A summation of a game that somehow builds backwards but remains a badass game.

God damn, is Christopher Nolan's influence ever-so-present here. Batman: Arkham Asylum plays out like hybrid of Chris Nolan's Batman universe, and the Batman of the old days. Asylum in example, plays musical numbers that sound similar to the dark, heroic trudge of the tracks crafted by Hans Zimmer, and the bleakness that those movies carry. What is carried over from some of the Batman cartoons is the fact that Mark Hamill (yes, that Mark Hamill) returns to play the voice of Joker, who is NOT sporting the newly found Glasgow smile crafted by the wonderful make up department on The Dark Knight. Still, beggars can't be choosers, and when it comes to video games, my ticket is far and in between, seeing as that I have no money, and all $266.99 of my last pay check went towards my college fund, which I will not be able to tap into until January when I move. And $92.53 of that is going to an overdraft fee that I had no clue existed until I got a call this morning that shook my world, and made me want to kill everyone on the planet. I hate banks. I hate them! And they are all going after me now because, somehow, my existence drove all the subsidaries into bankruptcy. Now everyone wants to jump on the Isikins hate train and blame me for all their misfortunes. So here is my letter to Barack Obama in regards to my endless barrage of injustices thrown at me by USCorp and all their stupid subsidized banks, that were likely bullied into merging with their failing company anyway ...

Whoa! Whoa ... what?

The first thing I noticed about Arkham was it's ability to draw me in within moments of starting. It plays out as sort of a BioShock meets Dead Space in that the atmosphere is similar, and the 3rd Person view adds to the amount you can see over Batman's shoulder. The gameplay doesn't take too long to get used to, since the camera (or whatever) moves swiftly and unnoticeably to vantage points that play more to the gamer's advantage. This is a nice little quip that several games often forget about. The gameplay is very swift and interesting, although sometimes combos are a bit difficult to build up on, seeing that it takes several rounds of ass-kicking to take some minions out. Though, for me, the gameplay was easy enough to get through, and I don't actually fear going through it again in a mode that provides more difficulty. Sometimes, Batman seems a little slow to the command, but for the most part he is all over it. There are enough goofy little puzzles to figure out, too, provided by the elusive Riddler who never actually gives you any face time. The Riddles ... some prove rather tricky and you really have to check your surroundings in order to find where some of them are. That's only SOME, however. I've had tougher times figuring things out. Like fucking Duke from Tales of Vesperia. That motherfucker.

So then, who does get face time in this game?

There's more than enough face time with characters like The Joker, Posion Ivy, Killer Croc (a boss battle to ultimately proves to be rather disappointing) etc. They aren't particularily strong and memorable villains, but a handful of them have some pretty memorable moments. My personal favorite boss in this game goes to Dr. Jonathan Crane aka Scarecrow. He doesn't really provide battles so much as sanity tests. You fight the guy three times and every time you are faced with a version of him that is about 150x larger than you. He searches, and you hide. When he looks away, you advance to the next part of this spiral of a battle-field, hoping that you are far enough behind the wall that he won't spot you. The hallucinations provided in this game are so sinister, it'll have you jumping out of your seat. There is one that is so interesting ... the entire beginning sequence is played all over again, but with all the roles switched. Joker is driving the Batmobile towards Arkham Asylum, and Batman is being taken in. I've opted out to describe the events as they are very clever, especially for a video game. Also, if someone could answer me this ... why is it so devastating to see Batman, in costume, in such a vulnerable state?

Rating

Category Comment Rating
Gameplay Swift, lethal, and complex enough for the avid gamer. 4.5
Graphics Good enough here. No one has mastered faces and expressions like Fallout, though. 4.5
Music/Sound Very Nolan-esque. I love how they take cues from James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer. 5
Replay Value Unfortunately, not a whole lot. Though I do plan on playing again sometime in the future. ... Future being ... the time from now until I die. 3
Originality A great amount of suspense, story, game play, and character. 4.5
Isikins Worthy? Yep. (As if it NEEDED to be.) 4
Final Verdict: 4.25

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