Batman: Arkham Asylum Xbox 360
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Released on 28/08/2009
In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Dark Knight takes on his greatest challenge yet when he becomes trapped with all of his most dangerous villains inside the insane asylum of Gotham City... Arkham Asylum!
Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum –Gotham’s psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City’s most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum. Using a wide range of Batman’s gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker’s demented scheme. Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner, Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.
With amazing graphics and a moody, immersive setting, Batman: Arkham Asylum offers diverse gameplay options that push the envelope for all action, adventure and superhero games.
- Unique FreeFlow™ combat system. Utilise the unique FreeFlow™ combat system to chain together unlimited combos seamlessly and battle with huge groups of The Joker’s henchmen in brutal melee brawls.
- Investigate as Batman, the world's greatest detective, by solving intricate puzzles with the help of cutting edge forensic tools including x-ray scanning, fingerprint scans, ‘Amido Black’ spray and a pheromone tracker.
- Face off against Gotham’s greatest villains including The Joker, Harley Quinn, Victor Zsasz and Killer Croc.
- Become the Invisible Predator™ with Batman’s fear takedowns and unique vantage point system to move without being seen and hunt enemies.
- Choose multiple takedown methods, including swooping from the sky and smashing through walls, and use the predator camera get a closer look at the action.
- Explore every inch of Arkham Asylum and roam freely on the infamous island, presented for the first time ever in its gritty and realistic entirety.
- Experience what it’s like to be Batman using Batarangs, explosive gel aerosol, The Batclaw, sonar resonator and the line launcher.
- Hidden challenges. Unlock more secrets by completing hidden challenges in the world and develop and customize equipment by earning experience points.
- Enjoy complete superhero freedom in the environment with the use of Batman’s grapple to get to any place you can see, jump from any height and glide in any direction.
Here's what GamesMaster magazine thinks about Batman: Arkham Asylum:
“The greatest game of 2009 so far”
“…one of the most gripping videogames ever created.”
“…rivals Bioshock’s Rapture as one of the finest gaming worlds ever made.”
Riddle me this...
Why has no one ever made a decent Batman game? LEGO Batman is just about the only passable tie-in with DC Comic's darkest of avengers. And that was hardly what you'd call a dark, gritty realisation.
Batman: Arkham Asylum is going to change all of that. After playing the entire first chapter, we're pretty damn sure that this will do for Batman games what Christian Bale's caped crusader did for ol' Bats at the box office.
The campaign kicks off with the Batmobile careering through the streets of Gotham towards the infamous Arkham Asylum. Batman has captured the recently escaped Joker, whose goons have also been transferred to the asylum from a nearby jail facility. Sensing something isn't right, he tags along as guards wheel the strapped-down supervillain through the industrial corridors or prisoner processing.
Our initial impression is of a more fluid Dead Space with smooth melee combat. You can even pull the L trigger to ready the Batarang, firing it with the R trigger.
Then, just as they tell our hero he can go no further, Joker escapes and all hell breaks loose, leaving the Dark Knight and Commissioner Gordon trapped in a place full of criminals they helped put away. Talk about a bad day at the office...
For us however this proved rather handy, giving us our first taste of Batman: Arkham Asylum's free-flowing combat system. Movement is on the left stick, the camera on the right, and attacks sit on the fascia buttons: X for strike, Y for counters, B to stun with Batman's cape, and A sending your into a dodge-roll; or sprinting if held down.
Coupled with the chunky character models our initial impression is of a more fluid Dead Space – albeit with smooth, hassle-free melee combat. You can even pull the L trigger to ready the Batarang, firing it with the R trigger. Put it all together and you have a system that lets you batter a horde of prison thugs with satisfying, brutal efficiency.
The next challenge however requires a far more subtle approach; one of the prisoners, a psychopath named Zsasz, had captured a guard and strapped him into an electric chair. Here, the game guides us through Batman's acrobatic abilities; entering Detective Mode with LB to highlight grapple points; grappling high onto stone gargoyles with the right bumper, manoeuvring behind Zsas from above, and glide-kicking his lights out with a X. More than a nod to Ninja title Tenchu there, then.
