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Lagging Behind: Batman Arkham Asylum

“Lagging Behind” is going to be my final thoughts on a game that I haven’t got around to playing. For the game to qualify for this segment, It has to have been available to the public for at least 6 months.

My knowledge about comic books is very little, so I don’t have a preference for Marvel or DC comics. Aside from the movies and maybe the cartoons, I don’t know much about Batman except a bit of his back story, and the type of combat he utilizes. As a character and a hero I am indifferent towards him which is why, despite the great reviews, I didn’t purchase Arkham Asylum atlaunch. And even after I completed the single player, I still thought Batman was a boring character in a universe filled with clever villains. It’s hard to play a game that I wasn’t interested in, even though I was constantly told by friends and family that I needed to play this game.

The free flowing combat in Arkham Asylum is spectacular, and very reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood. I often thought if Ubisoft got their inspiration from Batman, since they both handle very similarly in combat. Pulling off counters and using special moves is easy to perform, but difficult to understand when and where to use it. It feels natural to use, and it’s awesome to see Batman counter a hit from behind by not awkwardly jerking towards his attacker, instead throwing an elbow back and pulling the attackers arm launching his body over his head.

It plays great, though that doesn’t mean it is flawless. My least favourite sections were the stealth parts because, well, you can be stealthy by grappling to the magical gargoyles after a patrolman has spotted you. I remember once instance where after taking out a guard I was spotted by two others, then I grappled to the furthest gargoyle for cover. They lost track of me and were patrolling around and when one got close to me, he looked straight up at me with his rifle and declared “I think I lost him!” It was satisfying taking out an entire room without alerting a single guard, but it didn’t feel as awesome once I notice how mediocre the A.I. was.

Batman Arkham Assylum is a well put together game that borrows ideas from other games and blends it together very nicely. It doesn’t provide a completely innovative experience, though that shouldn’t affect the overall quality of the package. They repeated a few mini-boss battles that were only annoying as a result, not enjoyable. Arkham City moves away from the tight quarters of the asylum and, will probably provide an open world structure. Batman fans are probably excited for the highly anticipated sequel, but the same can’t be said for those who shrugged their shoulders when the credits rolled.