Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

Batman_Arkham_Asylum

This weekend was an interesting one for me, I had planned on finishing up on my game footage recording for the month of August, and get a short video blog shot and released.  I didn’t get started until Saturday afternoon, because I had opted to spend time with my wife and my dog instead.  Sunday morning I was fully prepared to get my recording finished, but I saw a PS3 case with Batman on the cover.

I’ve had Batman: Arkham Asylum for quite a while, but with all the hype surrounding Arkham Knight recently, I was hoping to finally get into the series.  I popped the game in and that was it. My entire day was spent beating up convicts and lunatics with my bat-fists.  It was incredibly satisfying.  I only took a brief 1 hour break to stream Rayman Origins at 7 PM, but quickly went back to finish my battles with the Joker after that.

The story was pretty darn good, and I loved how the developers implemented cut scenes and dialogue throughout the game.  You never felt like you were playing an interactive movie with Arkham Asylum.  When you add in the voice acting talents of Kevin Conroy as the Batman and Mark Hamill as the Joker, it just makes the whole experience THAT much better.  I grew up as an avid fan of the Batman Animated Series, and having these two reprise their roles in a much grittier, adult oriented story, was really neat.

The gameplay was good, if a bit standard.  One button to beat the crap out of enemies, with combination button presses for more advanced moves like picking up the enemies and throwing them at their comrades.  The designated counter button system works well, too.  The one thing I got the biggest kick out of, however, was jumping on the backs of the giant mutated enemies and letting them to a lot of bad guy cleanup for me.

There weren’t a ton of boss fights, and they were honestly pretty ho-hum.  There were too many instances of fighting waves of common enemies while I waited for an opening to beat up the main threat.  These fights just weren’t designed very well, but I’m told that is improved with the next Batman entry.

The graphics were pretty well done, though I can’t really get a handle on how good this game is supposed to look.  It’s obviously several years old, and I know I’ve seen better looking games on the system, but I can’t place the years off the top of my head, so I’m not sure how it stacks up to other games released in the same year.  That being said, it still looks good enough and gets the job done.  I never looked at this game and said “wow”.  The music was mostly of the dark, atmospheric variety, and it fit in very well with the Batman universe.  I almost expected to hear Danny Elfman’s theme from the 1989 Batman movie.  The biggest knock against the music that I have is that there were no Prince tracks.  Batdance, anyone?

I didn’t get my recording done, and I didn’t get a video out this weekend, but I feel as if my time were well spent.  Batman: Arkham Asylum is a good game that anyone should pick up and play.  It’s pretty cheap and common these days, so don’t expect to pay more than $10 for it.  Gotta love being a generation behind!

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