I warden't if I were you...
With that, a cutscene plays – the Joker's dominatrix-wannabe sidekick Harley Quinn has Arkham's Warden hostage, and she's locked down the doors to prevent our progress. Appearances are deceptive, though; we've soon prised a grill away from the wall and crawled through to the next challenge – rescuing guards and inmates alike from a noxious cloud of the Joker's poisonous gas. Holding A we soar between platforms, pull people up, quick-grappling out with RB when we fall, and eventually activate the extraction fan with a well-placed Batarang throw.
All of our hard work pays off in the next scene – we've finally caught up with The Joker! Alas, before Bats can snag him, he unleashes a deformed henchman and we're forced to roll-dodge away from him until he charges into an electrical fence, opening him up for a swift melee combo.
Really badass stuff that perfectly captures the fear and ferocity that everyone loved in The Dark Knight movie.
By that time, Joker's escaped – but he's now the least of our worries. CCTV footage shows Prison guard Bodes turn bad and cart off Commissioner Gordon! Again though, Batman has a solution; guided by the voice of Commissioner Gordon's daughter Oracle via the intercom, we return to the scene of the abduction and enter the Metroid Prime inspired Investigation Mode – scanning the air for traces of Bodes' bourbon breath, and following the traces all the way back through the corridors to...
An encounter with Harley Quinn! The Joker's psychotic sidekick isn't happy about Batman's progress, and blows out the hydraulics on the elevator she's stood upon, sending our hero scurrying for safety. Naturally though that isn't going to deter us – and what follows is a quite ingeniously designed piece of grappling, jumping, crawling, ledge-shimmying and climbing the maze-like shaft in order to get to what turns out to be the last area in the opening chapter.
In the fashion of the rest of the level, this introduces a few new skills, as well as asking us to call upon those we'd learned throughout the playtest so far. Cue us grappling over and behind gun-toting inmates; silently stealth killing them by shuffling forwards holding crouch (R trigger) and pressing Y up close – then entering a large multi-tiered area packed with buildings, in which we're given the chance to take a set of thugs out however we wish. Grappling into the shadows, stealth-killing, glide kicking and employing bruising combos, this proved some really badass stuff that perfectly captured the fear and ferocity that everyone loved in The Dark Knight movie.
Stealthy, brutal, dark and intelligent, Arkham Asylum is more than your run of the mill action-adventure. In fact, it's also one of the most faithful superhero games around. The team have gone to enormous lengths to pack this with authentic Batman elements, from the collectable statues, puzzles and challenges courtesy of The Riddler to the 20 upgrade slots for Batman's attacks, abilities and gadgets; a whole back-story to the asylum dotted about the world in scannable symbols; and the unlockable bios for each important character, there's far more content here than anyone could hope to cover in just one 12-hour playthrough.
For us, 90 minutes was enough to know that this will be hands-down the best Batman game ever, and quite possibly the standout game of the whole summer. August's final Friday can't come soon enough.
Can't read my Joker face...
It's not purely linear. Just in case you got that impression from the Preview. Sure, that first chapter may be straightforward, but shortly after leaving Intensive Treatment the whole gameworld opens up before you. At that point you begin to get a sense of what a special game Batman: Arkham Asylum really is.
In fact, the aforementioned preview called it 'arguably the best game of the whole summer'. Now we've finished Arkham Asylum, we'd go back on that. There's no argument at all, really.
Assault and bat-ery
And yet, no one single thing sets Arkham Asylum apart from everything else we've played recently. Instead, it's the combination of gamestyles that makes it such a well-rounded action adventure.
