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Batman: Arkham Asylum
PC, Playstation 3, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Rated: "T" for Teen

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Since his 1939 debut, Batman has always been about one man’s struggle with his own demons. You’ve got Bruce Wayne; Gotham’s most well-known millionaire, philanthropist and playboy by day trying to maintain a sense of normalcy while patrolling the streets as a masked vigilante at night. How does one man balance both lives?

You can look at Batman: Arkham Asylum in a much similar way. On the one hand, it’s your classic beat-‘em-up with a glossy coat of paint – but on the other it’s a superhero opus that hits all the right notes at the right times, perfecting the character and his world in a way that many have failed miserably at. Of course, Arkham has its flaws and when they show, they show hard, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s the greatest superhero game ever.

Arkham Asylum begins with the Dark Knight bringing the recently captured Joker through the halls of the infamous Arkham Asylum.  The clown prince of Crime has just staged an attack on the Blackgate Prison – forcing the facilities sane yet violent criminals to be transferred to site. Before long the power goes out, Joker gets loose, frees the inmates and takes control of Arkham. What follows is a sadistic and violent game set by the Joker to mess with Batman’s well-being and sanity.

"..the game is completely accessible for most and is quite easy to pick up."


This is where Batman: Arkham Asylum truly shines – it’s dark and twisted story is a pitch-perfect tribute to how creator Bob Kane originally envisioned the character over 70-years ago. This is the Dark Knight of superhero video games (though here, Batman doesn’t need a throat lozenge). Yes, its dark (The Riddler even makes a joke about mutilating babies), but you never get the sense that the game steps over the line just to step over the line. At the same time though, the game is completely accessible for most and is quite easy to pick up.

In Arkham Asylum – you’ll get what you put in. Sure, you could just go throw the game, beating up henchmen and freeing doctors, but there’s so much more here if you care to look for it.  There are character bios to unlock, along with Riddler challenges to solve. What I found most interesting was collecting the audio-tapes strewn about the asylum. These tapes feature interviews with some of the establishment’s most well-known patients and provide a deep look into the psyche of some of the most interesting depictions of the well known villains. In this aspect, Arkham Asylum reminds me a bit of Bioshock – there’s so much more to do than you’re initially led to believe.

If you play try to play through Arkham Asylum with merely your fists and feet, you’re in for a rough time. The team at Rocksteady has done an amazing job playing up the whole World’s Greatest Detective aspect of Batman and the stealth play feels so natural you’ll be able to overlook the fact that the developers took the easy way out and went overboard on the gargoyles atop Arkham’s Walls. It’s cool to be able to use detective mode to be able to stalk your prey and approach them analytically rather than with force. The fear meter mechanic is a nice touch – baddies act differently depending on just how freaked out they are (calm enemies will patrol areas while terrified enemies will look frantically for you, shooting at anything that moves). I often found myself redoing sections just to see if I can make the enemies more scared.

"...the enemies in Arkham Asylum are quite smart."


While the detective gameplay is quite fun, melee combat seems to have suffered a bit as a result. In most battles you’ll find yourself pressing one or two buttons (one to strike, one to counter) over and over until the enemies have been defeated.  And did the developers really have to include the slow motion effect on every third hit? Yeah, it was cool the first few times but as I progressed through the game, it just served to, and no pun intended – slow me down.  To their credit though, the enemies in Arkham Asylum are quite smart. At one point, I used my motion-sensitive explosion gel on two guards, while the third kept his distance in fear of facing the same fate.

Do you know why the premise of Arkham Asylum is so awesome? Opening the doors to Gotham’s fabled loony bin gives the developers free reign to include just about every member of Batman’s rouge gallery to include in a convincing story. While you do get a few good super-villain moments (Scarecrows scenes are great), you can’t help but feel like the game is missing a good portion of bad guys. Where’s the Penguin? Catwoman? You have the Riddler mocking me throughout the entire game, but I never get the chance to kick his teeth in? That just doesn’t seem right. Hopefully it’s something that gets fixed via downloadable content.

On that note – the game’s final boss fight is one of the cheapest I’ve seen in quite some time. Not to spoil anything, but the way you fight the Joker makes the whole game feel cheap and unsatisfying. The image of Batman with the Joker’s neck in his grasp is quite powerful and is one of comic’s most celebrated – why deprive the player of this?

Sure, it has its flaws, but compared to the Batman games of the past, Arkham Asylum is a how-to in the world of superhero video games. Make no mistake about it, this is the Batman game you’ve been waiting for – and one of this year’s standout titles. 



CHEATS USED: Unlockables, Unlimited Health, Super Damage, Teleport

As of this writing, the only cheat available for Batman: Arkham Asylum is unlocking the Armored Batman suit for the game’s challenge modes after completing the story mode. The suit makes the modes incredibly easier, as you’re able to take on much more damage.

Don’t fear though – Cheat Happens will be your source for Batman: Arkham Asylum cheats as they become available. The trainer for the PC demo features a number of useful cheats including unlimited health, super damage, and save and load position modifiers. These are all great, but what I would really love is a cheat to unlock all of Batman’s gadgets and upgrades – some of them are incredibly cool, but you don’t get to use them until midway through the game at least.



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