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Fanboy Batman:Arkham Asylum Impressions - Bats in my Belfry

Posted by: Shawn Sines at 8/28/2009 10:59 AM
I’m sure most of you are enjoying the glorious positive media that the recently released Batman: Arkham Asylum is garnering on the web right now. Despite some debate about doctored review scores and over-hype on behalf of game journos for the title, I can firmly say its one of the best games I’ve played all year.

Now to put some perspective around that comment let me qualify this as follows: I’m a big fan of serious Batman stories. I love the Bruce Timm version of the DC universe – his animated series define Batman and most of the other 4 color heroes in DCs linup for me and have for decades now. Batman is not just Christian Bale’s bad gravelly “emoboy” or the laughable classic 1960’s TV show to me. Batman is a part of my life and his tales by the many writers and artists have had an effect on my literary interests my whole life – from Miller’s Batman: Year One to the recent Trinity series featuring Superman and Wonder Woman as well.  I’m a big fan of the character.



So when I fired up Arkham for the first time I was expecting to be a little disappointed. This game is not based on the comics per se, or the animated series, or even the recent films by Christopher Nolan. Instead we get a quintessential version of the Bat drawn from many sources and distilled into one gripping tale and voiced by the man who in my mind has always been “my batman” – actor Kevin Conroy.

The key foil is of course the Joker, also voiced by the man I consider my favorite Joker – Mark “Luke Skywalker is so in my past now” Hamill.  as we’re treated to a tale of these two ultimate enemies playing an ultimate bat and mouse game using the setting of DC’s excellent Arkham Asylum as their playground.

Batman, his friends and many of the best of his rogues gallery are drawn into The Jokers game. Ultimately, while I’ve spent time busting generic thugs heads in the coolest slo-mo this side of Fallout 3, I know the whole thing really comes down to a one on one fight with the clown prince of crime and every minute of the experience so far is drawing me to that ultimate confrontation.

I could rave about the smooth combat or the amazing graphics. I could sing the praises of the many talented actors and the slyly written script that captures the essence of Batman and brings the game to life so expertly, and I could rail about camera quirks and texture pop in like a normal reviewer but it wouldn’t rise above the hyperbole and noise you can read just about anywhere on the net right now.

If there is one game I’m promoting to all my Bat-loving friends this year its Arkham. If there is any love for the character in your souls.. well you’ll reward Rocksteady and Eidos by at least talking a look at this version of the Dark Knight and consider picking up the game.

I’m abandoning my usual detachment as a game reviewer to relish in the pure fun of playing this game so you’ll not see a review from me on Gaming Nexus about this title and any other work I write about the title I’ll be especially careful to filter through my “neutral game reviewer lenses” but for once I felt the need to go out and rave like the fan of games that I am and the fanboy of Batman that I’ve always been.

I won’t guarantee it’s a life changing title for everyone, or even for me, but damn if I’m not enjoying it more than just about anything I’ve played so far this year.??

Pick up this game, its worth the time and its one of the best rides I’ve had in years.