PS3 Reviews: Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

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Batman: Arkham Asylum Review

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Graphics:

 

9.0

Gameplay:

 

9.0

Sound:

 

9.3

Control:

 

8.7

Replay Value:

 

9.0

Overall Rating:       9.0

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Eidos Interactive/Warner Bros. Interactive

Developer:

Rocksteady Studios

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action/Adventure

Ahh, Superhero games, not many developers have managed to get them right over the years. We had a number of decent beat 'em ups over during the 8 and 16-bit era, but the 3D generation has brought us a world of virtual pain like no other...Superman 64, anyone? Yeah. And while the early Spider-Man games for the PlayStation were good, we never really got anything that blew us away. Until now, that is. With Batman: Arkham Asylum we are given the first proper Bruce Wayne game that actually captures the look, feel and grit of Gotham and its inhabitants, including Batman and his villains. A merger of stealth and action, Arkham Asylum is a game we had to wait quite a while for, but the end result is well worth it. Here's Ben's thoughts on the gameplay, and I'll take over graphics, sound, and the conclusion...

Although superhero games really aren't my thing and I was never into comic books as a kid, I have enjoyed the last few "Batman" movies and I had very high hopes heading into my time with Batman: Arkham Asylum. I've heard nothing but good things about the gameplay and after playing for a solid three hours, I began to realize what all the gamers were raving about. I was starting to really grasp the highly fluid, dynamic, and intuitive nature of the battle system; I was enjoying each of the characters more and more, and although the backtracking was getting to me, I was rapidly becoming a big fan of the inherent pacing. And then, I played even more, and discovered great stuff: you won't spend too much time beating on baddies; you won't become bored searching around for clues in detective mode; you won't always be looking for new and inventive ways to take on large groups of armed enemies (stealth, anyone?), and you won't be wasting too much time climbing, gliding and performing general platforming movements. No, it all just gels. That's the mark of a great action game that implements a variety of different elements, in my honest opinion:

See, everything just comes together to feel seamless. Nothing feels disjointed. The very moment you feel as if you've gotten your fill of one particular section of the game, you conveniently move on to another section, where you will be doing different things. The game isn't outrageously deep, but due to this excellent blending of different gameplay elements and pacing, it doesn't have to be. It simply feels like a complete, polished production and at the same time, it rarely lets up on the intensity and general fun factor. Let's deal with the movement and camera mechanics first- some may complain that the camera sits too close to Batman when simply wandering around and exploring, and while I'd normally agree, it didn't seem to hinder my view or progress in any way. Shifting to zoom mode is as simple as pressing the R3 button, and searching around while in detective mode (activated by pressing the L2 button) is easy and smooth. When you enter battle, the camera zooms out a bit to give you a more all-encompassing viewpoint, which works wonderfully well.

You do have control over the camera's angle, but not how close or how far it sits, which is only a minor inconvenience as far as I'm concerned. And now that I've mentioned the combat, it's time to attack it (pun intended): really, this is a highly accomplished system that allows for invention and encourages experimentation; the new abilities you learn are all effective and very cool; and the controls themselves let you dive right in and kick serious ass from the start but they still require practice for ultimate mastery. Being able to string together combinations on multiple enemies and looking ahead to possible issues when getting swarmed is invigorating. There's both strategy and dexterity involved, and it seems as if every last encounter is both challenging and richly satisfying. There's quick strikes, countering, the Batarang that can keep enemies off-balance, special throws, chain moves, and the crowd-pleasing move where Batman finishes off a foe on the ground. Oh, and let's not forget the stealth options, which are relatively simple and easy to execute but again, oh-so-satisfying.

