Batman: Arkham Asylum
Price: About £8
At last! I have finally got round to finishing this one. It was frustrating to discover that I had almost completed it before my previous Playstation died a death, but ultimately satisfying to finally see the story through to its conclusion.
Arkham Asylum brings the Dark Knight to life in a gritty and fun way – pitting him against loads of his nemeses, from Killer Croc to Scarecrow.
I’ll admit to not being the greatest Batman fan. I don’t know an awful lot about the world or the stories, beyond the recent Christopher Nolan adaption. But rather than taking the realism line like Nolan, this plays up all the more sci-fi elements, with scanners that can magically trace fingerprints that are less than an hour old, and Poison Ivy’s plants growing enormous and destroying half the island. The Joker is a gaudy lunatic, turning goons in the prison into super-strength monsters with venom injections.
It was fun to explore Arkham and face off against all the villains. The level design is gorgeous, and the tools in Batman’s utility belt fun to use.
Combat does get a little repetitive. There’s a lot of jumping around gargoyles and stealth strangling people. Then bosses that aren’t known characters tend to follow the pattern of ‘throw batarang while they’re running to make them dizzy, then jump on their backs’ which didn’t get particularly more challenging. But then, this isn’t really a game about the fights, it’s about solving the puzzles and using Batman’s various tools to navigate Arkham Island.
I didn’t bother returning to any locations to get the Riddler Puzzles, sticking to the ones I could solve with the tools available to me at the time. Again, it was fairly repetitive, with trophies hidden behind false walls, or question marks painted onto the environment that you have to line up by getting the camera in exactly the right place.
So, a fun game, a little repetitive, but short enough that it doesn’t become annoying. A good story and beautifully designed. I’m looking forwards to playing Arkham City soon!
Next Up: Overlord 2