Reviewed: Batman: Arkham Asylum

07Apr10

The first Batman video game I played was a 16 bit 2D side scroller on the Amiga, with two simple actions: Throw batarang and grapple. Given the huge success of the rebooted Bat-franchise, it was only a matter of time before the Dark Knight returned to our consoles. And boy how far we’ve come in 20 years.

Developer Rocksteady’s take on the DC comic icon is an epic action-stealth beast, boasting tremendous voice acting, character design, visuals and an island full of villains to punish as Batman. This point cannot be undersold.

The Dark Knight himself

The game opens with Batman bringing arch-nemesis The Joker back to Arkham after a short-lived breakout. Before long the Joker springs loose, with goons at the ready and a plan to wreak havoc. Batman must fight enemies, solve puzzles and battle his way through bosses such as Killer Croc, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn to foil the Joker’s evil scheme.

The game’s freeflow combat style is executed with three buttons. You’re warned when to counter attacks, leaving you able to seamlessly rack up massive combo chains, gaining points to unlock more combos.

Detective mode uncovers hidden clues, detects enemies and even gauges their terror as you pick them off one by one, hidden in the shadows or hanging stealthily from gargoyles. Secrets and Riddler puzzles are jotted across Arkham Island adding to the story and unlocking extra online content.

However the boss battles do become repetitive. Defeat one and the formula is there for almost every other boss, with the exceptions of the drug-induced encounters with the Scarecrow which happen in Wayne’s warped psyche and the tense exploration of Killer Croc’s lair.

With its excellent story, action and design, Batman: Arkham Asylum is possibly the best superhero video game ever released and a fitting addition to the Batman franchise.

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2 Responses to “Reviewed: Batman: Arkham Asylum”

  1. Well said! Yep, best comic book game I’ve seen and one of the most engrossing games I have played in a long time. Really looking forward to the inevitable sequel. Totally agree about the Boss fights, pretty much the same routine each time which get a little old.


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