The only complaints I have are small. I don't like the fact that the platforming seems just a touch incomplete; Batman can't jump to a ledge while shimmying along another, for example, and there seems to be just a slight hesitation and/or delay during some of the platforming movements. And as I hinted at before, there is a good deal of backtracking within Arkham Asylum just because the story will require it, and you'll also come across new items that will make you want to return to certain areas. In that way, it reminds me of an old Resident Evil title, only without the requisite fetch-and-use routine. I also kinda hoped for more out of the Batarang, but outside of that, it's tough to find fault with Batman's gameplay. All of it just feels so polished; the combat is beautifully done and a joy to behold, and the superb voice acting coupled with insane characters always seems to keep your interest, even during downtimes. Perhaps the best part? Batman looks, sounds, and acts like a total bad-ass. In all reality, what more can we ask for? Rocksteady Studios has done their job and they deserve props for this particular production. Well done.

Yes, well done, indeed, Ben. I wholeheartedly agree with everything Ben mentioned, including some of the platforming quirks. The lack of a jump does seem a little unusual, and yes, even though Batman will automatically jump when you run off a ledge, it's still something I prefer to have control over. Furthermore, if I may add one little quirk of mine, performing some of the stealth attack maneuvers doesn't require much input from the player beside just a single tap of a button. Again, I'd have liked for a bit more control over some of these moves, as opposed to just hitting a button for a kill. But, all things considered, these are minor nuisances.

Where Batman continues to excel is with the graphics. Terrific textures parade all over the screen making up the walls, floors, and ceilings of Arkham Asylum. Lighting is superbly performed, helping to really convey the gothic attributes of the environment with moody tones, and also allowing Batman to sneak around in the shadows just as he should. Character detail is every bit as sharp as you've seen them to be in the screenshots, as each and every primary character is meticulously detailed from head to toe, sporting great texture work and animations.

Now, there are a few little visual issues to be touched up, particularly with the collision detection. During the slow-motion impact cut-scenes you'll often notice enemies reacting to a brutal impact from Batman, even though Batman's legs or fists clearly didn't make contact. Furthermore, you'll often see Batman's cape clip through objects and other people, but to code the physics for light material like a cape has been pretty difficult for developers to successfully pull off - it simply requires way too much time. So, we're not actually docking points for a cape that slices through things, since it's been a norm for many other games. That said, the framerate is solid at almost all times, and the resolution seems like a proper 720p - so there is no resolution trickery going on here like some other games (GTA4, COD4).

I'll tell you one thing about the audio, Kevin Conroy's voice acting as the caped crusader is certainly better than that of Christian Bale's embarrassing Huff McGruff efforts. For anyone not familiar with Kevin Conroy, he is the same man that's been voicing Bruce Wayne/Batman since Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and nearly everything else after that, including the awesome FOX cartoon series that ran from 1992-1995. Conroy is, essentially, the voice of Batman, and I applaud Eidos on getting him to also lend his talents to this amazing game. Furthermore, to make things even better, Mark Hamill, who has been the exclusive voice behind The Joker in the various cartoons, is also here reprising his role as Batman's arch-enemy. And can I just say that Hamill continues to be absolutely amazing as The Joker - and to see both Conroy and him bouncing words off each other is extremely immersive to the overall experience, the chemistry is flawless. Other long time voice actors from the cartoons also reprise their roles, including the voice of Harley Quinn, Alfred, and Harvey Dent.

If you can't tell by now, then let me make it painfully obvious: Batman: Arkham Asylum is the pinnacle of superhero games. It is without question the best superhero game ever made, and we can clearly see that the numerous delays the game saw have paid off extremely well. This is not just a polished game, but also a very well thought out title with a great story, fantastic visuals, superb gameplay, and voice acting that makes almost everything else out there pale in comparison. Yes, it's that good...and yes, you need to go out and buy it immediately. And to top it all off, you aren't given a measly three-hour adventure, as the game can last anywhere between 15-20 hours, and that's damn solid for an action title.

9/2/2009 Arnold K. and Ben D.

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Comments (40 posts)

LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:40:28 AM
Reply

The voice acting brought me back to the mid 90's sitting in front of the tv with a mixing bowl full of frutie pebbles home from school since I lied about being sick ::sigh::.

Oh and a really great game, good review. Very in depth review I might add.

