The facetious moon scatters its light through the clouds, as the Bat-Signal erupts through the dark as a beacon in the light. The Joker strangely enough gives up without a fight and is taken to the infamous Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane, where an “unfortunate” fire has recently taken place due to the terrible wiring of the facility. Batman: Arkham Asylum presents a stark and harrowing tale where players are the infamous and caped crusader: Batman, who struggles to escape the grasp of Arkham Asylum and the deadly Blackgate prisoners that have taken command with the Joker. Rocksteady Studios partly creates one of the best interpretations of the dark and atmospheric nature of Batman that has gone unrealized for a long time in the video games medium. The suspense is gritty, the gadgets and abilities are wondrous, and the chilling voice-acting by Mark Hamill as The Joker (originally played in Batman: The Animated Series) makes the atmosphere of Arkham Asylum revive from the unexplored depths of terror. Being the knight of the dark is a benison to feeling the power of being an invisible predator of the night, but unfortunate back-tracking, limited enemy models, lack of realism, problematic A.I., and repetitive gameplay makes Arkham Asylum a dreadful place for more than one reason.
Batman: Arkham Asylum presents an impressing viewpoint the minute it is introduced. It is clearly a game that does not play upon the craze of the film just to make some money and is a game that is already better off. With choosing Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady Studios converged carefully to create an atmosphere that complements an overreaching and more incredible dark storyline fused with action and adventure. The storyline is a powerful piece that sets Batman into Arkham Asylum as soon as the Joker is loose after capture, but is distorted with smaller goon sequences. The trap is sprung gloriously and Batman is caught in the middle of the challenge to stop any more lives coming to harm.
Throughout the course of the game, most of the central scenes play an immediate role to creating something incredible in the storyline. First comes the long-drawn scene of taking the Joker to his holding cell, and then came one of the most memorable pieces of the gameplay experience further on: The Daydreamer, a confrontation with the tormentor of dreams that befuddles Batman to an extreme with frightening images and sounds – Scarecrow. When such focal scenes are not the star of attention, smaller sequences take place that usually offsets the true action from the Joker and the star characters. Most have to do with the Blackgate prisoners and their strategies, and most if not all are repetitive to the gameplay and storyline naturally. Most of the time, Batman: Arkham Asylum has an incredible storyline thanks to Paul Dini, the original writer of Batman: The Animated Series and leaves players with a journey that is greatly rewarding in the end despite the problems.
Rocksteady Studios continues to create action adventure through the single-player campaign that places Batman inside the realistic and believable environment that is Arkham Asylum. Dismally, a large portion of the gameplay includes repetitive missions along with an incredible amount of backtracking. Most of the missions are repetitive by design due to the gameplay mechanics of constantly killing thugs, or dealing with a large amount of Blackgate prisoners at once outside several buildings around Arkham Island. These thugs themselves are not smart, even though they react realistically when it comes to them going down one-by-one. The number of times we had to break gas fan controller circuits with a Batarang has been dated. Followed into repetition is the constant maneuvering of our bulky hero through small vents. Batman was not made for vents, and it clearly shows in the gameplay. Furthermore, missions require backtracking. When you complete one mission, you have to backtrack through quite a while. This is definitely more understandable, but the backtracking seems unplanned and contorted.
Batman: Arkham Asylum comes with a multiple variety of action through the use of gadgets and abilities making gameplay longer and definitely more fun, even if gaining them is not exactly ideal. The overall design to gadgets and abilities is simple: kill thugs, get points, and get upgrades with more gadgets. The Invisible Predator instinct is real when hunting down thugs, but gets extremely repetitive after a while. There is also a lack of realism when it comes to these upgrades. The protagonist is Batman after all, which lends itself to the clear concept that the upgrade system is a useless necessity for the cost of providing an empty incentive to players. While gadgets and abilities are great, there is a serious lack of realism to the entire system.
Batman: Arkham Asylum includes a few gameplay traits to lengthen the playability of the game such as the Riddler’s challenges throughout the maps. The challenges usually consist of finding Riddler Trophies or slicing up a bunch of bad Joker teeth. Even though Batman: Arkham Asylum comes with no online, the developers put some effort by placing challenge maps. Sadly, these maps get extremely tedious and are prone to a level of boredom. Had there been some form of multiplayer, Batman: Arkham Asylum would have definitely been better off than the action ending in the asylum itself.
The collector’s edition we obtained comes with a variety of things: a 14″ Batarang stand, 2 sleeve digi-pack with Behind the Scenes featurette, an Embossed leather dust journal of the Arkham Doctor’s journal and finally the batarang shaped case. While the collector’s edition sports a hefty package, most find themselves drooling over the 14″ Batarang stand which is not that grandiose. It is a nice addition, but the batarang itself is made out of plastic than true iodized material, which makes the real investment of $50.00 additional to the $100 MSRP value ridiculous even with the journal that is available in digital format within the game or a quick fact search on the internet.
Batman: Arkham Asylum does Batman justice, giving players a psychological and intense action adventure game that has not been seen before in the realm of Batman. An incredible storyline shapes the unforgettable atmosphere of Arkham Asylum, keeping realistic to the same chilling factor that makes Arkham Asylum and Amadeus Arkham’s project one of the most memorable scenarios Batman encounters in the comics. Sadly, the repetitive mission structure, dark dozens of “vent journeys” to get from place to place, disappointing A.I. performance, back-tracking, and limited replayability ratiocinates this trip into Arkham Asylum one worth thinking about multiple times for purchase before becoming criminally insane.