Batman: Arkham Asylum

Ba-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Ba-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Ba-na-na-na-na-na-na-na. Batman!…

…This is all I could think watching the dark night running around the various bits of the asylum. This game screams classic Batman with every fibre of its being. The voice acting, the character models, the easter eggs and a few of the less mainstream faces making appearances. Put simply, they got the feel for this game spot on.

Whilst I enjoyed the latest batman trilogy, I couldn’t help but feel that they were missing something… They had no soul! There was no black comedy, no fun and no truly outlandish moments that made me think, “yes… this is a batman film”. We were left with a dramatic, gritty and realistic re-hash of the making of a batman that I couldn’t root for… and that voice!!!

…this is not a film review… calm…

So, how does it play? Pretty well actually. It may suffer a little from “tekken syndrome” whereby you can complete any combat by only remembering one or two combo attacks but the combat is entertaining. I’d place the majority of the game somewhere between tenchu and assassins creed in style, running along rooftops and surprise attacking a group of gun wielding maniacs dressed like clowns.

The enemies start to genuinely panic when they find their mates KO’d on the floor or catch a glimpse of you, only to lose you as you swing up into the rafters. This is really well done and is hilarious to watch. Picking them off one by one is such fun.

The storyline keeps you entertained, and the depth of the batman universe is used to maximum effect, creating a truly immersive experience that can you can lose entire days to.

Collectables play a large part in this, forcing you (if you’re anything like myself) to spend half of the time searching every nook and cranny of a building in order to find them all. Sometimes this can make the mission you’re actually on feel like the side-event and I’ve found myself accidentally wandering into a cut scene once or twice.

The bosses are varied enough to consistently challenge you and the gadgets that you get drip fed, force you to return to places that you’ve been before in order to use said gadgets to get hold of the collectables that were just out of reach the first time you saw them.

I won’t spoil anything for anyone, but the scarecrow encounters are ridiculously well worked into the game and awesome.

So in summary, if you enjoy beating the mentally ill senseless, stalking people and exploring dark corners to find audio recordings of weirdoes, this is almost certainly a game for you. An absolute must-play if you’re a batman fan… it’s better than watching the latest trilogy of films at any rate.

Rating: 9 batmerangs to the face out of 10

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