Finished Batman: Arkham Asylum – what a great game!

After starting it twice before, I finally finished Batman: Arkham Asylum Game of the Year Edition, and what an amazing game it turned out to be. The story is good, the graphics are great, the exploring is fun, and the fighting is terrific. I was really surprised at just how much game there is – it kept going on and on, not in tedium, but always finding new ways to cause Batman trouble! Even the voice acting and background materials were good.

This is a third person action game with very minor RPG elements (upgrades to abilities and gear), and it has great environments and looks. Most of the time, Batman is exploring parts of Arkham Asylum that has been take over by the criminals. Upon finding baddies, Batman must thump them. That starts out easy, but becomes quite a challenge towards the end. There are a few boss battles, including one with Bane, that throw in different moves, as head-on attacks are doomed to fail. The Poison Ivy battle was great fun and not easy. The final battle with Joker is quite the final exam, testing nearly all of Batman’s skills.

And then there were the Scarecrow sequences. They are almost side-scrollers, but pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I got some crashes after those sequences. I ended up reading online that they were PhysX bugs, and sure enough, disabling PhysX solved the problem, though I’d like to have been able to leave it on, because PhysX did improve the atmosphere of the game.

The game involves a great mix of skulking in the rafters and dropping down on hapless thugs and straight up fights against groups of enemies (or bosses). Sneaking is essential in many missions, and the game provides powerful tools to help Batman sneak (including “Detective Mode” in which you can see baddies through walls and vents and other objects of interest are highlighted).

If you haven’t played Batman: Arkham Asylum, do it! It’s good fun!

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