After a few delays and much anticipation Batman: Arkham Asylum has finally hit stores. I held high hopes for this game, but the fear that it may fall short like so many super hero licensed games before it definitely lingered in the back of my mind. Does Batman: Arkham Asylum break the mold or is it just another super hero game that fails to meet expectations? Head past the break for more..
Arkham Asylum’s gameplay is a mix of beat ‘em up, stealth, puzzle solving and exploration. With so many elements going into the game it could spell disaster, but the game does an excellent job of balancing all these game play types. This balance is key in maintaining the player’s interest without a feeling of repetitiveness. The combat sections utilizes Arkham Asylum’s free flow combat system. It may take people a little while to tap into how the combat system, but once you do it feels like some of the best executed combat you’ve ever played. When executed properly you really do feel like you are controlling a super hero. Guards with guns can take down batman rather quickly. This is where the stealth comes into play. It is your goal to clear the room as quietly as possible. Each room allows for several approaches to clearing it so the stealth doesn’t get stale. Combat will next you experience points which can be used to purchase upgrades for Batman and his gadgets.
The game isn’t all combat though. It will put Batman’s skills as the world’s greatest detective to the test. While searching for clues to lead you to your next objective you will toggle on detective mode. This puts a blue filter over screen highlighting evidence, ventilation shafts, breakable walls, enemies with guns and collectibles. A lot of the exploration and problem solving are dependent on detective mode, which will hint at which of Batman’s gadgets you need to advance forward. Although this is helpful it means you will be looking at a chunk of the game through this blue filter, which is shame because of the level of detail that has gone into the environments.
After the game is complete you can revisit Arkham island and find any collectibles you may have missed. Collectibles will unlock character profiles, earn you trophies that let you look at character models, interviews with some of Arkham’s more notorious inmates and bonus experience points. Your other option for after the game is over is Challenge mode. Challenge mode is fairly straight forward. It is divided between increasingly difficult combat and stealth challenges. You are offered target scores and leaderboards to maintain your interest.
In short, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a great game. It is fun to play and is loaded with enough content to appease even the most hardcore bat fan. Arkham Asylum has raised the bar for licensed comic hero games.