Batman: Arkham Asylum
Never mind the hype, Batman: Arkham Asylum is actually the must-have game of the year for superhero fans. Featuring a tasty blend of two fisted action, stealth and, of course gadgets, this is sure to tickle your inner nerd.
Batman's taken The Joker to Arkham (again) but (shock!) The Joker's got loose. He's also set a bunch of other assorted sociopaths from the Dark Knight's rogues gallery loose. It turns out, however, that the aim isn't just general chaos, oh no. The Joker, for all his crazy tendencies, has a plan. The Joker didn't get to be the arch-nemesis of one of the world's finest superheroes by just being a bit whacko...
Gameplay starts with Rocksteady's 'FreeFlow' combat. The way this works is that combat basically just consists of attacks and blocks. That might sound tedious, but actually it's thoroughly rewarding. Rather than stringing together overly complex moves, it's about getting the rhythm right – being sure to counter enemy blows then moving smoothly into an attack, stringing together as many moves as possible to maximise your XP.
Stopping this from being a straightforward brawler, however, is a hefty stealth component. Batman's many things, but not one of those things is bulletproof. This makes sneaking around and taking out enemies one by one a necessity where guns are involved. Your first step in doing this is switching into Detective Mode, highlighting handy features of your environment such as baddies, things like air vents and high-up gargoyles you can use to get around and weak structural points you can blow up. You'll be dropping down for inverted attacks, swooping in for glide kicks and generally being a sneaky badass in no time.
Also altering the playing field is the ability to use XP you've generated to lay your hands on upgrades. These include improved performance of gadgets, better armour and new moves. Throw in a spot of environment-based puzzling and you've got a very well rounded game.
There are some features in the game aimed at providing a bit of replayability and providing added depth to the game. Character bios pop up, as do interview tapes that provide background information on the different villains. Similarly, you can collect Riddler trophies scattered about the game to unlock challenges set apart from the main game. These consist of the likes of rooms full of baddies to take out sneakily, and waves of goons to beat down with just your fists.
All in all, Arkham Asylum offers a compelling package sure to make any Batman fan and/or lover of action games giggle for weeks.
Released to Buy:
28 August 2009
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