Yesterday, everyone’s favorite bat-themed detective got yet another gaming installment. Batman: Arkham Asylum is the hotly anticipated multi-platform title developed by Rocksteady Studios, and published by Eidos Interactive. I picked up the title yesterday and was unable to put it down all evening. What I experienced was pure gaming gold, from the free-flowing combat system, to the innovative sleuthing skills Batman utilizes to keep an eye on every little detail of the stunning environments.
It seems that Joker’s been up to his old antics. The beginning of the game finds Batman bringing him in to Joker’s on again off again residence, Arkham Asylum. Shortly after arriving, Joker manages to break free of his captors and sets his followers free, quickly gaining total control over the entire island citadel. It is up to Batman’s combat and investigative prowess to unlock the mysteries behind Joker’s plot, and to bring the asylum under control from the inside.
The combat system is one of the most entertaining and intuitive I’ve ever experienced. By simply pressing X for strikes and Y for counters, Bats unleashes a bevy of attack animations to knock out his opponents with cinematic precision and detail. Additional combo skills can be purchased upon leveling up, making the combo system into an even more deadly stylish experience.
Many of the opponents you encounter will be armed, forcing you to utilize Batman’s signature stealth to perform silent takedowns fr0m the shadows. As more and more of their partners drop, inmates will become increasingly nervous, affecting how observant they are of their surroundings. Using a variety of techniques, the predatory sections of the game on their own provide an espionage experience easily on par with the Metal Gear series.
On top of two gameplay mechanics that would each make for an excellent game on their own, The Riddler has 240 different challenges to be accomplished throughout the island. These challenges range from trophies that merely need to be located on the map, to solving riddles by taking a picture of the item which answers the riddle. Most of these will provide the player with some kind of reward such as a character trophy, or gameplay challenge.
S0 far after a little more than 5 hours of gameplay, I’ve completed 22% of the story content and just over 25% of the Riddler challenges. No part of the game has gotten stale so far, and it seems that there is going to be plenty to go back and hunt for after the story is over. At the moment, I would highly recommend this as a rental at the very least. As there is no multiplayer mode, I would suggest purchasing if you are the type of person that likes to go back and complete single player games to their full extent.