A S3rious place in a S3rious world

Arkham Asylum

Batman. Arguably the biggest comic book character, undeniably the most popular superhero, and a franchise with a varied and mixed mythology, with interpretations as many as there are different psychologies.
There is something that makes serious comic book authors indulge in their most psychologically out there fantasies when they write the bat. After all, aren’t they all answering the eternal question: what makes batman, Batman?
To me, Batman is defined by his acute neuroses, and the mad-attract-the-mad world he lives in. His inner demons make him relentlessly put the cape on and impersonate a bat – his outer ones won’t let him quit that cycle.
If being Batman means relentlessly pursued by the insanity of The Joker that makes you feel that everything is a trap, if it means knowing that the Scarecrow won’t rest until he has pervaded your mind, if it means you are sure of your physical prowess, and have fought the fight in your head even before it starts, if it means using the dark as your friend – not a stealth maneuver but a weapon of choice – until you have methodically taken out whatever thugs pose as obstacle between you and your ultimate prey, if it means being a panther like predator, and always being prepared, if being Batman means all those things, the new Arkham Asylum game from rocksteady has nailed it.

I am Batman.

Batman Arkham Asylum game

The masterful voice acting by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill starts you off in writer Paul Dini’s what they puport to be Batman’s Worst Night. The setting means you fight Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Bane, Poison Ivy, Clayface and the Clown Prince of Crime one after the other, interspersed with some detective work. Being a detective, by the way is not only the only way to progress (following Gordon’s Cigar smell is your only pathfinder), it is also actively encouraged by The Riddler who keeps pissing in you ear about these riddles, the solution of which is usually a quick thorough scan of the environment away.

Then there’s the combat. There are no insane combos to remember or hajaar buttons to press. It’s all timing and direction, which gives enough depth, but also takes away the frustration. That it looks fantastic and the music is channeling Zimmer and Howard’s masterful score from the Nolan films is something you notice only when the game lets you stop for a breather, which is never often.

rocksteady has made the definitive Batman game, as well as the best comic book superhero game. Equal parts Metroid and Bioshock in its gameplay inspiration, this on stands out as one of the best gaming experiences I have had this year. Anyone who is a fan of anything should be playing this game.

19 thoughts on “A S3rious place in a S3rious world

  1. So much to say!

    1. Welcome back. Please stay this time.
    2. I take it you are having as much fun with the game as you do with the comics.
    3. When you get to fighting Poison Ivy, holler for me. I want to see the fight.
    4. I think Batman is all about his villains. Stronger and more well done they are, better the Batman looks beating the shit out of them. When I first started reading comics, I used to compare Batman with Superman (like everyone else in the world) but now, i think they are not very comparable. Only the frivolous Batman comics are comparable to Superman, something like DKR is not. The realization happened thanks to DKR (the GN), Dark Knight (the movie), and Arkham Asylum.
    5. Maybe I will play some when Ivy comes around. 🙂

  2. Batman is a hero, and I think all heroes are defined by their antagonists. Every hero, from mythological Gods,to superheroes to just men who do the right thing are more powerful not because of what they do or can do, but by what odds they overcome.

    The reason you haven’t enjoyed much of Superman fiction lately is my fault. I have to hook you up with Birthright and All Star.

  3. Equal parts Bioshock + Metroid?!?!

    Metroid fine. Bioshock..no.

    This game is Zelda + Metroid + Assassins Creed combat system kthx.

    Also, welcome back.

  4. @Vikram:

    So totally Bioshock man. The way they set up the world with audio logs and the running commentary track by the joker reminded mt of BS more than anything. Also, chalk up Zelda as an inspiration – the use of newer gadgets to explore the same areas again=dungeon design masterclass.

    Last Son is indeed awesome. Also, Secret Identity. My fave.

  5. Its funny they had as an inspiration one of the worst Batman comics i’ve ever read. Otherwise a rather good game, just reached the final fights on Hard mode (I restarted on Hard after only 6% through on normal as the lack of difficulty was a joke). What’s the most impressive thing is though, despite the repetitive nature of the game it never, ever bores you (Getting the Riddler arrested was rather satisfying). They managed to get this right, hopefully Ubisoft were paying attention and have managed to achieve this for Assassins Creed 2. After the abomination that was the new PoP.

