Holy Gee Wilickers Batman! This Game is Awesome

Honestly I can’t think of the last superhero game I played, let alone the last good one. But ever since Batman: Arkham Asylum came out I’ve been amazed that the developers at Rocksteady have captured the Batman universe so well.The Arkham story goes like this; Batman has captured The Joker once again and has returned him to the infamous Arkham Asylum. Little does he know that The Joker has planned his capture so that he may escape, release all of the prisoners, including some of Batman’s Rogue’s Gallery, and take over the island. So it’s up to you, the player, as Batman to traverse around the Asylum, taking out bad guys, saving the good guys and stop The Joker’s reign over Arkham. I’m going to start off this review with the things I didn’t like, because they number in the very small, as opposed to the things I loved, which I will rant about later down the line. First off, the graphics are fantastic, and every character and brick and mortar part of Arkham is very detailed with the use of the Unreal Engine, although some of models are a little off. Those of the various guards around Arkham tend to be a little bug-eyed and the lip syncing is kind of off, which confounds me. The fantastic look of the other characters it makes me think that they were rushed, which there is no excuse for, because the game was pushed back a few months. The next part that kind of made me drop my score for this game a little more was the fact that when taking out rooms of enemies using stealth you’d have to have x-ray vision always on. What the x-ray vision does is let you see the area in brighter color and see through walls and spot enemies wherever they may be. But since you need to see all the enemies when clearing a room, the game basically forces you to view most of the game through light blue colored lens and all the enemies as red skeletons. Apart from that previously mentioned graphical error, the rest of the game looks just as dark and ominous as you’d expect, from the top of the tallest tower to the stinking depths of the Asylum, the game fits the Batman universe perfectly. The character designs, apart from the wonky looking guards, all look great. Everything is so fantastically detailed, from Batman’s utility belt to Killer Croc’s many rows of teeth.Another exciting part that I feel goes along in the whole graphics/development category is the voice acting. Being the fantastic developers that they are, the original voice actors from the original Batman cartoon are playing their alter egos. Hearing Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Arleen Sorkin, voicing Batman, The Joker and Harley Quinn respectively, is just a complete plus.Now, when I go into the game’s combat, I must mention that while Batman is an action game, it is not by far a fighting game. While you do occasionally engage the enemies hand to hand, Batman prides itself on the stealthy aspects of the Dark Knight. Let me explain a how I cleared a certain room of six armed guards. I walk into a room and rappel up to one of the gargoyles placed around the area. Turning on the bat vision, I can see the six heavily armed guards patrolling the room and their heart rates, which range from calm to terrified. I take out the first guard by waiting for him to walk under the gargoyle I’m on top of, grabbing him, and hanging him upside down by a tether. Quickly I swing to another gargoyle while the other guards go and check out the unconscious one. I see a guard lagging behind and I glide down, kicking him then knocking him out with an overhand punch. Going back up to the gargoyles, I throw a sonic batarang, attracting a lone guard to it, where I proceed to sneak up behind him and silently choke him out. As the guards get taken out one by one they start getting more scared and it gets more complicated as the remaining guards, afraid for their lives, begin patrolling back to back, making it harder to single them out. Eventually I do take them all out, utilizing Batman’s various stealth skills. The magic of it is that I did it my way. When you play it, you could take them out in a completely different way. Now as I mentioned, the one on one fighting is rare, but when it does happen it’s usually Batman facing a large group of inmates either unarmed or with knives, stun guns, bats, pipes and other general weaponry. The combat buttons are devised very simple, one for strike, one for counter and one for cape stun, which is used for those pesky enemies who block too much. To fight the enemies you flick the thumb stick towards who you want to attack and WHAM you’re flying across the room kicking a dude in the head. Managing to tie together strikes, counters, and Batman’s arsenal to take down groups of enemies for a large combo is fun and amazing to watch unfold. Outside of the story mode there is no multiplayer but there is the challenge modes that let you upload your best score to online leader boards. The challenge modes are put in two different categories, predator and challenge maps, the Predator are devised as Batman in a room pitted against armed enemies and you must take them out without being taken out first. The Combat maps are as the title says combat based maps with Batman facing large groups of enemies and you must take them out as fast and as efficiently as possible. The main difference between the two is that the Predator are time based and you rely more on stealth where as the combat maps are about racking up the most points without getting knocked out. Batman: Arkham Asylum might have a few errors here and there but all around this is a fantastic game. The mood is right, the characters look great, the combat is exciting and the story is perfect. If you haven’t bought this game yet I strongly suggest you do.