Batman Arkham Asylum 360 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 10
Graphics 10
Sound 10
Value 10
Distributor: Namco Bandai
Classification:
M15+
Review Date:
August 2009
Reviewer:
Edwin Millheim

10


Batman Arkham Asylum


 

Joker here, so the guys and gals at Impulse Gamer are reviewing my game. With a not so special guest star, my old pal Bats. Looking over the Impulse Gamer reviewer and editor notes...let's see...blah blah blah blah... oh punch line...he he he he he he...to put it in a nutty shell the Xbox 360 version is to die for! I especially like the color scheme of the Xbox 360 itself, white and green.... Ha ha ha ha. Well Kiddies, joking aside, Batman: Arkham Asylum really goes deep into Arkham island, my home away from home. It even gives you a chance to know what it's like to be the bat. Why anyone would want to is beyond me....but it is a fun game... and I know fun!  oh, ok...back to your Impulse Gamer reviewer... he he he blah blah blah. I've got places to go, people to kill....ha ha ha ha... I slay me.

Dare we say it? I will, At last we have a Batman game that rocks. This is the game that is like another Batman Movie that places the gamer in the boots and cowl of the caped crusader. The experience of BEING the Batman is not 100% perfect, but then again what is? But this game brings out what we have all loved over the years of the best Batman stories, the best of the Batman Movies, in this game YOU ARE BATMAN. Even minor clipping issues do nothing to degrade the experience.

Features

  • Utilize the unique FreeFlow combat system to chain together unlimited combos seamlessly and battle with huge groups of The Joker's henchmen in brutal melee brawls

  • Investigate as Batman, the WORLD'S GREATEST DETECTIVE, by solving intricate puzzles with the help of cutting edge forensic tools including x-ray scanning, fingerprint scans, 'Amido Black' spray and a pheromone tracker

  • Face off against Gotham's greatest villains including The Joker, HARLEY QUINN, VICTOR ZSASZ and KILLER CROC

  • Become the Invisible Predator with Batman's fear takedowns and unique vantage point system to move without being seen and hunt enemies
    Choose multiple takedown methods, including swooping from the sky and smashing through walls, and use the predator camera get a closer look at the action

  • Explore every inch of Arkham Asylum and roam freely on the infamous island, presented for the first time ever in its gritty and realistic entirety

  • Experience what it's like to be BATMAN using BATARANGS, explosive gel aerosol, The Batclaw, sonar resonator and the line launcher

  • Unlock more secrets by completing hidden challenges in the world and develop and customize equipment by earning experience points

  • Enjoy complete superhero freedom in the environment with the use of Batman's grapple to get to any place you can see, jump from any height and glide in any direction

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a single player, third person game. It all starts off simple enough in this very entertaining and attention keeping plot and story that was penned by Batman author and five time Emmy award winner Paul Dini. He has written plots and story lines for “Lost” season one and “Batman : The Animated Series. So no wonder the game has some actual plot and some story that make it feel allot more than a simple run around and punch the crap out of the bad game game. In other words, the story does not suck. Thank you, Mr. Paul Dini.

The player is brought up to speed pretty quickly with some impressive cut scene visuals that makes you feel like your watching a major motion picture only in animated form. Batman is speeding through the dark rain drenched night on his way to deliver The Joker to Arkham Asylum. More cut scenes and dialog give the player a small tour of the front patient receiving areas for the Asylum and also starts to make you feel the dread that Batman is feeling. The Joker Yammers on as if coming home and visiting some relatives that he does not particularly likes. Of course all hell breaks loose when The Joker pulls a fast one and escapes with the help of some pre-placed back up in the form of Harley Quinn. Who by the way, along with all of the major characters looks really good for an animated character, actually Harley looks very hot without going so overboard as to not be believable.

With out giving too much away of the games story itself, because it has more impact if you don't know it's coming, there are plenty of Batman villains here to make it interesting to say the least.

The games graphics looks spectacular, appropriately gritty and dark in several scenes as you would expect from the locations. Some of the minor throw away characters such as guards do have some bug eyes goings, but it's not too bad. The minor clipping I spoke about earlier has to do mainly with Batman himself with his gauntlet wrist blades, they seem to go through his cape. Nothing major mind you. But odd enough to notice. Graphics on all platforms looks pretty darn good. In opening cut scenes the PS3 version was the only one that hi-cupped a little and stuttered ever so slightly. The PC version plays surprisingly well and controlling Batman is no problem at all between the mouse and keyboard.

Though I do like the PS3 version a bit more for some reason, one perk for the PS3 version is the down loadable Joker character that you can play in some challenges.

The music is stellar, as I said it lends itself well to that whole major motion picture feel, as do the sound effects, all very satisfying. The only part of the sound I would draw some criticism to would be the dialog. DO NOT get me wrong, the voice acting is “A” one. Everyone delivers the lines so much so that you tend to forget your playing a game. No, what is a shame is that even with adjusting the sound levels to where the voices are supposed to be loudest, they seem to be drowned out alot by the music no matter what the settings. Which is a real slap in the face to such spectacular line delivery. This got better after the first several cut scenes. Mark Hamill as The Joker gives his usual incredible in depth performance. Kevin Conroy as Batman from the Animated Series is also here, bringing the dark knight to life. All of the voice actors make this more than just a game, it's a Batman experience!

Just when you think it's more of running around the labyrinthine corridors of Arkham and clubbing the hell out of the Joker's misguided minions, a few welcome curve balls are thrown your way by way of surprises, mystery and the use of gadgets and upgrades for our hero. There are some upgrades to Batman's tactics, his weapons and tools as the game goes on and awards are earned. There are upgrades to fighting tactics and surprise attacks, as well as weapons like the good ol batarang which is a cross between the comics and the movies version. Along with those upgrades there are various character back grounds and bios that become unlocked, providing some interesting in-site behind the characters.

There are stealth elements as well as some detective work to be done in the game. So it's a good satisfying mix, not just stealth in a cape. There is a form of free flow arcade style combat that one would think that since it does not require allot of button combos that it would be simplistically boring, no so here. While it can be simple in some cases, the real skill comes into play when you see just how many attacking combos you can string together. Then of course there is the satisfying visuals of the take downs along with the crunch of the blows to your foes. It all joins together to make a truly spectacular Batman game at last!

Of course it would not be Batman unless we did some actual detective work as well. Not to fear here, the game does not get bogged down in the deductive puzzles, they are for the most part straight forward. Allot of the investigating takes place with the use of some of Batman's gadgets. Forensic tools and such that feed into the eye pieces of our heroes cowl. Using these tools to track finger prints, or DNA traces through out the game.

One thing I said earlier, it's not all stealth with a cape, this is true but there are times when being stealthy and keeping out of site till it's time to pounce comes in handy. Just rushing at even two foes that are armed with rifles is a really bad idea. So there are plenty of places to go unseen, through air ducts, along the tops of gargoyle statues to name a couple. Then of course the ultra cool gliding, much like the latest reboot movies of Batman, gliding from high places and steering to go in the direction you need to go is not only fun, but visually pleasing.

Re playability is perhaps minimal thanks to three levels of difficulty, a few challenge modes including timed stealth mode, also a real battle where it's several rounds with hordes of enemies, each round bringing more and more in number. I would love to see more with Batman from these game designers. Now the question is...what's next? Because this one is going to be tough to top. There is a section in the game that hints about down loadable content, I for one would like to see more than just extra characters or challenge modes. More levels or add ons would really sky rocket this game to the stratosphere.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is the ultimate Batman experience, hands down.

Have fun, play games.
Edwin Millheim






 
 



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