'Batman: Arkham Asylum'
By: Eidos Interactive, Ltd.
(Xbox360 / ASIN: B0026EOLM6 / Rated: T / $59.99)
Features: Face off against Gothamís greatest villains including The Joker, Harley Quinn, Victor Zsasz and Killer Croc. Become the Invisible Predator with Batmanís takedowns and unique vantage point system to move without being seen or utilize the unique FreeFlow combat system to chain together unlimited combos and battle with huge groups of The Jokers henchmen.
Choose multiple takedown methods, including swooping from the sky and smashing through walls, and use the predator camera get a closer look at the action. Explore every inch of Arkham Asylum and roam freely on the infamous island, presented for the first time ever in its gritty and realistic entirety. Experience what itís like to be Batman using Batarangs, explosive gel aerosol, The Batclaw, sonar resonator and the line launcher.
Description: 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' is a single player, third-person action/adventure in which the Dark Knight is forced to take on his greatest challenge yet when he is trapped by arch rival, the Joker, within Gotham City's facility for the criminally insane, Arkham Asylum. A blend of exciting arcade style combat and stealth mechanics packed with amazing graphics in a moody, immersive setting, Batman: Arkham Asylum offers diverse gameplay options that push the envelope for all action, adventure and superhero games.
Verdict: 'Batman: Arkham Asylum' has been ranked with the likes of Assassinís Creed and BioShock. This is significant because what Batman - Arkham Asylum doesnít provide in the way of innovation it makes up for by perfecting the gameplay gaps left in those great games. The majority of the games fight sequences use a mob fighting style reminiscent of that in Assassinís Creed as Batman battles through tons of the Jokerís minions. The most significant difference is that as the fight rages on and the combo level increases new more devastating attacks and button pushes become available for fun cut scenes and slow motion thrills.
Once Batman reaches a boss the game shifts gears and becomes a bit more tactical. While you may have to pummel the occasional thug throughout a boss fight, the actual Bossí require you to use strategy, the skills youíve learned in the game and/or one of Batmanís many wonderful toys to defeat them. Where the gameplay really excels is in its ability to stay true to details in a character that is over seventy years old. Jump off a building and the Bat extends his cape to glide back to earth, hang from a gargoyle to wait on an unsuspecting thug to snatch out of the darkness.
The games true innovation comes in its Detective Mode, which allows you to scope out crime scenes, see points of interest for grappling, and follow victims or felons trails. The upside/downside of this mode is that while you have the ability to see and assess skeletal forms through hundreds of feet of rock and metal (donít askÖ the technology is beyond our simple comprehension) you get bound to it and miss a lot of the beauty and detail that went into Arkhams dark design. While the game is third person, the first person zoom feature really captures the amount of effort put into making this game visually perfect from start to its brilliant polished finish.
Aside from the story portion of the game, Batman: Arkham Asylum has incorporated a number of features to increase the replay value including a skills/challenge section and Riddler narrated side quests. The challenge section is nice because it serves multiple purposes, on one hand it is a great place to hone the skills and attributes you have acquired in the story and on the other hand it ranks your best competitive times against the rest of the worldís players.
The riddler quests are placed throughout the actual story mode and can drive you as crazy as Edward Nigma if you arenít careful. The Riddler provides riddles and has placed items throughout Arkham that require your immediate attention. Thatís because many of them lead to new abilities or tools you will need for the game, challenges and later Riddler quests. The only problem is that half the ones you find initially will be irretrievable till later in the game and you will undoubtedly try to retrieve them for some time before realizing you need something else to get it.
Donít worry Caped Crusaders as you go through the story you tend to go back through these areas again which allows you to finally pick them up. Batman: Arkham Asylum aims and succeeds in combining a dark storyline and great gameplay and replay, with an ageless icon and his wonderful toys.
Reviewed by: Tony Weakland