Author Topic: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum  (Read 4723 times)

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Offline setrataeso

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[Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« on: September 19, 2009, 09:07:28 PM »
Name: Batman: Arkham Asylum
Publisher: Eidos Interactive, Warner Brothers Entertainment
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Genre: 3rd-Person Action-adventure, stealth, beat-em-up

2009 seems to be turning out to be an interesting year in gaming. There were many predictions made at the beginning of the year about which console would win this year, and about which games will cause the most stir. Who would have foreseen the success the superhero game has had in 2009. Early on, we had Watchmen games, followed by X-Men: Origins. The summer saw inFamous, Prototype and GI Joe video games. Not to mention the recent Champions Online release and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. Yet somehow, in the middle of all these great and highly anticipated superhero games, one managed to stand out as a contender for game of the year all these months. I, of course, am referring to the new game featuring the caped crusader himself, Batman: Arkham Asylum. Does the game indeed compete with the already well-represented superhero games? Read on...

Batman is no stranger to the video game world. Dating as far back as 1986, Batman has appeared in games of all sorts on many different platforms. Batman has only seen one other release on current-gen systems, which is Lego Batman (also published by Warner Bros). Eidos is the publisher of Arkham Asylum, and is familiar name to anyone remotely connected to gaming. Publisher of the Tomb Raider, Kane and Lynch, and Hitman games Eidos has enlisted relatively unknown developer Rocksteady to develop the game. Rocksteady also developed the moderately well-received last-gen shooter Urban Chaos: Riot Response. But enough history, lets get into the game.

Batman: Arkham Asylum takes place in the infamous Gotham prison. Batman has just returned from rounding up The Joker and leading him to his cell when The Joker springs a trap and the game begins. In this trap, Joker sets loose many of the series' most notorious criminals and its up to Batman to round them up. Without spoiling what happens, you deal with villains such as Harley Quinn, Bane, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy. Along the way, you will learn much about the backstories of many characters through data files and such. The Riddler also plays an important part, but we'll get to that in a moment.

The gameplay is a mix of many things. The bulk of the gameplay takes place in 3rd-person viewpoint and alternates between solving puzzles, stealthing around, and beating baddies up. All of it feels very balanced and well put-together. The puzzles are all interesting and varied, the stealth is easy to control and doesn't feel like an artificially lengthened portion of gameplay, and the combat is terrific. Lets take it piece by piece.

The puzzle-solving areas don't play as much into the core gameplay as the stealth or combat does. It mostly takes the role of side-quests which will be useful for experience. The Riddler notifies you early in the game that there are riddles hidden all over the island that you must seek out. They can come in the form of trophies, audiotapes, or actual riddles that must be solved. The neat thing about the riddles is that they contain references to other Batman characters, so even if your favourite villain isn't in the main part of the game, you at least get to solve a riddle modeled after them. Seeking these out is very addictive, and the collection screen is easy to read and keeps track of all of your progress.

The stealth is a very cool section of the game. Unlike a Superman or Spiderman game, Batman does not belong in open cities. A good game with him in it will limit the gameplay to interior areas with corridors and the like. Arkham Asylum melds these decisions well with the stealthy portion of gameplay. Oftentimes, you will come upon a room full of armed guards that cannot (or I mean to say SHOULD NOT) be confronted openly. These sections often takes place in rooms with lots of vents, ledges, and narrow passageways to stealth around and plan your attack. The idea is to take each guard out separately and evoke terror in the other guards when they find their comrade's body. These parts can be stressful and time-consuming, but always very rewarding.

The combat is built around the new free-flow engine designed for Arkham Asylum. The basic gist of the system is that the game will do the locking on for you, you need only direct your thumbstick in the direction of where you want to attack. Combos build the longer you go attack, dodging and countering foes and you can take out a whole room of enemies with one freeflow combo, provided you are skilled enough. Its always neat to see Batman leaping across a room, mid-combo, to take out a thug with a stun baton. The combat works very well, and getting into the groove of a well set-up combo feels great.

In addition to the standard thugs you'll encounter, you will also fights Poison Ivy's plant minions and have to deal with certain boss fights. The unique ones are the ones with Scarecrow and Poison Ivy, while many of the other ones are one of the game's shortcomings. Many boss fights feature Batman against some crazed mutant, and is won by dodging his charge, letting him hit the wall, and then wailing on him. Its a poor design choice that set back an otherwise excellent game design.