Take stealth, for instance. Anyone who's seen Batman Begins will know the caped crusader is something of a hi-tech ninja, and Eidos have done a stellar job of rendering that with versatile, yet immediate control. Grapple to the rafters wherever you see an RB icon and Batman will swiftly zipline up, from where you can glide kick (X), hang (B), perform an Inverted Takedown (Y) – swooping down and picking up enemies, then hanging them upside down from their ankles – or just float silently behind them (hold A) and sneak up (R Trigger) for a one-hit stealth takedown (Y).
Anyone who's seen Batman Begins will know Batman is a hi-tech ninja, and Eidos have rendered that with versatile, yet immediate control.
Fancy yourself as more of an up-close-and-personal superhero? No probs. Arkham Asylum's slick combat lets you attack, block, stun and dodge around the Joker's clown-faced goons, countering their attacks by simply pressing the Y when an icon appears above their heads.
Then there's forensics. Batman is billed as the World's Greatest Detective, and lives up to that in Arkham Asylum with a whole host of gizmos that give him the edge over Arkham's criminal masterminds. Hit LB and you'll go into Detective Mode, which gives you two distinct advantages. The first is that it gives you an x-ray vision view of the world, letting you track guard's movements through walls. The second is that it helps highlight objects of interest; be they a grate to prise off a wall or a fingerprint trail to scan and follow to your next objective.
And the more you progress through Arkham Asylum, the more gadgets you get to play with. You start with just the Batarang, but before long you're able to spray explosive gel, pull objects (and enemies) with the Batclaw, scale distances with the Line Launcher, and overload fuse boxes with the Cryptographic Sequencer – plus there's unlockables like a remote-controlled Batarang, proximity-detonated gel, enhanced combo moves and upgraded armour, purchased with Experience Points earned from doing well in the game.
The pleasing thing is that all of these additions come together in a way that's almost Zelda-like in design; each new inventory addition feels like a reward for your hard work, and straight away opens up new ways to take out enemies, and a whole new set of possibilities for getting around the gameworld.
You'll want to devote a significant amount of time to doing that away from the main story arc, because the amount of secrets to discover is just insane. From inmate interviews lending the game an element of backstory and menace, to the hundreds of riddles, Riddler trophies and other challenges dotted around (you'll never look at windup teeth the same way again), there's an enormous amount of replay value – even before you've factored in the Challenge Rooms, with high score tables to top on Xbox Live.
It's all delightfully – and sometimes disturbingly – diverse, and almost always flawlessly executed.
Of course, it goes without saying what a good-looking game Batman: Arkham Asylum is. What's less apparent is how imaginative and polished it proves. The Joker and Harley Quinn are so well-acted (in that camp, maniacal kind of way) that they steal pretty much every scene they're in, and boss battles against the likes of Killer Croc and Poison Ivy aren't just your run-of-the-mill exercise in finding a weak spot, either. The appearance of Scarecrow, meanwhile, turns an accomplished action adventure at times into a surreal Survival Horror game, or a challenging side-scrolling platformer. It's all delightfully – and sometimes disturbingly – diverse, and almost always flawlessly executed.
Bad points? Not many. A few times you'll run into a fence, press the context-sensitive A button expecting to climb, and find yourself rolling instead, which can be suicidal if you're running away from a fight. Likewise, having RT as the button to spray explosive gel, and RB as the button to detonate, is a bit counter-intuitive. We kept mixing them up and pulling the trigger again, spraying a second lot of gel. Irritating.
Game of the Year?
Oh, and you don't actually get to use any of Batman's vehicles, despite them putting in an appearance in cutscenes. As negatives go though, that's pretty much your lot.
What we have here then is nothing short of the best Batman game ever. But we knew that after the first chapter. In truth, Batman: Arkham Asylum is much better than even that. It's not only the best superhero game going, and the best licensed game in years – it's genuine Game of the Year material. Miss it, and the joke's on you.
- A superb blend of stealth, action, exploration and detective work.
- Tons of unlockables, collectibles and challenges for extra longevity.
- Looks amazing, sounds superb.
- Ending up dead because you pressed A and rolled, instead of climbed.
- No Batman vehicle sections.
