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A four hour review of Batman: Arkham Asylum

  • Jan 29, 2010
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Batman: Arkham Asylum, developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos, is easily one of the best Batman games ever and really makes you feel like you’re actually in the shoes of the Caped Crusader. And it’s not just about the fighting and gliding around (even though that’s great too). It’s also about being the greatest detective, facing past and present psychological fears and regret, and everything that makes Batman an icon as well as a vulnerable human being. It’s all intertwined in a great story that’s paced very well, so far. Well, for the three and a half hours that I’ve played it anyway. What? So I rounded up.

The World's Greatest Detective

From what I’ve played, the gameplay mostly consists of some light platforming, beating up baddies, investigating clues to get to the next objective, and exploring the surprisingly vast area of Arkham Island. I might make it sound boring, but each one is a blast to do.

The fighting is regarded as free flow, meaning the animations will change on a whim depending on the situation. If you hit a bad buy with a three-hit combo, then counter some guy and do another three-hit combo, each action flows right into one another creating a deadly display of brute force and finesse. You can basically chain a nice string of combos together and look like a badass doing it. Though the system might seem easy to learn at first, it’s hard to master, which makes it rewarding when you finally get through a fight against overwhelming odds while not taking a single hit.

The investigative portions are lead-ins to the next part of the game as you usually follow a trail leading you to your destination, but it just feels cool searching the area for clues making you act like a real detective. Exploring every nook and crevice of the island is great too, since there are hidden things to collect like The Riddler’s riddles, and historic tablets from the founder of Arkham Asylum, Amadeus Arkham. It lets you explore off the beaten path and learn about the rich history of this infamous prison that almost feels like it could be its own character.

A Dark Night Atmosphere

Graphics-wise some of the textures are bit blurry when viewed up close, like certain walls and guard uniforms, but the character models for Batman, The Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Bane and Scarecrow are highly detailed and nicely animated. The atmosphere the game creates is dark and foreboding and fits well into Batman’s persona.

Unfortunately I did not get a chance to test out the PhysX properties in the game, which adds an extra dynamic to the surrounding environment. You can check out more about that here.


Overall, Batman: Arkham Asylum comes highly recommended. Though I didn't touch on some things like the upgrade system, trust me when I say, that everything so far, just feels great. The Scarecrow sequences in particular are highly imaginative and well thought out. The voice acting is superb and resonates within me since some of the voices they use are the same ones in Batman: The Animated Series, which I watched when I was around twelve years old. This game has all the perks of being the Dark Knight without any homicidal freaks wanting your head.

Check out my other articles on The Examiner, San Francisco chapter.
A four hour review of Batman: Arkham Asylum A four hour review of Batman: Arkham Asylum A four hour review of Batman: Arkham Asylum

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Alvin Garcia ()
Member Since: Jan 25, 2010
Last Login: Feb 18, 2010 10:42 PM UTC
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About this video game


In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Dark Knight takes on his greatest challenge yet when he becomes trapped with all of his most dangerous villains inside the insane asylum of GOTHAM CITY - ARKHAM ASYLUM! Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum –Gotham’s psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City’s most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum. Using a wide range of Batman’s gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker’s demented scheme. Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner, Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series. With amazing graphics and a moody, immersive setting, Batman: Arkham Asylum offers diverse gameplay options that push the envelope for all action, adventure and superhero games.
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Number of Players: Single Player
Publisher: Eidos Interactive, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, DC Entertainment, Square Enix
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Console: Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Genre: Action
Release Date: August 25, 2009 (NA)
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