan, top review. Now I just have to buy it!

  2. MrCuddleswick avatar

    You’ve whetted my appetite without ruining anything Dan. I think I’ll be getting this on release.

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