Until 2009Superhero video games used to be pretty boring. For every game like spider man 2there were many more terrible titles like superman returns, CatwomanY Batman: A Dark Tomorrow. However, a British developer called Rocksteady Studios walked out the door swinging with batman arkham asylum in 2009 which set the new gold standard for comic book action games. Now, 13 years later, arkham asylum It still stands as one of the best superhero adventures of all time thanks to its impressive world-building, highly influential combat system, and incredible presentation. It probably also helped that the iconic Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill voiced Bruce Wayne and the Joker, respectively, reprising their roles from the beloved Batman animated series.
There is debate about whether arkham asylum either arkham city is the best game. The most important thing that separates the two is the sense of scale and design. Arguably arkham asylumThe biggest strength of is its small world and emphasis on linearity.
Of course, Asylum It looks small compared to modern games, but thanks to the condensed placement of your points of interest, it never feels too small. In fact, this game respects the player’s time much more, offering more meaningful storylines and goals instead of a bunch of fluff. It is large enough to offer meaningful exploration, without feeling also great.
This, when combined with its light Metroidvania elements, gives it such a distinctive gameplay loop that it makes it hard to put down. For example, when you come across breakable walls early on, you can’t go through them. But after you finally get your hands on the Explosive Gel, a lightbulb goes off and you think of all the new places you can explore.
It’s such a simple yet effective design choice that encourages players to explore every nook and cranny of Arkham Island.
arkham asylum It’s also famous for its free-flow combat system, which is still copied to this day. It goes beyond just letting you punch and kick bad guys. Instead, Batman can jump on thugs, grab them, use takedowns, counters, and deploy his myriad of gadgets to keep his combo going, all in one fluid motion.
We encourage you to continue the combo, because the higher your combo, the higher your multiplier, resulting in more XP. It’s not an easy combat system by any means, but once you get into the flow of attacking, dodging and mixing your blows, it becomes much more satisfying. Eventually, you can get through battles without even being touched.
In addition to the more aggressive combat style, there’s a solid stealth system that feels just as fleshed out. Staying in the shadows and taking out enemies unseen is in your best interest, and the more enemies you take out this way, the more fear you will instill in those who remain. When you get to the last enemy, he is often seen trembling as he walks, hoping you’ll go away.
Giving players the option to choose between stealth or traditional close combat works really well and really ties into who Batman is as a character. This respect for the original material gives arkham asylum more than one edge.
Bringing it all together makes for an impressive presentation, from its overall art direction to character design to acting. It feels much more official thanks to Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Joker, respectively. This made it feel expensive and cinematic, edging closer to an animated series at times, rather than a video game.
Likewise, the game’s enemy design is just as memorable, especially the Scarecrow sections. These sequences require Batman to escape nightmarish levels while avoiding the Scarecrow’s death gaze. It would have been simpler to make this an action-packed boss fight, but given Scarecrow’s emphasis on fear, which often feels surreal, these sections make a lot more sense. The horrible sounds and visuals during these stages add tension and weight, without making you fight in the traditional sense. Once again, this shows just how in tune with the source material developer, Rocksteady.
There are also several moments where Batman glides through the dark sky with the moon in the background while it’s raining and it’s still stunningly beautiful even 13 years later.
While many modern superhero games like marvel spider man Y infamous second son could technically be superior to arkham asylumthey owe a lot to Rocksteady’s 2009 masterpiece. It proved that superhero games can steal the show, leaving a lasting legacy more than a decade later.