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View Full Version : Batman: Arkham Asylum - best comic game ever, or best video game ever?



JediTricks
09-15-2009, 04:38 PM
You are Batman, you are the night AND the knight! You are Kevin Conroy battling Mark Hamill's Joker as he takes over Arkham Asylum in a story crafted by Paul "BTAS" Dini. Do you fight the various thugs and supervillains or outwit them?

Dude, this game kicks so much *** after decades of mega-failure Batman games. Up until now, the best comic book-derived game was Spider-Man 2 and that was pretty limited. Now we have Batman: Arkham Asylum, and it is amazing. Every Batman game I ever played was just a scrolling fighter/shooter in disguise, and I've heard the games I didn't play that tried not to be ended up even worse.

Here, you are 3rd person Batman in the sandbox that is Arkham Island, you are using all your wits, gadgets, and instincts to save Arkham from the Joker's most twisted plan. And he's not holding back, this may be voiced and written by the Animated Series folks, but it's brutal at times, early on you watch thugs mow down guards as you aren't fast enough to save them, trying to open a grate to get to them in time. There are dead or dying guards everywhere, there are moments of torture, there are tons of supervillains being pretty badass, but most aren't just "boss battles".

The game is somewhat linear, but the sandbox is quite broad and there are some cool asides, as well as gadget upgrades (and only 1 stupid "why didn't he just use that instead?" moment). The Ridder's challenges are fun and there are lots, thanks to the maps he leaves around they're achievable without looking them up on the web, I got all 240 by myself and that felt great.

The hand-to-hand combat system is pretty easy to use, it can be a button masher, but to win the game you have to learn the skill of knowing when to punch, when to dodge, when to block, and when to mix it up, without feeling cheap. So you can get pretty far just by slamming the X button repeatedly, but towards the end you need to learn finesse. Very early in, you really begin to feel confident taking on a room of 6 thugs attacking at once as you move from guy to guy, delivering punch after punch, evading and blocking attacks, it feels "right".

Then there's gadgets and takedowns and other clever stuff, hiding in the shadows, scaring the crap out of thugs. Normally, a comic book game either dumbs down the superhero-ness of the enemies and environment, or does more of the work for you. Here, you really start to get what makes Batman work as a superhero because he is just a man, but by using guile and stealth and misdirection, by employing divide and conquer, not to mention some nifty scare tactics, your choices that seem rather basic - crawl into a duct after beating up 1 thug - craft the legend of the Bat as a creature that disappears and is unstoppable in the mind of your enemies. It doesn't have a complex stealth system, so it's very approachable, yet it really puts you in Batman's mindset.

The game has a nice, long storyline with fantastic voice work by the leads and even secondary and background characters. The visuals are spot-on perfect, dark and moody and dirty, changing from building to building on the island.

And for replay value, there's the challenges outside the game, 2 kinds, one that's a 4-round brawl, and the other that is taking down 6 to 8 armed guards via stealth tactics (this also teaches you new moves that aren't explained in the game, as well as giving you more ideas on how to strategize Batman's arsenal to maximum effect). On the PS3 version, you can also download Joker versions of both kinds of challenges, where you play as the Joker escaping guards, and he has his own sort of moves.

This game has been great to play for the last few weeks, and I'm tempted to go through again already, though I'm still about 6% away from the first game's 100% mark (I need to get the final few levels of brawler challenge score levels, everything in the main game is done though). I love this game, and in a way I hope they don't try to sequel it only because I fear a sequel wouldn't be as inspired or as well-executed, and it'd be too hard to improve on the near-perfection of Batman Arkham Asylum.

El Chuxter
09-15-2009, 04:43 PM
You're determined to get me to drop $300 on a PS3, aren't you?

Rise of Sin Tzu was a decent game, nothing complicated. Until the final boss, who was absolutely invincible. (Also, it's telling that they made a huge deal about him being the only Batman villain to debut in a videogame, but he never appeared anywhere else.) I also thought Silver Surfer on the NES was way underrated--not nearly as tough as people make it out to be, but, again, nothing complicated, and for the Surfer to go down with one shot takes some suspension of disbelief.

Rocketboy
09-15-2009, 08:57 PM
Lego Batman kicked a lot of *** also.

JediTricks
09-17-2009, 05:36 PM
You're determined to get me to drop $300 on a PS3, aren't you?It's also on the Xbox 360 and even on PC if you don't mind not having the Joker levels. But it's a badass game, no question, and very worthwhile on a true next-gen console (there's no way this game could exist on the Wii, it doesn't have enough processing ability to run the Unreal Engine that is its core physics and graphics system, and the controls are a little too busy for the wii's controllers).

