Saturday, September 12, 2009

Arkham Asylum: Lock Me Up And Throw Away The Key

Games for me are divided in to three camps. 1) Games I play once or twice, never finish and don't really enjoy 2) games I play forever, never really getting to the end because I'm just picking away (but enjoying anyway) 3) and games I can't put away, play right through in one sitting, play again and again, talk about at length until everyone within a 20 mile radius signs a petition in an attempt to get me to shut up about the fucking thing already. Camp 1 has been displaying a "no vacancy" sign for years already but new titles keep showing up and demanding entrance while Camp 3 has always had shitloads of room for its very few occupants.
Well, after a long dry spell I have a new favourite game.
Mondays are my day off. I usually reserve them for doing a whole lot of nothing. Nothing important anyway. It's my day to sleep late, do a bit of shopping, make a dent in any personal projects. That sort of thing. Last Monday I woke up with a plan to play Arkham Asylum for an hour or two, get dressed and get a few things scratched off my list. That was at about 10am.
I got dressed at 9pm. After I finished the game and only because I had plans to go to a movie with my brother.
The game is awesome. I don't think I could have asked for more out of a Batman game. Or any other game for that matter.
Kevin Conroy has always been my favourite Batman voice. Maybe because (other than Adam West) he has been the Batman I've known the longest so I was giddy when Batman opened his mouth for the first time and it was him. I was equally giddy when I hear Mark Hamill's now perfectly familiar Joker joining him. Mark Hamill being, much like Kevin Conroy, forever ingrained in my brain as being Mr. J jumping effortlessly from manic insanity to menacing psycho in less than a beat.
The supporting cast was no less amazing. An army of bad guys, a ton of references, the game is littered with little gems. The only one I really want to mention (just because I really do love her so) is Harley. What would a game with Joker be without Harley Quinn to back him up? Arleen Sorkin's airheaded, drawling, obsessive, psychopathic, hopeless Harley is what made me love the character in the first place. Oh and she's got a new look... goddamn, no one pulls off that look like dearly devoted Harley.
The game itself is fantastic. The game play is awesome and engaging. The story line opens it up to so much. Batman stuck on Arkham Island with every crazy and criminal lose and out to get him. What's not to love?
One of my biggest complaints with some of the games I've been playing is the controls. I don't think every game should be pong-esque in control simplicity but lately it seems like game designers have nothing better to do with their time than to make the controls for every game as complicated as humanly possible. I'm all for options and cool shit but I shouldn't need a magic decoder ring to figure out the diagram explaining the controller set-up. Arkham does really well at giving you lots of cool shit to play with and still keeping everything manageable.
The overall look of the game is really spectacular. Everything is Batman from top to bottom. It captures that universe so well and dumps you in the middle of it. It's not campy Batman either. It's dark. Deliciously dark. People die, bad things happen, criminally insane mass murders live up to their reputation for mayhem and Batman slogs through it all with his typical style.
It's a game I happily played from start to finish in a sitting but what makes it great is that it's so full I can happily do the same again and again. A game that is only good once is hardly a good game. I do love me game with serious replayability.
If you've thought about playing the game, if you're a Batman fan, if you have some spare time just play it already.
Would I lie to you?


Janna said...

Yay for obsessive-compulsiveness!
I sometimes find things that captivate me that way too. (Not video games but other stuff).

I just end up having to "ride the wave" to its completion until I've finally reached the point when I feel satiated.

It will come eventually.
In the meantime, have a ball. :)

metalmom said...

God, I love Harley Quinn.I call my daughter Harley just to bug her (her name is Holly) I think she is the sexiest animated femme fatale and even outdoes Jessica Rabbit.

I can't play video games anymore. I got too confused years ago with the original Mortal Combat.

Gwenhwyfar said...

Janna - I just wish I had less expensive obsessions.

MM - Oh hells yeah, Harley beats Jessica Rabbit hands down (actually, I could just see her laying the smack down...). Batman had all the best Femmes. Ivy and Catwoman were totally top shelf.