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PS3 Review – Batman Arkham Asylum

September 4, 2009 Written by Richard Allen

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At first Arkham Island may seem rather restrictive backdrop for the brave bat. As the game unfolds you learn there is more to the island then meets the eyes. As much as you see above ground there is as least much below ground. Batman’s vertical nature is not ignored in the level design. The landscape and underground is ripe with plenty of areas to use your gadgets.

Visually Batman delivers with a gritty style that is faithful to the cartoons without being overly dark. The character models look life-like and move fluidly.  The voice production is top notch with many of the cartoon cast reprising their roles. Mark Hamill delivers a brilliant performance as the Joker and Kevin Conroy plays the Dark Knight without being overly brooding. The ambiance is near perfect and at some points reminded me of BioShock, plenty of sounds fill out the background. Enemies and friendlies have conversations which adds to the depth.  The soundtrack, while sparse at times creates suspense and is fitting to the series.

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At first glace combat seems an exercise in button mashing, which will yield mixed results. The freeflow combat system rewards carefully timed attacks and counters. Proper timing builds up your combo meter which allows for additional moves such as throws and instant take downs.  Better combos means better experience and more health regained from victorious engagements. With some practice the Dark Detective will be leaping from enemy to enemy skillfully.  Freeflow combat is perfect match for gangs found in Arkham. Familiar villains will pop up in boss fights typically with a small horde of minions under their command.

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