Check out some pics and reviews and videos, I think you'll be impressed. But it's the hands-on that blew me away, I don't believe my eyes anymore at $60 a pop. And while they had a great panel at SDCC this year, they didn't talk enough about the game itself so I didn't realize it'd be this good.


Rise of Sin Tzu was a decent game, nothing complicated. Until the final boss, who was absolutely invincible. (Also, it's telling that they made a huge deal about him being the only Batman villain to debut in a videogame, but he never appeared anywhere else.)Sin Tzu was just another side-scroller beat-em-up though, not really Batman, could have been any game.


I also thought Silver Surfer on the NES was way underrated--not nearly as tough as people make it out to be, but, again, nothing complicated, and for the Surfer to go down with one shot takes some suspension of disbelief.Taking it back to the 8-bit is not a good place for examples. I don't remember that title though.



Lego Batman kicked a lot of *** also.I keep meaning to check that game out. I should download a demo of it on my PS3. But there's no way it's going to out-Batman this Arkham Asylum game.

El Chuxter
09-17-2009, 05:52 PM
Hmmm.... If I were to get another system, I'd probably go for the XBox 360. I've got a PS2 already, though, and hardly use it, so it'd be tough to justify any additional hardware. I don't really care for PC gaming, since it requires being totally away from everyone else in the house, and getting a game I know would be addictive seems like a bad idea.

JediTricks
09-17-2009, 07:56 PM
The Xbox 360 Arcade system is $200 ($100 less than the PS3 and xbox 360 Elite). Of course, that means it doesn't have Blu-ray, it doesn't have internal storage (it has half a gig of flash memory, which isn't enough to hold a single demo), no wifi, bluetooth, motion-sensing controller, or free online gaming (it does have free online capabilities, but not for gaming, that costs $20 a year or something), all of which are in the PS3 and better versions of the Xbox (minus the motion-sensing controller, which it doesn't have at all). However, for just console gaming, no downloads, it should deliver what you need for a hundred bucks less than those others.

The lame thing about the 360 "Arcade" system is that for $200 you don't get a harddrive so you cannot play any older original Xbox games ONLY because the system can't install and save data, if you buy an external harddrive that works with the system you're in business but at that point you might as well just drop that extra $100 and buy the 360 "Elite" system with the 120gb harddrive and the free headset. And if you're spending $300 for a console, you are going to be hard pressed to choose because the PS3 has a user-swappable 120gb harddrive, Blu-ray, wifi, bluetooth, the Sixaxis controller (which is a gimmick but fun as hell on Motorstorm), free online gaming, and runs cooler and 31% less electricity than the previous version. Of course, if you want backwards-compatibility, the PS3 no longer does it, so the Xbox beats it handily.

I guess that's the problem with buying a console now, do you go cheap and just enjoy it for today, or do you invest the extra $100 and look at future-use of the system? I went with the latter and now have a fantastic HD source for movies as well as gaming on my new HDTV, but that may not fit what you want to do.

And then, once you get a next-gen console, you'll need to buy Batman AA and SW The Force Unleashed.

El Chuxter
09-18-2009, 01:04 AM
I've got TFU on Wii. Even with the massive difference in gameplay that I'm aware of, I don't know that I'd double dip. Course, I could get the Sith Edition, or whatever it's called. :evil:

JediTricks
09-18-2009, 04:25 PM
Yeah, definitely don't get the original TFU when you can for the same price or less get the new version that has all the extra content you could pay more for, AND MORE, on 1 disc. But the game is significantly different on the next-gen consles from the Wii, so it is worth checking out even as a rental if you get a PS3 or 360.


I'm jonesing to play Batman AA again, but I don't want to do it too soon, so I have started a new game of GTAIV (it's my only true 1080p game, and my old game has no trophies) and all I can think is how cool it'd be to have Batman in that city.

JediTricks
09-20-2009, 04:13 PM
They just released 2 more challenge levels as downloadable content for free, I'm going to go check them out.

figrin bran
09-21-2009, 02:01 AM
Thanks for your review, JT. I'll probably get it eventually, especially with the Conroy/Hamill/Dini factor.

I just got Lego Batman in fact, now that it's a $20 Greatest Hit for the 360. That Batmobile vs. Two Face's truck level was tons of fun! A vehicle based level where you aren't on a track??? *ahemLegoStarWars*. (Obviously, I'm not counting the barricades as tracks)

plasticfetish
09-21-2009, 06:07 AM
I'm jonesing to play Batman AA againI started this game a few weeks ago, and had to stop at about the 50% mark because I've been way too busy to finish. It's f***ing killing me!!! I'm dying to get back at it.

