The world is going video game crazy, it is a bigger industry than the movie industry, and the gamer demographic has spread from nerdy kids to everyone (even our grans…. thanks Nintendo Wii )
What’s more, there are more video game review sites out there than **insert witty analogy here**
However, the BIG video game review corporations are often accused of being as bent as a **insert even wittier analogy here**, with accusations of video game publishers throwing cash, freebies, 5-star hotels and even hookers in the direction of the game reviewers, it is becoming quite a dark and dirty world to be in.
Also, from my experience, too many reviews tackle the pointless aspects of gaming: who is the publisher, what games does it remind you of? blah blah… let’s be honest, people read game reviews for two reasons:
1) To discover if the game is fun
2) To know whether or not to buy it
So whilst stroking my chin in a James Bond bad guy kinda way, and pondering this situation, I thought to myself: “Hey Dean, why don’t you do some video game reviews? Afterall, how hard can it be (famous last words?)”
I then proceeded to ponder the decline of the textile industry in the early 80′s, followed swiftly by a day dream involving Shakira, a melon, and a jar of Marmite… but I digress….
So here I am, with my game reviewer top-hat ajar on my brain-sack, ready to kick things off and break my game review virginity with Batman Arkham Asylum.
Conclusion: It is a great game, go and buy it.
Ok, at this rate I am unlikely to be showered with 5-star hotels and hookers, so let’s try again:
Batman Arkhum Asylum Review
Games based on movies and comic book characters are generally god awful, actually, they are ALWAYS god awful… but Batman Arkham Asylum seems to have broken to mould, in fact, it is not only good as a movie/comic book game, it is good by any benchmark you use.
The game starts off with the Joker being led into a mental asylum by none other than… you guessed it: The caped crusader himself… Mr pointy ears and deep voice.
Batman seems a little suspicious that The Joker was too easy to catch “this time”, that’s right, Batman has caught him numerous times before, but hey, comic books would be kinda boring if the bad guy was killed or locked away and never seen again.
As predictable as death and taxes, Joker manages to take down three armed guards whilst handcuffed, and chaos and hijinx ensues.
It turns out it was all a trap set by The Joker, and we walked right into it.
The story throughout the game is dark, twisted and as gritty as an icy road on a December morning (look at me, making my own analogies now, my mom will be so proud).
But what really makes this game a cut above the rest is the gameplay mechanics. The game is split into three main things you need to do:
1) Walk around and discover stuff, including riddles and secrets.
2) Fighting enemies with a combo-based fighting system that gives the usual hack-n-slash-button-bashing (yes, I haven’t quite mastered the correct use of hyphens yet) a rhythmic twist.
3) A Metal Gear Solid spy-like mode where you hunt down enemies without the rest of them noticing, this includes moving through the shadows, setting strategic explosives, silent takedowns, and many, many other frickin awesome and badass moves that make you feel like a kid in a sweet shop…. with a load of gadgets and toys that can kill the owner if they don’t give you free sweets.
Now, those who know me will know I am THE impatient gamer, I don’t know what happened, but around aged 16 I lost all focus and patience with my gaming, and where previously I would wander around for hours, now you have a few minutes to grab my attention, or I am off to YouTube to watch monkey fighting.
So with this in mind, somehow I not only could put up with the explore, solve and discover side of the game, but I actually enjoyed it. The fact that finding new clues unlocked new levels in the challenge mode was like bat flavoured crack.
So far, a truly flawless game…
Or is it?
**insert dramatic music here**
There is one major flaw with this game, and it comes in the guise of detective mode, which basically is a little gadget that allows Batman to see in a heat sensory, x-ray vision kinda way, allowing him to find hidden booty, hidden passages, and to target his enemies ninja style.
Whilst this may sound awesome, the problem is that if you play the game in normal vision, whilst it may look amazing, you don’t get to find all the above stuff, which means that there is no reason to EVER leave detective mode.
In other words, they created an amazing looking world, and you never get to see anything more than mere outlines.
It is like putting a bag over Angelina Jolie’s head*
* Where possible I will aim to reference Angelina Jolie in every review I do, with the hope that one day she will read my reviews, leave Mr Pitt, and join me in what can only be described as frolicking.
I played the game on hard mode, afterall, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a badass, but all that hard mode did was remove one of the main mechanics in the fighting aspect of the game, thus making all my fights a little harder and a lot less entertaining. Serves me right for showing off I suppose.
I also must stress that there are 3 or so parts of the game where The Scarecrow sprays his chemicals into your face and you go on a Woodstock-esque hippy, trippy knightmare… these are visually some of the most intense and impressive parts of any game I have ever seen, and whilst playing this alone at night with the lights off, I may or may not have done a little bit of wee. (I definitely didn’t)
So bad analogies and childish sexual references aside, let’s get to the point: should you buy this game?
It is a unique experience, and is well worth buying, that said, the lack of multiplayer means you may be better off renting it for a week…. just make sure you leave the lights on.
PS: If you would like to see more video game reviews, or perhaps even some TV show reviews, please leave a comment so that I know some people actually read this nonsense.