For one brief second, today was like Christmas for me. After a long day at work and a never-ending softball game, I was eagerly anticipating my arrival back home. I would be receiving a much larger respite than normal.
Finally, finally, finally, Amazon followed through and sent me my copy of Batman: Arkham Asylum for the XBox 360. As a lifelong Bat-fan, I was oh so very excited. This was, however, the game that finally got me to buy the damn system way back when. Unfortunately the game was delayed for a few months, proving I could clench my jaw harder than I ever thought possible.
Because of this release delay, coupled with the fact that there’s never really been a standout Batman game I can mention, I was concerned this would be a forgettable affair. Then the reviews started pouring in. Oh, how they praised the story, combat, acting, visuals, gameplay, and pacing. Oh, and how they’re all exactly on the money. Without parroting too many of the reviews out there, I’d like to say that I am really digging this game.
Everything about this title just comes together exactly the way you think it should, right down to Batman’s appearance (which I’m a pretty big stickler about. I’m looking at you, puffy outfit from Batman Begins). I was raised on the animated series from the 90’s, and Paul Dini, one of the main creative forces behind that endeavor, provides the story for this game. It’s wonderful, as to be expected. You’ll also see the return of many cast members from the show playing the roles that were so very crystalized to me as a child.
The word on everyone’s lips about this title seems to be “combat”, and I can absolutely see why. Creating elaborate, flowing combos is quite easy, and holy hell is it satisfying. Punch, crack, slam…they’re all there. You’ll never again wonder what’d it be like to lay down a Batman-style beatdown. And, not to be forgotten, there’s a “detective mode” that you’ll be making copious use out of as you sneak through the various levels. Taking at least a small cue from The Dark Knight’s x-ray lens thingies, you’ll be able to spot clues and enemies in a very cool and scientific way. You really do feel like the world’s greatest detective.
So yes, I’m writing in praise of this game. In a way, it’s a rough representation of the pretend Batman games I played as a kid…and that’s a compliment. Any time you can accurately personify an 8-year-old’s imagination, you’ve really accomplished something. Go get this game. Go get it now.
And welcome to the madhouse.