8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Inventive and Nostalgic Gem of the Year,
This review is from: Batman: Arkham Asylum [Game of the Year Edition] (Video Game)
For those who haven't played Arkham Asylum yet, I'll tell you why this was the game of the year. You feel like you're playing Batman. Not Snake from "Metal Gear Solid", not 47 from "Hitman", not Sam Fisher from "Splinter Cell"... but Batman. Perfect example.
You, Batman, jump off an extremely high structure on Arkham Island, with Gotham City gleaming in your peripheral vision as you free-fall. You instantly "glide", meaning you become a base jumper, slowing your descent while also controlling your approach. You switch to "detective mode", meaning the crazy inmates below are now highlighted for you to plot your trajectory. Just before the unlucky inmate can look over his shoulder, you take off the detective mode and watch in awe as Batman lands his feet square between this guy's shoulder blades.
This is a violent game. Not bloody violent, although there is that, it isn't particularly gory. We're talking bones cracking, security guards killed and displayed as trophies and "art", and of course, the disgusting gut-wrenching transformation at the very end. Characters are given the Arkham Asylum dark revamp, which is to say that, reflecting the darkness of the degenerate "Jeremiah Arkham", they appear to be rotting. Some designs are fun and exciting, like the Joker, Harley, and Ivy to name a few, while others such as Bane and Killer Croc may be a bit over-the-top.
The gameplay is varied to keep you on your toes. You'll find yourself sneaking through vents to avoid being shot to pieces by escaped criminals who have gotten their hands on the armory quite often, but there will also be some incredible fights out in the open where a swarm of thugs try to bring you to your knees all at once. The latter feels like an open-ended QTE (Quick Time Event) where you have a short opportunity to beat your enemies to a pulp before having to block and/or counter the two guys behind you who are about to crack your skull with pipes. You have a lot of gadgets at your disposal, like the quintessential batarang, your trustworthy grapple hook, and some other inventive surprises. The usage of these feels a lot like the Metroid Prime games, where you can only enter certain areas after scanning the environment and upgrading your equipment. To me, it can get laborious, but doesn't really get in the way of the core experience.
Lastly, the icing on the cake, which is actually the first thing you're treated to.... the voice-cast. Mark Hamil returns to antagonize you at every turn as the Joker, who he voices to absolute perfection. Likewise, Arleen Sorkin returns as his ever-faithful gushy side-kick Harley Quinn, who will make you laugh all-throughout. Lastly, of course, Kevin Conroy reprises Batman, the very voice of the Animated Series who has become the most popular Bruce Wayne/Batman to date for a very good reason. He's both charming and menacing, gruff and articulate, which perfectly captures the duality of the Dark Knight.
Game of the Year Edition features 3D glasses not unlike those you would find in book stores 20 years ago. I don't think they add anything to the game, so I don't wear them. As I did not purchase or play the original, I cannot comment on the extra features, however, it does have some unlockable content outside of the storyline. If you already have the original game, then I wouldn't recommend buying this. If you don't, then this is a worthy investment, even if you don't like Batman.