On the few occasions Batman has had his own videogame, it's been a hard run for our hero. He doesn't have super-powers. It's hard to translate his detective skills into something that doesn't a) require the player to have the genius of Sherlock Holmes; or b) boil down to grabbing colored tokens and calling that "investigating". And of course the other obstacle Batman has to surmount is that balance between "Batman punches bad guy" and "Batman uses gadget on bad guy": you need good fight mechanics and useful gadgets that serve a purpose.
"Arkham Asylum" is the perfect marriage of the best things about Batman. It is also the perfect videogame for almost any audience. The fight mechanics make sense: they seldom leave you worrying more about being able to see than whether or not you're hitting the bad guy. There is a gameplay balance between the "quiet stealth" mechanic of a Splinter Cell or a Hitman game, versus the "weapons free" tactical assualt of a Rainbow Six. And best of all, every scenario can be handled more than one way: you can choose to sneak by a clump of henchmen, you can leap into the fray, or you can swing around Spider-Man style and torment them as you slowly take them down one by one. The only choke points in Arkham Asylum appear to be the boss battles, where you typically need to do one or more very specifc things in order to win. If you like RPGs, you'll be pleased to know that you can collect "experience" as you go and then spend it to get new upgrades to your armor, abilities, and gadgets.
Arkham Asylum is about as perfect as a game can get: it makes a complicated hero like Batman very easy to handle. It doesn't require fast-twitch skills, and yet there is plenty of action to be had. The controls are very fluid and despite lacking a platform-style "jump" mechanic, you are extremly agile and can easily chain combinations of moves together. For example, let's say you're on a ledge. You'd like to glide down, kick a bad guy, then grapple up to a gargoyle and swing across the room before he knows what hit him. You could do this by tapping square, then R1, then R1 again. If you knock somebody down and you'd like to finish them off, just hold R2 and press the triangle button: Batman will pounce on them, grapple, and subdue them with a knock-out punch and he'll even do it from some distance away so you don't have to sprint across the room before the bad guy gets to his feet.
Arkham Asylum also boasts a storyline written by Paul Dini, who is well known for the lion's share of the Batman Animated Series. Characters are voiced by the same people from the series, such as Mark Hamill as the Joker. There are all sorts of hidden goodies to find in every level, and each can unlock either the ongoing saga of Dr. Arkham or detailed information on the many DC characters that make up Batman's universe. Half of the fun is in listening to "patient interview tapes", reading origin stories and "first appearance" details, and exploring the "Behind the scenes" video content on the disc. You don't have to find everything that is hidden in this game, but the payoff makes you want to. Best of all, rather than worrying that you might miss out on a hidden secret, you are very clearly shown that some things won't be accessible until you come back later. Batman's gadgets come to him over the course of the game, and sometimes you'll need one that you'll be getting later in order to get into a secret area...you can always come back another time.
If games like this are typically hard for you, Easy difficulty does make it a cakewalk. Normal difficulty still gives you a lot of helping hands, though: if you get into a fatal situation such as falling off a ledge, the game will tell you 'tap R1 to escape' and give you a chance to avoid death. If you do die, you'll get a tip on the loading screen specific to what you were trying to get through. And if you're having trouble finding all the goodies, each section has a map that you can find that will light them up for you.
Still not impressed? Well, the Game of the Year Edition offers you the ability to play in "3D". This isn't the polarized "Avatar movie" style 3D, unfortunately: it is the traditional "red-blue glasses" 3D and comes with two pairs of folding paper 3D glasses. It works, it just doesn't bring much to the table. In levels with specific color balances such as the Arboretum (which has a lot of blues and greens), the colors tend to bleed out because you're looking through tinted lenses, so most of the time I leave this off. The Game of the Year Edition also adds 4 more maps, and the ability to "Play as the Joker". These extras really boost up the replayable appeal of Arkham Asylum. No matter what you're looking for in this game, you're going to find yourself coming back for more. You don't need to be a comic-book cognoscenti, but if you are you won't be disappointed.
on June 8, 2010
I like Batman, but I am far from a big fan. With that being said, this is one of the best games I have played. The fact that it is in 3D makes it even better. The game combines many things that are familiar elements from other games. Some levels have a scary sensation like F.E.A.R offers. The fighting is similar to God of War. Stealth movement is like Splinter Cell. There are plenty of areas to explore. The graphics and voice work are amazing. But, let's get down to the basics:
Pros: Has a well organized upgrade system, easy to learn controls and Batman moves and reacts like a superhero should. You get to use a lot of Batman's gadgets which is cool.
Cons: In some levels, you will have to go back and forth a few times to accomplish a task. The Boss battles are pretty close to being the same (a batarang to the head and then pummel them).
