The game itself is divided in to three distinct parts; combat, stealth and exploration. You’ll spend the majority of your time on Arkham island exploring, using Batman’s unsurpassed detective skills to bring you closer to your goal. You’ll be aided in this task by two factors. The game allows you to employ a detective mode, where at the click of a button your display will shift to being a blue-hued visual aid that highlights interactive objects, and other necessary points of interest such as fingerprints, structural weaknesses and the like. You’ll also be helped by a Batman staple – an ever expansive array of gadgetry such as bat-shaped boomerangs, rope claws and explosive gel.
Ancillary to standard exploration is the videogame clichÃ© of collectibles. Peppered throughout Arkham Island’s 6 intricately detailed explorable buildings, as well as the encompassing open areas are numerous different types of collectibles. I’m generally averse to collecting in-game trinkets, Assassin’s Creed’s pointless flag-hunting immediately springing to mind. Thankfully Arkham Asylum’s collectibles are handled with a little more flair and grace. Presented as a set of challenges by Edward Nigma – otherwise known as the Riddler – these hidden collectibles, especially those in the form of audio interviews and visual riddles provide further insight in to the rich history of Batman’s characters. It’s a clever way to utilise one of Batman’s best known adversaries without physically including him and diluting the story.
The combat sections of the game largely revolve around timing-based combos, although button mashing works fairly well. Through four actionsÂ – Strike, reverse, dodge, and stun – you’ll unleash Batman’s furious hand-to-hand combat. Reminiscent of Assassin’s Creed, the timing and flow based combat – although satisfying – was my least favourite part of the game. Successful combat, particularly long and varied combo usage nets you experience points which allow you to upgrade certain facets such as health, combat and equipment. None of the upgrades are particularly necessary, but will go a long way in making your trek around the island more manageable.
The stealth sections of the game are nothing short of sublime. With Batman being a super-power free human, frontal assaults against armed henchmen are akin to suicide, making silent, stealthy takedowns necessary. Assisted by conveniently placed elevated gargoyles to which â€˜ol pointy ears is able to escape, the stealth portion is tailored in to a game of cat-and-mouse where singular, calculated measures from the shadows make the player feel – more than any other aspect of the game – like Batman.
Last Updated: September 7, 2009