The lights are on
I hate cliches, and even though I believe that this is becoming one, I'll say it anyways. Arkham Asylum is not just the best Batman game ever, its the best super-hero game ever. The story is great, and shows off almost every aspect of the Dark Knight. At times he is conflicted, desperate, and even scared, but he is always strong throughout these situations, giving the player the feeling that they ARE Batman. Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker), go above and beyond good voice acting, and have a great supporting cast.
Now all these things are great, but what is a game without gameplay? I am thrilled to say that Arkham Asylum has gameplay that is second to none. Not only are the mechanics flawless and easy to use, the game also has a perfect blend of stealth and just outright brawls. About 60% of the fights are fistfghts, and in these you beat the thugs with ease. Even so they never feel like typical game fodder. You always feel powerful, but the fights never feel easy, which is great.
While this is all good fun, real satisfaction comes from gun fights. Basically you enter a room full of gunmen (usually 6) and have take them all out. Only problem is, they have guns, which on Normal difficulty will kill you in about 3 or 4 seconds, and on hard 1 or 2. This would be trouble for anyone but Batman, and luckily, that's you. You spend most of your time on gargoyles, doing silent takedowns, glide kicks, and can even break through a glass ceiling on top of a thug, instantly taking him out. The only complaint I have is that evidently no one has peripheral vision, because you can drop right next to a thug, and 9 times out of 10, he won't see you, even on the Hard difficulty.
This game is my favorite of all time, but still it's not quite perfect, its main flaw being boss fights. They aren't bad, it's just that compared to the rest of the game, they are a bit mediocre. Still, I will never complain about the Scarecrow encounters, as they were some of the most thrilling moments in any game, and Poison Ivy was a pretty good encounter. Sadly, even the last boss fight does not break free of this pattern of mundane boss fights; it is actually the games worst. Again I want to stress that it isn't bad, just not on par with the rest of the game. The only other flaw with this game is the lack of replay value. Sure there are trophies you can collect, riddles you can solve, but there are no or very few goons to fight after the credits roll. There are also no side missions whatsoever, so once you beat the game, you can either start over, or hunt for trophies. These minor flaws aside, this is easily one of the best games of the year, and simply cannot be missed. Do yourself a favor, and play this game. You won't regret it.
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