First Exams
Batman: Arkham Asylum Impressions

You know about Batman fans. They’re crazy, constantly in denial, and ladies know them to be the most self obsessed men on the planet (and amazing lovers). I am one of them. I could write an entire paragraph devoted to reasons to why I like Batman. Rambling about how although I’m a huge fan of the character, his mythos and his villains. But for now  I’m going to try to be as unbiased as possible. But it would taste a lie to say this didn’t weigh heavily on my impressions of this. However, fanboyishness aside, all that stuff just makes me enjoy it a whole lot more.

Unreal Engine 3 Batman Game Announced – or something to that effect last year. I wasn’t that excited. I’ve played a lot of bad or sub par super hero games in the past. I’m relieved to be able to not count this game among them. I’m not going to lie and tell you it’s the best one ever. It’s not. But it’s easily the most faithful game adaption of a comic series. In this game you feel like Batman. Whenever you play as a totally bad ass character in other games, there’s always that disconnect that when you mess up or don’t know what to do that causes you to lose immersion. What Rocksteady has done is given the player everything they need to be Batman effectively. This does however make you feel a little overpowered, but who wants to play a Batman game where common thugs can whoop your ass?

The combat is very dynamic for dealing with multiple combatants. You’ll be able to take on any contender with ease as long as you keep a ready eye on your surroundings. The real pleasure is seeing just what awesome move Batman uses from his arsenal. Not only is it some awesome choreography and stunt action from Batman, but it’s some of the coolest mixed martial arts moves I’ve ever seen. It’s not very challenging, but I won’t judge the entire repertoire of Batman’s moves five minutes in. Not commenting on the intelligence of the AI, but how dumb do these bad guys have to be to even think about attacking him?! Joker sure does pick ’em.

The atmosphere of Arkham Asylum is really very convincing. This is also solidified by the quality of the cast in the game. The game does use the Unreal Engine 3, so anyone who has a mind to complain about this engine being too overused can pipe down this time. Graphically it looks very impressive and it manages to create a very iconic look to the characters of the Batman universe. From what I’ve played, there really isn’t a huge difference between the look of the PS3/360/PC versions. However, and this is a huge plus to the PC version, if you have a powerful Nvidia card you can reap the benefits of AA and PhysX support that will drastically change your interaction and the look of the game. But if you are trying to make a choice, I’ve managed to make up a short list for those who might like to know what each features.

"Why so awesome?"

Xbox 360 Version

  • Achievements
  • 360 Gamepad
  • Green box?

PS3 Version

  • Playable Joker Missions
  • Batcave in Home
  • Trophies
  • Dualshock

PC Version

  • Graphics
  • Cheaper
  • PhysX (Nvidia only)

The demo definitely sold me on the game, so I went ahead and pre-ordered the PS3 version. Gotta have that Joker. Surprisingly the Dualshock worked better for this game to me since you have to use the trigger buttons more for context sensitive movements. As far as the length, the demo was pretty short, only including a brief introduction to the game, explaining the basics. The free form section was a blast. After playing it a few times I’ve found myself taking the enemies out in different ways each time. The game seems to promise so much more given the amount of villains in the game. I definitely expect to keep busy in Arkham Asylum.

Amazon features the “Road to Arkham” comic when you pre-order. Not sure how else this will become available.