Everything about the game screamed my name, but I didn't bite. Well, that wasn't until I was out doing some shopping on Black Friday, and at one of the stores they had some awesome deals on games. Usually the games go pretty quick for the big sales, but I was in the right place at the right time, and just happened to stumble upon them without much chaos around me, which actually allowed me to look through and pick out games I wanted to buy, a rarity for Black Friday shopping, for sure. Anyway, one of the games I decided to pick up was Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I actually bought for my oldest son, in hopes of finding a game he would actually really enjoy.
He hadn't fully discovered Call of Duty yet, which is his go-to game/series now for sure. Before COD, however, he just wasn't into games very much, not due to lack of trying on my part. Sure, he would play games here and there, but nothing ever really grabbed him. For some reason, however, I thought Arkham Asylum would enlighten his gaming senses. Well, after he opened it up, later on in the day that Christmas, we sat down together to play it, him actually playing it and me watching it, out of sheer curiosity. He got frustrated with it quickly, but I, on the other hand, fell in love with it.
And the love affair for the Arkham series has been in effect ever since.
For one, the game was gorgeous looking. Best looking Batman game ever, hands down. Then you have the open world feeling while still being quite confined in space and exploration, as you are stuck on the Island harboring Arkham Asylum, where all of Gotham's criminally insane are held for treatment. Never before have you explored the Batman universe quite like this, and it was glorious from start to finish. You are equipped with all kinds of Bat gadgets that you acquire and upgrade along the way. The combat system felt almost revolutionary at the time, as it was so fluid, smooth and effective.
But the characters. Man oh man, the characters of this game sold it for me. With Christopher Nolan's movies, we as fans started to get familiar with the more realistic spin on the the universe, most notably, the villains. But back in this game, the villains and all other characters bring you right back to the comic book world, where everyone is exaggerated and somewhat unrealistic, but simply fantastic, fascinating and imagination captivating.
Another key thing about this game is the Detective mode, where you can see objects you can interact with, see enemies through walls and essentially drown yourself with the sonar technology Batman uses. Playing this game again specifically made me realize just how much I use Detective mode, as I don't ever want to miss anything. I'm guessing I probably play the game in Detective mode about 2/3 of the time, which is fine if you like everything drenched in blue saturation, but unfortunately you miss out on all the great details in the graphics.
This game was revolutionary for its time, both in terms of Batman games having a new gold standard to live up to going forward, but also in the type of game this is. Also, at the time, this was easily one of if not the best comic book video game ever, and still remains near the top of the list today. Also, never before has this insane, crazy and frightful part of Gotham been showcased so brilliantly, which just goes to show how deep and rich this fabulous city is with personality.