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Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum

Let me first explain to all of you that I am not a gamer. A good game, to me, is one that simply entertains. Of course, one might argue that all of the blood and gore is entertainment, but not for me. I have an extremely active imagination, and even though I can handle a good bit of violence I get really into it. In the end, really scary / gory movies or games get into my head, and I can rarely escape from them, especially in my sleep which, in turn, becomes impossible to do.

But that's beside the point. On to my review...

The game is engrossing, to say the least. I know that I'm fully entangled in the story, even though I'm not playing. Who would have thought? A video game with a great storyline. Huh. The premise is as follows:

While being transported to a high security area of Arkham Asylum, the elusive Joker escapes from the watch of Bat
man and the guards and holes up in Arkham itself, attacking its workers and taking the Warden and Commissioner Gordon captive. He also releases all of the crazies within the place in order to make Batman's trip inside the depths of just that much harder. The baddies that the Joker releases included but are not limited to Poison Ivy, the Croc, the Riddler, and Scarecrow. Batman's mission, should he accept it, is to infiltrate the asylum and stop the Joker from absolutely ruining the facility... Well, and to keep him from killing people. That's kind of important, too.

First off, props to Mark Hamill. His Joker has always been my favorite, and I'm pleased that they let him reprise his role for the game. There's just something about his voice that perfectly encompasses the mad hatter vibe along with the volatile,
criminal insanity. It's all in the laugh, I think. The cackle turns your blood to ice and makes you want to run home to mommy, no exaggerations. It also doesn't help that he looks creepier than Freddy Kreuger. I will say, however, that I was quite happy with the fact that, while the Joker is an incredibly deranged character, they took some time to lighten it up with nonsensical dialogue at which you cannot help but to chuckle. Two thumbs up for this character.

And now for the downside of their character development...

I'm all for stro
ng women. They're great. But I hate it when you can tell that a game has been written by a man, and this game was definitely concocted by the masculine mind. Wanna know how I know? 2 characters: Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy. HQ wasn't as bad as PI, but they were both overly-sexualized, and, even though I could see it for myself, it was made all the more apparent by my roommate's obvious lust.

"Oh, that is so hot," he says, drool dripping down his chin as HQ traipses across the screen saying, "Do you like my outfit? Hot, ain't it?" I won't eve
n go into Poison Ivy's wardrobe... Oy.

Sure, these are comic book characters, and, as such, they are going to be
on the sexual side simply because of the nature of comic books. I guess I can put that aside in an attempt to be fair.

Moving on...

As I was saying earlier, the plotline is great. As an onlooker, it doesn't even feel like I'm watching a game. Of course, there are repetitive gameplay issues that appear throughout. For example, whenever battling a boss, it's all about the pattern. I mean, isn't that usually the case? Boss attacks, leaves himself open for a split second, you let loose your fury for that briefest of seconds and harm the boss marginally. Then they unleash a few attacks while keeping themselves guarded, but after around 3 of these attacks they resume to the vulnerable but powerful attack, leaving them open for another response from you. It goes this way until you whittle down the boss's health until they're dead. Wahoo.

The graphics weren't absolutely stunning, but they were good enough to where I wasn't thinking about them constantly. I actually kind of liked how they didn't make it appear to be real life. There was a sort of comic book feel to it which I felt was ingenious and very skillfully done.

That's all I can think of for now. If I think of something else, I'll just post a review Part Deux. :)



Anonymous said…
"but they were both overly-sexualized"

I'm... not.. sure.. that's... actually... possible.

" There's just something about his voice that perfectly encompasses the mad hatter vibe "

Run! I'll hold off the comix fans while you escape.

Played the demo, but I'm trying to seriously cut back games to make room for writing. The results tend to be the same regardless of which. Frustration.
Stef Howerton said…
haha I wasn't even aware that the Mad Hatter was an actual comic book character. For those of you I have offended, oh well... I claim ignorance.

And Anton, that's why I just watch the games (other than my fear of them... hah). I sit on my couch while my roommate plays, and it makes lovely background noise.
Dan Priestley said…
The games my son plays makes me feel like i am watching news footage of the Afgan war. As for the noise, well it's like being in a trech under shell fire!!

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