- Multiplayer and/or co-op would be nice in the sequel.
Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum is possibly the best superhero game ever made - at least until the sequel comes out. According to the latest issue of Game Informer magazine, the follow up to last year's stealth classic is called Batman: Arkham City, and will be released in autumn 2011 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
The Game Informer cover suggests Catwoman's going to have a pivotal role to play on this outing too - the main illustration shows her standing back to back with the Dark Knight, while a smaller picture shows her chained and hanging upside down.
Warner Bros, the game's publisher, has just released a press release offering a few more details, too. "Batman: Arkham City builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security 'home' for all of Gotham City's thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds.
"Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight."
Warner dates Batman: The Brave and the Bold
Batfans! Publishing giant Warner Bros has announced a release date for the Wii and DS game Batman: The Brave and the Bold. You'll be able to give Gotham City's supervillains a righteous kicking on 24th September in the UK. Can't wait.
Taking a brightly coloured cartoony look, The Brave and the Bold is a Batman game everyone in the family will be able to enjoy. With voice work by the cast of the brilliant animated series, the game focuses on co-op play as the Dark Knight is joined by Robin, the Green Lantern and Blue Beetle. If you really know your comics, you'll be pleased to hear that the quirky alien Bat-Mite will be unlockable if you link the Wii and DS versions together. He's a pretty obscure cast member, suggesting that the developers know their stuff inside out.
The game's being made by WayForward Technologies, who are a frankly brilliant developer with games like A Boy and His Blob for the Wii on the CV. If you're a fan of Batman, then, and you're looking for something a bit different to play alongside Rocksteady's fabulous Batman: Arkham Asylum, this could be the game for you.
With the news dominated by the PSP2 today, only Batman: Arkham City is exciting enough to make us think about anything other than Sony's amazing new handheld. Well done, Bats: you sure know how to get our attention.
What's the story? How about a mysterious new trailer that shows Batman teaming up with... The Joker in the new game?
If the new trailer is to be believed - and it can't be right, can it? - Arkham City's much rumoured co-op mode will see Batman and his arch enemy working together to take out enemies. Eurogamer for one was so surprised by the video, leaked by French site Jeux Video, that it's contacted Warner Bros just to make sure the whole thing isn't a hoax - we'll bring you news of that tomorrow, if that's the case.
Co-op's been the subject of speculation for some time with this game, but the assumption has been it will be Batman and Catwoman taking on Arkham City's thugs together. This twist - unless maybe it shows standard multiplayer? - would be unexpected, to say the least.
Whoever Batman eventually teams up with, Arkham City is due for release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 later this year and we really, really want it.
Get excited, Bat fans: Warner Bros has just slapped a street date for Batman: Arkham City, and UK audiences can expect to get their hands on the game on 21st October.
We've seen the game, and we can't wait. A direct sequel to 2009's comic book classic Arkham Asylum, Arkham City ups the ante considerably by letting Batman loose in a section of Gotham itself - an area five times the size of the first game's island.
We already know you'll be facing off against the Joker and Two-Face, and you can expect to run up against Catwoman and Calendar Man, too. Batman will have new gadgets to play with and an expanded arsenal of moves.
The most important change is that you'll be covering a much larger area - an urban sprawl where you're free to pick your way between buildings and tackle roving gangs of thugs as you see fit. The first game was brilliant, but we're expecting this to be the most authentic comic book experience we've ever played.
Batman: Arkham City will be available for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. We're so excited, we half want to try and get to bed early so we can sleep until October.
When we finally get our grubby mitts on Bioshock Infinite in 2012, you can thank a certain caped crusader for some of the game's structure. That's because Ken Levine, head honcho of developer Irrational Games and Bioshock creator, has admitted that 2009 blockbuster hit Batman: Arkham Asylum tickled his creative reflexes and made him reconsider some of the choices he made in the original game.
