Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Backseat Gamer: Batman Arkham Asylum Review

Anyone who knows me at least a little knows that I'm a huge fan of the DC Universe, especially of Batman.  The idea of a man who has no powers and still managed to kick everyone else's butt has always been my favorite.  I also love how flawed the character is and how his trauma is still very much a part of his life and is a major part about him - it makes him very interesting full of layers.  So a game where I can play as him and hack and slash my way through the characters and world I love?  Sign me up!

Batman has, once again, caught Joker and is en-route to take him back to Arkham, but he can't seem to shake the feeling that this time was a bit too easy.  Upon showing up at the prison and walking Joker inside, his suspicions are confirmed when Harley throws a switch and everything goes haywire.  Now Batman has to survive in a prison full of criminals he put there and somehow find a way to stop Joker's plan.

This is my type of game!  I've never been so good at platformers and fighters and RPGs, but hack and slash in this style with puzzles mixed in is all me.  I loved every second of this game from how well it played, how clean it looked and just how easy it was to immerse myself in the world. 

Combat wise, the game is built to teach you.  As Batman isn't expecting to be trapped in the prison, he doesn't have all his nifty gadgets and has to create them as he goes.  Upgrades in weapons are explained by finding pieces and gaining access to secret stashes all over the prison island and spaced out, so the player is allowed to learn each new technique and let it become second nature.  Juggling 8 different gadgets by the end of the game may seem like a lot, but the teaching style was nearly flawless and easy to follow, even for someone like me who isn't as good at games.  The only downside is that this is the second time I started the game, because I dropped it for a few months and forgot about how to use the gadgets, so there's a learning curve if you take a break and come back. 

Artwise, Arkham Asylum looks amazing.  Unlike the animated series and some of the comics, you're not confined to a single jail building.  Instead there's a whole island to explore with multiple buildings, nooks, crannies, caves and secret passages.  The 'world' for this game is quite big and it takes a bit to learn it all, however it opens slowly and like the fighting and gadget system, you're eased into all of it until you're ready to take on the ending. 

Detective Mode is also something that was introduced in this game and made my life a lot easier, though it isn't without it's flaws.  When you have detective mode on you can see inmates bodies through walls, count enemies and even see what weapons they have.  The problem is you can leave this on indefinitely and still see the world around you, so there's really no reason to turn it off.  I found this made the game much easier for me, but it caused me to not see a good portion of the game they'd created because I was too busy being in x-ray mode to fight.  I would love to see this tweeked in the next one (and I already know it is). 

Not all of Batman's rouges gallery are present in this game, but a fair number of them are for what the story allows.  By and far my favorite part was Scarecrow and how they created the dream sequences for him.  Playing through those was the trippiest and most interesting part of the game and provided a welcome break to sneaking through the prison and fighting thugs.  Poison Ivy was interesting, but her reason for fighting seemed really thin to me and didn't really need to be there, and finally Killer Croc ended up being more then a little anti-climatic.  I was expecting a fight with him, not a bait and hit until he stepped into my trap.  That left me a bit disappointed.  

The ending fight with Joker, sadly, I wasn't impressed by.  While it was fun and fit the style of the game overall, it was completely out of character for him as Joker is not really a flat out fighting character, so a final battle with him seemed silly in the way they framed it.  However, I'm a bit at odds with thinking of something better, so I can't complain too much.  I wish it had been more of a puzzle and obstacle course then flat out punching, but I can see how that would have been anticlimactic. 

Overall I love the game and had quite a bit of fun with it.

How Much I Played:
The whole game!!  Well, ok, there were a couple missions toward the end where I handed the controller over to my wifey, such as the Killer Croc fight and Poison Ivy, but other then that I played the whole thing and loved it. 

Easily one of my top games ^__^

They wifey and I have never really done any Batman cosplay, but we've got other costumes from the DC Universe and I've designed a bunch of dresses.  Poison Ivy is the character I get asked to sketch the most and here's the different outfits I've designed for her.

No comments:

Post a Comment