5 Stunnerbosseye | 01/09/2009 | See all bosseye's reviews (62)Top 100 Games Reviewer What a game. Frankly, this is stunning stuff in so many ways - whilst there is the odd issue and area that lets the side down, it seems churlish to give anything less than 5 stars when the core experience is this good.The entire game oozes atmosphere and class and Rocksteady have absolutely nailed the darkly comic world of Arkham Asylum, with its list of utterly insane and memorable inmates - this is how a Batman game should be, it takes everything that's good from the comics and works it into the game in seamless fashion, with Batman himself perfectly portrayed as the gadget toting uber good guy. Atmosphere is everything and right from the word go, you're sucked neatly into the world of the Asylum - a combination of truly gorgeous visuals, perfectly pitched and well scripted (and often amusing) story, superb voice acting and some impeccable game design. Visually it's a stunner, with superb texturing and lighting, with some wonderful character models on display. The attention to detail in the environment is epic, with all manner of incidental finds that make it well worth exploring each area and helps flesh out the characters and world to a high degree - inmate interview tapes, Riddler Challenges (some of which are real head scratchers), it's a world you'll really connect with. With the Joker running the Asylum, his dastardly plan is carefully revealed bit by bit and your progress around the asylum carefully plotted and planned with unreachable areas only accessible once the story unlocks a specific gadget. And what gadgets! Everythings here, batarangs, batclaw, explosive gel - all can be used and combined to excellent free roaming effect to make each badguy encounter something special. Every so often the world opens up into a large area with roaming badguys to take out, and the game becomes a particularly enjoyable stealth exercise as you flit from gargoyle to gargoyle, stringing up bad guys one by one, picking them off as the panic rises until you swoop down in terrifying fashion to take out the last one. Its hugely satisfying stuff and the design is such that every encounter with the Joker's goons makes you feel utterly superior - they scuttle around in terrified disarray as you take them down one by one, in almost contemptuous fashion.At those times when you're forced to fight, even then you're a complete badass, dishing out justice in some of the finest and most stylish brawling ever. Its entirely possible to take out 10 bad guys without taking a hit, flipping and punching, blocking and dodging. The animation system is absolutely flawless, with Batman neatly countering one goon, to leap catlike into the fray with another. Its balletic, beautiful stuff. Laying the smackdown on 10 guys (each knock out done in glorious slow mo accompanied by suitably violent sound effects) ending in the caped crusader dusting himself off - another day at the office - truly this is the epitome of 'cool'. Theres some hugely clever stuff going on with the design, and multiple sequences with the Scarecrow which start with some player confusion, but lead neatly onto nightmarish and random sequences which challenge everything you expect. The alternate vison mode 'detective mode' is a neat touch, although the actual puzzle solving is generally nothing to get excited about, reducing most sleuthing to simple follow the dots trail pounding. Occasional repetition sets in as you're forced periodically to back track around the island, but generally this is a game that's immensely hard to fault. An absolutely essential purchase, it's a wonderful polished, dark, funny, gorgeous, intelligent experience.