Batman Arkham Asylum – Does my Bum look big in this cape? | Gamerillaz

Batman Arkham Asylum – Does my Bum look big in this cape?

Batman Arkham Asylum – Does my Bum look big in this cape?

Welcome to Gotham, home to the strangest bunch of psychos in America where the costume business is recession proof. It’s home to one of the most popular caped crusaders of our time, The Batman. This time round he is taking a trip to the nut house and thankfully he left the bat brat Robin at home. For a character that was born in the late 1930’s Bat’s is looking pretty good for his age. Being pimped and exploited in all popular mediums the franchise has touched every youngster’s life at one stage or another, becoming a household name.

A man who wears his nickers over his tights while being disguised as a rodent may sound crazy but it has thrilled the fantasy universe right up to present day. We will try to forget the terrible times of poor Batman games and more than a handful of really cringe worthy movies because Batman has come into his golden age… again. Whether you are on the side of Tim Burton’s dark vision or prefer the grounded Chris Nolan adaptations it is fair to say that the character has moved into a more adult arena. Thankfully and at last, this can now also be said of the Dark Knight’s most recent gaming appearance form Eidos and Rocksteady: Batman Arkham Asylum. So, first off, is the hype deserved? Absolutely is the short answer! But here’s the long version…

Visually the game is stunning regardless of the platform, the unreal engine does have a strong ‘Gears of War’ look about it, especially in terms of lighting and atmospheric effects but this is no bad thing. Every area of the map is littered with minute detail wrapped up in well structured, nicely varied and brilliantly convincing environments that really set the tone for the adventure. Characters ooze personality while moving to some of the most fluid and impressive animation to date. The game mechanic works great with few problems, and the control system, although not perfect does a good job of allowing you to access the numerous options needed to keep Bats kicking criminal ass. Let’s just say that the whole production is quality! The love and dedication that went into the science of the game is evident from the get go, sound, visuals, and level design are one of the best to date in my opinion so there is nothing major to criticize in this department.

Where the game really comes alive is with its narrative and personality. Joker is acting up again and has tricked Batman into bringing him to Arkham where he can get down and dirty with his bad plan to smash Gotham and the Bat… the usual stuff really but the array of characters and lashings of dark humour make the story very real. Anyone familiar with graphic novels and movies will see unnecessary but delightful subtle nods and winks to the various stories that are part of the Bats past, making it all the richer for a fan. Combat is satisfying with simple but timed controls and there is a real weight behind the thumps and kicks dished out. Stealth is often the best approach, this has the familiarity of ‘Splinter Cell’ or Thief’ and leads to some very gratifying situations. Sometimes a frontal assault may be unavoidable, so time to access the batbelt and open a good old fashioned can of whoop-ass! Bosses are encountered at various points and generally require a method or strategy in order to defeat them, this has a wonderfully old school type game feeling and shall remind the mature gamer of the big boss fights in many of the early games from their SNes or arcade days.

There are great gadgets as you might expect and their uses are clever and satisfying to implement. Want to hang an enemy upside down from the rafters or perhaps just blow em up as they check on a fallen comrade, easy peasy! The sense of speed as you zip up the grapple line onto the eaves above your enemies is also great. As you progress weapons and abilities are upgradeable giving you grater scope in combat and making Batman that bit tougher.

As well as playing through the main story there are many hidden gems to find and the Riddiler himself sets puzzles for you to uncover which are fun and beneficial to unlocking abilities, this feature feels like you are playing a second storyline parallel to the main quest. All this is well balanced with scenarios that require stealth, brutal force and investigation in equal measure. You also have the ‘Detective Mode’ at your disposal. This is a type of forensic x-ray vision that allows you to see enemies and important items or clues more clearly and you will find it your most useful ability in the game. As you progress through the story mode you will unlock the excellent mini game aspect of Arkham Asylum, the Challenges. These are separate from the storyline and involve you taking down or defeating rounds of enemies, results are then displayed on world wide leader boards so you can compare stats with friends or just in general.

Criticisms are few and it is a rare thing to say, but Batman Arkham Asylum is a near flawless game. The camera can be annoying now and then when obstructed by a wall or structure during combat, but this is rare and minor compared to other similar games. Targeting a ledge for the grapple can also be slightly annoying when in a rush to escape and sometimes the enemy AI can be a bit slow but is overall very sharp. That’s it… yep, really! Its then comes down to whether you like Batman the character or just this kind of game in general, but the title itself does everything it tries to do, it kicks ass!!

For every player there is a point in a game that you just know it is a title to get your teeth into and bond with, for me it was when I was first introduced to the Arkham Assylum graveyard area, its gothic beauty was disturbingly and amazingly stunning. Followed closely by the areas where you must conquer your fears in the face of Scarecrow… the bat shivers went down my spine! I love this game, it ticks all the boxes I need and as a reviewer all I can really give is some facts and an opinion. It’s Bat-tastick and a game not to be missed, the hype got it right for a change so get on those bum hugging tights and strap on those bat boots, its time to kick some Jokers ass! Time to enter the nut house… Good Luck!

Verdict: Buy it now, don’t wait for it on the second hand market! DLC on the horizon so renters will loose out…

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