Batman: Arkham Asylum – The Review
Image Source: YouTube
Undoubtedly, Batman is a force to reckon with in the world of superheroes, and like every other superhero story, there must be criminals to bring to justice. And that brings us to Arkham Asylum – the home of Batman’s adversaries who are diagnosed with mental illnesses. These foes are kept as patients at Arkham Asylum, a place with a high recidivism rate as well as a bad security record.
Notably, Arkham Asylum is located in Gotham City as a fictional psychiatric hospital, and its history is not all fascinating. It was reported that the asylum’s main architect developed a mental illness that made him hack his workers to death with an axe. After the incident, he was sentenced to the same asylum for the rest of his life.
Considering the drama, action, and adventure surrounding Arkham Asylum, it is high time we looked into the gaming experience featuring the hero himself, Batman. The game has an interesting storyline in addition to its engaging features. As such, you are sure to enjoy the best gaming experience from Batman: Arkham Asylum.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Mainstreamed by Rocksteady Studios, Eidos Interactive, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Batman: Arkham Asylum is an engaging video game with elements serving players with a mixture of action and adventure. This way, you get to enjoy the storyline, gameplay, as well as the roles playable.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is played in a third-person perspective. Image Source: Fangoria
Also, the game was created based on Batman, the iconic DC character. In the game, he battles his greatest enemy, the Joker, who reportedly can easily slide out of Arkham Asylum at will. In the 2009 game, the Joker is the mastermind behind a well-organized plan geared towards gaining full control of the asylum, trapping Batman inside, and seizing control of the whole Gotham City.
Interestingly, Batman: Arkham Asylum comes with a wide range of features that sum up to improve Batman’s combat skills and weapons, stealth abilities, and detective abilities. With these, Batman can advance through stages in the game freely, take up missions, obtain new equipment, and interact with other in-game characters. Also, you can unlock additional in-game items by undertaking extra missions that are not part of the storyline.
Succinctly, the combat skills allow Batman to successfully launch attacks on one or multiple enemies while keeping damage at the lowest risk level. On the other hand, Batman’s stealth abilities allow him to hide from plain sight and launch silent attacks on enemies.
Batman: Arkham Asylum allows you to view from the third-person perspective. That is, you can see Batman in his full form rather than through his eyes. This way, you get to control him throughout his journey across the asylum.
Arkham Asylum. Image Source: Steam
The gameplay is smooth, starting with welcoming opening areas that serve as tutorial grounds for moves. Following that, you can enter the island, where you are free to enjoy the gaming experience. However, some parts of the game will not be opened until some levels are unlocked in the storyline.
Like in the comics, Batman remains the iconic character that he is and can perform all the usual stunts, including running, jumping across buildings, and gliding with his cape. Also, the “Detective Vision” is present, allowing you to view more details, including destructible walls, enemies and their status, footprints, puzzles, odors, as well as civilians and casualties.
Some of Batman’s notable gadgets include the Batarang, Explosive Gel, Cryptographic Sequencer, Line Launcher, and the Batclaw. The Batarang and Batclaw can temporarily knock out enemies and grab enemies, respectively. The Cryptographic Sequencer can override security controls, disable various protocols in the asylum, and create new paths for Batman. Furthermore, the Line Launcher and Explosive Gel can be used to cross horizontal gaps and cause weak walls or floors to explode, respectively.
Additionally, there are interesting perks in the game away from the main game, like the riddles left by the Riddler. It is noteworthy that the Riddler is that character that challenges Batman with riddles after successfully hacking into his communication system. In this case, you can solve some riddles with the “Detective Vision” as well as collecting various in-game items.
The Riddler. Image Source: DC
In Batman: Arkham Asylum, you can collect as many as 240 in-game items. These include items in the Riddler’s riddles, tapes featuring inmates at the asylum, Joker’s teeth, and coded messages left by the asylum’s founder. Similarly, you can earn rewards for completing tasks like solving riddles or finding items.
These rewards include challenge maps and experience points. For one, the challenge maps contain elements that test your skills in areas like combat and knowledge of in-game characters.
While Batman is popular for his unpredictable moves, you can either direct or stealth combat in Arkham Asylum. Notably, the “Freeflow” combat features three main controls, which are: stun, attack, and counter. With these, Batman can quickly fight through enemies and launch combined attacks until he knocks the last man off.
