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Platform

Playstation 3

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Eidos / Warner Brothers

 

Developer

Rocksteady

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

August 25, 2009

 

 

- Great combat

- Smash through the game or take your time

- Voice actors from the Animate Series

- Developers didn't try to cram in all of Batman's foes

 

 

- Adama West unlockable would have been a cool touch

- Something about staying in Detective Mode too long gave me a headache

 

 

 

Review: Lego Batman (360)

Review: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (360)

Review: G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (PS3)

 

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Batman: Arkham Asylum

Score: 10 / 10

 

Reviewers seem to be stumbling over each other to one-up each other in their scramble to praise Batman: Arkham Asylum.  I have nothing but good things to say about Arkham Asylum – it’s not that I’ve parked critical thinking at the door – it’s just that there aren’t any deal breakers you can point to and sum up with “fans of the genre will appreciate this.”  This is a game for people that like good games; that like to feel their $60US was well spent on an entertaining experience.

 

batman arkham asylum          batman arkham asylum

 

The developer’s scored big with the one thing that they absolutely had to nail to give any credence to Batman as a character: the combat.  Later in the game and especially during the extra challenge arenas, Batman faces hordes of enemies that don’t take turns – they’ll rush en masse, maybe one or two will run for a gun locker

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or have guns already – so it becomes imperative to quickly survey a situation before flying into action. Maybe gliding down and knocking a guy in the head then dodging the taser-wielding thug, only to pivot and crack him in the back, grabbing the lead pipe of another enemy in a

countering move that would only be possible if Batman had eyes in the back of his head then slamming the

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pipe across his jaw.  Or throw some batarangs from a distance, cause confusion, grapple to a convenient gargoyle head, then perform an inverted takedown on a lone criminal as his attempts to find you.  All the while with Joker heckling you or tipping off the thugs to your location… I’m not sure how it could really get any better.

 

This is the second time this year where I’ve felt that a super hero character has been absolutely nailed.  The first was with X-Men Origins: Wolverine – it made me feel powerful, in control, and lived up to what I thought a feral killing machine with giant claws is capable of.  Batman doesn’t feature the gore that Wolverine did – Batman being one of those “pacifist” type superheros – but the feeling of “being” a superhero is the same.

 

batman arkham asylum          batman arkham asylum

 

Arkham Asylum (it should be called Arkham Island) is a big, relatively open place and populated with all sorts of nightmares, fortunately one of them is not a Batman villain every ten paces.  There are some villains that are actually very present in the game, like Joker, Bane and Poison Ivy, but there are plenty of nods to other villains like Penguin, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman and the Riddler, who is never seen but a constant presence, throwing Batman riddles and challenges him to find all the Riddler Trophies spread throughout the island, which go toward unlocking the extra challenge modes.  Developer Rocksteady showed a lot of restraint in this regard and the game is all the better for it.

 

Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamill as Joker are just about as good as you can get.  Not to gush too much, but they’re both awesome.  The fact the rest of production values and excellent story pad out the performances means you’re getting a re-skinned but never before released episode of Batman: The Animated Series.  I can’t recommend Arkam Asylum enough.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(September 17, 2009)

 

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