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Forums > Submission Feedback > true's Batman: Arkham Asylum review

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Author: Lewis
Posted: August 27, 2009 (08:56 AM)
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It's an absolutely, unreservedly brilliant game. Easily the most I've been wowed by a new release so far this year.

I'm glad you didn't go into too much detail about Scarecrow. Even that was pushing it. Over at Resolution, part of the deal of being able to run our review before release date was signing a contract to say we wouldn't mention the Scarecrow bits at all. That's a clause that was very sensible to enforce. They're far and away the most impressive bits of the game, with some of the finest mind-toying since - and perhaps including - Eternal Darkness.

The whole "this year's BioShock" quote was starting to grate in its crudeness before I actually played through Arkham Asylum, but it's actually a comparison that really fits. AA isn't as clever as BioShock in an academic sense, but its delivery is just as powerful, and its pacing is - I daresay - even more deft that BioShock's fantastically twisting narrative. To cram so many astonishing sequences, so many awe-inspiring moments into a twelve-hour game is remarkable. Only twice did it grow stale - and these are the reasons I'd 9 it if I reviewed it here, rather than opting for the full 10.

1) Detective Mode is brilliant, but using it three times in quick succession to track down a captured character was disappointing. It meant there was a good hour or so of just following trails, which began to grow tiresome - though as soon as I started to get really bored, it stopped, which was nice of it.

2) The forced stealth bit. Forcing players into a particular action style when the rest of the game has been about the variety of options is always foolish. I'd also say that if you're having a bit in the game that says "these characters MUST live or it's game over", it's probably not the best idea to kill them off just minute later. Arkham Asylum does this twice.

Elsewhere, only very minor gripes. The final boss fight is weak, particularly when the previous two have been really good. The camera's occasionally unhelpful, but the rest of the controls are so fluid you barely notice. And, well, the length. I'm actually now glad it was such a short game, as it meant it kept up such an astonishing pace, but I found myself disappointed to see the credits after just two days of play.

Man, I've rambled. It's a brilliant game. Glad you enjoyed it too.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 27, 2009 (11:04 AM)
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Check your HG Mail please, true. :)


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: True
Posted: August 27, 2009 (11:52 AM)
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I definitely left out the coolest parts of the Scarecrow encounters and was sad I had to, but in the essence of respect for both the game and people who will play it, it was necessary. Those moments where you were left thinking "What the hell is going on" would be completely ruined if you read about it prior, but are two of the most jarring and brilliant things done in a game when you don't expect them.

And I rather enjoyed Detective mode, because you weren't locked into it. You would scan, work your way through an area, get in fights which distract you from detective mode, then you picked it back up. But it was so technical it would have garnered another page in and of itself and distracted from the dark mood I was trying to create. After all, I do listen to the judges and didn't want another Heavenly Sword button incident.

But yes, Arkham is outstanding. While The Dark Knight is called the Godfather II of comic book movies, Arkham Asylum may very well be the GTA III of comic book games.




If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: August 27, 2009 (12:43 PM)
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GTA3? How so?

BioShock of comic book games, deffo. Or Metroid Prime at a push.


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Author: True
Posted: August 27, 2009 (12:52 PM)
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GTA in the sense most people consider that to be the greatest of its genre, and the culmination of years upon years of work.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 27, 2009 (01:17 PM)
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It's quite amazing, yes, and your review does an extremely good job of exploring its more salient points.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: WilltheGreat
Posted: August 27, 2009 (01:27 PM)
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Okay, after reading this review I'm definitely picking it up.


"Either, sir, you're an ass or you're masquerading as one."
- Nero Wolfe


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Author: Lewis
Posted: August 27, 2009 (01:33 PM)
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Hey guys, I'm about to do a massive spoiler. Look away loads if you don't want to see what my favourite bit of the game was. Which you shouldn't, until you've experienced it yourself.

////////////////////////////////
The bit where you're walking along that huge corridor and it changes in front of your eyes, but without you realising for ages. First the rain starts pouring in, then the walls change colour, then change material, then the water rises on the floor, then suddenly there's no ceiling, and you're outdoors, and you're a child. Absolutely fucking mesmerising stuff, some of the most astonishingly adept design I've ever seen in a game.
////////////////////////////////

Man. Everyone needs to hurry up and play this so we can all talk about it loads.


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 27, 2009 (01:47 PM)
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Looks like HonestGamers needs to get a review up for this one, pronto. I'd buy it and do it myself since I have a long weekend coming up starting tomorrow but, well... it costs money and I'm sure the one video store in town that would MAYBE have a copy would have it checked out. Eidos could have of course sent us a review copy, but Eidos acted about like Eidos usually does and there's no more that needs to be said on that front. ;-)


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: Lewis
Posted: August 27, 2009 (01:55 PM)
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PM sent.


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Author: True
Posted: August 27, 2009 (01:58 PM)
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HG mail sent, Lewis.


If I Offended You, You Needed It.


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Author: Suskie
Posted: August 27, 2009 (02:32 PM)
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Lewis needs to learn that comparing a game to BioShock in these parts is considered a warning, not a recommendation.


You exist because we allow it. And you will end because we demand it.


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Author: Lewis
Posted: August 27, 2009 (03:02 PM)
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Ha!

I'm not intending it as either - it's just an observation. A lot of it's down to the presentation - the set-pieces, the ornate and twisted comicbook aesthetic, and - y'know - they share an engine and stuff. They're also both games that are largely linear in terms of where you have to go, but focused around hubs that are expansive enough to warrant exploration and diversion.

They're not similar games at all, but I'd be surprised if you played AA and weren't at least reminded of BioShock.


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Author: JANUS2
Posted: August 27, 2009 (03:08 PM)
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Personally I'm hoping Arkham Asylum is the Chaos Theory of comic book games.


"fuck yeah oblivion" - Jihad


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Author: honestgamer (Mod)
Posted: August 27, 2009 (04:52 PM)
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I think we can all agree that hopefully it's the Katamari Damacy of video games. :)


"Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy on reality

"What if everything you see is more than what you see--the person next to you is a warrior and the space that appears empty is a secret door to another world? What if something appears that shouldn't? You either dismiss it, or you accept that there is much more to the world than you think. Perhaps it really is a doorway, and if you choose to go inside, you'll find many unexpected things." - Shigeru Miyamoto


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 27, 2009 (04:56 PM)
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Check your HG Mail please, true. :)

Ooo, are we about to see some freelance True reviews?


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: zippdementia
Posted: August 27, 2009 (06:03 PM)
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Looks like HonestGamers needs to get a review up for this one, pronto.

You should see a freelance review up from me within a week. I'm nearly done with the game. I really like True's review, but I plan on delving a bit more into the gameplay mechanics than he does.


Note to gamers: when someone shoots you in the face, they aren't "gay." They are "psychopathic."


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Author: Halon
Posted: August 27, 2009 (08:59 PM)
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I tried to play the demo but it didn't recognize my drivers and I didn't want so go through all this trouble just for a demo. So I didn't play it :)


IF YOU WANT MORE BEATS FOR YOUR BUCK THERE'S NO LUCK.


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Author: disco1960
Posted: August 27, 2009 (10:27 PM)
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Holy shit, that really does sound interesting. And I didn't even know it was a game four minutes ago.


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