It feels so good to be back in the mad house with Rocksteady’s classic game. I’m quite the fan of the remastered Title, so I’ve been very much looking forward to bringing out this Batman Arkham Asylum Review. This is a part of the Return to Arkham remaster that returns you to the beginning of this amazing games series.
And it’s still so good to play, it kept me off some big recent releases because I couldn’t leave it alone!
This review will be only on Arkham Asylum with a follow up article to come later once I have played my way through Arkham City. While this one is the oldest game, releasing in 2009, the game really doesn’t feel that old. Here I’ll be looking at the quality of the remaster which looks really good even now. Plus the game’s story and its wonderful acting, as we got our first taste of Batman and the Joker in the series.
But will the gameplay hold up? Let’s get on with the review. Don’t forget to leave a Disqus or Facebook Comment at the end if you are thinking of getting this game.
Look and Feel – Welcome Back To The Madhouse Batman
I remember first playing this game and being completely blown away by the visuals, especially the detail on the characters. This is why the opening of the game stood out so much as you slowly move Joker into Arkham with so much of the emphasis on Mark Hamill’s voice acting.
And it’s all still so wonderful now.
The remaster has upped the quality so that the environments and characters look much more polished now. On the PS4 version I used to review, the graphics are really crisp. This isn’t quite to the feeling they have totally re-done the visuals like in Modern Warfare Remastered. But it’s very close.
Even back in 2009 the game was visually stunning with thoughtfully designed locations and wonderfully captured character designs. These aren’t just with Batman and The Joker either, although they are outstanding. Supporting characters like Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and Poison Ivy are all spot on.
As is the voice acting.
The quality of the voice actors here is remarkable. Mark Hamill’s The Joker creates a funny but twisted atmosphere throughout while Kevin Conroy is perfectly brooding as Batman. But all the other characters contribute too to make this game really feel like a Batman adventure.
It all still holds up in 2016.
Story – This Island is Under My Control
This sees the first game in the Arkham series as The Joker takes over the island of Arkham Asylum. It’s a devious plan to trap Batman and many other secrets he’s hiding too. The game starts as Batman escorts the Joker, strapped into restraints, inside the asylum he escaped.
Here you’ll meet a number of classic characters from the Batman comics as you take on the challenges in this sandbox adventure.
As previously stated the acting is wonderful and the animosity between Joker and Batman only builds as you play. But what I had forgotten about is how much the story keeps you in conflict with so many other characters too.
You take on Harley Quinn and her henchmen many times along with Bane and Zsasz too as he likes to kidnap various people. Not to mention the Riddler and his quests. But my personal favourites are when Scarecrow hits you with his poison and you have to enter his world to save your own sanity.
If you have not played this game and want to experience the story of the Arkham series from the start, you really should do. The characters, acting and plot are wonderfully put together and hold up even now.
Gameplay – Some Idiot Is Running Around The Asylum, Dressed Like A Bat!
Here we get to where the game really made a name for itself back in 2009. The gameplay was excellent and really made you feel like The Batman in its execution of combat, use of tech and being a detective at times too.
One thing that I will point out early is that Asylum is much more of a slower paced Batman when it comes to gameplay. Going from the excellent Arkham Knight back to the original does feel quite different. This is one if the few areas the game is showing its age in a way. Perhaps more because the series moved on to bigger sandboxes.
Here is the other point, the Island of Arkham is far smaller than City or Knight so do not expect this to be the massive open-world feel of today. It’s more the humble beginnings of the series. The games gradually evolved into the last edition which was the biggest area by far.
But playing the original still feels good.
Modern games that use the combat system that was first created in this game, still don’t execute it as well as Asylum does. The attack-counter free flow combat with mixing in alternate moves as you build up the combo’s is very satisfying even now. It’s not as refined as the more recent titles in the series, but it’s still excellent.
Solving puzzles and getting around the island is fun with different gadgets unlocking as you progress. Thees include even the very basic tools given to you in the recent games so it does make you go back for things you missed. You do miss them a little, and I personally missed the mini-map a lot, but you soon get used to it.
It’s still great to play, really fun at times and worth playing again or for the first time if you missed it. The boss fights are good and there is a sense of being manipulated throughout that really works well.
The game does show its age here a little though, don’t expect the pace and scale of the newer titles.
It’s a classic game that really does feel like it has a place on the new consoles in this remaster. While the gameplay is a little slow and small scale compared to the new titles. The remastered presentation is excellent and the Joker is a wonderful villain alongside a top story and voice acted script.
It’s exciting, darkly funny and will keep you playing for hours on end. I had to delete the game from my system to move on to other things as I REALLY wanted to get all the Riddler trophies once again. But it was time to move on.
The first Batman Arkham game is a must play and this pack allows gamers that never did so the chance. So far I would highly recommend it.
Come back to MGL soon for the Batman Arkham City review.