Holy gaming Batman! So far we have come since May 1939. That being the infamous date in history of Batman's first appearance in the DC Universe (the comic is worth $475,000). Some people get that confused with Batman #1 which is his first actual comic book which introduced The Joker and Catwoman which is from Spring 1940.
Let us jump foward 35 years to Arkham Asylum. The first appearance of which was in Batman # 258 in 1974. Except then it was called Arkham Hospital. It has been blown up and destroyed several times over the years. The most notable was by, believe it or not, Black Mask. It was around this time (1980) the director of the Asylum himself started going mad.
So here we are another 35 years later and we have Batman: Arkham Asylum. Rock Steady and Eidos really did this game justice in every sense of the word. In fact I would go to say if I could shake the hands of everyone who worked on this game I would, to me it is that good. So now that everyone has a little backstory how about a game review?
Graphics - 5
By this time everyone should have seen the game. Everyone knows it is a solid 5. Right at the start when walking through the holding cells the game looks incredible, just as an example zoom in on Jokers face when he is talking and look at his expressions. It is too cool. As a side note the cut scene when you jump off the side of the cliff to get to the Batcave never gets old. The cut scene plays everytime to go to the Batcave and it looks really freaking cool.
Gameplay - 5
There is a trailer called Invisible Predator. One of the lines is "become the fear that strikes from the darkness." They certainly got that right. This is probably the only game that gets it right when it comes to a superhero game.
The game never gets boring, whether you are beating the c*** out of 5-8 bad guys or hanging from a gargoyle waiting for someone to walk underneath you.
Combat System - 5
Finally a breath of fresh air in this area. The combat system is innovative, free flowing combos. Just how good is it? I'll admit I got my a** handed to me the first time I played through the first fight you have after the Joker gets loose. No problem, just practice a little bit in the challenge mode then unleash your inner Batman in story mode.
Easiest way to string combos together is upgrade with the special throw then the special takedown and finally upgrading with the combo Batarang. You can string together some really cool looking combos. As a tip try to make sure the last guy you have in a fight is dizzy on the ground. Hold RT and press the Y button for a cool (depending on your position) full backflip with Batman landing on the guy with his knees before delivering a ground pound.
Challenges - 5
These vary (obviously) between the challenge mode and the story mode. The story mode consists of Riddler challenges mostly that are trophies and obscure riddles (lining up a question mark only visible in detective mode) that are given to you when you enter a new area. Some are from Amadeus Arkham himself, in the form of messages that need to be deciphered. To me the latter are the most fun, you can watch, or listen in this case, Arkham slip into madness.
Some riddles are annoying. You HAVE to look around in detective mode for the riddles with the question marks and like I said, much of those are VERY vague. But most the 200 I have found so far are fun and you get a sense of accomplishment when you find them. Perhaps this may be one way Rock Steady made The Riddler to be somewhat of a constant character in the game, even though you never see him (except for his cell) you still do battle with him through your wits.
Challenge mode is straight foward. Fight these guys, take out these ones. Fighting challenges are base on points. Length of combos, taking damage (or not) and variety all determine the score in the end. "Invisible Predator" challenges consist of taking out the bad guys as fast as you can. All of these have different quests you can complete. One of which is taking out 3 bad guys at once with the Batclaw, easy until you see where the challenge takes place and considering you need to PULL the henchmen over a railing.
Storyline - 4.99
Who doesn't like a good storyline? Most people will say that the story makes the game. Rock Steady and Eidos got it right when they hired Paul Dini to write Arkham Asylum. Dini has been a producer and writer for shows like...Star Wars: Ewoks, Tiny Toon Adventures, Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman/Superman Adventures, Batman Beyond and Duck Dodgers. Thank God above that a studio actually hired someone that knew what they were writing about. One example is that you may never see The Riddler but on the last patient interview you find of him you know why he isn't physically in the game. Just if anyone is wondering about the 4.99...thats because I just really, REALLY wanted to fight Killer Croc. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the script...lol.
Bits & Pieces - 5
What are these? The little things. Little things make up the game as much as the bigger stuff. Little things like when running through the records room and you run over a stack papers, what happens? you hear and see the papers go flying. When you hang a henchman from a gargoyle and cut him down just as another one is walking close to it, what happens? He jumps back surprised.
Overall - 5
Yes, that is a five with an infinity symbol after it. In other words Rock Steady has a winning combination, DON'T CHANGE A THING! This game is clearly a result of what happens when a studio does its research and hires the right writer for the job, I'm sure the backing from Eidos didn't hurt either...lol.
At the end of Arkham Asylum you hear on the radio that Two-Face has just robbed a bank. There is only one problem...waiting for Batman: Gotham City?
P.S. If this review is rather sucky I am sorry. I've been up for 27 hours