  6. Riddler gets arrested? Feck, how’d I miss that? Ubi’s been making a lot of noise about variety in AC2, haven’t they? Let’s see how it pans out.

  7. You need to solve all the Riddler challenges to get him arrested. 🙂 Its not particularly hard, especially when you get all the Riddler maps. Just leave all the challenges till after you beat Ivy as then you have free reign of the entire game world to solve them at your own pace.

  8. Have you seen the nonsense Infinity Ward has pulled with the PC version of MW2 btw?

  9. Tactless, the way they handled it. Though no special love for PC is not something most companies can easily live with – the PC is coming back as a major platform.

  10. MW2 now has the distinction of being only the second game ever – Ubisoft’s reboot of PoP earlier in the year being the first – to make me nerdrage. Take a lookie here:

    0071EB98: ‘set systemlink 0; set splitscreen 0; set onlinegame 1; exec default_xboxlive.cfg’,0
    00787A50: ‘Set to false to disable dx allocations (for dedicated server mode)’,0
    00701580: ‘Show dedicated servers only’,0
    00702558: ‘ui_browserShowDedicated’,0

    Source: http://bashandslash.com/boards/viewt…dec51471c2b392 and http://www.infinityward.com/forum/vi…?f=24&t=170116

    Jesus, IW. Come on…

    I lost all interest in the game. If somehow there is still a multiplayer scene on the PC six months from now i’ll get it. I doubt it though. :/

    Btw, I just moved to Mumbai. We need to get some HoN/DotA action in somehow. Sadly Mumbai seems to have become a haven for 15 year old CS whores. I am cry. ;_;

  11. I just got it for the PS3, simply coz I just couldn’t justify the PC ver.
    Even the single player is – eh. It’s a blast, really, bit I miss the gravity of the WWII ones. This is a bond film masquerading as a war game.
    Will let ya know if it gets any better.
    In other news, battlefield seems to be coming back Properly for the PC. I’m going to give tje beta a go soonish.

  12. Oooh. Mumbai, eh? CS kiddies abound sadly. I’m on Singapore now, but I do plan a visit there next year early to mid. Let’s definitely catch up then.

  13. I refuse to play a FPS on consoles when a PC port is available but they crippled the PC version so i’m gonna wait and see if it ever drops in price to a budget level.

    Yes but HoN/DotA can be played online if you’re still playing them that is, so will have to organise something somewhere. Right now i’m running around organising usual life stuff, bank, renting a place, etc. etc.

    And I just realised i’ve never asked this before but are you on Facebook? :p

  14. I leave London and L4D2, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, AC2 and Dragons Age: Origins come out within the space of 14 days.

    ….

    🙁

    Everyone is saying AC2 is absofuckinglutely awesome too.

    Really..wtf is this?!

    🙁

  15. Haven’t touched DotA in a long time, man, but can sure try and hook up. HoN is out? Didn’t realise…

    I am so totally on facebook. If you look for me, I’m the guy with the cartoon face.

    On AC2: I usually trust Tom Bramwell, and he says AC2 is freaking fantastic. Plus I played the L4D2 demo, and fuck wow, it is amazing. I have to admit, I did not care for the original setting as much as I am loving the Southern day time.
    As you can imagine, with Torchlight, MW2, A boy and his Blob just bought, and AC2, L4D2 reportedly excellent my purse is suddenly screaming for mercy.

    DA:Origins is free, so at least that much is covered.

    I also have to admit, I do not care for NSMBW at all. I have played the fsck out of NSMB adhoc MP on the DS so much that I couldn’t care less for this one.

  16. HoN’s still in closed beta. I’ll send you an invite (When they fix the invite system that is, its been down the last week).

    I care for NSMBW purely because it reminds me of Zelda: Four Swords on the GC. Still waiting for a non online multiplayer game to match that. Some friends and me gathered some GBAs and sat and played through about 70% of the game and some of the mini/party games. I can’t begin to describe how awesome it is.

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