Batman is back and looking darker and stronger than ever in this amazing dark comic fight between good and evil.
The joker has been captured again and is on his way down to Arkham Asylum, Batman arrives to oversee the joker’s containment into his cell. All is well until the joker is lead to his holding area, he escapes knocking out the guard that was with him and with help from his deadly female assistant in the security room (Harley Quinn) he gains control of the asylum and takes no time in telling Batman it is a trap and he has wandered right into it…. it’s going to be a long night…
The joker will send a few thugs at this point and the tutorial begins. There isn’t much to learn from the basics of combat like striking (x) counter attacks (y) and running (A) and after that you will be introduced to Batman’s ability’s and combos. After this the game starts to get into full swing with fighting action and minor puzzles, but you do (to an extent) get to free roam round the map finding secrets and collectables along the way and also background information on the characters like audio files and bio’s, which is interesting for once, no pointless information and this adds depth and interest to the game and its characters.
Batman has a couple of tricks up his sleeve in the form of gadgets and ability’s. Your gadgets come in very handy in reaching places you can’t normally reach, the grapnel gun helps Batman move to higher areas and the Explosive gel breaks down weak walls, these two things alone help you make better use of the detailed and challenging areas you will come across. You also have your Batarang which acts like a stun weapon, you can also upgrade these gadgets in the menu by pressing select but you must have enough points to do so, you gain points from finding collectables, combat and completing objectives. There are some pretty cool and varied upgrades as well, no simple upgrade to the power or effectiveness you instead gain extra ability’s like for example your Batarang there’s an upgrade called multi batarang which lets you hit two foes instead of one.
Not only is there collectables and upgrades but there are Riddler challenges to complete. If you stray close to one or enter a room with a Riddler challenge, a cryptic message will appear in green at the top of the screen and you must figure it out and scan (left bumper button) the area or thing you think the Riddler is talking about. Some are very easy, some are on the way to objectives, some aren’t, and these challenges are everywhere and vary in difficulty and are a great challenge and also are fun and rewarding as some of the achievements are linked round this. Some of the collectables and riddles are only available with a certain upgrades, so revisiting areas is a must and it doesn’t feel boring going back for them as you will find enemies randomly on the way to areas.
The in game menu (select/back button) is also something I must mention as it’s very well thought out. You have you blue print style map that shows your Riddler challenges and your current objectives. If you scroll along with the right or left bumper button you can look at your upgrades (Waynetech), Riddler’s challenges list and character bio’s. Then after that to scroll through various parts of the tiers you press the X button, makes looking at your growing collection even better.
There are many hidden things in this game like the many references to the batman universe for example there’s a statue in the big plant area and it’s a monument of Amadeus’s wife but with her head missing, deep into the batman universe Amadeus’ wife was beheaded by the Maddog also other characters like Clayface don’t make an appearance in the game as fightable enemy’s but at one point you’ll see a cell that has Commissioner Gordon in it, go do something and come back and he’s changed the Main guy who’s running Arkham check him in bat vision and he doesn’t have any bones because he is Clayface. Huge fans of Batman will be doing back flips when you see what I’m talking about and there is a lot to flip about with the game being as good as it is anyway without these hidden gems.
Apart from the immense campaign Batman Arkham Asylum offers you a challenge mode. You need to unlock the levels first in campaign by finding one of Riddler’s trophies normally,then after that on the start menu you can select the first one, they vary in what you have to do, from rounds of combat to sneaking around taking out enemy’s stealthily and being timed along the way. To get a Bat like award you must work hard, the word “challenge” is actually the perfect word for this feature and will have you practising a while before going for gold, again achievements are linked into this mode.
The game its self looks gorgeous, water effects look top notch, lighting effects create heaps of drama and everything else is just as good. Batman and the other characters are fantastically portrayed in the more preferred darker style and the detail is incredible. The normal enemy’s are just as high quality also, I couldn’t out anything that is wrong and I can’t find anything I don’t like either, it will have all audiences wowing at the quality on everything including the asylum it’s self. Voice over’s suit the dark portrayal of the characters and hold depth and emotion well, the story scenes are just as enjoyable as the kick ass bat combat and are a joy to watch.
I think this game will please every person it touches as the quality running through is of a new Standard for 360 titles. The campaign is structured so you will have a high quality of play from start to finish and with its puzzles and collectables to boot, all of which you will be rewarded for. It also holds a place in fans hearts with hidden messages which we all franticly search for in our favourite comic to game titles and even if you’re not a fan or a huge fan of batman you will still enjoy it for what it is, a nearly perfect 360 title for this period of time, best game I’ve played all year id recommend it personally to most gamers.
Gamer Rating: 9.4
Buy, Rent or Pass: BUY