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Batman: Arkham Asylum review
by riz64


Had an itch to play some superhero games after completing Spiderman (PS4), so I thought I'd give the arkham trilogy a try having never played them before.
Unfortunately I don't think Asylum has aged rather well, to be honest I don't think I would have enjoyed it much at release either.
The combat shows its age, it effectively comes down to pressing square and triangle occasionally and lacks any real depth. The combat is also quite clunky imo and just doesn't feel that great, with batman feeling rather slow at times. Boss battles are quite simplistic and not very well designed, most of the time it just turns into an enemy gank fest where you're left fighting enemy thugs rather than the bosses themselves. The joker fight in particular was just awful. I played on hard, and the poison ivy fight is mind numbingly annoying.  There are a variety of gadgets available in game, with the batarang being a mainstay in your arsenal throughout. Not saying other gadgets are useless however, the explosive gel and batclaw can actually be helpful during some of the games more difficult encounters and I enjoyed the waynetech upgrades (apart from the combat upgrades which I found a bit disappointing). 
Story is OK, I don't really pay much attention to story in video games as long as the gameplay is good, but a good story definitely elevates the experience. In AA, the story is decent but nothing noteworthy. 
The stealth missions are okay, somehow there are gargoyles in the room of every building on the island but I understand i'm being nitpicky there. On hard, the predator missions can be rather unforgiving if you are spotted, with armed thugs killing you rather quickly, so you do need some patience. 
World design is good and tight, doesn't feel overdone and fits with the theme of the game rather well. Level design is okay considering the context of the game, with some nice areas such as the botanical gardens and intensive treatment. Level traversal is quite linear, with some backtracking involved.
Enemy variety is quite poor, it's basically blackgate goons throughout the game with different weapons sprinkled in, and the boss fights of course. 

Enough whinging
The voice acting in this game is fantastic, especially mark hamill as the joker. In fact most of the characters are very well acted. I really enjoyed riddlers VA, he had the perfect condescending talk down tone you would expect of the character. 
Atmosphere is very well done, especially the sections leading up to the scarecrow encounters and the killer crock boss fight (which though in itself is poor, is quite tense).  
The game does look quite good, especially for a 2009 release. Although I don't like some of the art design overall it was well done. Batman visibly showing signs of wear and tear throughout the game was a nice touch.

Overall, I think batman AA is a decent game but not one that I'd ever think of replaying. 

Other reviews13

This game invented modern melee combat.
Batman Arkham Asylum GOTY PC - Finished on 05/19/2019
A really well designed game, except for the bosses
Great Batman Game.
«Can’t stop playing»
«Beaten more than once»
I can commend it for making Batman fun, I can't look over how dumb the Riddler trophies and sometimes the combat feels too short, like 3 guys ain't gonna cut it, give me a 1 vs 50 moment

Best Batman Game Ever
«Blew my mind»
«Just one more turn»
The game that somehow made Batman games cool again. Created an entire new stealth formula based around the special abilities of a bat-themed vigilante. Villains and boss battle setpieces really stand out in new and interesting ways.
The start to an amazing series. The atmosphere is amazing and when this came out I couldn’t believe how much I felt like Batman. Replaying it, it’s still
fun but you can really see how city makes great improvements and then knight makes amazing improvements upon city. 

Final Score: B+
"Batman: Arkham Asylum gets out with a score of 8.7 - it really is a great game, and the things that prevent it from scoring more are related not to the quality of the game itself, which is top notch, but to the aspects that to me should make a part of a true Batman experience and adaptation and are missing from this title."

Full review (with scoring criteria) available here:
It's a shame I discovered this masterpiece just recently. BAA has everything you want from dark action game and more! Light stealth? Check. Interesting and iconic characters? Check. Dark and twisted atmosphere of mental asylum? Check. Super enjoyable combat? Check, for god sake! Can't wait to play all the sequels. 
«Can’t stop playing»