Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition

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Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition on Steam

MSRP: $19.99

Platforms: Win, Mac, PS3, PS4, XBox 360, XBox One

Release: 8/25/09 (base) / 3/26/10 (GOTY)


I have absolutely no good excuse for why, despite having owned this game for over four years on two different platforms, I’ve only managed to play it slightly past what I consider to be the tutorial section.  Granted, I’ve started it up several times, but I just haven’t been able to fully commit to it. Which is criminal really, because I’ve loved the parts I’ve played, I’ve picked up the sequel, and it’s still just hanging out, waiting for me to carve out 30 hours or so to devote to playing it through to completion.

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Really, other than my own short attention span, there’s almost nothing here I can complain about.  Sure, save anywhere would be a lovely convenience feature, but I can live with the checkpoint system.  The combat feels good, even considering how clumsy I can be with action combat, it looks great, it sounds great, and there are oodles of collectibles. That last thing is why I really want to have 30 hours to dedicate – I could probably just blow through the main story in about half that, but damnit, I want to leave no Riddler trophy undiscovered.

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The Joker (with a little help from Harley Quinn) has taken over Arkham Asylum, and it’s up to you to put the inmates back in their cages and save the day. Batman: Arkham Asylum is probably most enjoyable for folks who like Batman, but who don’t know every nuance of every story. I have no idea where it fits into the Batman universe as a whole, but I find I don’t much care. Sure, it means I don’t recognize every single bad guy, but it also means I’m low-risk for any potential immersion-breaking flaws in the cannon.

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A word of warning: for a hack & slash title, it starts slow. Very slow. Not story-wise, but you’re going to spend a good 30-45 minutes doing a lot of walking around and very little Batman-like shenanigans. This is how the game eases you into the controls and your abilities (as well as into the universe and the story). Not only did it not bother me, I rather enjoyed it, but I’m also the type that plays on easy because I prefer to spend my time exploring and kicking butt, and not reloading and replaying levels over and over.

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There’s some RPG-influence here – you get quests to keep the story moving (and it’s pretty linear, so don’t think you can just ignore those quests and wander around forever), and you get experience with which you can upgrade Batman and his abilities and gadgets. While I’m sure there’s an optimum upgrade path (because there is always an optimum upgrade path), most of the choices feel like playstyle augmentations more than power-plays.

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There’s a lot of game here, and although it is slightly dated at this point, it’s a game worth playing. It’s not uncommon for people to recommend skipping Arkham Asylum and going straight to the sequel, but considering how often this one goes on sale for a measly $5, I think you’d have to be a little insane to pass it up.

One thought on “Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition

  1. […] I poked at this back in September for 366 Days of Gaming it was – at least – the fourth time I’d started the game without getting too […]

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