While waiting for Arkham City to release on OnLive, I decided to take a shot at Batman: Arkham Asylum.  Having recently completed the game, I think I have to list Batman: Arkham Asylum as one of the greatest games of all time.

Generally, I tend to prefer games that manipulate my thought process, and force me to change myself in order to play the game.  Such games include Geometry Wars, Braid, and Portal.  Often, these games require little reflexes or button mashing:  All you have to do is think to succeed.

Batman: Arkham Asylum offers none of that.  The controls are fairly staight-forward, and the progression makes sense.  The thing that sets this game apart is the storyline.

I’ve played a fair number of Batman games in the past, starting with Batman: The Caped Crusader on the old Commodore 64.  Most Batman games were content to follow the film-friendly limitation of only one or two villains per game.  In fact, with the exception of LEGO: Batman, I can’t think of a game in the franchise that pitted Batman against so many villains from the series.  Of course, I’m sure someone out there will correct me on that point.

Despite the ambition of the storyline, the story of the game made a lot of sense.  The designers gave enough foreshadowing in the early stages of the game to ease the player into battling each foe.   There were really no surprises or transitions that didn’t make sense.  The game gave a variety of experiences with each boss, and provided a progressively increasing difficulty with the thugs.

I generally don’t get too involved with the extras in a game like this, especially when they are too ambiguous.  They were smart to make maps to those extras available throughout the game, as it encouraged me to go back find each of the Riddler marks, riddles, patient interviews, and Amadeus Arkham stories.  Now that I’ve completed them, I’m glad I did; it fleshed out all of the characters quite nicely.

I always had a hard time understanding what people meant when they said that the graphics of the XBox and PS3 were so much better than the previous generation.  That confusion was wiped away by Arkham Asylum. Though I didn’t actually get around to playing this until about two years after the game was released, I remember being truly blown away by the graphics when it was initially released.

On the whole, Arkham Asylum is an outstanding experience, and you do yourself a disservice if you don’t pick it up.