Batman: Arkham Asylum Reader Review
This was my most anticipated game of the year after playing the pc demo. I particularly like how it seemed to come out of nowhere and surprise everybody - rather like batman himself I suppose. The game just looks stunning on pc. It was a real shame that the pc version got held back by a few weeks. I suspect more people would have played it had they been released simultaneously. The Live functionality is very nicely implemented and it was great being able to add to my gamerscore whilst playing on pc. It did add a bit of minor irritation though at the beginning when it needed a rather large patch but gave an unreliable visual indication of how long it was likely to take. This left you thinking that it was doing nothing.
In general, the atmosphere of the game is fantastic. The beefy character designs and generally dark environments play to the strengths of the UE3 engine and are well suited to the franchise generally. The voice acting was great throughout.
The combat was probably the best implementation of third person fighting that I have experienced. The attacks were so varied and crunching. The counter system was very well implemented and responsive. I found it a little irritating that you couldnít break off a take down manoeuvre if about to be attacked, though I suspect that was a deliberate design choice forcing you to decide whether you have time to complete it or not. The weapon set allowed for some great strategic choices both in and out of combat.
The weapon progression and exploration was strongly reminiscent of the metroid prime series. I would suggest that if you enjoyed Batman and havenít played metroid prime, that you pick up the recently released trilogy.
I decided to play on Hard from the outset after seeing suggestions in various threads that that was the most rewarding play mode. I think it probably was, having played on normal in the demo. There were a few difficulty spikes that became frustrating towards the end. The small enclosed area with the titan and the several waves of thugs springs to mind. Generally, I thought the boss fights were handled very well and showed great imagination. I particularly liked how they would give you hints about how to succeed in the game over segments.
I completed the game last night. At the end you can continue your game and mop up the items you missed if you want to. I intend to do that and have a go at the challenge rooms before putting it back on the shelf.
All in all, just outstanding. I hope they get to make a sequel.
10 / 10