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Published on May 15th, 2011 | by Daniel

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Have You Played… – Batman: Arkham Asylum

“Have You Played…” is a weekly segment on asking gamers if they have played the game in question. It’s similar to “Do You Remember?”, but it looks at current generation games, no matter what platform they are on (as long as they are also on the Xbox 360)! The segment basically asks you if you have played it, so it gets you involved. If you have not played the game, at the same time, Charlie (or in this week’s, DAN) will give his score on how badly this needs to be played and if it’s for you. The segment is also for games good, or bad, so this segment will either tell you to play a game, or tell you to keep away.

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Want to write your own “Have You Played…” to be published on 22 May? For details, click here.

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This week, it’s Dan’s week!

With the summer blockbuster season about to properly kick off at your local cinema after great opening weekends for Fast Five and superhero movie newcomer Thor, and with the Summer season at the cinema usually being a haven for superhero movie adaptations, I thought I’d take a look this week at a superhero game adaptation that defied the odds. It was actually a good superhero game. Scratch that, a great superhero game; probably the best superhero game to be released on consoles. Yes, I’m talking about Batman: Arkham Asylum, which, contrary to my introduction, wasn’t actually linked to a movie at all. And with a sequel to this standout game of 2009 on the horizon and scheduled to be released in October and new information and footage sure to be released and shown off for Batman: Arkham City at E3, I thought it’d be a perfect time to take a look back at Batman: Arkham Asylum.

You know, the make up really doesn't make you look good for the girls...

Batman takes the Joker to an Asylum found in Arkham City. When things don’t seem right, Batman decides to keep an eye on Joker for a little while. It’s not long before he breaks free from his straps and starts to cause havock all over the Asylum, releasing every prisoner there. Now Batman has to try and capture the Joker and get help from those he would never call an ally. Batman: Arkham Asylum tasks the player with taking on all sorts of Gotham criminals inside a prison specially created for such devious minds. Criminals such as Harley Quinn, Scarecrow and The Joker all reside here, and are all capable of playing mind games on The Bat. Batman: Arkham Asylum wasn’t tied to a movie license. It wasn’t pushed to release alongside a movie either, which allowed Rocksteady to give Arkham Asylum due development time, and boy did it pay off. Of course, everyone’s heard of Batman. Even if you’re not familiar with the lore of the world of Batman, Gotham and everything in between, you would of heard of the Dark Knight himself. Batman: Arkham Asylum wasn’t just a great superhero game though. That would diminish the achievements and accolades that Rocksteady has achieved. Batman: Arkham Asylum did everything right. Well, if you forgive the lacklustre ending. I say no more. It had an amazingly immersive world, which was large enough to allow Batman to glide around yet detailed enough to keep the player coming back to search for Easter Eggs or to solve the last riddle left by The Riddler himself. It featured a wealth of Batman’s foes which were brilliantly recreated and each was bursting with their own unique flavour and style (Harley Quinn has the crazy-sexy thing going on while Scarecrow is just damn scary!) Batman was stacked and well versed with a wide range of gadgetry and combat moves which allowed free-flowing combats to mix it up with the likes of Batman’s trusty Batarang and explosive gel. And all this was backed up by a number of innovative and frankly, cool, new features such as Detective Mode and Combat & Stealth Challenges.

Killer Croc is a killer?! Never would have guessed.

From start to end, Batman: Arkham Asylum just satisfies, plain and simple. Whether you’re using one of Batman’s wide range of nifty gadgets to solve a puzzle, or taking full advantage of his melee skills to busting dudes left right and centre with a swift flurry of kicks and punches, or stalking prey from high above perched atop a gargoyle, or even engaged in one of the many boss battles the game throws at you, Batman: Arkham Asylum will be remembered for being ‘the superhero game that could. Even throughout 2010 and almost half of 2011 there hasn’t been a superhero game that has come close to Arkham Asylum (unless you count the Marvel stars present in Marvel vs Capcom 3). Simply put, Batman Arkham Asylum is the only superhero game to own. At least, until Batman Arkham City is released this October. Until then, those of you that already own this stellar game should play through it again in preparation. Maybe you missed a few things on your first run through or maybe you just want to experience Batman in all his glory once again. For those of you that don’t own it, it’s available for a really cheap price now, and I strongly recommend it. The score:

9 out of 10

Batman: Arkham Asylum was released for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC in 2009.

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