Game Review – “Batman: Arkham Asylum”

Salutations good people!  I know this site is called “The Couch Sessions” as it pertains to music and the sort, but when I have a “couch session” it usually involves my beloved Xbox 360.  In an effort to help rile up you all’s inner-nerd, the homie Winston (aka Stone) invited me to swoop in like Batman and blog about one of my favorite past-times, aside from beat-making- videogames!

"Batman: Arkham Asylum" Artwork

So… (cue the shameless segue), speaking of videogames and the aforementioned “caped crusader”, anyone play the new “Batman: Arkham Asylum” game that dropped last month for the 360 & PS3?  If you haven’t, let me tell you why you need to… basically, its DOPE- case closed!  But, rather than just try and leave on a bombastic statement like that, I’ll embellish and try and articulate the game’s “dopeness” as best I can!

First off, I’m no comic book head but like most people, I can name the legends- Superman, The Hulk, Spiderman, the X-men and of course… (in lispy-Christain Bale-voice) BATMAN.  Which is the first thing I noticed in the game, they got the voice actors from the old cartoon, “Batman: The Animated Series”, to reprise their roles- namely Mark Hamill aka “Luke Skywalker” who voices the “Joker”.  He steals the show as do most of the villains who appear and essentially redeem themselves via their depictions in the game after being reduced to corny, cliché slinging characters in Joel Schumacher’s “Batman” movies from the ’90s.

The second thing I noticed was they finally got the combination of “Batman the detective” vs. “Batman the street vigilante” RIGHT!  Half your play-time will be spent scouring Arkham for clues that unfold the game’s great story (which in all is about 8 hours sans finding the 240 hidden Riddles which can take 8 hours themselves to ascertain), while the other half will be spent straight geeking out as you strategically decide which of Batman’s many gadgets and fighting tactics to use in disarming the random thugs that populate the island.  You can be stealthy like the games “Hitman” or “Splinter Cell” OR completely disregard the element of surprise and just get on your “Tony Jaa” with it (see clip below).

And the cool thing is, the fight choreography is so practical and well executed that you will find yourself hyped whenever you encounter an absurd amount of Joker’s henchman, because even if the odds are 20 to 1, that just means more combos to pull off for bigger achievements and trophies.

Honestly, I can’t find many, if any, flaws in this game.  It’s got a great story- I mean its Batman so that’s a strong enough selling point on its own, coupled with amazing graphics, ambience & voice acting, an easy yet intuitive combat system that makes you WANT TO kick ass for hours and enough puzzles to make you explore every nook and cranny of Arkham Island!  And for those who cop the PS3 version, you get to play the bonus challenge rooms as the Joker himself!  Oh yeah, the game autosaves like crazy too, so its no problem to turn it off if you need to unexpectedly get back to the real world and not have to frantically search for a save point (I HATE THAT!).

So again, like I said earlier, basically… this game is DOPE!  I appreciate you all reading this and look forward to sharing more of my nerd-dom with ya!  Feel free to peep my own blog, Neosonic Productions, as well as as my radio show’s site (SUBSONiQ) too!  Peace…