Batman: Arkham Asylum Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Batman: Arkham Asylum box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Rocksteady 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Eidos / Warner Bros. 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Aug. 25, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Once you get a little deeper in the game and enemies start changing things up, you have to change the way you approach fighting them. This is an area where the combat system may become a little bothersome. I'm not saying they become insanely difficult, it's just that you'll have to refine your own way of playing to go beyond the mashing.

Batman: Arkham Asylum screenshot

One of the ways this is done is timing your attacks. With your combo count climbing towards eight, you'll gain access to special attacks that will make things easier against certain enemies. These can be upgraded, and then there are a few that you will be able to purchase with your experience points in the game. Trust me; when you go to get ready to do the 40 hit combo, you'll need the upgrades. In addition to the takedowns, upgrades, and purchases, you can also use your experience points to extend Batman's health gauge and to improve various other weapons in the game. Yes, Batman has an assortment of his fabled "toys" for us to play with, each with its own rewarding purpose. You will also be able to strengthen the Batarang as well. Aside from the Batarang, players will be able to play with the Batclaw, explosive gel, a sonar resonator, and the grappling lines.

To me, the best part of the gameplay is the "Invisible Predator" aspect. Striking from the shadows in a stealth manner reminds me of another old dog of war, Solid Snake. Granted, Snake has never hung upside down to take out enemies, but the stealth element is there. You are rewarded for your stealth in a couple of ways. One is when The Joker comes over the intercom system and berates the enemies in a room, or even pays Batman a compliment - well a Joker compliment anyway. The other way you are rewarded is by the animations of the enemies. Say there are six enemies in a room, you start silently taking out each one, by the time you get to the last two, if you have made them aware of their buddies being taken out, they start shooting at random noises and screaming for you to leave them alone. While I could easily say the combat system lets you feel empowered like Batman, it is the "Invisible Predator" moments when you are truly Batman.

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Unfortunately, I do have one small complaint about the "Invisible Predator" aspect. While there are several gargoyles conveniently placed throughout Arkham, this is a concern. I know the enemies may be less than smart, but after awhile they might start looking upwards to those gargoyles. More than once I took out an enemy that was right next to others - did they look up to see me? No. Did they try to survey anything higher than eye level? No. Only after I had dropped down, ran around a little bit, and then sprang back up to the gargoyles did they remember to point upwards. This is more of a minor complaint than a serious one, but it's glaring at times. Thankfully, as you increase difficulty levels, it does level out a little more; not a lot, but a little.

Outside the main story of the game, you have a few challenges to work through, the Challenge Rooms being one of them. Inside these Challenge Rooms you will be in certain parts of the game with a specific objective. Remember that 40 hit combo I mentioned earlier? This is where you will achieve that. In a sense, you'll be replaying certain levels of the game which allows you to experience them again without restarting your save file. Your cleared saved data will just pick up at the end fight. In addition to the Challenge Rooms, there are 240 Riddler challenges you'll be able to explore throughout Arkham. These challenges are great for the Detective Mode of the game. You'll actually have to figure out The Riddler's clues in order to complete the challenge. Plus, finding The Riddler's trophies tucked away can be rewarding as well.

Batman: Arkham Asylum screenshot

Speaking of the Detective aspect of the game, for those that like to play through a game and really explore every nook and cranny, Arkham Asylum delivers in spades. Using top notch technology to do everything from a simple finger print scan to DNA analysis to pheromone tracking, the Detective Mode may seem like a trivial aspect of the game to some, but Rocksteady actually made it one of the most intriguing. It really shows the level of commitment the developers have to capturing and delivering the truest Batman video game experience ever.

I can say with confidence and cannot stress enough, Batman: Arkham Asylum is, without a doubt, the best Batman game ever created. It does more than give you the Batman game you want, it gives you a video game that you could play repeatedly, even if it didn't have the caped and cowled Dark Knight in it. With a massive world to search, an easy to adjust combat system, stealth action, audio logs to find, and challenges galore, Batman has finally come into his own in this medium. There are so many extra things and enjoyable moments in Arkham Asylum for fans and newcomers alike, you'll be glad you are a fan of Batman and video games.

By Matthew Walker
CCC Project Coordinator

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.7
Graphics
Simply amazing; Arkham has never looked better. Batman and his roguish adversaries all impress visually.
4.4
Control
The FreeFlow combat is near perfect with its simplicity and approachable controls.
4.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent score and superb voice acting by the men and women who made the characters come to life in the early nineties.
4.5
Play Value
The combat system alone will keep you coming back to the game! Throw in the various other goodies and you'll find it hard to not want to visit the Asylum repeatedly.
4.6
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Utilize the unique FreeFlow combat system to chain together unlimited combos seamlessly and battle with huge groups of The Joker's henchmen in brutal melee brawls.
  • Investigate as Batman, the world's greatest detective, by solving intricate puzzles with the help of cutting edge forensic tools including x-ray scanning, fingerprint scans, 'Amido Black' spray and a pheromone tracker.
  • Face off against Gotham's greatest villains including The Joker, Harley Quinn, Victor Zsasz, and Killer Croc.
  • Become the Invisible Predator with Batman's fear takedowns and unique vantage point system to move without being seen and hunt enemies.
  • Choose multiple takedown methods, including swooping from the sky and smashing through walls, and use the predator camera get a closer look at the action.
  • Explore every inch of Arkham Asylum and roam freely on the infamous island, presented for the first time ever in its gritty and realistic entirety.
  • Experience what it's like to be Batman using Batarangs, explosive gel aerosol, The Batclaw, sonar resonator, and the line launcher.
  • Unlock more secrets by completing hidden challenges in the world and develop and customize equipment by earning experience points.
  • Move through the environment with the use of Batman's grapnel gun to get to out-of-reach places, and jump from any height to glide in any direction.


  • Screenshots / Images
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