While the market has been overwhelmed with Batman games and such over the years, Batman Arkham Asylum is the first one to peak a great deal of interest in gamers and Batman lovers. The gameplay and graphics spoke very well for the game itself after playing the demo, so there was excitement and anticipation into the storyline’s direction. While only playing the demo, the player is gifted with the knowledge that many of Batman’s most villainous foes would be making an appearance in the game itself. Another added pleasure for Batman’s lovers.
The storyline is the same kind you might see in one of the many Batman cartoons that have been created over the last ten to twenty years, so it’s not too far-fetched to think of Batman being trapped in Arkham Asylum, trying to stop the inhabitants from escaping or continuing their plans to destroy Gotham City. And of course, who else would be the main villain, but the Joker himself. And he wants to destroy Batman. All in a normal day for Batman, it seems. While the storyline did seem like a normal Batman plotline, it was very difficult to put down the PS3 controller as one gets drawn into the story for it’s not just the Joker Batman deals with, but many of his foes and each have a different story and battle to bring to Batman’s feet.
In many games that come out nowadays, there is something to be expected of graphics. And there was no exception with Batman. The graphics were seamless and life-like. There were no jerky movements or robotic like walking that can be seen in recent games like Star Wars Force Unleashed I and Force Unleashed II. And what put the icing on the cake, for this author especially, was having Kevin Conroy speaking Batman. He was the voice of Batman in many video games and cartoons that were showed on WB or CW as it’s called now. What a wonderful surprise to someone who used to watch those cartoons every day. And the Joker wouldn’t be the Joker if Mark Hamill wasn’t the voice. For he also was the voice from the cartoons as well. And if one knows the cartoons, one will also recognize Harley Quinn’s voice as well. And if a player knows anything about the Batman universe, it’s not a surprise to hear Oracle, once Batgirl’s, voice speaking to Batman over his radio. Since he calls her Oracle, a player is left to assume that she has all ready been shot by the Joker and paralyzed.
While many out there have come to know Batman by word of mouth, there is no kid or adult who has not dreamed at one point to be able to do the things that Batman does. Drive a really cool car and use Batman’s array of tools and gadgets. This author certainly has dreamt of it and gamers got the chance to experience it first hand with Batman Arkham Asylum. While playing the game, the player has the ability to use Batman’s heat vision, motion detecting, special attack moves, batarangs, and so on. And there is even more. With all of his toys at the player’s fingertips, there is also a Batman Cave on Arkham Island. No one can say that Batman is never prepared for the worst.
In the respect of gameplay, a player can assume that this game will be linear and only follows a certain line of exploring, so there has to be great gameplay. In Arkham Asylum, Batman has the ability to fight multiple enemies at a time without breaking combos and blocking or dodging blows with almost seamless ability. There is no jerkiness to his movements or fighting moves. Everything blends together as well as it should, making it look even more real. And where would Batman be without his all black outfit. Which gives him the ability to hide in shadows or sneak up behind his foes. The same rule also gives the player the same ability and one that can be used to knock out Batman’s foes without them even knowing he was there. One such example is jumping down, out of the shadows, knocking out an enemy, then using the grappler hook to get high and watch the other enemies get nervous and frightened because they don’t know where he is, as Batman swoops down on them all.
One can definitely say it’s a trip down memory lane as Batman explores the inside of Arkham Asylum. Especially when traveling past cells that have Posion Ivy and Clayface in them. There are also cells that had once held villains like Two-Face and the Riddler, even thou they were no longer contained in them. And while Two-Face doesn’t make an appearance, the Riddler does. Well, a more vocal appearance. While traveling through the Asylum, he sends Batman riddles and if they are solved correctly, experience points are granted. Some of the riddles can be confusing and difficult to solve while others are extremely easy to figure out. And for the Batman buff who wants that extra little information about the game, if Batman uses his special vision scanner over his eyes, certain things can be scanned and little bits of the asylum’s history is told.
While every game has one or two parts that always stick in a gamer’s mind, there is one that this author will never forget about Arkham Asylum. Even if the rest of the game is forgotten over time, there is one part that will always freak this author out. When Batman takes a little walk through Scarecrow’s gas and goes on a mind trip, the journey into horror begins. For Batman and the gamer. One thing that was immediately noticed when finding Gordon’s body, was that Batman’s eyes were glowing. Which was not normal and makes the player think that something is not right. Yet, that was not the part that makes the skin crawl and shivers go up the spine. It’s when Batman enters the morgue. The lighting, the feeling, everything about it was designed to be frightening and it certainly was. It reminded of a scene from Silent Hill. It carried the same feeling that something very bad was in that room with Batman. Something he might not want to find. Yet, when one of the body bags moved, this author almost screamed and the bags open to reveal Bruce Wayne’s father and mother. There begins Scarecrow’s hallucination journey into a realm of the mind. Creepy and weird, but make sure the giant Scarecrow doesn’t see Batman as he tries to get out.
As in the ways of difficultly completing this game, it wasn’t overly hard, but in the same respect, it wasn’t overly easy either. Batman had to move in silence in many areas, as not to be detected or he fails the mission and has to start over. Sometimes, it takes a few tries to get the right rhythm down. In the respect of fighting the villains, it was Batman’s greatest foes that provided the biggest challenges into defeating them. Namely Bane, Killer Croc, and a venomed-up Joker; who the player must battle at the end. They were not impossible or overly hard. If the player gets into a routine of how to battle them, the fight doesn’t seem as hard, but can be long if the player wants to take the minimum amount of damage to Batman.
As in the length of the game itself, again, it wasn’t short, but wasn’t long either. And that is unavoidable. Even thou many of the locations were revisited two to three times in the game, one must remember the Arkham Asylum is not that big and that is where Batman is confined to. There was a desire for more riddles and some outside missions, but this game had a story to tell and it did. With the upcoming Batman Arkham City game, comes with the a faint hope that there will be more missions, riddles, and other extra added attractions that will make the game more attractive to gamers. For the shoes it has to fill are not that big when it comes to the first game, but fill them it must.