Interestingly, the combination of these controls ensures that Batman keeps on fighting with improved agility while avoiding getting hit. The hint is the more combined attacks, the better the fight and the likelier it is for special attacks – like instant takedowns – to surface. Also, the better the fight, the more the moves, and eventually, the more the rewards.
After combats, you get to earn experience points which can be used to upgrade health and other benefits. Image Source: YouTube
Experience points are given after combat, and they can be used to upgrade Batman’s health, unlock fresh combat moves, and additional gadgets. You should note that not all enemies can be beaten using the same move. For instance, gun-wielding enemies can wreak greater havoc on Batman compared to knife-wielding thugs. So, facing them headlong might not be the best move.
As mentioned earlier, Batman: Arkham Asylum is an experience in Arkham Asylum, the fictional medical facility for mentally ill criminals. In the game, there are various characters, most of who are from the Batman comics. However, the whole game centers around Batman and his journey in the asylum.
While Batman stands as the main character in the game, he enjoys the support of his two allies, Oracle and James Gordon. Oracle provides Batman with remote intelligence, and James Gordon acts as the police commissioner in the game.
Arkham Asylum is filled with many villains, maybe supervillains, who Batman must fight to stay alive and uphold justice. First, we have Bane and Victor Zsasz, the serial killer. Also, there is Poison Ivy that can control plants and the nightmare-creating Scarecrow. Not only those, but Killer Croc is also present in the game.
Although the Riddler does not show up in the game physically, he hacks into Batman’s communication system and challenges him with riddles scattered around the island. Also, Clayface, the shapeshifter, is present in the game, as well as Quincy Sharp, the asylum’s warden. Other characters present include Thomas and Martha Wayna, Batman’s parents and Aaron Cash, the asylum’s guard.
Downloadable Content (DLC)
The developers announced that the Joker would be available for players as a downloadable character. Although the Joker was downloadable, it was exclusive to PlayStation 3. Notably, the character was useful for challenge maps in the game.
Other downloadable content (DLC) packs released included the Inane Night pack. This pack was released on September 17, 2009, and it contained the “Nocturnal Hunter” stealth challenge and the “Totally Insane” combat maps.
Similarly, the “Prey in the Darkness” pack – which contained the “Hothouse Prey” stealth challenge and “Heart of Darkness” combat maps – was released on September 23, 2009. Like the Joker, the “Prey in the Darkness” pack was exclusively released for the PlayStation 3 in North America.
The Joker was available as downloadable content in 2009. Image Source: YouTube
Since its launch in 2009, Batman: Arkham Asylum has witnessed a great deal of reception from fans and critics worldwide. While this can be attributed to its exceptional design and production, it is all thanks to the impressive gameplay from the superhero, Batman. Also, the video game brought the superhero comic book to life, and that is worth commending.
Popular review aggregation website, Metacritic, rated the game’s Xbox 360 version 92 out of 100. Similarly, it gave the Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 3 versions 91/100 each. Before Arkham City, the game also held the Guinness World Record for the “Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever.”
According to Edge Magazine, Batman: Arkham Asylum earned an 8/10 rating as it is “by some distance the best superhero game of modern times.” Not only that, but Andy Kelly of PSM3 also commented, “Rocksteady has struck the perfect balance of giving you the confident power of a superhero, but with enough weaknesses to make the game challenging; a remarkable feat of balancing and design.”
Thierry Nguyen of 1UP gave the 2009 video game an A-. Following his rating, he mentioned that the developers, Rocksteady managed to “combine combat, stealth, storytelling, and cartoon voices into the best digital Batman simulator we’ve seen to date.” Similarly, Greg Miller from IGN indicated that Batman: Arkham Asylum is “the greatest comic book game of all time.” IGN later gave the game a rating of 9.3 out of 10.
Also, the game earned a rating of 9 out of 10 on Wired. Chris Kohler of Wired said that the game has its strength which lies within its tight script and masterful acting. In turn, Chris said that it made “what could be a generic game captivating.” Other sites, including Game Informer, GameSpot, Common Sense Media, Giant Bomb, IMDB, and The Daily Telegraph rated the game. Accordingly, the game earned ratings of 9.5/10, 9/10, 5/5, 5 stars, 9.2/10, and 9 out of 10.
Furthermore, Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer commented that Batman: Arkham Asylum is “the best superhero game bar none”, and that it has “excellent visuals, a compelling story, and superb voice acting.” He further went on to give the game a 9 out of 10, stating that, even without an iconic central character, it would be a one-of-a-kind game with engrossing storylines and superb voice acting.