Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Batman Arkham Asylum

Seeing as this is a blog nominally about video games and other geekly esoterica, I suppose I ought to post something about video games. Rather than write up something original, I think I'll just repost a quick review I did of the recently released "Batman : Arkham Asylum". Originally posted on the Usenet newsgroup comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.action, in the interest of laziness and sloth I'll simply paste it verbatim to this blog. This isn't intended as a full review; it's just a quick overview.

Enough prologue. Here's what I think about the game itself:

Batman has had a spotted past as a video-game franchise; a few have achieved those the heights of mediocrity, and most have outright stunk. Arkham Asylum, though, may be Batman's first really good incarnation as a video game.

But despite rave reviews from certain quarters, I didn't find this game without fault. It's competent, stylish and unabashedly true to the source materiel and it achieves that delicate balance of combat and platforming that so few similar games match. But the game does have a few flaws. For one, its boss battles are a chore, largely because they often artificially increase the difficulty by locking down the camera at a certain angle (all of a sudden, your reflexive grasp of the controls which served you so well in the other 99% of the game have to be tossed aside to learn a new control scheme). Its reliance on save-points (or, more to the point, the disturbing absence of a quick-save) also frustrated me unnecessarily at points. But most importantly, there is little new to this game that you haven't seen before in other titles; its all very well done, but Batman doesn't break new ground.

But on the whole, these are all minor complaints; Batman Arkham Asylum is a solid title and I had a lot of fun with it. The World's Greatest Detective might not have the World's Greatest Game, but I expect I'll revisit it again and again over the years.

So, there. Something about games at last.

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