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furbiesmustdie
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 8:32:54 AM

hint of nostalgia there? ah the voice acting. i've got fairly mixed views on this one. the joker sounds brilliant. the term "organised chaos" springs to mind. but batman's voice does sound quite different from the dark knight which on reflection is probably a good thing. brilliant movie but even the most hardcore fans would agree he just sounded like a blender full of gravel in that.

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bOnEs
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 11:05:39 AM

batman: the animated series had all the best voices for all the characters... as good as heath ledger did in the dark knight, mark hammill is still the ultimate joker... his voice IS the joker in my honest opinion...

i wanted to buy this when it first launched but, now i'm thinking it'll be a few months before i tackle it... i'm in no rush, i know it'll still be there when i am ready... i don't always have to buy a game the day it comes out...

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Juanalf
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 4:36:13 PM

@furbiesmustdie

What are you talking about? The "main Reason" why I picked up the game was because of my favorite batman voice actor ever.Remember,Kevin Conroy is Batman!!!

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Mr Bitey
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 6:46:38 PM

I agree. Batman: The Animated series was the best Batman series EVER!

Also Kevin Conroy has voiced Batman in three separate animated series, as well as the straight to DVD release "Gotham Knight". Conroy is the voice of Batman.

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Ricochet
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:44:35 AM
Reply

Another bonus to the developers: One of the best "ports" to the PS3 period!

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:50:02 AM
Reply

Fark you, people, and your convincing review. Now, I have to go get this game. Damn you for making me interested in what looks like a fun and satisfying experience. Arrrrrgh!

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Charger7302
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:51:45 AM
Reply

I love this game and agree with this review. But my only complaint is why are batman's arms so freaking HUGE, even the movies don't display them that big. Other then that the game itself is great.

But for this game to hold "best superhero game ever", I don't know, SuckerPunch's InFamous is a serious contender for that.

Last edited by Charger7302 on 9/2/2009 12:53:18 AM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 1:04:20 AM

Well, I might agree but I'm pretty sure inFamous has introduced us to a NEW superhero, and we're only talking about the established heroes and heroines from comic books and such. :)

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Ricochet
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 1:14:24 AM

Not as big as Chris Redfield though!

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www
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 6:32:10 AM

Charger, thats the first thing I also noticed, his arms.I think the problem is, its short and big, it shoulda been a bit longer and well balanced to match his body.

Ricochet, Chris Redfield's arms look more realistic, it matches his entire body but with Batman, it looks too thick and short. His whole body in general is just too thick.

I thought I was the only one who noticed, I just didn't want to whine until somebody else also notices.

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Zeppo
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 8:13:59 PM

I imagine it can just be chalked up to him wearing some bad-ass armor. Armor that protects your arms does that, my motorcycle gear makes me look way stronger than I am.

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NiteKrawler
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 10:50:18 PM

I never really noticed anything wrong with the arms, but it might have to do with the unreal engine. It seems like unreal powered games have huge people. Anyway, as I've already said, Infamous isn't really a superhero game. It is just a choose your destiny type of game and the name "Infamous" means that it is obviously focused more on the villain aspect of Cole.

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JackieBoy
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 1:44:07 AM
Reply

Didn't even play the demo yet, but from all that ppl saying this must be one hell of a game. Maybe I'll give it a try...

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___________
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 2:19:26 AM
Reply

meh batman arkham asylum is good but not infamous good.
after playing AA twice you get bored, ive finished infamous 3 times got the plat and am still playing it never gets boring.
everyones probably going to think im crazy for saying this but spiderman 2 is my favorite superhero game.
it was so fresh and original and had some really cool moves,and the final boss battle was unforgettable.
just like infamous, i wish more games had a massive twist like that, im sure no one ever saw it coming.

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kevinater321
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 7:57:03 AM

I personally never saw that coming at all! i was actually so suprised. But then when you play through it again there all little hints everywhere! It is just an amazing game.

Back on topic: yeah, this game is great everyone who doesn't have it should deffinitly go out and buy it.

