The game that started it all. A while back, I wrote about the final game in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, Arkham Knight (LINK), but today, I’m tackling the original game. The first two games in the series, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, were remastered and released in a two-pack for the Xbox One called Return to Arkham. I received this remaster as a gift this last holiday season, but it took my a while to get around to playing it. This last week was my spring break from IUPUI, so I had plenty of time to get in some much needed gaming. That’s why I decided to tackle Arkham Asylum once again, and I gotta say, it is just as great as it was the first time I played it all those years ago.
Arkham Asylum starts with Batman bringing Joker in to the titular asylum. Everything seems to be going as per usual, but Batman has a suspicion: catching the Joker was far too easy this time. What follows after the intro is a wild ride that sees Joker break free and take over the asylum, with the help of other classic bat-villains like Harley Quinn, Bane, Poison Ivy, and the Riddler.
The entirety of the game is set in the asylum and on the surrounding island, and Batman has to wrestle control back from Joker while also solving a plot involving Bane’s Venom serum. The game and its story are fast-paced, crazy, and just as fun as I remember. Exploring all the nooks and crannies of Arkham is such a joy, and the game takes you everywhere, from Intensive Treatment to the Arkham Mansion itself. This time around, I actually took the time to find and solve all 240 of Riddler’s challenges around the island, and this just added more depth to my experience as I found tons of awesome easter eggs. This game, and all of it’s follow-ups, really are love-letters to hardcore Bat-fans.
The gameplay is smooth and fun, but not nearly as polished as in Arkham Knight. The Return to Arkham remaster does clean up the look of the game, but the mechanics are still a tad broken at times. You have to give the game credit though: the fighting and stealth mechanics that this game utilizes became an example for tons of copycats following it’s initial release. Though it may not have been flawless, the game sure set the stage for great innovations to follow.
Overall, I have to consider Arkham Asylum to be one of my all-time favorite games. No matter how much time passes, I find myself coming back for another run through the game, having just as much fun the 100th time as I did the first. The game is rated T-for-Teen, and features your pretty standard bat-fare of punching bad guys with the occasional curse word thrown in. If you are a Batman fan, play this game. If you aren’t a Batman fan, I still recommend playing this game! Arkham Asylum is a game that the video-game history books will remember, and has led to innovations across the gaming industry. You owe it to yourself to give this game a go.
Thanks, as always, for taking time out of your day to read my ramblings,