Rarely does a video game make me want to replay it a 3rd or 4th time but with Batman Arkham Asylum, this was one special treat that I am very glad to have decided to play. Normally superhero games these days turn out to be rather lackluster, so I started to play Batman Arkham Asylum with this mindset. Words can't explain how dead wrong I was!
Right off the back, the presentation of this game is fabulously done. Rocksteady Studios did an amazing job with the art in this game. Arkham Island is full of intricate details that really show you the atmosphere of what it would be like to be stuck on this island with these crazy lunatics. Everything, including the models, are beautifully rendered. Animation is top notch: Batman glides from one move to the other without jerking at all, like he KNOWS he's being watched. (he probably does).
The caped crusader's costume looks and feels very organic, tearing up as it takes damage throughout the night. The same can be said for the rest of the cast. Killer Croc's skin is rendered so good that it would make an amazing bulletproof vest while Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn's appearances and costumes make your IQ jump by roughly 30 points towards the NSFW zone. All in all, the visuals look really gorgeous (yes, you know which ones I'm talking about).
As Batman, you start off the game with the Joker enjoying a ride in your car as you take him to rejoin with his friends who want nothing but to dangerously play with the rest of the world. After the quick reunion, it's not long before you realize that it's a trap and you were fooled right into it. Joker has now escaped and he's driving the Arkham Island bus. Worst of all, he's drunk and he's in the wrong lane so yeah, you DEFINITELY want to get off that bus. It's up to you to stop him before he wets the bed and forces you to clean it up.
Arkham Island is a pretty spacious place full of secrets here and there for you to explore, both above and below the ground. It is divided into different sections such as the East containing the Arkham Mansion and the Botanical Gardens, or the underground containing your favorite hang-out Batcave where you and Batman can chill and hang for a couple of seconds. To get around all these crazy areas and avoid the traffic full of crazies, Batman has a collection of very expensive gadgets at his disposal ready to blow up weak walls with gel or quickly put to sleep 3 goons at once if they happen to be walking at higher ground.
Accompanied with all these gadgets is the detective mode which is available to you at no cost. Now with a tap of a button, not only can you see through walls and reveal everything hidden in your environment complete with labels, but you can also tell whether the guy standing around the corner has a broken tibia or not. Detective mode is also perfect for tracking down certain things like DNA samples, or solve puzzles. It's like X-Ray vision, only so much better.
Not far off into the game, you meet (sort of) an arrogant villain named Riddler who hijacks your radio frequency and randomly spits in your ear from time to time. As he continues to annoy you, he puts you through his various challenges and mind-bending puzzles left over by him for you to solve, and many collectibles to hunt down all in the name of trophies. These various side missions are very entertaining and greatly add replay value to this game.
As you continue to play through the game to complete missions and solve puzzles, collect items such as audio logs; Batman earns XP, which in turn can be used to upgrade your current weapons or unlock a new sweet combo that will have Bats breaking bones in no time. This makes it possible to do things previously deemed impossible, such as entering inside a blocked area. Saw something earlier that you couldn't reach? Don't worry, now there's a way!
These additional activities for you to partake in also come with rewards for themselves. For example, some of them open up 2 modes:
1) A predator mode, where you are put in a room, and have fun pick away the goons one by one, only to terrify the last standing guy, each challenge having different objectives like "take out 3 goons at once with a single wall".
2) A challenge mode, which is simply joker saying: "You vs Them in this arena, beat the crap out of them." and again, with objectives included. Keep on hitting them, rack up the score and various moves/combo, and keep everything smoothly connected; should you dream of topping those freakishly high leaderboard scores.
As an extra, figurines unlock from some of the collectibles as well which are basically an album of all character 3D models from the game for you to look at. Worried that you couldn't pause the cutscene to get a good look at Poison Ivy's awesome hot behind? Worry no more as this is even better. There is a zoom function built right in. (You know you'll want to).
Overall, this is a must play game. If you are a Batman fan, and you haven't played this game, you have no idea what you're missing out on. Rocksteady did a stellar job with this game, and they just surprised me with Batman Arkham Asylum. This game is an absolute blast that will keep you busy for hours after the main story line is finished and coming back to finish that last one challenge room so that you can finally get that platinum that you've been hunting for.