Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Batman Arkham Asylum - Game Of The Year

The Arkham Asylum is a single player, third-person action/adventure in which the Dark Knight is forced to take on his greatest challenge yet when he is trapped by arch rival, the Joker, within Gotham City's facility for the criminally insane, Arkham Asylum. A blend of exciting arcade style combat and stealth mechanics packed with amazing graphics in a moody, immersive setting.

Batman: Arkham Asylum offers diverse gameplay options that push the envelope for all action, adventure and superhero games. n Batman: Arkham Asylum players strap on the gadget-heavy utility belt of the Caped Crusader. Gameplay here is a combination of both the knuckle crunching rush of hand to hand combat as you take on the hordes of thugs that infest Arkham Asylum, and stealth gameplay in which you must dispatch individuals from the shadows.

Players can expect an engrossing single player campaign in which Batman continually moves forward to face the henchmen, bosses and traps that The Joker has set for him. With regards to opponents, in addition to The Joker who you will hear more than you see, the dark walls of Arkham also hold familiar villains from the the Batman criminal universe including Harley Quinn, Victor Zsasz and Killer Croc, that you will have to deal with, but don't expect a one-dimensional experience.

As players progress from environment to environment within Arkham they will have to use varying combinations of muscle, detective skills, gadgetry and a certain degree of light RPG-like leveling of Batman's skills, arsenal and physical characteristics to survive and discover what The Joker's underlying scheme is. In addition to the story-driven single player campaign Arkham Asylum also contains various additional play modes.

These include an arcade styled combat mode where players accumulate points by engaging hordes of thugs in a hand to hand slugfest across a series of maps, in which Batman's physical strength and agility play a major role. The key here is to chain together as many attacks as possible due to the fact that with each successful combo players increase the point multiplier associated with their actions. The game also features a time-based stealth mode where players must hone their ability to strike silently from the shadows.

This gameplay, referred to as 'Invisible Predator' utilizes the Dark Knight's skill with gadgets like the grapple tool, batarang and explosives. These allow for vertical/horizontal mobility, the ability to quickly strike from above and at a distance and to take out enemies and create distractions, even through walls. But remember that Batman works solo and is not superhuman. Your enemies will congregate around trouble areas and work as a team against you, so you must be silent, plan your attacks wisely, strike quickly and discover the value of encouraging fear within enemies.

The sound on the other hand, is excellent. The game features awesome sound design, which is masterfully showcased throughout the Scarecrow segments of the game, and the sound effects as a whole are all very well done. What steals the show, though, are the voice talents. Much of the voice cast from Batman: The Animated series returns, and reprise their respective roles in top form, the standout being Mark Hamill's terrific performance as The Joker.


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