Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

Hunter Hadley , Writer

In 2009, Rocksteady developed the superhero video game Batman: Arkham Asylum which at the time was groundbreaking in the superhero video game genre. Before Arkham Asylum, superhero video game quality and representation was awful due to the reception those games got. In the minds of everyone, this was another superhero game. In this review, I will talk about why and how this game ended up changing the comic book/superhero genre forever. 


The story is about Batman bringing the Joker into Arkham Asylum after he took the Mayor of Gotham hostage. The Joker ends up breaking out and Batman has to stop him and his evil plans. You start out chasing Joker through the Intensive Treatment building in which you fight a Titan-induced thug. After that, you encounter and fight a bunch of armed thugs in the lobby, and then you encounter the Riddler’s challenges. One of the pinnacle moments of the game is when you step out and get a spectacular view of the island and Gotham in the background. Afterward, you pursue Commissioner Gordon to the Medical Facility where he’s being held captive by Harley Quinn. You save the doctors who are being held hostage and afterwards you advance to the lower floors where one of the best encounters in the entire game takes place. You have to duel with Scarecrow in his nightmare a total of three times, and the first time I ever encountered him it sent chills down my spine and it even gave me nightmares. 


After that you save Gordon, and then you fight Bane which was one of a few disappointing boss fights in the game due to how easy it was to beat him. Most of the plot after this retains to finding and destroying the Titan formula. There is another Scarecrow Nightmare along the way along with a few mini boss fights. You head into the sewers to collect spores whilst avoiding Killer Croc. This was probably the best encounter in the whole game because you had to be precise in timing otherwise you’ll get pulled under. The second-to-last fight is with Poison Ivy which is pretty repetitive and annoying because all you do is throw batarangs at her whilst fighting the guards under her control. Then there’s that bitterly disappointing boss fight with the Joker which basically involves fighting his goons and then pulling him off the roof to punch him. 


Overall I think this game was an absolute masterpiece and it still holds up very well to this day. This game truly makes you feel like you’re Batman which had never been accomplished before. The tone is what really sold the game especially on the 360 version because everything was dark and creepy and it felt much smaller. Challenge mode added a layer of fun especially with the perk of playing as The Joker. The only problems this game had were the few disappointing and repetitive boss fights. One thing that was awesome was the addition of the Riddler trophies which helped immerse you into the open world of Arkham Asylum. They were basically Easter eggs to the comics and it added a lot of Batman lore and mythos into the Arkhamverse. Lastly, there was the warden’s office Easter egg which wasn’t discovered until a year after the game’s release because the developers had to tell everyone where it was. It was so good because it hinted that there was going to be a sequel. I’d highly recommend that any superhero fan should give this game a whirl.