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whooka
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 7:59:00 AM

I found that Infamous took way too long to get going as far as the fun super powers, etc. I swear I played for hours and did all kind of side missions and rarely would be offered any powers (some reviews also agreed they wait too long in the storyline to give you the fun powers) and eventually i kind of lost interest. Batman AA starts offering you upgrade/rewards pretty quick just based on XP rather then having to complete x many of good or evil side missions. I'm having more fun with the early stages of Batman AA then I did with hours of Infamous (though Infamous is a great game, too, imo).

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Jawknee
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 10:42:18 AM

I agree with no name. I really like Batman: AA but inFAMOUS is better.

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JackieBoy
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 10:51:13 AM

I played Infamous for about an hour and this game was soooo boring.... Didn't have that "thing" in it... Mindless platform-shooter if you ask me

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Jawknee
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:10:05 PM

I can tell you have good taste because you like Jack Sparrow.

Last edited by Jawknee on 9/2/2009 12:10:35 PM

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LegendaryWolfeh
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 2:44:53 AM
Reply

I'm still not sold on whether I should warrant this a full purchase or just rent, I mean, I'm not one of the people who try to 100% a game. I play it for the story, am happy with it, and I don't want to spoil it again so I'm essentially done with it, so then what should I do @_@ I would like to give them their money's worth, but I'm pretty broke right now, got to buy a new PS3, and then call Sony about my Account Activation so I can get all my games back and such, UGH.

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ohmikkie
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 3:23:57 AM

I'll probably wait until I see it cheap.

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PS3addict
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 10:55:37 AM

This is a game all about the story. It grabs you and will not let go. It really is a bladt to play. If you are on a budgeet, at least give it a rental. 15-20 hrs? Not on ypur first playthrough if you want to get all of the riddles, trophies and interview tapes. There are 240 riddler "Trophies" alone in this game.

Fun, Addictive, and makes me want to go play some more....

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BeezleDrop
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 3:18:19 AM
Reply

A truly great game, but it will have to be a rent. Big holiday.

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johnld
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 4:26:50 AM
Reply

And with the release of Batman: Arkham Asylum, a comic super hero game at that, establishes their place as one of the top developers this generation. The game just looks/feels/plays amazing. and as a multiplat, good job, none of that were having trouble with one system so it wont look identical, it will be just as good. I guess they got help from Naughty Dog (i dont know if its true), not like some other developers, who displayed a crap quality compared to its multiplatform game counterpart , who shall remain nameless.

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fundando
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 5:03:40 AM
Reply

People, if you love video games get this. I love it, Arnold and Ben love it and just about anyone else that has played this game.

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tridon
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 5:25:54 AM
Reply

I love this game, I do, but it frustrates the hell out of me at times. It's been a while since I played a game where you get "stuck" on walls so often. My Batman was shot to death because he couldn't escape off a flat wall. Quite ridiculous. Other than that though, this game is the ultimate Batman experience. Just wish you could've rode the Batmobile or Batjet. They're just in the game to tease you.

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Dogswithguns
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 9:03:24 AM
Reply

I will pick it up, but not at $60.

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therabbitkinge
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 9:26:45 AM
Reply

Ok im here to silence anyone comparing Batman: Arkham Asylum to inFAMOUS the games are completely different in both style gameplay and the overall agenda when it comes to how you make it to the end of each game. And yes AA is the best superhero game out there because like Ben said he's an established hero Cole on the other hand is a newbie... put Cole in fight with the Bat and he'll probably win the first fight but I garauntee you he'll lose each one after that considering Batmans always beat an enemy after getting to know 'em (^_^) ultra elastic rubber bat armor anyone? Lol great review you guys already own the game (^_^)

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 9:37:52 AM
Reply

A definite 9 out 10 in my book based on what I have played thus far (9%)..

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Jawknee
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 10:05:15 AM
Reply

Good review. This game kicks bottom. Few gltiches here and there but over all awesome game. Dark and spooky. Love the character designs especially Scarecrow. My favorite thing about it is the voice acting. Loved that cartoon. Used to own Mask of the Phantasm. Only about 50% through the game. Game play is longer then I thought. Once I'm done with this it's off to fight space pirates with Samus Aran in the MPT.

