8.5

A fun action game that is also one of the best super hero games ever.

So I recently beat Batman: Arkham Asylum, and I'm here to tell you what I thought of it.

Graphics: The game looks fantastic. Everything runs very smoothly, with some amazing animations and designs. Batman looks more like his comic book form than his Dark Knight form. His model animates very well, and his cape is a lot of fun to watch as you run and do stuff. (However, sometimes, during combat, you will notice one of his limbs going through the cape. Not a big deal, though.) The enemies also animate very well. And the environments look very good, as well. There is a lot of variety, from a medical bay to a botanical garden to electrified cells, the game has no shortage of great environments. I didn't encounter any slowdown with the game, despite the fact that there are sometimes a lot of enemies on the screen, and the game is a very impressive feat. 10/ 10

Sound: The voice acting is very good in this game; the standout, of course, is Mark Hamill, reprising his role as the Joker. He clearly loves doing the voice, and it shows. He does a very good job of putting emphasis on things, and all around, does a great job of acting like a deranged, power hungry lunatic. Batman also has a very well done voice. He is always straight to the point about things, never messing around. He also has some good commentary that plays throughout the game. The enemies, and other villains, also have perfect voices. The basic enemies sound kinda cheesy at times, but that's kind of the whole point. The whole game is like one big homage to the comics and TV show, and the bad guys capture the cheesiness very well. The one disappointing thing is that the music is kinda unnoticeable. Sure, it's there, and well done, but it never really takes center stage. This is a small complaint, however, as everything sounds just right, from voices, to sound effects like punching. 9/ 10

Story: Batman is escorting the recently captured Joker to Arkham Asylum. However, crazy stuff goes down and, long story short, Joker takes over the prison island and plots his eventual conquest of Gotham City. The Joker is a wonderful antagonist. He is very menacing to everyone; you will often hear him threatening his henchmen's families. He doesn't care about anyone, he doesn't even really care about his girlfriend, Harley Quinn. Speaking of which, this game is very, very dark. While the violence onscreen is basically bloodless, there is a ton of implied violence, much of it very disturbing. For instance, a group of thugs are standing around, talking about how Joker told them to run down their sisters, and one guy, who didn't have a sister, ran over the first woman he found. It is surprisingly gruesome for a T rated game. Anyways, the story is pretty good. It's really nothing spectacular, but it gets the job done, and plays host to the many villains you will encounter throughout the game. (Most of whom have a vendetta against Batman.) While it's a little disappointing that it sets up for the sequel, it's still pretty good, and enjoyable. 7/ 10

Gameplay: The gameplay allows you to be Batman. You have access to numerous gadgets (such as the Batarang, explosive gel and a Bathook.) These are fun to mess around with, and can be very useful. Mainly because, this game is Metroid- esque. You get more items in order to progress through a nonlinear environment. While it's not quite as free form as Metroid, it's still pretty clear that it took inspiration from Metroid. Anyways, the tools are a lot of fun to use.
Outside of the tools, you also have access to something called Detective Vision. It basically shows you where all of the enemies and points of interests are. In short, it is very, very useful. Especially during stealth sequences. I agree with Gamespot's review. It's too tempting to play the game in Detective Mode. It is also used to scan pieces of things that you need in order to find people. For instance, at one point you must find Commissioner Gordon. To do this, you must scan the tobacco from his pipe, and follow the trail. Needless to say, it's insanely useful. You can instantly find out how many enemies are in an area by using it, and whether they are armed or unarmed.
So, now I'll talk about combat. It's very fun. You can stun enemies with your cape, then follow up with an attack. Or you can use one of your various tools on them, such as the Batarang. Anyways, for every punch you land without missing, your Combo Meter goes up. If you get a high enough Combo Meter, you will eventually start landing critical hits on enemies, which knock them to the ground instantly. When an enemy is on the ground, and if you have an opening, you can perform a Ground Takedown, which basically knocks out an enemy for good. One of the weird things about this is that, more often than not, you will get hit in the middle of the animation, causing you to not knock the guy out and for him to get back up. While enemies do go down permanently eventually, it takes quite some time to do so. Aside from that weirdness, the core combat is satisfying. Aside from the thug enemies, you also face a charging enemy that is kind of overused. (It's not as much fun to fight as normal enemies.) While it is cool, some of the moves you can do, they just aren't as fun to fight as regular enemies.
There are times when the only way to survive is to be stealthy. When there are a bunch of enemies armed with Machine Guns, you must approach the situation differently. You need to carefully scan the environment, looking for places to hide, and Gargoyles to grapple to. The environments and conditions become more complex as the game goes on (ie, gargoyles explode after a certain amount of time of you being on them or enemies are equipped with collars that make noise when they are knocked out) and therefore become more satisfying. You can also use your tools (the most fun of which is explosive gel) to set traps and mess with your enemies. For instance, if an enemy normally stands near an explodable wall, you can out exploding gel on the wall, and detonate it, knocking the bad guy out. There are also other options, like separating one from the group, or, one of my personal favorites, hanging a guy upside down from a gargoyle by performing an Inverted Takedown. (Batman hangs upside down, grabs a guy, attaches a cord to his feet, and drops him. Another cool thing about doing this is that the enemy AI reacts in realistic ways. If you knock a guy out, and they find the body, they will become paranoid. I even saw an enemy fire at a steam pipe that went off. Their conditions become increasingly desperate as you pick off their numbers one by one. Needless to say, these are some of the most fun parts of the game.
One place the game could have used more work was the boss fights. There are, essentially, three types. One, you must dodge a large, charging enemy, and blind them with a Batarang. The other two types are unique to one boss apiece. The charging enemy boss fight is used too much, I felt, and becomes repetitive near the end of the game. The final boss fight is also somewhat disappointing. However, that is really not a big deal.
There are also a lot of Riddler Challenges to beat, which, in turn, unlocks Challenge Maps. I haven't dabbled too much in this (at the moment of writing, I have a lot of games to play) but it looks to offer a satisfying challenge for those who want it.
Overall, there are some problems with the game, but the gameplay is mostly very fun. 8/ 10

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a fun game that can be enjoyed by anyone. I am not really that big a Batman fan, but this game is very fun, and it eases you into the Batman universe. (There are character bios for everyone with a name you come across.) I would recommend this game to anyone looking for a fun, well-made action game. Thanks for reading my review, and keep on fighting!

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