Graphics: Great 5 of 5
Sound: Great 5 of 5
Controls: Good 4 of 5 (pretty smooth, but not perfect)
Story: Moderate 3 of 5 (good but not captivating unless you are a Batman fan)
I would still give this game overall a 5 of 5, because it was a lot of fun and the 3D effect made it so much cooler. It is probably the best Comic Book game out there. Let's face it, Marvel has a hard time making a game that gets over 3 of 5 stars in most reviews, which is hard for me to say as I am a huge Marvel fan. I would definitely recommend this game and I can not wait for the sequel.
on December 10, 2011
Batman Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year Edition is one of the greatest video games I have ever played. I am the rarest of gamers, a 63 year old who has been gaming on computers and consoles since the late 1970s. This game in the PS3 version is the best translation of a comic book hero into reality I've ever seen or heard of. If you want to get inside the mind of Batman and fight notorious villains and their henchmen without compromising any aspect of the characters, this is a game you must have. The GOTY edition allows you to play as the Joker, (main criminal adversary of the game), and comes with extra maps and challenges. There are puzzles which are solvable by people with average intelligence and if you need help solving the puzzle aspects of the game you can always find solutions somewhere on the web and plenty of walkthroughs are available on You Tube. The fighting is fast and calls for the cunning of a supreme crime fighter as you have so many weapons and "wonderful toys" to fight with. The game is enormous and encompasses all of Arkham Asylum as well as Arkham Island. You will be playing this one for a long time as it is just full of things to do and they are all fun. This game is considered one of the all time PS3 hits and is likely to remain as such for as long as there is a PS3. If you are considering purchasing Batman Arkham City, which is the sequel to this game, make sure you have played this one first. This game comes with all of the downloadable content which Arkham City has already started selling. So for about $20 you will get a game which cost $59.95 when it was released plus about $30 in downloadable content for free. When you finish playing Arkham Asylum, you can buy Arkham City for a lot less than it costs now. Buy this game, put it on your big screen, and enjoy yourself in the insane asylum.
on May 8, 2012
...but gets repetitive. The whole gaming system is built very well. It's pretty obvious where to go as you are playing, and difficult to get too far off track. It gives you strong clues where to go the whole time. It's a very well-designed game. The combat and navigation (climbing, etc.) works great.
The main complaint that by the time you get about 1/4 of the way through, you've pretty much seen everything. The first time you encounter the Scarecrow, it is AWESOME. The next time, it feels more like a chore. This is how a lot of the bad guys/bosses/puzzles feel once you've encountered them before.
on February 22, 2015
This game is so awesome, I couldn't stop playing it. The graphics are amazing, the story line is interesting and it's just difficult enough to not bore you. There are some places where you can't skip through a story sequence that I don't like, but it doesn't warrant one less star. I highly recommend this game.
on September 26, 2013
From a visual and story perspective this is a perfect marriage of the classic "Batman the Animated Series" and Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" films. It's dark, it's gritty, but it also keeps a certain sense of fun thanks to the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman and Mark Hamil as the Joker.
This game truly captures the aspects of Batman as a man who strikes from the shadows, but also brings in his skills as a detective in a way no game before really has. The look and feel of the game is phenominal.
It falls short of a perfect score for me because of the camera. I'm a bit motion sensative if I can't get the game's camera to react the way I expect it to. While the camera is hardly spastic, I wasn't able to consistently get it to react to my movements through the game in a way that kept me from getting motion sick. Just a bit more control and customizability of the camera pans would have done the trick.
on June 21, 2011
Just got this game a few days ago, after it became cheap enough for me to buy. This is an awesome game. I don't think I have found a single gripe about this game yet. The mechanics are tight, the graphics are crisp, and the story is compelling. I have played it in 3d and normally, and I have to say, I prefer the normal way. For reference, I am playing on a 32" 1080P LCD HDTV. The game looks spectacular, but the 3d is just not worth it. What I mean by that is, yes, it adds some depth to the game, but at the cost of your eyes. I played it in 3d for about 30 minutes, and it looks a little better, and the rendering definitely looks more three dimensional (not in a pop out of the screen kind of way, but in a depth into the screen kind of way) but when I took off the glasses it was a little disorienting. The white walls looked all kinds of crazy colors, and I felt dizzy for a minute. After that experience, and coupled with the fact that you get 1 pair of glasses, so my wife can't even look at the screen when I'm playing in 3d, I no longer play in 3d. It was a minor difference, with a major side effect so to me it wasn't worth it. That's not to say the game itself wasn't worth it. It is a fantastic game, and I will enjoy playing it for many more hours I'm sure. It is very tempting to walk around the whole game in detective mode, I have to keep reminding myself to turn it off to enjoy the creepiness of the graphics. Overall a great gaming experience, and I already can't wait for Arkham City to come out!
Just got this game and as one that was not familiar with this game when it originally came out, I wasnt sure what to expect. I read the good reviews and hoped for the best. I will say that so far I am pleased, it seems like a fun action game with good story elements. I will say though on medium level at least in the beginning stages, it seems a bit easy, but I havent gotten far into the game so I am not sure whether that level will amp up the further I go into the game. It is definately worth the price at 16.00 bucks though for all the bonus stuff with it, if you are like me and have never bought the original when it first appeared.