Oct 012011

Most superhero games are average at best, a lot of this is due to the fact that most are movie spin offs, which almost always suck. However, one exception to this rule of poor games came in the form of Batman : Arkham Asylum and it has to be said, the sequel is looking to be just as good, if not better, than its predecessor. Not only is the game itself bigger and full of more characters than the original, it keeps the incredibly dark setting and story telling  that makes The Dark Knight look like a My Little Pony Christmas Special.

Starting off, you are immediately introduced to Catwoman as a playable character, whether this will be a constant thing remains to be seen. The Catwoman section re-introduces us to the combat system. The controls remain vastly unchanged, which is a good thing seeing as there was no real issue with what we saw in the first game, not broke, don’t fix it. One thing that has been changed is that when you have finished the early level and take over as the Batman, you already have your gadgets, rather than having to collect everything all over again, the main kit is all there, just waiting to be upgraded rather than collected all over again.

I have already mentioned the game still has a very dark feel, which is mirrored by the visuals, where the early section of the gameplay is set indoors, taking over as Batman lets us truly see what we are in for. As has already been confirmed, to accomidate all of Gothams criminals, it was decided to increase the size of Arkham Asylum, spreading it into its own city and allowing the violent offenders to run amock amongst themselves. This carnage is easily seen, the city looks totally decimated, as though thousands of criminals have been confined to them. The city has it’s tall buildings and bright lights, but there is just something about it, the visuals show you a normal city at a distance, but still manage to capture an eerie feel. Street level is much what you would expect, the vast majority of buildings have been destroyed, old store fronts boarded up and the only buildings of value controlled by armed guards.

The first building you will come to which remains untouched is one of the older buidings, now known as City Hall, the inside appears to be closer to a courthouse, which is exactly what it is being used for. While Catwoman has always tip toed on the edge, not quite hero but also not villan, unfortunately she is being tried by two face, who is not pleased. This is another area where the game excel over its predecessor, most games will have a villain, perhaps an organisation, but there always seems to be one person who you can single out, blame for everything and focus your hatred toward. For Batman this is a bit awkward, the game early on has introduced us to Two-Face and not too much longer after, we see The Joker. Both are fantastically created, with Joker looking just as sick as he is supposed to be, where as Two-Face looks better than his silver screen counter part, the one side of his body looks as if his accident has just occurred, his face is incredibly striking.

There are more rivals of The Batman present and accounted for but they don’t seem as seperate from one another as Joker and Two-Face, Poison Ivy (who seems to be off on her own), The Riddler and Mr. Freeze. Many of these characters were featured in the original game, but not in a full role, mostly as some kind of Easter egg, but this time, they are all contained in one, volitile area, with access to more followers, more resources and bigger and better locations. All of this combined with a longer and bigger game and we finally have a super hero movie that is not only better than other superhero games, but a genuinely good game, worthy of a mention that doesn’t involve slating it as a terrible movie spin off.

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