Flashback:Batman Arkham Asylum
Traditionally games based on comic book characters are awful and I’m glad to say that Arkham Asylum is the exception to the rule. Games based on comic book character tend to be cheap tie ins who’s only reason to exist is to make a quick buck. They are usually cheaply produced with a storyline that has nothing to do with the rich stories that can be found within there comic counterparts. Arkham Asylum is different tough because its the first comic book game to take its story directly from a comic book, Something that seems like such an alien concept to most game developers.
Taking the story directly from a comic book has allowed the developers to focuses on what they do best and that make a game while the story has been taken care of those who understand the character the best. This is a dream to behold because what this has led to dream combination of a fantastic game play and a stunningly rich story line that keeps you captivated from start to finish. Despite it brilliance the story is actually a rather simple affair with batman having to return the joker to Arkham Asylum and having to contend with a mass break out involving all his former enemy’s. You must quickly dispose of all these enemy’s while simultaneously stopping the joker from destroying Gotham (just another day for batman then).
The graphics on this game are stunning if not a little dark in places. the true graphical power of this game is not in the environments but in the game characters themselves. All of Batman’s most enemies from joker to the Riddler are beautifully recreated in an authentic way that both pays homage to the comic and build upon their quite varied and long history. They are some of the best graphics I have ever seen with the utmost detail put into every inch of this game.
That while the characters are beautifully rendered in this game and are my personal highlight they in now way distract from the truly impressive environments with both huge expansive out-door setting and more intimate internal environments are magnificent. This magnificence is on display throughout every inch of this games environments with each one offering more and more variety with each new enemies. This can be most notably seen with the introduction of poison ivy in which the while environment changed with the introduction of all of her planets which brought a whole new dynamic to the environment and changes the game play quite significantly.
Game play in batman Arkham Asylum flips quite happily between sneaking and beat-em up game play with ease. The beat-em up in this game is just your general affair and even tough there is a quite an interesting and dynamic combo system in this game it’s rather hard to disguise the fact that I am just repeatedly hitting one button over and over again until I develop a blister or a severe case of RSI. To me the beat-em up in this game is just an add on the real fun to be had in this game is down to the sneaking up and the clearing of enemy is a dynamic and interesting way. The stealth game play in this game is spectacular to say the least I have not found stealth game play this compelling since the original splinter cell.
I was very worried with this game initially tough when I was presented with the first room with enemy and I would take each one out using the gargoyles. I was very worried that this game would just become a series of room filled with enemies and gargoyles and for a short while it was. then around half way through that all changed, all the previous things I had learned in the previous rooms was simply erased by a simple action of removing the gargoyles. This brought a whole new dynamic to the game play and actually only served to draw me in deeper to the game.
Another huge aspect tot this game is the tech that batman uses to aid him in his mission with each of these pieces being slowly drip fed to you over time somewhat like metropolis meaning that this rather small map has layers upon layers attached to it. These pieces of tech serve to pen newer areas for exploration and enable you to collect all the hidden items with this game of which there are many. This adds so much replay to an already stunning game and I lost count of the number of time I found myself simply running around exploring trying to find as many hidden items as possible.
The most notable and often used piece of tech in this game has got to be detective mode and this is the one area I felt truly disappointed in within this game. It simply made everything to easy and simple, when you activated this mode door and entrances would glow making it easy to find your way and in many instance I found that this just spoon fed with the solution to a lot of problem that I had difficulty with within the game.
This game is spectacular and come highly recommended by me and its fills me with hope for future comic book games being of a higher quality. Finally a story that does batman proud and some people would be happy with an amazing story but to have game play that also seems very well placed for batman is another wonder to behold. Although I have some niggles about this game they aren’t really that bad to ruin what is by far one of the greatest games I have played all year.
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