Let me assure you, this isn’t much of an achievement. However, let me also assure you that Arkham Asylum is a must-play for the 360 or PS3.
The basic story goes as such: Joker is crazy and Batman is cool. There, that’s about all you need to know. Oh, and the Joker takes control of Arkham Asylum and Batman is forced to recapture the Joker. This is all the storyline any Batman game ever needed.
The Best of the Bat
Best part, besides all the other best parts, is that Mark Hamill returns to voice the Joker while Kevin Conroy voices Batman. These two define the characters for me. Forget Bale, Ledger, Nicholson, Keaton or West, these are the two guys who do the characters best and they’re just voices.
As for gameplay, we finally get people programming for Batman with the understanding of who Batman actually is. He is a martial arts master with espionage and detective skills coming from every orifice. Thankfully we’re rewarded with good combat that plays very smoothly. I can’t stress how fantastic an upgrade that is from any and all previous Batman games since Batman on the NES.
Visually we’re talking about a nice looking game. The environments are solid and the atmosphere works perfectly to create a truly Batman experience. There are some hiccups once you reach some sewer levels since they’re somewhat the weak point of the game, and you may laugh at the sheer amount of structures Batman can grapple to and from, but overall this is good work on the developers’ part.
One common compliment the game receives has to do with its pacing. While the game takes roughly 8 hours to complete, it feels like you just began. That’s some great pacing there, though some have complained that the ending falls short, particularly the methods for going about fighting the final two bosses.
Still, I’m sold here. Batman has always been aching to get back to his prime with video games, but few have really figured out how to accomplish that task. This is the complete Batman package, including nods to all sorts of Bat-lore via Riddler Challenges, little hidden trophies and things scattered throughout the asylum, allowing the diehard fans and completionists to continue playing to their hearts’ content.
Arkham Asylum is a winner. Go play it right now. If you have a PS3, you’re able to download the Joker as a playable character within specific challenges, though I expect the 360 to get the same DLC within the year as well.