I don't know if I'd call this the best game ever, but it's high on the list for me. Easily my #1 for the year (or the decade.) I always rate games based on the moment, and this one is as perfectly timed as it is designed. Everything is just "right" about it. Coming on the heels of two great feature films, and at a time when there are so many other great Bat-things out there. I mean... I'm really enjoying the comic books right now, and I don't get a chance to watch the cartoons, but I wish I could.

And let's talk about Mark Hamill. I can't remember what it was that guy did before, but he's great as the Joker.

I'm a little jealous that you have the PS3 version JT. I'd love to be able to play the challenges as the Joker.

JediTricks
09-22-2009, 05:13 PM
So, the new challenge levels were one where you literally are dropped into a room and fight endlessly against the unstoppable hoard. It's really wild, a great way to practice the freeflow fighting chains.

The other is another Invisible Predator stealth level, and they put all the good stuff in this new level, it's got explodable walls, glass ceilings to drop through, windows to smash through, gargoyles, and a bunch of airducts to crawl through.

Apparently, there is more free downloadable content coming in a couple days, but I have no idea what. If they keep this up, I'll wear out my B:AA disc! :D
Thanks for your review, JT. I'll probably get it eventually, especially with the Conroy/Hamill/Dini factor. Sure thing, glad I could cast light on this game, I was lucky I noticed it at the right time or I would have missed it as well. Don't miss this game, it's fantastic. It also has the original Harley Quinn voice actress, and she's really doing a great job with it.


I just got Lego Batman in fact, now that it's a $20 Greatest Hit for the 360. That Batmobile vs. Two Face's truck level was tons of fun! A vehicle based level where you aren't on a track??? *ahemLegoStarWars*. (Obviously, I'm not counting the barricades as tracks)Do you mean off-rails, or fully "sandbox" style? Lego SW 2 and Complete Saga aren't on-rails (except for the Ep 3 Jedi Starfighter battle, but that one needs to be that way).

I downloaded the LEGO Batman demo the other day, but it didn't quite deliver what I was hoping, the concept didn't fit for my tastes (this could be the demo's flaw). My copy of Lego Indy showed up today, so I'm gonna jump into that soon, but I suspect eventually when I'm done with that and I find Lego Bats under $20, I'll buy it too.


I started this game a few weeks ago, and had to stop at about the 50% mark because I've been way too busy to finish. It's f***ing killing me!!! I'm dying to get back at it.Yeah, I bet! Whenever I'd stop for more than half a day I'd start getting antsy thinking about what was coming next.


I don't know if I'd call this the best game ever, but it's high on the list for me. Easily my #1 for the year (or the decade.) I always rate games based on the moment, and this one is as perfectly timed as it is designed. Everything is just "right" about it. Coming on the heels of two great feature films, and at a time when there are so many other great Bat-things out there. I mean... I'm really enjoying the comic books right now, and I don't get a chance to watch the cartoons, but I wish I could.I suspect this game will stand the test of time, maybe not as the best but in that realm. I'll be honest, this game feels like it came out at an odd time, the end of summer, very little advertising, I didn't even know it existed until Comic-Con and didn't think about buying it until I saw good reviews on IGN. Granted, it helps that there are 2 good bat-movies in the bag right now, but even if they had never been made, I think this game would have worked, it's a totally different take on Batman, very comic-book-oriented in terms of the setting, the way the villains behave, the style of gimmicks and action, that sort of thing.


And let's talk about Mark Hamill. I can't remember what it was that guy did before, but he's great as the Joker. Yeah, I just watched the documentaries on the game disc and watching Hamill voice The Joker, it really doesn't remind me of him as Luke at all. It's like he was born to play this version of the Joker, and now that they've let the cartoon Joker off the chain here, it really feels like Hamill is equally unchained in his performance. With Joker killing folks left and right, making jokes about dead babies, and just being nastier and edgier without losing his original style, Hamill deserves some renewed recognition for a fine body of work as the Joker. I had no idea he was this good, I always appreciated him as the character but on the cartoon there wasn't as much to do or say. When he says "these are my best guys, Bats! They'll find you... and kill you!" he throws a little funny inflection into that last sentence that makes it seem like something ONLY the Joker could say.


I'm a little jealous that you have the PS3 version JT. I'd love to be able to play the challenges as the Joker.Yeah, I really lucked out there, I didn't know at all that it was exclusive to the system, it's a ton of fun and a darned good incentive for this specific version. I'm surprised they didn't get a 360 exclusive play mode out there as well though, they did that with Soul Calibur IV with Yoda in the 360 and Vader in the PS3.

figrin bran
09-23-2009, 03:01 AM
Jt, Lego Bats is only $20 at TRU, which is where I got it. Somehow all the Lego constructs and the various puzzles you have to figure out in these games seem to fit the Batman universe more than it does Star Wars or Indy. And unlike those games, in Lego Bats, for 50% of story mode, you play as villains. I've only done one villains level with Riddler and Clayface but it was a blast creating mayhem in Gotham!

