Sunday, January 19, 2014

Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) X-Box 360

Rating:  4 out of 5 Batarangs Whipped at the Heads of Thugs

Plot Synopsis:  Joker takes over the Asylum and it’s up to Batman to stop him.
The Good:

-The character designs are crazy good (Scarecrow, Joker, Bane, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc).  They took established characters and recreated them in incredibly interesting ways.  These interpretations have, for the most part, become the definitive interpretations of these characters.

-The story and the pacing are excellent, you get fed answers and questions at a rate that keeps you moving.

-The Scarecrow sections are amazing with a psychological look into Batman’s mind.  It changes up the gameplay and provides great visuals.

-They find new and unique ways to spice up all the places you have to revisit, it doesn’t totally alleviate all the back tracking you have to do but it helps.

-Every gadget opens up a bunch of spots that you couldn’t reach before like a proper Metroidvania should.

-The Riddler side quest is pretty fun, none of the riddles are too complicated but they are fun to solve in the course of the game.

-All the unlockables (concept art, character profiles, statues).  There are a ton of high quality unlockables available for discovery.

-The audio tapes give you insight on the new take they deliver on the characters.  They display the new darker tone as well as the more mentally unstable Rouges Gallery.

-The fighting is pretty smooth, you do feel like Batman in the way you step into a crowd of criminals and wreck them or sneak through the shadows to eliminate them one by one.

-The predator stealth portions are so awesome, just the way the psychology of the bad guy’s changes as you eliminate each person.  You feel totally in control and like a true predator.

-It’s either really poor rendering or a purposeful design choice but Harley’s chest appears to be freckled, which is pretty hot.

-Every time you pass the visitor center it gets more and more decorated for the ‘party’ at the end.

The Bad:

-There is a lot of back tracking, you end up re-visiting every place 2 or 3 times.

-The conclusion to the Riddler side quest is pretty anti climatic, he get’s arrested over the phone.  There I saved you ten boobless hours.

-The fighting system is smooth but something’s missing.  I don’t know really what it is but the system feels slow and at times inaccurate.

-You don’t get really a ton of gadgets, what you do get is functional and ok but I feel like there could be more.

-You can’t use gadgets (other than the weak ass batarang) in fights but it’s okay because you don’t really have any offensive gadgets anyway.

-You can’t follow up the batclaw with anything, it kind of makes the fact you can use it in a fight useless.  It will take a gun out of a bad guy’s hands but that’s about all it can be used for.

-The boss battles get repetitive.  If you can’t just beat the guy down then it’s batarang and dodge.

-What’s the point of finding all the ghost of Arkham stuff?  It ends up being totally confusing and the ghost story aspect doesn’t really fit the tone of the universe.

-There's a challenge mode but it's not that fun.  There wasn't m

The Ugly:

-There ain’t nothing ugly bout this.

Final Thoughts:  This was the first Batman game that proved you can make a good Batman game.  Up until this point the character was mostly headlining unplayable drivel.  I include the NES Batman in that, that thing was an impossible, frustrating piece of shit.  So it has to be given props for innovating like no other Batman game has before it.  At this point there are tons of articles that have been written about this game so I can’t add anything that hasn’t already been said better by other people.  The games that came after did it better but this is where it all started.

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