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When all hell breaks loose at Arkham Asylum, Batman must join the inmates and fight for his own sanity.

Featuring classic villains like The Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Scarecrow and Poison Ivy, it is more like a Splinter Cell title than a typical Batman game.  Players are encouraged to use stealth and the shadows to bring down adversaries rather than just beat them to a pulp with your fists.  It is atmospheric and darker than any Batman game before.

As you progress through the game, more classic Batman gadgets become available through experience gains and unlockables. Firing a remote controlled Batarang is awesome fun and earning new combo moves and different ways to take down thugs is supremely rewarding.

The “detective mode” is a brilliant idea and taps into the true nature of Batman as very few games have.  By switching to detective mode you can work out how to get from place to place, or track things like DNA and fingerprints.  It also shows armed and unarmed enemies and lets you know where they are at all times.  The only complaint is that you tend to spend too much time in detective mode since it makes the game much easier. Considering the environments look so incredible, it is a shame to miss out on them.

As a fan of the Batman animated series it was a thrill to hear Mark Hamill voice The Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman. It’s Luke Skywalker as Joker! Suprisingly, the game has quite a lot of depth and a gripping story line that will hook you in early and have you racing to see what happens next.  The difficulty is ramped up quite nicely and you don’t ever feel like you are enduring tedium in order to progress the story. The Scarecrow sequences are amazing and trippy with flashbacks to Bruce Wayne’s past and exploring Batman’s fears.

 

It would be easy to make a basic Batman game and still make it great.  What makes Arkham Asylum exceptional is the attention to detail.  Every character is used well, every situation requires you to think about how to successfully get through a room.  It isn’t simply mindless action based around a loose plot. It is well constructed, looks amazing and is a whole lot of fun.

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