600th played so far

Genre: Adventure/Fighting
Platform: PC/Xbox 360/Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

Although this was a big milestone game that I normally look forward to, it took me a while to actually get to it – the past few months (as of the time of writing) have been busy, and we only got around to playing it just after Christmas. Not really a big boost, but it has just been one of those busy months.

I’ve intentionally reserved this game, in part because Peter really wanted to go for it and because it’s one of those big games that have topped our lists. It’s certainly slightly different and a game I’ve been wanting to invest some time in.

Our Thoughts

Arkham Asylum turned out to be my sort of game, for the most part. I’m not sure I’ve got the reflexes to really pull off the combos, but it’s forgiving enough and telegraphs enough that it stays fun to fight mobs of enemies. Sure, it’s not always easy, but it isn’t impossibly difficult either. But just as often, you need to approach these with stealth – you’re not bulletproof and need to sneak up on any thugs with guns – and that’s a lot more fun.

You start off with a good arsenal of stealth tricks, gaining several more as the game progresses, and the environment always seems well enough equipped to use them, with vents to crawl through, gargoyles to dive down from and all sorts of other places to hide and do a sneak attack from. It’s incredibly satisfying every time you get it right and a lot of the fun there is in the puzzle of figuring out how to deal with the different enemies.

Then there’s the other bit that probably interests me more. The exploration – never complicated, but rewarding you for digging deeper. There’s a bunch of interesting lore things to find, while also giving the xp that helps you fill out your abilites. On our playthrough, I certainly did so a lot more than Peter – wasting loads of time in several places – which mostly helped him coming back as I pointed out some collectibles.

It all hit well with me. The stealth and exploration elements appealed, with the fights aimed at just the right level for me. And it was a nice looking environment to walk around in – sure, half-destroyed buildings, but that creates the right atmosphere, and it looks quite good at that.

Final Thoughts

From what I understand, this is probably the best game in the series. Other games  in the series have their advantages, but not the universal acclaim. In part this has the constrained environments, which helps you focus, giving some paths to take different paths, but not too much at once. The focus gives you the right tools to do in each part – fight in some areas, stealth your way around in others and sometimes use more puzzle-like setups to do so. Then there are other optional puzzles that make it even more interesting. It’s the right mix that I really enjoyed.