As for Bats AA, it has been heavily advertised in DC comics the past few months. However, the ads don't have any screen shots of the game! Brillant, huh? I guess I just drew the conclusion that the game must not be that great.

JediTricks
09-24-2009, 06:12 PM
It's now $18 on Amazon, but I'm still going to hold off for a little while since I just got LEGO Indiana Jones.


Batman AA advertised in the comics without graphics, great plan there guys. It seems like Eidos doesn't know how to do the marketing on this game, they have a true winner but they are stumped how to market all the great stuff.


Oh, and last night they released another free Downloadable Content pack, 2 more challenge levels, I gotta go set up my system to download them.


And I just read that along with Batman's costume getting more beat up as the game goes, he starts to get 5 o'clock shadow that turns into full stubble. I had noticed the stubble, but didn't realize it was a change from the beginning of the game, didn't think about it then.

figrin bran
10-18-2009, 03:04 AM
It's now $18 on Amazon, but I'm still going to hold off for a little while since I just got LEGO Indiana Jones.


Batman AA advertised in the comics without graphics, great plan there guys. It seems like Eidos doesn't know how to do the marketing on this game, they have a true winner but they are stumped how to market all the great stuff.


Oh, and last night they released another free Downloadable Content pack, 2 more challenge levels, I gotta go set up my system to download them.


And I just read that along with Batman's costume getting more beat up as the game goes, he starts to get 5 o'clock shadow that turns into full stubble. I had noticed the stubble, but didn't realize it was a change from the beginning of the game, didn't think about it then.

So those Batman AA ads are still appearing in DC comics and still without any graphics/screenshots whatsoever. They do however tell you to visit the game website for screenshots. I'm sorry but out of sight, out of mind definitely applies in that case as once I'm done with reading Blackest Night or whatever else, I won't remember to like for graphics that should have been in that ad in the first place.

El Chuxter
10-18-2009, 03:53 AM
I think an awful lot of marketing people overestimate the desire of people to go to a website and look for ads. :rolleyes:

JediTricks
10-18-2009, 07:00 PM
Yeah, I saw the Joker advertising scheme on the back of a bus recently, no screenshots, no game graphics, no real statement as to the game, they're just hoping you'll go to the website which is a shame because the game is so much more than that.

Then again, it sold something like 2 million copies were sold in just the first 3 weeks, so maybe word got out.

JetsAndHeels
11-25-2009, 02:42 PM
I'm really late to this thread, but I have been playing this game off and on for a couple of weeks now and it freakin rocks.

I like everything about this game...but probably something that I like more than anything is the darkness and creepiness. When I played Dead Space I always was kind of on the edge of being scared, because there would be many times when something would jump out at you, or a loud noise would make you jump..I find that sometimes in this game, and I love it.

I just defeated Bane and am now trying to find the dr.'s notes. I imagine I have plenty of ground left to cover.

JediTricks
12-02-2009, 05:01 PM
The game has great atmosphere, and I think part of what makes it work is that, while it can scare you a little, you can become a part of that atmosphere as Batman hiding in the shadows and scaring the crap out of henchmen.

Bane comes pretty early in the game, you have quite a bit more to see and do, and you'll need those Bane-fighting skills again.

I may have to take some time and play this and TFU again soon.

El Chuxter
02-27-2010, 02:19 AM
There needs to be a downloadable level with Music Meister, portrayed by NPH, but done in live-action. Perhaps controlling other villains.

I'm serious. Honestly, that combined with the game itself would make me cave and buy a PS3.

JediTricks
03-04-2010, 04:49 PM
Yes, that seems likely.

El Chuxter
03-04-2010, 04:51 PM
Music Meister, sadly, could only work in a realistic Batman universe if he was just some sad, pathetic would-be Broadway star who went insane.

But it'd still be funny. He could be like a Glass Joe sort, where he starts singing and dancing while Batman is fighting him, and it only takes one punch to knock him out.

JediTricks
03-04-2010, 05:48 PM
Sounds like the Spider-Man 2 video game battle with Mysterio. I only found a video with no audio, but it sells what's going on fine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IS_zWW9jJ34

The best part is the game really builds up Mysterio as a villain for a few levels first, both in minions and story cut-scenes, and then we get that epic battle. (That was the best Spidey game of all time, they really need to go back to that engine and concept and go again.)