I’ve been a-reviewin’. Over at Resolution, a couple of days before the game’s big UK release, I talk about why Batman: Arkham Asylum has the potential to go down as one of the year’s best games.
I articulate my opinions using words such as these ones:
BioShock’s a name that’s been bandied around a lot during the discussion so far. Though the comparison’s crude, it does go some way to capturing the essence of Arkham Asylum. Despite the difference in perspective and Batman’s focus on melee combat, the two games share a gritty comic panache, a heavily twisted and expertly delivered narrative, and a cohesive, crippled beauty to their worlds. They’re also not a great deal apart in terms of quality.
It’s a good game. A very good one. Though it’s not without its problems. Arkham Asylum’s one of those titles that, when broken down and analysed in the most sober manner, probably wouldn’t fair as well as you’d think. One section becomes a little repetitive, the ending is weak, it infrequently but infuriatingly strips away its variety of combat approaches, and the story – while excellent – is never as infectiously clever as I’d have liked. Yet at the same time, I played through in two solid days, and barely looked at the clock.
It’s a thoroughly engrossing game, and an impressively varied and open one, which the demo didn’t do a right lot of justice to, but that I secretly hoped it would be. And the world design is right up there with the best. I’ll whole-heartedly recommend this one to anyone with a fondness of good games, and if you don’t agree with me, you’re a rubbish soul.
Something I didn’t mention in the review as it’s not even slightly important, but for the sake of feeling I’ve done my job will mention here: the camera’s occasionally awkward. If you hate rubbish cameras, you might love Arkham Asylum ever-so-slightly less than I did. But you will love it. Or I’ll break your brains off.