Customer Review

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A console port that actually deserves the score it got., 13 Oct. 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Batman: Arkham Asylum (PC DVD) (DVD-ROM)
I'm not a fan of console games. I generally find them far too short and the majority of them lack substance, to the point where I wouldn't pick them back up after a few days of play.

Batman is no exception.

However, this has got to be one of the most enjoyable games I have played in recent months. After about 16 hours of gametime, I completed the game on normal, and (rare for me) I started a new game, and carried on playing. Before I go into a rant about what I enjoy most, I'll give a quick review of the game first.

The starting movie shows the Batmobile heading to Arkham Asylum, The Joker, having threatened the Mayor of Gotham City, has been apprehended by Batman. Upon arrival at the Asylum, Batman insists on accompanining The Joker, as he has an uneasy feeling about the ease with which he captured The Joker. Naturally, The Joker breaks free, springing his trap, which is only the beginning his diabolical plan.

From there, the game breaks down into several 'mini-games'. The first, is combat vs unarmed henchmen. This is a complete hoot. The combat skills at Batman's disposal are fantastic. LMB attacks the target nearest to Batman (in conjunction with keyboard direction), whereas RMB will catch an attack, and counter it. That doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun, but once you have the hang of it, you can easily control a fight from start to finish. The game has a huge array of moves available, and all of them look amazing, but sadly, you can't choose which will be used. But bouncing from henchman to henchman, unleashing devastating moves on each one is prehaps the best feature of this game. Even being heavily outnumbered, the ability to counter never means you are at a disadvantage. As long as you are fast enough to hit RMB, you can get through an encounter with 8 henchmen without taking damage. And it is joyful to watch. Each time you are about to land a final blow on a target, the game world slows down just long enough to aim for the next target, with the points you can earn being based on how many attacks you can chain together. Additional moves are also available, but I will mention that later.

The second 'mini game' occurs everytime Batman enters a room with armed henchmen, and by armed I mean guns. Batman has a detective mode, which allows him to see through walls, pick up trails, and solve puzzles. When detective mode is used in a room with armed henchmen, it allows you to track them, even when they walk into positions where they couldn't be seen. This part of the game is all about stealth takedowns. Taking the time to plan, then pouncing when an opportunity presents itself, and above all remaining undetected. For should you be spotted, the gunfire aimed at you will kill you quickly. As an aid, there are gargoyles dotted around the roof area that can be used to evade gunfire and mainly to lose the attackers so that they have no idea where you went. Many of Batmans abilities can be used here, such as stunning one with a Batarang, swooping down to land a two-footed kick into one of them, and being able to silently pick one up that is below you being available. As you progress further into the game, these set-pieces become more challenging, but the choices you have for silent takedowns also increase as well.

The third 'mini game', and the one I liked the most, occurs early in the game. The Riddler, aka Edward Nigma, contacts you through your comms link, telling you that he has placed many riddles around Arkham Island, which he challenges you to decipher. The reason I like this, not just for replay value, is because many of his riddles refer to some of Batman's enemies throughout the years, ones who aren't actually physical in this game. When you decipher the clue, you will unlock a biography of the villain, which gives a brief description of who and what they are, as well as the date that they first appeared in Batman literature. Also, some of the patients in Arkham Asylum have recorded interviews that can be found, giving a brief insight into their insane personalities.

With every henchman that you kill, or puzzle that you solve you will gain XP. Nothing new there, each time you fill the XP bar you will have the choice of a new ability. Some of them give more health, some more abilites that can be used in combat. Some however, are necessary to completing The Riddler's puzzles. So choose wisely.

So, what else does this game have? For one, the graphics really are outstanding. Everywhere you go, the level of detail will impress you. More importantly, the sound is even better. The music is always perfect for the situation you are in, as are The Jokers continued taunts aimed at you. After he takes control of Arkham, he frequently appears on the many displays laughing at Batman, or on the tannoy outside the main buildings. Even if you die, The Joker will be there laughing at you until the retry option flashes up.

So, bad points now.

First, the game is a bit short, but then, console ports always are. In terms of replay factor, yes The Riddler's puzzles will keep you interested for a while as you try to solve them, but sadly there is always a map available that shows the exact location of each answer, so over time this will be a failure to keep any of us playing this game. However, there is also a challenge mode, that consists of many random encounters where the aim is to maximise your score. This includes normal combat as well as the silent takedown format. This increases the replay factor, but then that depends on how challenge orientated you are.

Second, although I love the combat, the boss battles are quite lame. Many of the opponents you will encounter fight in the exact same style as Bane does, which is fun at at first, but after a while seems to be a bit lazy. Difficulty increases by combining normal henchmen with the bigger ones, but this accounts for many of the boss battles, and after a while gets quite obvious.

So, to summarise. This game wont be on your playlist 2 weeks after buying it. By then, you will have discovered everything, done everything, and grown quite bored with it. But in those 2 weeks, you will have an endless amount of fun playing this, you will raise your expectations of what a console port onto the PC SHOULD look like, and at no point will you ever regret buying this. It really is that good (for a console game).
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