Welcome to the Madhouse
Batman: Arkham Asylum is a 2009 action-adventure video game based on the DC Comics superhero, Batman. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Eidos Interactive in conjunction with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. The player controls Batman throughout the course of the game with emphasis on Batman’s combat, stealth and detective abilities.
Is It Worth?
Yes! It doesn’t matter if you are a Batman fan or not, this is a game that absolutely demands your time and money.
A little about the Gameplay
The game begins with the Joker launching an elaborate plot to seize control of Arkham Asylum (a psychiatric hospital in Gotham City notable for its infamous inmates). He traps Batman in the “madhouse” and frees all of its dangerous inmates. With Joker threatening to detonate hidden bombs around Gotham, Batman is forced to fight his way through the asylum’s inmates and put an end to the Joker’s plans.
The opening areas of the game are linear, serving as a tutorial for the moves and approaches available to the player. Once the player emerges onto the island he can freely explore the game world, although some areas remain inaccessible until certain milestones in the main story are achieved or the player acquires certain gadgets.
The player has complete access to Batman’s gadgets which include:
The batarang (basically a boomerang) that may be used to stun enemies. A sonic batarang may be used to knock out enemies unconscious. A remote controlled batarang is also provided which may be steered even after the throw.
The explosive gel, which may be used on weak walls and floors, and can be remotely detonated — sending rubble crashing onto an enemy.
The line launcher can be used to traverse horizontal spans.
The Batclaw — a grappling device — can be used to interact with remote objects such as vent covers or to grab enemies.
The Cryptographic Sequencer is used to override security panels, open new paths, or disable various asylum functions.
An interesting gameplay element is the “Detective Mode”, which provides contextual information and highlights objects like destructible walls and removable grates, the number of enemies in an area and their status — such as their awareness of Batman’s presence — and shows civilians and corpses. The mode is also used to follow footprints, investigate odours, and solve puzzles.
It is up to the player how he chooses to play the game. The player may traverse enemy areas by direct combat or by using stealth. Although in certain areas, the narrative itself emphasizes on stealth tactics which include silent takedowns, dropping from overhead perches and snatching enemies away, or using the explosive gel to knock foes off their feet.
In addition to challenge maps, the game has over 200 collectible items, some of which become accessible only after Batman acquires a certain gadget.
1: Written by Batman veteran Paul Dini, lead writer of the classic Batman: The Animated Series, the game makes excellent use of Batman mythos. The story and narrative in particular are superb. Also, there are certain collectibles and moments that will reward Batman fans.
2: The voice acting is spectacular. Rocksteady struck gold when it brought back the old cast of Batman: The Animated Series. They are as good as ever!
3: Detective Mode was one of my favourite elements of the game. It was both interesting and fun to solve mysteries and puzzles using it, stepping into the shoes of “The World’s Greatest Detective”.
4: Some people complain that the combat of the game was too easy. I am, however, a firm supporter of the opposition. Batman is a master martial artist and acrobat. He travelled the world and trained for close to ten years to be at the very peak of human perfection. He should be able to takedown punks in the streets with ease! And that is exactly what the game provides. Quite frankly when I first played the game, I was nervous that this “Freeflow” combat might turn incredibly boring as the game will progress. But as enemies brought in guns and knives and tasers, I was required to do a lot more than press the strike button.
5: The game offers a lot of collectibles. Over 200, like I mentioned. This is along with special challenge maps, character bios and Riddler’s puzzles! However, as a fan, my favourite were the audio logs. Each one of the five logs covered a major villain of the game and provided insight into the inmates. Those haunting “Spirit of Arkham” were fantastic, in particular.
6: Visually, the game is just gorgeous. This is how Batman’s world should look like!
1: The only problem I had with the game was that it did not allow you to customize controls. Therefore, it took some time getting used to new controls after all these years.
2: Boss fights are rather easy, perhaps because there is a rigid way to beat them. Just follow the on screen instructions or listen to Batman’s monologue and you will be fine.
Batman: Arkham Asylum does an outstanding job of letting you be Batman. Everything about this game — the impressive visuals, compelling story, superb voice acting, hard-hitting combat — feels like it has been lovingly crafted by a development team that’s both knowledgeable and passionate about the source material.