Speaking of game design, the one thing I noticed about Batman is its similar game design to Metroid. Both take place in fairly large, yet restricted environment. Both have you collecting upgrades for your character, and both games open up as your arsenal gets bigger. Batman has a great arsenal of gadgets. Of course, with such a large backstory to draw from, the hard part is narrowing down what gadgets you want in the game. I'm pretty pleased with the selection Rocksteady has left Batman with. You get the Batarang, the Batclaw, some explosive gel, a zip-line, and more. The Batmobile and Batcopter both make an appearance in Arkham Asylum; unfortunately neither vehicle is drivable. The exploration becomes much more fun when you can access all sorts of places with your gizmos.

I was not a Batman fanatic before this game was released, but I certainly learned a lot about the Batman universe while playing it. Part of The Riddler's challenges are collecting audiologs, which are recordings of doctors interviewing the detainees. Some of these are pretty funny, but many are quite grim. Which brings me to my next point: Arkham Asylum is a dark game. I wouldn't go as far as The Dark Knight style of moodyness. The Joker for one, is voiced by Mark Hammil who voiced him for years in the Batman Animated Series. Don't be fooled, though, this game bares little similarities to the show. There's cursing, gruesome backstories, and lots of dead guards. Sure The Joker has his funny commentary, but for the most part you are dealing with a very mature game.

The extras in the game come in the form of challenges outside the story mode. More challenges are unlocked by finding more Riddler challenges, and come in two forms: action and stealth. The action ones consist of beating several rounds of thugs. The stealth ones consist of taking out rooms full of them by stealth or with clever gizmos. The idea is to build up your score on both types. you want high combos in combat challenges and fast times in stealth. Both are charted on online leaderboards, and fulfilling certain conditions can help you towards achievements or trophies. Of course this is outside the already lengthy main story, which gets even longer when you factor in the Riddler collection. Batman Arkham Asylum is worth the price, easy.

The look and sound of the game are top-notch. The graphic are beautifully done, and every detail was put into to giving Arkham a lot of life. On the audio side, you have a tremendous and brooding score, booming sound effects, and overall outstanding vocieovers from Mark Hammil and the rest of the cast.

Now, before I wrap up, I need to address some complaints I have about the game, as it is not perfect. I have already addressed how disappointing some of the boss fights were, but there were other issues. The controls are usually pretty good, however there were plenty of times where Batman's clunkyness would affect the gameplay. Too often, during a stealth mission, I would find Batman had stumbled, stupidly off of a ledge right in front of a guard. The even bigger issue is that many times the guard would not notice. I would land right in front of him and he wouldn't register I had landed. I know Batman wears all black and is hard to see, but this is ridiculous. Also Batman has a very Metroid-like visor that lets him see through walls, spot secrets, and monitor enemies conditions and whereabouts. Despite the well-designed graphics, I almost always has the goggles on. It's a great gameplay element, but it made the art direction seem a little fruitless, as there was so much more reasons to have the goggles on then off.

Despite all complaints I have, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a work of genius and is truly worthy of every bit of praise it receives. Everything from the combat to the collection is well balanced and well executed. Rarely are superhero games so good, and we've already had so many good ones this year. I wholeheartedly reccomend Batman to anyone, fan or not. While this design is not for every superhero game to follow, I think we've found a great new slate for Batman games to come. Best superhero game of the year, and one of the top games as well.

9.5/10
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Offline XianL

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2009, 09:29:30 PM »
I've been hearing amazing things about this game, including a fairly positive review by Yahtzee. Thanks for the review setrataeso, you've kicked my interest of this game into another gear. I may get it if I have any money after Fallout 3: GOTY edition and MW2 :P

Offline XJDenton

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2009, 12:20:57 PM »
This game can be summed up by the following sentence:

"It's a 3d game in the vein of super metroid, only you're the goddamn Batman."

That sums up any and all reason to buy this game.

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2009, 12:49:12 PM »
I've been hearing amazing things about this game, including a fairly positive review by Yahtzee. Thanks for the review setrataeso, you've kicked my interest of this game into another gear. I may get it if I have any money after Fallout 3: GOTY edition and MW2 :P

Always happy to help.

This game can be summed up by the following sentence:

"It's a 3d game in the vein of super metroid, only you're the goddamn Batman."

That sums up any and all reason to buy this game.

Exactly right.
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Offline AcidLameLTE

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2009, 01:21:09 PM »
Completed it today and I have to say it was an excellent game...except that damn Sewer bit where you have to walk really slowly.

Offline cthrubuoy

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2009, 05:50:28 AM »
I agree with the Detective Mode complaint. I probably spent 90% of my time with the things on.

