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Author Topic: PC Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum  (Read 1233 times)

Offline Aquarise

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PC Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum
« on: June 05, 2012, 12:55 AM »
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Developer(s)    Rocksteady Studios
                        Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
Publisher(s)    Eidos Interactive
                        Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
                        Square Enix (Japan)
                        Feral Interactive (Mac OS X)
Engine            Unreal Engine 3
                        PhysX (PC only)
Version            1.1
Platform(s)    PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, OnLive
Release date(s)    
              PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
                        NA August 25, 2009
                        EU August 28, 2009
                        AU September 3, 2009
                        JP January 14, 2010
              Microsoft Windows
                        NA September 15, 2009
                        EU September 18, 2009
                        AU September 24, 2009
              Game of the Year Edition
                        EU March 26, 2010
                        NA May 11, 2010
              Mac OS X
                        NA November 3, 2011
Genre(s)    Action-adventure, Stealth, Beat 'em up
Mode(s)    Single-player

    * BBFC: 15
    * CERO: C
    * ESRB: T
    * PEGI: 16
    * USK: 16+

For those who do not know Batman, I seriously pity you. This comic book character has influenced every single source of media. Batman: Arkham Asylum is not the first PC game based on the adventures of Dark Knight but it is THE game I would recommend for true Batman experience (aside from it's sequel, Batman: Arkham City).
For the non-Batman geeks, (like me), this game would be an amazing Batman experience but for true Batman geeks, this game is a stunning tribute to the world that resides in Gotham. I won't go into much deeper details but the basically, even the story is sort-of inspired from a Batman comic.

            The Story:
The Joker attacks Gotham City's Mayor's office but is foiled by Batman, who escorts him to Arkham Asylum. Due to a recent fire at Gotham City's Blackgate Prison, many members of the Joker's gang have been temporarily relocated to Arkham. As Batman accompanies the guards taking the Joker inside, the asylum's security is overridden by Harley Quinn, allowing the Joker to escape and take control of the facility. Batman quickly realizes that these events have been part of the Joker's plan and that the Joker had bribed a security guard to help him escape and kidnap Commissioner Gordon. The Joker threatens to detonate bombs scattered around Gotham City should anyone attempt to enter Arkham, forcing Batman to work alone; he is able to rely on Oracle who helps guide him through the asylum over the radio. In the meanwhile, The Riddler contacts Batman and challenges him to solve the riddles and challenges he has spread throughout the entire Arkham Island.

The game is in third person view (over the shoulder view). Being an expert in hand-to-hand combat, Batman has no problems in taking on dozens of thugs at same time. With a variety of unlockable skills and upgrades for his armor and gadgets, Batman can go through hordes of enemies. Then there are also some Predator areas, where the Dark Knight must retreat to the shadows and take out armed thugs one by one stealthily. There are two modes of view: Normal mode and Detective mode.
In Detective mode, every item/person of interest is highlighted over the rest of surroundings, allowing Batman to make sure he misses no clue or opponent. It is possible to complete the game while being in Detective Mode almost for the entire game.
Initially, Batman only has his trusted Batarang with him but as Batman continues his mission, he can add more gadgets, like Explosive Gel, Batclaw or Line Launcher, to his collection and can also get them through the WayneTech upgrades, like Sonic Batarang or Remote Control Batarang.

The Good:
The game progresses smoothly over a well-defined plot as we move through the different parts of the asylum on a mission to stop Joker. There are 240 Riddler challenges throughout the island, some of which may not be accessible in the first visit to a place. Then there are the 20 useful upgrades which can often tilt the scales in your favor in the battles. The 42 character biographies allow you to delve deeper into the world of Batman, his allies and his enemies and 5 interview tapes for certain criminals to give you an insight into their stay at Arkham.
The graphics and the background musics are smooth and help you to relax into the insanity of Arkham. The visual treat of the buildings, the plants, the caves, the distant Gotham was absolutely amazing and I felt that if you played it on a wall-size screen, you might as well have stepped in the Asylum for yourself.
The characters are very clearly defined, so clear that you cannot resist being awed by them. The movements of all the characters are fluid-like graceful and continuous and sometimes, you might think you are watching a movie instead of playing the game.
The detail to the spirit of the characters present is so perfect that it feels like the developers actually interviewed them to see how they would react. For example, Ivy always keeps her plants her first priority, Harley wants to impress Joker while Joker wants absolute mayhem and destruction of Gotham as he leads an army of monsters. You can also visit the Visitor Area often for some Joker commentary as he 'analyzes' Batman.
The nightmares of Scarecrow will reveal some stories, like what happened to Batman's parents (the exact story), how Bruce met Jim Gordon for the first time, etc. and some of Batman's darkest fears to us non-Batman geeks. The use of his cool gadgets help us a lot in solving the puzzles and traps set up in Arkham. The cool set of moves while fighting Joker's henchmen is a definite treat too.
Then there is the Challenge Mode (Unlockable upon collecting specific Riddler Trophies - except the first one). There are two types of challenges: Hand-to-hand combat (scoring mode) and Predator mode (time-based mode). In Hand-to-Hand combat, you go through four rounds of fight against Joker's henchmen, who may or may not be armed with weapons (other than guns) in specific isolated arenas. The point is to score as much higher as possible through combos and special moves. There are three award levels depicted by the number of Batawards (Bat signs near the top right corner of the level photo). The Predator mode (my favorite) places you in a locked room with several armed Joker henchmen whom you have to take out through specific moves. There are three specific moves per level and these are time-based. So the faster, the quicker.

The Bad:
Unfortunately, once you complete the Story mode, that's it. You are free to roam the island but with no enemies. If you are a completionist, you may try to solve all of Riddler's Challenges but once it's done, there is practically nothing to do. You can roam around the island, exploring every place and ripping every vent apart but that's all you can do. To enjoy the story mode again, you need to start a new game. You need to rely on released DLCs to enjoy new content.
Similar is the case with the Challenge Mode. Once you finish all the challenges, there is nothing really left to do. There is no point in fighting for a higher score if you get bored on trying it on and on. The Leadership Boards on the net is a small incentive but is still not enough.

Despite the small disappointing flaws, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a perfect tribute to the world of Gotham as we move throughout the island as the Dark Knight. This game is a MUST for every Batman fan and gamer out there. So if you haven't played it, try it. You won't be disappointed.

               Rating: 10/10

Warning: You might become addicted to the story mode and keep finishing it within hours.

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« Last Edit: June 07, 2012, 06:11 AM by Aquarise »
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Offline Aquarise

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