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El Kevo

Batman: Arkham Asylum Review (PS3, PC, 360)

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a game that when it first showed people were a little iffy on.  Throughout development people have slowly began to warm up to it.  With it now on the shelves it is quite easy to say that Batman is not only one of the biggest surprises of the year; it is also one of the best games of 2009.

 

Story-

Arkham Asylum takes place after Batman captures the Joker and takes him back to the Asylum.  After an introduction of walking the Joker down to processing he quickly escapes.  Batman is then sent on the longest night of his life to restore order to the island before anything truely serious happens.  The story within the game is defiently one of very fine quality.  The developers were able to get the writer of the old Batman cartoon series (Paul Dini) to come pen the story and it shows in the quality of the script.  Nothing feels rushed and the oacing the game is excellent.  Little pick-ups are scattered through out the iosland that details the backstory of the villians and of Amadeus Arkham; the infamous creator.  However great the story is though you will find little problems of believeablity with some of the events and there is the ocassional stupid moments but overall this is one game that you won't be able to put down.

Score- 9

 

Design-

Despite having the whole Arkham island to explore everything feels very linear and there is a great deal of backtracking.  The developers did hide a lot of this nicely though through the changing environment.  One time there could be nothing in front of the front door, but the next time a tree stands there forcing you to find another way in.  The level design does get a little reptitive though,  Everything seems very dark and dreary, almost like that of Rapture in Bioshock.  The lighting is always on a creepy mood level and while it does impact you at first it does get a little repetitive towards the end.  Speaking of repetitive brings me to the boss fights.  In the comics, movies, and TV shows fighting one of the villians was always something spectacular and so a game with these guys trying to kill Batman should yeild some exhilirating fights; this is not the case.  Some of the fights start out epically, but they soon become reptitive.  The game is around 10-11 hours long which is a good size time for a game nowadays; but the game is just so gripping that you could play the entire day and not be able to put it down.

Score- 8.8

 

Gameplay-

Ever wanted to feel like Batman?  Well this is the game for you.  While some may say its simplistic there is a hidden depth to it.  Turning to button-mashing will quickly get you killed.  You MUST watch all your enemies.  If a sign pops up above thier head then you should defiently counter or lose a good portion of your health.  Stealth sections pop up quite a bit and can be a good way to exercise your mind.  You have you use the cunning mind of a detective to take down these armed men.  Use gadgets such as explosive gel to take them down in sneaky ways.  The gameplay overall is simplistic and this is one of the reasons why Arkham Asylum is such a blast to play.  Some of the puzzles you face can get really annoying and Detective Vision makes things far to incredibly easy but its all fun in the end.

Score- 9.1

 

Presentation-

The presentation within Arkham Asylum is a mixed baggage.  This game is built on the Unreal 3 engine which has really gone downhill recently.  All the textures look really plasticly and it just doesn't ever feel right.  A lot of lip-syncing is off and characters look like they have their faces plastered on.  Outside of this however is a great presentation.  The voice-acting within the game is superb.  Henry McCroy and Mark Hamill return to reprise their roles of Batman and Joker respectively and they give nothing but top-notch performances.  Other characters are vocied by their original actors in the Batman cartoon series.  Music here plays on your tensions and the action that surrounds you.  Animation here is spot-on and Batman performs every punch and kick smoothly and your enemies crumble around you.

Score- 9

 

Batman Arkham Asylum is a wonderful game.  Despite any previous judgements about this game, once you play it you will change your mind.  Like I said earlier this game is not only a great surprise but also one of the best games this year and is well worth your $60.

 

Total Score- 9

 

Which Version?-

There really is no difference between any of the versions.  All look really good, though the PC version does look better of course.  If we want to go off of content then they all have pretty much the same content...except the PS3 version which has the Joker as a playable character.  If you want to play as a different character on some challenge maps then the Ps3 version is obviously the superior one.  Since the Joker can only be used in the Challenge maps 360 and PC owners shouldn't fear as this won't affect the single-player at all.  However the Joker does add more re-playability and it is quite fun to beat up some guards.  Therefore i would say the PlayStation 3 version is the best choice for the Joker content, then the Pc version for the better visuals, and finally the 360 version for not having any advantages over either other version.

 

-El Kevo

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