Batman: Arkham Asylum was one of the few games of 2009 that I actually wanted to play when it first game out. I didn’t get it when it was released (I’ve convinced myself that there’s usually no need to spend more than £20 on any game because prices drop so quickly) but finally got round to playing it last month and loved it. It’s the first game I’ve played in a long time that prevented me from going to bed because I wanted to carry on playing. Because the game was such a joy to play, when I finished the main story I wanted to spend more time seeking out all of the hidden items in the Riddler Challenges. I also didn’t think I would bother with the other challenges but I keep going back and having “one more go”. It’s only by doing these challenges that I’m really discovering and appreciating the wonderful combat and stealth of the game.
When I completed the story I tweeted that it was probably the best game I’d played since Bioshock and I think that is still the case. Whilst playing I was reminded of how Resident Evil 4 dragged me into it’s world, but the games that I’m sure must have been big influences were Zelda and Metroid. It was just so great scanning areas for clues and then acquiring new tools that allowed you to open up previously inaccessible parts of the island for further exploration.
My only real complaint was that the boss fights were usually quite tiresome but I usually find that most games’ bosses are an artificial wall put there to prolong the life of the game. The length of the game and lack of difficulty appeared to be what most other people had issues with but I thought both were just right for me. I was always engaged and it never proved too difficult that I got completely stuck and I was satisfied when the story came to an end. All in all, a great start to my gaming year (even it the game was 6 months old), next I’ll be moving on to Zelda Spirit Tracks.