Batman is one of the most beloved comic book characters of all time and his popularity has only grown throughout the years. Who would have guessed that a grown man who dresses like a bat would turn out to be the pinnacle of DC Comics (next to Superman, but he’s not nearly as cool as Batman and all his gadgets). From movies to sub-par video games, Batman has been kicking crime in the butt for quite some time, but until Rocksteady Studios cracked their fingers and decided to give the old caped crusader a shot, we hadn’t experienced what it is like to truly be the Batman.
2009 served as a down year for superheroes. With Watchmen receiving mixed reviews from critics and fans, there wasn’t much for comic book lovers to sink there teeth into. That was, however, until August 25, 2009 rolled around and Rocksteady delivered the world a gift that would continue to keep on giving for six years. Batman: Arkham Asylum was considered to be the best superhero game ever released and went on to receive the near-unanimous praise that the Watchmen movie was originally expecting. The industry as a whole could not stop talking about this game which has transformed the way we judge our superhero games to date.
Arkham Asylum had everything: visuals, an immersive soundtrack, A-list voice acting, challenging puzzles and a groundbreaking combat system. The story of Arkham Asylum serves the game as most of the story is conveyed through various radio chatter, prison PA systems or the interview tapes with inmates that subtlety builds the world of Gotham and its psychotic inhabits as you progress. The Asylum is a vast island that the player gets to freely explore, excluding some inaccessible areas that require upgrades and gadgets to access. Some of the best boss fights ever encountered took place in this gem of a game. Arkham Asylum completely nails between the battle itself and the set pieces…well, excluding the final boss battle at least.
The HD collection is still unconfirmed at the time of writing and is nothing more than a rumored “leak” breached from the hull of GameStop employees. Said employee had sent images of an unannounced Batman HD Collection to Eurogamer and suggested that the bundle will include updated visuals that have been optimized for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One along with all previously released DLC for both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. If the leak does indeed turn out to be true, however, I for one could not be more excited. Arkham Asylum was the game that made me fall in love with a more traditional Batman and the comic book like heroes and villains that occupy his universe compared to Christopher Nolan’s gritty rendition, which was rather good itself. Before Batman Arkham Asylum, Batman meant nothing to me. After the game, I was all about the Batman and wanted to soak myself in a bath of Gotham City lore.
It’s been a few years since our visit to the asylum and I still believe that the first game is still the best in the series to date. Arkham City did an amazing job opening up the world of Gotham for a total free roam exploration experience, but the claustrophobic and remote feel of the Asylum was just big enough to really immerse the player in its twelve hour story. I admittedly was a bit late to the Batman party, but it was better to be late than never arrive at all and to jump in on the start of an amazing game franchise was just icing on the cake. The added bonus of all the previously released DLC between the two games is more than enough to call fans of the Rocksteady trilogy back for another go around.