Batman Arkham Asylum is a brief, brutal, and faithful look into the world of the Dark Knight Detective which succeeds on all of the levels that comic book games traditionally fail at. While it doesn’t add a whole lot new to the Batman mythos, it deals with familiar territory in a reassuring and respectful way, while at the same time treading a path that is uniquely it’s own.
The game plays to Batman’s strengths, he’s an ass kicking machine. There’s not a lot of witty banter, no clever jokes, and very little in the way of dialogue from Batman himself…but that’s not to say that there’s a lack of chatty Cathy’s, in fact the opposite is true.
Written by Batman The Animated Series scribe Paul Dini, the game takes a lot of its art direction from the Alex Ross style of painterly art rather than a more animated or Christopher Nolan-esque take. Batman himself looks like he was pulled right out an Alex Ross painting, and the Joker has a classic style.
Some of the better tweaks on designs include Harley Quinn, who looks spectacular, Poison Ivey, The ScareCrow, and particularly Killer Croc, who is just a beast of a monster, and who looks terrific.
The story keeps Batman trapped in Arkham Asylum, but he’s not without his resources, including a Batcave that’s kept just for such emergencies.
Intel is provided courtesy of Oracle, who comes in handy on a number of occasions by providing back story and filling in gaps about current events.
Batman is played by BTAS voice artist Kevin Conroy, while Mark Hamill fills the role of the Joker, and does so brilliantly. His guffawing, cackling clown prince of crime steals every scene he’s in.
The game itself is only about 8 hours all told, but there are a bunch of side quests and challenges you can do once you’ve finished the main story. With that said, now that I’m done the story, this isn’t a game I see myself going back to. I had my fun with it (and believe me, it was fun), but I don’t think I need to revisit it.
With all that said, I’d give Batman Arkham Asylum a 4 out of 5 stars.