Talking to Eurogamer, the man responsible for seminal PC game System Shock confessed that he was impressed with the way Arkham Asylum changed things around whenever the story took the player back through a previously explored location.
ne of the things that's great about Arkham Asylum is that it's similarly structured to BioShock in some ways but also one of their great innovations is when you come back through an area they establish an entirely different narrative he said.
"I think we're very much inspired by that. In BioShock 1 we just had respawning when you came back through an area, so I think when we put you back through an area we want to do it in a way that feels different and meaningful."
A true Bioshock sequel with a Metroid-style gameworld that evolves as you move through it? Next year can't come soon enough.
Revealing the news on its official forums, the developer revealed that players who finish the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC adventure will be able to replay it, carrying over all of their experience and gadgets from the first playthrough.
However, the powered-up Batman will have to contend with an overall higher level of difficulty, with more cunning and powerful thugs populating the game world, while boss encounters will also be more difficult.
Moreover, gamers will no longer be given a visual indicator of when enemies are about to attack, making it trickier to pull off counterattacks.
Batman: Arkham City is out next month and is set to be five times bigger than the acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum, as well as featuring 3D support.
2009 Batman: Arkham Asylum was hailed by many as the greatest superhero game of all time, but Batman: Arkham City arguably takes the genre to new heights with the introduction of a stunning open-world setting and more fully-realised characters.
Without giving away any major plot points, its premise sees different parts of the city claimed by villains vying for power, with each section of the world displaying a distinct personality. At about ten hours in length, the main story feels a little less focused than Arkham Asylum's tight plotting, perhaps due to the fact there are so many characters competing for top billing, from heroes like Robin, Catwoman, Alfred and Vicki Vale to villains such as the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler and the Joker.
Nevertheless, your journey through the campaign, from one brilliant set-piece to the next, is always engaging and remains a finely crafted experience rather than a sequence of loosely organised encounters, while the opening and conclusion serve as highpoints that will have Bat-fans frothing at the mouth.
Batman himself was the star of Arkham Asylum, but Gotham City takes centre stage in the follow-up. The open-world environment is much larger than the original game island asylum, and each location, from an atmospheric museum and a dilapidated subway station to the gothic streets and skyscrapers of the city exteriors, is presented in even greater detail.
Stand on a rooftop and gaze out at the city before you and youl be floored by the architecture. Each building look unique, and gliding, leaping, climbing or rappelling across this urban playground offers as much exhilarating freedom as any open-world game to date.
Revolving around stealth, acrobatic combat and exploration, the core gameplay elements of Arkham City remain unchanged from its predecessor, with highly effective systems that are as simple to pick up as they are difficult to master. The free-flowing combat is still a game of timing as you leap from one target to the next, countering and chaining moves together to beat your way through crowds and increase the strength and speed of attacks.
You have plenty of new gadgets this time round too, including a freeze gun, a smoke bomb and a remote electrical charge that can zap henchmen, each of which can be seamlessly used in battle alongside more traditional attacking moves. Your improved arsenal is a necessity given the large groups of enemies you face, who now carry shields, wear armour and take aim at you with knives and electric rods of their own.
Batman: Arkham City is fleshed out with a heap of side-quests and collectibles separate to the main storyline, which can be played as you go through the campaign or tackled after its conclusion. Answering a ringing payphone, entering a building on a whim or approaching mysterious figures in the shadows can set off all manner of optional, yet extremely substantial and satisfying quests featuring their own characters and sub-plots, from destroying weapons of mass destruction to tracking down serial killers.
Batman: Arkham City offers a wealth of content and everything is polished to perfection, from the gameplay mechanics to the beautiful open-world setting. Playing as Batman is never less than a pleasure and the game offers one of the most impressive depictions of Gotham City in any medium to date. Quite how developer Rocksteady can go about improving on Arkham City has us stumped, but itl be a pleasure finding out.
+ The best superhero game ever.
+ Fantastic open-world setting.
+ Tonnes of things to see and do.
- Story is a little less focused than Arkham Asylum.
- Bosses battles could have evolved more.
- Can this be bettered?