‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ raises bar for stealth action

By Alex Sisko
Correspondent

batman-arkham-asylum-boxart‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ has been mislabeled. Many consider it to be action adventure, but ‘Arkham’ is a finely tuned stealth action adventure. In some ways this is the hallmark of Batman.

Batman moves stealth action forward, in some ways even surpassing the ease of use of other stealth giants such as Metal Gear.  Being able to see through walls using detective vision mode allows the player to make a quick battle plan when approaching a new area and keeps the pace of the game steady and fast.  This important mechanic also identifies clues, destructible walls, air ducts, whether enemies are armed and much more. The only con is that this mode is too useful and is tempting to use the entire time.

‘Batman Arkham’s’ greatest accomplishment is combining action and stealth gameplay and making these two disparate play styles augment each other. You can silently swoop in from above, kicking a goon across the room and then use a brutal finishing move before zipping skyward to land atop a gargoyle.

The combat is easy to learn but hard to master and gadgets and strategy usually play an integral role in a fight.  Intuitive controls allow you to quickly fling a batarang or take careful aim.  The grapnel gun is smooth and fast, whisking you into the air the instant you press the button.  The exploding gel and Batman’s other gadgets can be upgraded as you progress.  As you get further in the game you learn and improve your moves, and your suit shows gradual wear and tear so that by the end of the game Batman looks like he’s been through hell.

Mark Hamill voices the Joker perfectly and the supporting cast doesn’t disappoint.

Solving mysteries, setting traps for enemies, stringing crooks up from gargoyles, fighting beautifully animated slugfests with armies of goons—this game has it all.  There are loads of unlockables, challenges and riddles to solve.  It’s a shame that there’s no multiplayer  but the game certainly has replayability.  If you like action or Batman this game is a must buy!

Immersive – 9.5 – Stealth mechanics keep you interested and add depth to the action.
Technical – 9.0 – The graphics, animations and sound design are all great.
Value – 8.5 – No multiplayer but lots of stuff to do once you beat the game.
Average = 9/10