Completed all the Riddlers Challenges last night though. Game completion is 88% now, because I haven't worked my way through all the challenges. Some of which are very difficult.

Very nice review as well.

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2009, 11:59:15 AM »
I agree with the Detective Mode complaint. I probably spent 90% of my time with the things on.

Completed all the Riddlers Challenges last night though. Game completion is 88% now, because I haven't worked my way through all the challenges. Some of which are very difficult.

Very nice review as well.

Thank you.
I'm stuck on the combat challenges. The stealth ones I completed quite easily.
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Offline Space Invader

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2009, 01:32:02 PM »
Seems like a solid game. Looking forward to playing it when I get home at Christmas. Living with my Xbox is irritating sometimes, especially when I miss out on games like this and MW2.  :-\

But great review buddy.
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Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2009, 06:29:50 PM »
Seems like a solid game. Looking forward to playing it when I get home at Christmas. Living with my Xbox is irritating sometimes, especially when I miss out on games like this and MW2.  :-\

But great review buddy.

I take it you mean "without" your xbox, not with.
Yeah, I think you'll like it, being an old Nintendo gamer you've obviously been exposed to games like this before.
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Offline Space Invader

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2009, 10:30:33 AM »
Seems like a solid game. Looking forward to playing it when I get home at Christmas. Living with my Xbox is irritating sometimes, especially when I miss out on games like this and MW2.  :-\

But great review buddy.

I take it you mean "without" your xbox, not with.
Yeah, I think you'll like it, being an old Nintendo gamer you've obviously been exposed to games like this before.

Metroid = WIN
Everything can, should and will be progressive.

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Offline XianL

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2009, 11:30:48 AM »
"It's a 3d game in the vein of super metroid, only you're the goddamn Batman.
Exactly right.

Well now I HAVE to get it. Anyone know if there's a demo on the PSN?

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2009, 11:37:58 AM »
"It's a 3d game in the vein of super metroid, only you're the goddamn Batman.
Exactly right.

Well now I HAVE to get it. Anyone know if there's a demo on the PSN?

I'm quite sure there is. XboxLive has one. PSN will as well, I'd expect.
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Offline AcidLameLTE

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2009, 12:40:42 PM »
It does.

Offline ZachyDou

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2009, 03:07:35 PM »
I wasnt really that interested but ill probably rent it once i fix my xbox/get a new one, seeing as its been getting so much praise.
Btw setra, you and ouda have to help me buy a new RB drum set  :P

Offline XianL

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2009, 03:08:11 PM »
Downloading as we speak...I'm excited.

Offline Space Invader

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2009, 03:58:13 PM »
Btw setra, you and ouda have to help me buy a new RB drum set  :P

Lol yeah
Everything can, should and will be progressive.

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Offline ZachyDou

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2009, 04:20:50 PM »
Btw setra, you and ouda have to help me buy a new RB drum set  :P

Lol yeah

and to fix the xbox i have to either get a new laser shipped and install it... Its either that or just replace it >.<

Offline Space Invader

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2009, 05:12:21 PM »
Btw setra, you and ouda have to help me buy a new RB drum set  :P

Lol yeah

and to fix the xbox i have to either get a new laser shipped and install it... Its either that or just replace it >.<

that sucks....consider the MW 2 package
Everything can, should and will be progressive.

"The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain" - Montaigne.

I'm going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilize, street over maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammie Dodgers and a Fez - Eleventh Doctor

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2009, 07:01:57 PM »
Btw setra, you and ouda have to help me buy a new RB drum set  :P

Lol yeah

and to fix the xbox i have to either get a new laser shipped and install it... Its either that or just replace it >.<

You guys took crappy care of your Xbox and your games.
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Offline Space Invader

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2009, 08:51:01 PM »
Btw setra, you and ouda have to help me buy a new RB drum set  :P

Lol yeah

and to fix the xbox i have to either get a new laser shipped and install it... Its either that or just replace it >.<

You guys took crappy care of your Xbox and your games.



Are you kidding? I always put away and took care of my games. I was zach and ouda who left them out all the time.
I can't vouch for our xbox though, it was dust in our room i think.
Everything can, should and will be progressive.

"The only thing that is certain is that nothing is certain" - Montaigne.

I'm going to need a SWAT team ready to mobilize, street over maps covering all of Florida, a pot of coffee, twelve Jammie Dodgers and a Fez - Eleventh Doctor

Offline ZachyDou

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2009, 08:06:36 PM »
Btw setra, you and ouda have to help me buy a new RB drum set  :P

Lol yeah

and to fix the xbox i have to either get a new laser shipped and install it... Its either that or just replace it >.<

You guys took crappy care of your Xbox and your games.

