Locked up in Arkham Asylum

I would like to start this article with a disclaimer that means two things. I am a Bat-nerd. Saying that, I am going to be a very harsh lore and story critic, however, I have been waiting and hoping to play this game ever since the first announcement.

The game open is generally what would be the end of any comic or TV episode or movie; Batman driving one of the greatest villains ever dreamt to Arkham Asylum, that’s right Batfan, the notorious Joker. Anyone who has seen a trailer for the game knows what’s next. The Joker breaks free and as his leading lady puts it, “Now the inmates are running Arkham, well the Jokers men, but you get the idea.”

This game is beautiful. The graphics are superb. There are only three things that can be “nitpicked.” 1. Mouth to voice sync: Occasionally its off and because the rest of the game is so glorious, something that would normally be considered minor, glares at you. One of these I’m not sure if it was a mistake or meant to happen but, when Batman talks to the player i.e. mentioning water is electrified so you don’t go running into it, or that you can’t use your grapple in a certain area, his mouth doesn’t move. Giving this the benefit of the doubt, I decided that Batman was thinking these things to himself. 2. You can occasionally get stuck in the areas which you cannot get out of. This only happened to me once while I was floating around with my cape. 3. This isn’t so much of a problem as something I found different. In an age where almost all cinematic are rendered with in game graphics, with this game, it is not so. The cinematic graphics are better than the in game graphics.

That being said there were many things I was surprised at that were absolutely amazing. For instance Batman takes costume damage the farther you go into the game. While the damage is not dynamic it was a fantastic idea to add wear and tear to his costume and cape, as I believe it would be difficult to keep your duds nice while fighting a 700 lb half crocodile half man monster.

As far as Batlore goes, this game is spot on. Beyond getting the in game characters background correct they added many other backstories.

This leads me to one of my favorite parts of the game, The Riddler. The Riddler is the unsung villain in this game as little to no mention of him is made in any trailer. The Riddler was running around the Island before Batman arrived hiding what he calls Riddler Trophies which are, you guessed it, little green question marks. He also has almost one riddle per area. When you enter an area, the name of the area appears at the top of the screen. Under it, in green writing is a riddle which you must solve. For example, When you walk into a certain hall the riddle, “What does a bird need in the rain?” pops up. To any semi Batfan this could be nothing else but an Umbrella, in reference to The Penguin. Within that area is something that relates to the answer to the riddle, in this case, The Penguin’s umbrella’s are in a display case that when scanned will solve the riddle.

The rewards for solving his riddles are beyond worth it. With each riddle you solve, you are gifted with a character bio, from major villains such as The Joker, or Harley Quinn, to more minor villains such as Zsasz and The Ventriloquist, even minor characters like Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s trusted butler.

The scanning is done with Batman’s cowl. This has a number of difference abilities, from seeing through certain walls to identifying how many criminals are in an area and whether or not they are armed. This comes in handy with what the game calls Predator mode.

Predator mode happens when you’re in a situation when you cannot be see by enemies for one reason or another, generally being that they are armed to the teeth and if they see you they will rape you with enough ammo to occupy France. When you activate the cowl you can see the enemies regardless of where you or they are in the room. Then you are free to pick them off one by one in the shadows, scaring the shit out of them in the process. You can sneak up behind them and do a silent takedown. You can do a glide kick off of a high perch to knock someone out or, my personal favorite, wait for a thug to walk under your perch swing down encompassing them in your cape, knocking them out and tying them to what you’re standing on.

This game is incredible fun and very challenging at times; it various from your standard Batman ideals of sneaking around and beating baddies to a pulp to being gassed by Scarecrow and having to dive deep into your subconscious to get out. If you’re a Batfan you should be ashamed that you had to read this before you bought it. If you’re new to all of this, I recommend going out and buying it as soon as possible. I give Batman: Arkham Asylum a 10/10.

-LB