After multiple temptations from my dear friend Wilfred, and the fact that said game is one of the best-rated superhero game ever created, I finally started (and completed) Batman: Arkham Asylum on the PC. (Good thing it’s holidays now, man.)
I started the game without much expectations, actually; I grew up in a Chinese environment and hence wasn’t familiar with all the Marvel and DC Comics (oh how much I have missed in my childhood), so I really didn’t know much about Batman other than the awesome films directed by Christopher Nolan. The game basically revolves around Batman fighting in and out of Arkham Asylum, a prison for some of Gotham’s most feared criminals, in an attempt to stop Joker’s evil plans. The storyline itself is really good, in my opinion – the flow seems logical enough, and there are always surprises everywhere just when you think you’re done. I really felt like I was watching a movie through playing the game, especially during some of the cutscenes – the voice acting (especially of Joker) is really good.
Gameplay-wise, the game did a good job to introduce new elements every now and then to make the game interesting, despite having similar enemies and puzzles to solve. For example, your Batclaw will be upgraded later in the game to allow structures which are previously only susceptible to explosions to be pulled down. This kept the game fresh, and gives you opportunity to explore your arsenal to come up with different ways to solve a puzzle. I was actually feeling bored a little towards the middle of the game, but the storyline kept me going and then I was introduced to more awesome gadgetry that allowed me to play more diversely. 🙂
Combat is cool – although there are not many moves available (to be upgraded), it comes down to the timing of your attacks to counter any incoming punches from the thugs and turn them to your advantage. When you build up combos, you can unleash more devastating attacks that will especially help in crowd control (massive number of enemies).
One thing I love about this game are the stealth missions – missions where you cannot approach the enemy and fight them directly (or you’ll be at an extreme disadvantage if you did), and must take them out while not attracting attention from the others. I would say it resembles the stealth mode in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions (another game that I played last year), and it’s really fun because you have multiple ways of approaching the enemies, including silent takedowns from behind, or stunning them with your batarangs, or even doing Spider-Man-esque inverted takedowns.
When I first watched IGN’s video review, one of their markdowns for this game was ‘tempting to play the entire game in detective mode’, and I finally understood why after playing the game. Detective Mode really helps a lot, as it’s a feature that once activated provides X-Ray vision of all enemies (through walls), and also provides you with tips on handling certain situations. I would say the ‘cost’ of using it is the awesome graphics of the game (it’s really good!), as detective mode applies a purple filter through your screen. It’s definitely fun to use though.
Verdict: Play it.