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Batman Arkham Asylum: Final Smack

Overall, this game reminds me of Thief. It’s a game with awesome parts that would be truly OSSIM if they didn’t keep deviating from the formula with crappy cliches from other games.  The core mechanics of brawling and stealth are really, really good, and if Rocksteady would just trust the game to those scenes, it would be absolutely incredible. As it is though, it’s the best superhero game to date.


  • In the good parts, you feel like Batman. Both brawling and stealthing are terrifically implemented. In particular, the predator scenes are some of the most fun I’ve had in a while. Fist-fighting is simple to do, but strategic and rhythmic enough that it doesn’t get old.
  • Graphics are great overall. Good characters and very moody settings. Core score is also very theme appropriate.
  • The characters and voice acting are overall great. Everyone from the minor thugs to the major villains has good dialogue and good acting. Props in particular go to Kevin Conroy (as Batman) and Mark Hamill, whose Joker is one of the major reasons you keep coming back. I’m not being figurative; part of the reason I played the game was to hear the next Joker line. Please give Hamill some kind of award. I have never heard voice-acting this good, and it has never been so potent in making a game more fun.
  • The riddle stuff actually works as a subplot. I’m not going to try to catch-’em-all, but it was a nice distraction while exploring.
  • Some of the set piece scenes (particular the Zsazs one) are so Batman you’ll think you spent years in the Orient learning the ways of the ninja.
  • When the narrative is good in the Scarecrow scenes (see below), they capture the heart of Arkham Asylum.


  • The game drops off towards the end. They end up going to traditional game endings and losing their way. The narrative finale seems a bit aimless and rushed, and the final battles are nowhere as cool as the earlier stuff.
  • Their desire to create game variety leads them to introduce elements that make no sense. Variety only helps when it aids the I AM THE NIGHT immersion. When it makes no sense in the Dark Knight universe, it just makes the game worse.
  • The periods in the Scarecrow universe with the giant Scarecrows and spotlights and skeletons are just plain stupid. The Scarecrow is a cool character, but if there was any game ever that shouldn’t have had an alternate universe scene, it was this one.
  • The Croc stuff was deeply under-delivered. I know this fits into the problems I’ve already listed, but I was so excited about this fight and it was so hyped that the cheap thing the designers came up with is just so suck.


If you have ever wanted to be Batman, or ever had a fantasy close to that, buy this game. It’s worth it. They misstep in places, but the game is the best superhero game I’ve ever played, and if they lose the cliched game crap in a sequel, it stands a shot of being one of the best action games ever. No foolin’ — it’s that good.

Posted in Hardcore, Reviews.

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  1. santiago says

    Loved your Brütal Legend review. Hey, you ever played the first Spider-Man game for the original Playstation, the one by Neversoft? I really think you feel like Spider-Man on that one.

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