|Batman: Arkham Asylum|
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
It is almost expected that games that use licensed material will be disappointing. The reasons for this could be anything from business pressure to release something to coincide with another event like a new movie release to laziness on the part of the developer who banks on the quality source material to gloss over disappointing gameplay.
It hurts even more if you personally like the original source material. Batman has so much source material to dip into and while some of it is dross (as with everything) there’s a lot of good stuff that could be mined for game potential. However, given the bad reputation of licensed games why be excited over a Batman game when it may be a load of codswallop like any number of other licensed games that have come before it?
This is why playing Arkham Asylum feels like a relief. It is a very good game.
The game opens on Batman delivering a handcuffed Joker to the titular asylum after he’d given himself up without a struggle. Unsurprisingly, it’s a gloriously sprung trap and Batman finds himself stuck in the asylum battling gangs of newly freed residents, naturally with the Joker in charge and acting as ringleader.
Just like the movies (and unlike the real world) the goons are polite enough to attack one at a time. A small lightning blot halo icon appears over the assailant’s head warning you of their intention to clobber, allowing you just enough time to get out of the way or press Y to counter in a typically brutal way. The game rewards technique variety and chaining together series of combinations with experience points bonuses, which as previously mentioned provides a way of buying vital gadgets and upgrades.
Once the story mode is over, various challenge modes become available involving sneaking around hunting The Joker's goons or having endurance mode fights with streams of bad guys. Playing these modes and going through the game trying to find the remaining hidden tokens does increase the longevity beyond the story end credits significantly.
In summary, rather than falling into the trap of so many cartoon/comic/movie licensed games where it is assumed that the game is simply a licensed material delivery system, developers Rocksteady have produced something that could stand out as a good game without Batman splashed all over it, and they have used the Batman canon to make it even better. It's very very good.
- Excellent use of the licence
- Stylistically excellent
- Possibly the best Joker yet, Nicholson and Ledger included
- Fun “simple to learn, hard to master” combat
- Getting to hang baddies upside down
- Detective mode can make you miss pretty scenery
|Batman: Arkham Asylum -
The Bradygames Signature Series Guide
Make no mistake, Batman: Arkham Asylum is a great game. Not only is it the best adaptation of a comic book character yet, but it is also jam packed full of secrets and Gotham’s most prolific criminals to combat. All of this makes the Bradygames, Batman: Arkham Asylum game guide, the perfect compendium to help you bring order to the night of chaos The Joker has laid on for The Dark Knight.
The core of the book obviously covers the main story mode and provides detailed maps and strategies to walk you through every level in the game; Arkham Island, The Mansion, The Penitentiary, Medical etc. Gameplay offers elements of stealth and combat and the guide shows how to tackle both as well as those all important boss battles and how to get the available upgrades and so on. And once the story mode is complete, the guide will assist with the very tough challenge modes.
The book is beautifully presented and offers a comprehensive guide to completing the game, whether it be on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. For 100% completists, everything is there to ensure none of The Riddler’s secrets are left undiscovered, from the riddles and trophies to the Joker’s teeth. They’re all there with a written description of their location as well as detailed on a map for the specific level. There is even a section for the Spirit of Arkham, should you want to uncover the mystery – surely a necessity for ‘the world’s greatest detective’!
Finally, with a universe as rich as Batman and so many arch enemies under one roof, the book offers detail on character bios and their backgrounds – which is great for those not over-familiar with all of Batman’s foes and allies. It certainly adds to the experience and provides depth when you come across them in the game.
Rest assured, just attempting to find all 240 of The Riddler’s secrets could drive you to distraction, and that alone makes this guide very useful indeed.