Last edited by Jawknee on 9/2/2009 10:06:17 AM

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mykjessnjr
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:38:02 PM
Reply

Just picked it up over the weekend and am likin it alot. Agreed though- a few minute glitches where lagging and sticking comes into play, but can definitely be overlooked. You know it's good when you get a little chill up your spine, not knowing what's waiting around the next turn. Addictive play and the result of countless marriages ending in divorce. j/k, but my wife hates me, Batman, and the (as she calls it) fat ass princess, lol.

And speaking of his arms- not real noticeable to me up until now- somebody needs to call a vet...cuz those puppies are sick! haha...stupid.

Last edited by mykjessnjr on 9/2/2009 12:43:27 PM

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nickert0n
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:51:46 PM
Reply

All I got to say is this, hype aside. This game is a masterpiece. Buy it.

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Schmitty
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 2:07:08 PM
Reply

You left out Alfred's last name!...its pennysworth...alfred pennysworth

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sunspider13
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 2:32:48 PM
Reply

This game hands down is the best superhero game ever. The combat, the puzzle solving, the STORY. Rocksteady Games should be proud of themselves for making this game.

Now as for the inFamous/Batman debate this is my two cents. Cole has just gotten his powers and is figuring out how to use them while at the same time trying to keep the city from falling apart and the pacing of inFamous bears that out. Bats is in the right place at the wrong time and the pacing of the story bears that out as well. Although both heroes/anti-hero, both are in different leagues. And btw Cole vs Batman...Batman ftw. Anyone read The Dark Knight Returns?

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Mr Bitey
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 6:50:56 PM

Batman is probably the best game I've played all year. I loved inFamous, but I completely agree, Batman ftw.

Is The Dark Knight Returns a graphic novel? I'm interested in picking up some Bats Graphic novels. If you can recommend anythign else, I would appreciate it.

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sunspider13
Saturday, September 05, 2009 @ 2:24:29 AM

Sorry it took so long to get back to you...yes it is, here's a list of stuff:


The Dark Knight Returns (in some peoples mind THE Batman story that reinvented Batman)

The Dark Knight Returns pt2

Batman vs. Dracula (I know how that sounds, however after reading it you won't regret it)

The Long Holloween (A good mystery novel)

Batman Arkham Asylum (which the game is loosely based on)

Kingdom Come (Supes, Bats, and just about the rest of the DC universe is in it, terrific read, great art, but the last few pages are really worth it).

Last edited by sunspider13 on 9/5/2009 2:30:38 AM

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sunspider13
Saturday, September 05, 2009 @ 11:13:29 AM

Oh and I did remember a few other titles while I was asleep:

A Death in the Family (ever wonder what happened to the second Robin? Not a graphic novel but the Joker is in it so it's worth the read)

Batman vs. Predator (decent read especially for the fight at the end)

Batman Year One (the other graphic novel that is credited with reinventing Batman)

The Killing Joke (Another Joker-centric book worth reading)

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NiteKrawler
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 10:51:58 PM
Reply

This game is so good! I mean...my god it is good! I applaud Eidos and especially Rocksteady on making such a great production. Glad they have my money.

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Zubs
Monday, September 21, 2009 @ 4:52:52 AM
Reply

Okay quickly...

Arkham -

Pro's:

Intro scenes are truly cinematic, I was in awe at at how polished and detailed it was.Thereafter a short tutorial on how to do take downs etc and it really is quite immersive in that dark Gothic way, they really got the atmosphere right and u really do feel like Batman.Bosses look phenominal! Take down moves are finished off in a slo-mo matrix-ish style and look good.Combat feels meaty or with some weight to it.

Cons :

-Boss fights are lame.
-Henchmen all look the same and you beat them way too easily.
-Majority of the game you find yourself grappling from gargoyle to gargoyle trying to be stealthy or crawling through ventilation ducts.
-Arkham looks good intially inside and out however,everything starts to look the same eventually.

Overall,high on exploration and stealth, low on action and if I were a critic, I'd give it a 7.9 out of 10 and not the 9's it has been handed out.

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