Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

Hello everybody. Welcome to another one of my many video game reviews, today we will be looking at arguably one of the best comic book hero video games to hit the current generation consoles.

Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Story
Arkham Asylum's story can be seen as a special episode of Batman The Animated Series, but is much more serious and dark with then you would see in an episode of Batman or a Christopher Nolan film.

Batman takes Joker into Arkham after stopping the Joker from killing the mayor of Gotham. Batman's suspicious as it seems it was too easy to stop him. Joker breaks out to reveal that he has taken over Arkham Asylum. Joker, with the help of Harley Quinn begins to release the prisoners of the Asylum and run a riot.

This is only part of the big plan, Joker is hunting for a serum in the Asylum and if Joker wants the serum, it's bad news. This night turns into the worst night of Batman's life and this could mean the end of Batman or The Joker.

Presentation
Arkham Asylum looks fantastic. It has a very dark gothic yet modern technology style, you're exploring the Batman universe and how discovering just how dark the Asylum really is.

PC, PS3 and 360 owners who pick this game up will be please by the sight of Batman walking through the Asylum whilst beating up baddies with nothing but your bare fists.

This game is 4 years old and still looks amazing.

Gameplay
Arkham Asylum's combat is the bread and butter of the entire game. You will love the combat, it plays smoothly and although is a rinse and repeat combat style it never gets stale and is always loads of fun, trying to increasing your combo using Batman's combat moves and gadgets to create a bigger Free-Flow combo.

The combat style is known as Free-Flow, you're not locked on or stuck in the combat situation and can freely move around the area without being forced to face the enemies. You will have to defeat the enemies to proceed to the next area but being able to get into a comfortable position and begin your attack is very satisfying. It's not completely smooth as at times a miss press of the attack, stun or counter button will stop Batman in his tracks only hitting air and will result in your combo being lost.

Enemies will not always display the fact that they've been taken out. This could result in player confusion and Batman hitting air, there is a learning curve to the combat, timing and attention to detail is greatly needed in order to master the combat. Once you master the combat you will easily take on some of the toughest goons without taking a single hit from the enemy.

Batman will earn experience points based on how high your combo reaches after defeating every enemy and you gain bonus experience on how many gadget variations you used.

When you're not in combat you can roam through the halls of Arkham looking for The Riddler's trophies he's left around the Asylum, find interview tapes of the Super Villians of the Batman universe as well as solving riddles based around characters of the Batman universe while also unlocking character trophies of Batman's vehicles and the infamous villains, die hard Batman fans know about.

You discover more about the villains and you may even learn about new characters you had no idea existed.

Aside from the fist in your face combat there is also a stealth play style of the game or the Predator combat. You must lurk in the shadows like Batman himself to take down the heavily armed baddies by using the Gargoyles or vantage points in the room to observe the situation and plan out your attack.

Combined with the free-flow combat and stealth gameplay, you really feel like you are playing as Batman.

If you want to take a break from the main story there is also combat and stealth challenges to complete in order to unlock medals and new maps for bigger and tougher challenges, the challenge modes could be used as good practice, sharpening your timing and attention to detail knowing whether or not the goon is really down and out or just down.

The Verdict
Batman Arkham Asylum was the first game based of a comic book hero that brought the comic book game back to life in the modern era of gaming. True, there has been comic book hero games from the early days of gaming such as the NES and SNES Batman games, but other super hero games would result into a boring mess of a game, the biggest example would be Superman 64 for the Nintendo 64.

If you're a fan of Batman and want to play a REALLY good Batman game, set your sights on Batman Arkham Asylum.

The free-flow combat, although repetitive never gets boring and the stealth portions of the game will really immerse you into the situation making you feel like you are actually Batman, sneaking through the area taking every goon one by one.

Combined with the large amount of Riddler Challenges and character trophies to unlock you have a big game packed with loads of goodies to play over and over and over again. It's also a good game to play during Halloween.

Batman:Arkham Asylum gets a solid 9 out of 10

Stay tuned for my review of Batman Returns for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and for those of you COD players, stay tuned for my weapon guide on the SWAT-556 assault rifle.

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