It was the xbox, not the games lee.
And we did nothing wrong to the xbox other than play it.

Offline Dimitrius

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2009, 04:07:07 PM »
The game's good, but not worth the buy.

I rented it and completed in 2 days with 70% and I wasn't trying to find every riddle.
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2009, 01:18:06 AM »
The game's good, but not worth the buy.

I rented it and completed in 2 days with 70% and I wasn't trying to find every riddle.

This.  I'm borrowing it from a friend, currently in the mansion.  The game is above average, but parts are just plain boring.  I really hate how those cheap electric fields are set up everywhere just so you have an excuse to crawl through vents/climb things, pointlessly adding 10 minutes of lackluster gameplay per new area.

Definitely a mixed bag.  So far, about 3 hours in, I'd say 7/10.  I'm still deciding whether I want to spend the weekend finishing it or move onto something else.

EDIT:

I played a lot last night and I'm near the end.  Decent action game, though the difficulty is annoying in some parts because of how weak Batman is.  Also, seems like there's a lot of going back and forth between levels towards the end.  Overall, it's fun, but it feels like they threw in a shitload of boring tasks just to squeeze out an extra hour or two of gameplay.  I'm maintaining my 7/10 rating, and I suspect most people rate it higher simply because they're excited that it's Batman and actually doesn't suck.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2009, 02:47:19 PM by Perpetual Change »

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #23 on: November 27, 2009, 05:06:57 PM »
Well, like I said in my review, I'm not a big Batman fanboy. I was pleasantly surprised to see a good Batman game, as there have been a lot of terrible ones.
But, I didnt give it a good score because of Batman. I gave it a good score because the game is excellent.
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #24 on: November 27, 2009, 07:19:21 PM »
Just finished it.

Very rarely do I play games and feel like I don't know what to think of them even after they're finished, but AA has been one such game.  I really think this game is an awesome 5 hours of game that's been stretched into 10.  There are basically 3 different kinds of enemies, a couple combos, and 2-3 different boss types.  The game puts you in the same situations over and over again to the point where it's just not fun anymore.  Example:  the doorway to where you need to go is ALWAYS blocked off, but there's ALWAYS a vent or something around to let you in.  Or tracing down people's DNA/Smoke/Liquor/etc.  The boss fights are some of the most uninspired ever and are all almost exactly the same, save for the Scarecrow and Killer Croc.  I mean, the first time I fought Bane it was cool.  They next 4 times I fought enemies that fought and had the exact same AI apparently as Bane it just became annoying.  As far as the normal fighting goes, I never really felt properly introduced to the Combo system- by the end of the game, I was pretty much button mashing and the difficulty seemed like it was getting harder until I realized I need to start doing more than punch.

But on the other hand, the voice acting and graphics- except for DV- where great.  Too bad the story was kind of lame, though.  It was still a pretty cool Batman experience that represented most of the key villains.  Though I only played through the Story mode, and will probably give it back to my friend without trying Multiplayer or Challenge, it was still a worthy play.  This won't be something I'll play again, though.  Rent, don't buy.  

Anyway, sorry for posting all this here.  I just did so because I'm too lazy to write my own full-length review.  

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #25 on: November 27, 2009, 08:09:13 PM »
Anyway, sorry for posting all this here.  I just did so because I'm too lazy to write my own full-length review. 

Damn right, I'm the video game review guy. :P
Anyway, I see your points.
I don't know whether or not you went for the riddler trophies and such. I found the hunting down of those to be incredibly addictive and rewarding. The level up system probably could have been better, but it wasn't awful. Overall, I found nothing sub-par in the experience, and much of the work blew me away.
The Scarecrow fights were one of the best parts of the game, for sure.
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Offline Perpetual Change

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2009, 01:24:22 PM »
A friend of mine said the same exact thing about the trophies.  Unfortunately, I didn't made them too much of a priority, though I still found about 1/3rd of them.

I'd go back to them, but I've moved on.  Perhaps when AA makes it to the bargain bin  ;)

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2009, 01:28:21 PM »
That'll be a while, then.
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Offline Jamesman42

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2009, 01:39:26 PM »
What system is this for? Wii?

Offline setrataeso

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham Asylum
« Reply #29 on: November 28, 2009, 05:07:21 PM »
I reviewed the 360 version. It's also out for PS3 and PC.
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