Batman: Arkham Asylum for PS3

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DaHeckIzDat
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Batman: Arkham Asylum for PS3

Postby DaHeckIzDat » October 11th, 2016, 4:06 pm

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It's a pretty widely held belief that Resident Evil 4 is the best video game ever made. I disagree. While ResiFour is definitely a good game, it never really stood out to me as anything special. No, to me the greatest game ever made is Batman: Arkham Asylum. For decades, we'd been begging for a decent Batman game, but it wasn't until developers Rocksteady stepped in that we finally got our wish. We didn't just get a decent Batman game, though-- we got an amazing one!



Set in what I believe is the same continuity as Batman: The Animated Series, Arkham Asylum begins with Batman having thwarted the Joker's latest attempt to cause chaos in Gotham and is on route to take him back to the game's titular looney bin, Arkham Asylum. Upon arriving, though, the Joker breaks free and takes over the entire asylum with the help of Harley Quinn and his gang of thugs. Batman is trapped in the Asylum with them, and he's not leaving until he beats the Clown Prince of Crime and puts him back behind bars.



It's a pretty simple premise, but it opens the doors for a surprisingly deep and engaging story, due in no small part to Kevin Conroy taking up the role of Batman and Mark Hamill returning as the Joker. The voice acting is superb and the animation is like something out of a movie. Batman runs into even more of his classic foes throughout the game, like Killer Croc, Scarecrow, and Poison Ivy, and each of them both looks unique and adds something unique to the gameplay.



Arkham Asylum is broken up into three different sections: combat, stealth, and detective work (that's excluding travelling across Arkham Island itself). Combat is both simple and satisfyingly complex, with only one attack button, a stun button, the dodge button, and the block button. It comes dangerously close to being a button masher, if not for two things. Number one is the freeflow system that directs Batman's attacks in whatever direction you push the joystick, which doesn't sound like much on the surface, but allows Batman to go from beating up one thug to another without any pause in the action. The other thing is the block button. Whenever a thug is about to attack you, an icon will appear over his head. By pressing the block button, Batman will immediately block and counterattack his enemy, often in a dramatic and brutal fashion. In fact, all of the combat in this game is brutal. Bloodless and safely T-rated, but you can still feel every punch as it lands, and it is oh, so satisfying to lay waste to an army of meatheads.



Detective work makes use of Batman's "detective mode." By tapping the L2 button, you'll go into a nightvision-esque view that highlights where all of your enemies are, lets you see through walls, and marks certain items you're looking for. You don't often solve any mysteries yourself, and it's mostly used to lead you to knew places on the island, but it does still come in handy in other parts of the game-- namely, stealth.



The stealth sections are easily my favorite part of the game. In fact, I think Arkham Asylum is the game that introduced me to my love of stealth games in the first place! And I still don't think I've found a game that does it more naturally and fluidly than this one. When faced against armed thugs, Batman wisely decides to forgo taking them head on and instead goes ninja on their butts. You creep around by holding the R2 button, and can hide under floor grates or on top of gargoyles that, inexplicably, are inside nearly every room. No, seriously, why are their gargoyles inside the asylum? Aren't those supposed to go on the outside of the building? Anyway, the stealth sections are slow enough to make you think strategically and wait for the right moment to strike, while still moving fast enough to keep things from getting boring. The gargoyles, admittedly, feel like cheating since the bad guys will never look for you there, but there are few things more satisfying than coming down a clueless thug and hanging him from it upside down-- and then cutting the rope with a batarang so that he falls on one of his buddies!



After a while, the game might begin to feel repetitive. After all, pretty much every section is a mixture of the same three types of gameplay. Luckily, boss fights liven things up by providing a fun challenge as well as changing up how you play the game. Scarecrow uses his gas to transport you into a nightmarish obstacle course, Croc is a jump scare fest, and Bane is a freaking tank. These guys all provide a welcome twist on a game that, as amazing as it is, would get boring doing the same thing over and over again.



Except for the final boss. No spoilers, but... dang, that was was disappointing.



One other part of the game are the Riddler challenges. The Riddler has hidden riddles all over the asylum, and trying to solve all of them can be a fun diversion. They typically tie in with Batman's other foes who have been locked up in Arkham, and by finding their cells or evidence of their evildoing you can snap a picture with detective mode (for lack of a better word) and solve the riddle. It often rewards you by unlocking the villain's bio, telling you about their backstory and a ton of interesting Batman lore. What isn't so fun, however, are the Riddler Trophies. Ol' Eddie Nigma's hidden a bunch of question mark shaped trophies everywhere, and it's up to you to get them. Except, that's boring. It's a search-and-fetch quest in a game that, wisely, didn't include those anywhere else. The fact that you never need them to progress, and don't get anything for finding them, means you can safely ignore them with no repercussions. I didn't add these in as part of the main game because, as I said, they're completely optional.



So, based on everything I've listed here, can you see why I would consider Arkham Asylum the best game ever made? I can't think of any other game that combines so many different kinds of gameplay and do it so perfectly. While it may not be my all time favorite game (I'm a JRPG fanatic at heart), I'll still openly admit that it's technically superior to pretty much any other game I've ever played. It's fun, it's challenging, it's balanced, and it tells an awesome story. While it isn't without flaws, this game is still nothing short of a masterpiece.



I give Batman: Arkham Asylum a 9.5/10!

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Rookie1
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Re: Batman: Arkham Asylum for PS3

Postby Rookie1 » October 11th, 2016, 6:29 pm

I couldnt stand RE4. I played it for about 10 minutes and was done. This game, however, is probably one of the (if not the) best modern games I have ever played. It was just a phenomenal game in every aspect. Sadly, I feel the franchise declined with every sequel. Origins was unplayable, and because of that I didnt even bother with Arkham Knight.

I love this game, and look forward to replaying it in the near future.

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velcrozombie
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Re: Batman: Arkham Asylum for PS3

Postby velcrozombie » October 14th, 2016, 2:23 am

My favorite superhero-themed game, and one of my top three favorite games of the previous generation. I like Arkham City a lot and in some ways it improves upon it's predecessor (the quality/quantity of the boss fights and sheer number of abilities you get), but Arkham Asylum has the edge in story, pacing, atmosphere and memorable set-pieces (nothing in City tops the Scarecrow sequences in Asylum). Also, it's the only game that I ever bothered to find everything in, mainly because of how they made what could have been a boring collect-a-thon into a fun back-and-forth struggle with the Riddler

Rookie1 wrote:I couldnt stand RE4. I played it for about 10 minutes and was done.

I've got to know a little more - I can see someone preferring the old Resident Evil games to Resident Evil 4 (even if it's one of my top ten favorite games) but that's not even giving it a chance. I'm curious to know what turned you off so quickly.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Batman: Arkham Asylum for PS3

Postby DaHeckIzDat » October 14th, 2016, 10:18 am

I love City as well. Just finished it the other day in fact, haha. I actually like them equally, but for different reasons. I *do* love the grappling/gliding free roam of City, and it's always fun to just wander into a gang of thugs roaming the streets, but the game itself feels padded. Like, you can never just GO somewhere, first you have to go there, find out there's something keeping you from going further, go back outside and go on a lengthy side mission just to figure out how to get into the main mission's building. It got tedious after a while, you know?


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