Posted on October 12, 2012
My Top 100: #69 – Batman: Arkham Asylum
I feel somewhat odd including more recent titles on my list, since I haven’t really been on-the-spot with playing new releases. If a game is critically praised, or if friends urge me to try it out, I *might* get around to trying it a year or two after it’s released. I’m never in any rush to do so, however.
With Batman: Arkham Asylum, I was in the process of getting psyched for The Dark Knight Rises when I got the Game of the Year Edition for Christmas last year. If there was ever a time for me to be in the mood to play a dark and gritty superhero game, then this was it.
The only “problem” I can see with having the Game of the Year Edition, is that I’m not aware of what was DLC and what was included on the disc itself. All I know is this; at its core, the single player story mode from this game is one of the most fun experiences to come around gaming for quite some time.
Right off the bat, Batman is lured into a fist fight with four inmates at once. It’s only a tutorial, but you immediately get a feel of how well the combat system flows. I wouldn’t say you can button-mash your way through the game, since doing so will probably get you killed later on, but stringing together nice “flow-ey” combos isn’t terribly difficult. Seeing Batman effortlessly pull off so many moves made me vocalize a few times with my own Kung Fu noises……… don’t pretend like you don’t know what I mean!! You’ve done it, too. Admit it!
Stealth is also one of Batman’s more useful tools. If a few guards in an area happen to have guns on them, it’s up to Bats to dispose of them in a much quieter fashion. Hang them from a gargoyle, or perhaps sneak through an air vent to do a silent takedown from behind.
It’s like Splinter Cell – just infinitely more badass.
Arkham is made up of caves and dwellings that are all inter-connected in really cool ways, and it kinda gives you that feeling that you’re part of a living, breathing environment. There’s even a “backup” Bat Cave in the middle of it, and it’s tucked away quite nicely; to get bonuses I had missed the first time through there, I had to Google how to get back into it!
The story is your somewhat typical Dark Knight fare; Joker takes control of Arkham, setting its denizens free to make life a living nightmare for Batman (or, at least that’s Scarecrow’s job). You get to throw down in fisticuffs with the likes of Bane, Zsasz, Killer Croc and one of Poison Ivy’s agricultural abominations, before the epic confrontation with Luke Skywalker – er, I mean, the Joker – at the end of the game.
Little additions like the Riddler Challenges, Joker Teeth (gotta find ’em all!) and Chronicles of Arkham… they all added up to an addictive experience I enjoyed tremendously.