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Retrospective Review: BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM

Batman: Arkham Asylum was released to critical and commercial acclaim in 2009.
     It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly
ten years since Rocksteady Studio’s Batman:
Arkham Asylum
(2009) was released. It’s still one of the greatest video games of
all time and one of the greatest adaptation of the Batman mythos. The three
games from the Arkham trilogy are the
greatest superhero video games ever and no other superhero video games have come
close to being as good.
    The
plot of the game involves the player taking control of Batman as he attempts to
stop the Joker, who has seized control of Arkham Asylum from launching a plan
that threatens to engulf Gotham City in chaos. Batman must fight his way
through Arkham and many of his most famous antagonists like Harley Quinn,
Killer Croc, and Poison Ivy. The events of this game push Batman to his physical
and mental limits as his journey through Arkham takes him further down the road
to madness.

Killer Croc is one of the many villains Batman must face in this game.
    The graphics in Batman: Arkham Asylum are nearly ten years old and they were
originally rendered for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, so they don’t look
nearly as good by today’s standards. However, these graphics were phenomenal
for 2009. What I like about this game is that every area in Arkham Asylum looks
completely different, yet still looks like it’s a part of the same facility.
The graphics in this game feel very real yet the animators were still able combine
a sense of over the top comic book action.

Stealth will be a key factor to completing Batman: Arkham Asylum
     The gameplay in Batman: Arkham Asylum is great because it empowers the player
offensively, but still leaves them vulnerable to attack. The fact Rocksteady
Studios was able to pull off this balancing act is one of their finest
accomplishments. However, if there is one criticism to be made about the combat
in this game is that the boss battles often fail to meet expectations. Bosses
in this game are given a huge build up, but the boss fights themselves are
repetitive. For instance, fighting Bane is exactly the same as fighting some
lesser known enemies. The only boss fight that was truly mesmerizing was the Scarecrow sections of the game. The lackluster boss fights would be remedied in the
sequel, Batman: Arkham City.
     While the graphics may have aged, good
storytelling on the other hand does not. Batman:
Arkham Asylum
was written by Paul Dini, who was the producer and writer on Batman: The Animated Series. Dini tells
a story that presents Batman with a set of challenges that only the video game
medium can provide.

Mark Hamill balances The Joker’s mischievous side and insane side perfectly.
     The voice acting in this game is second to
none. Rocksteady went all out when casting the roles for Batman: Arkham Asylum. Kevin Conroy stars as Batman, Mark Hamill
stars as The Joker, and Arleen Sorkin stars as Harley Quinn, reprising their
roles from Batman: The Animated Series.
All three actors are still the definitive voices for these characters.  Whenever I imagine what Batman and The Joker
sound like in my head I can’t help but picture Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.
Mark Hamill’s performance as The Joker in this game is the best take on the
character outside of the comic books.

     Overall, Batman: Arkham Asylum has aged like a fine wine in the ten years
that it has been released. If you haven’t played this game yet, I highly
recommend it.  It’s currently available
for download on the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One.              
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