Whoa. That shit was tight. Like, "not even legal" tight. I enjoyed Prototype. I liked X-MEN Origins: Wolverine. They had NOTHING on this, From start to finish, this game had my full attention. Mark Hamill is a KING... Graphics like Bioshock and gameplay like Splinter Cell make this a MUST PLAY.
Graphics- Batman was graphically and atmospherically very similar to Bioshock. Everywhere you went, it felt as if you were somewhere that used to be magnificent, but over time the deluson of the populace has deteriorated it into its current state. In Batman's case that state is anarchy. Everything looked sharp, with very minimal oddities in the environmental design.
Gameplay- Think Splinter Cell and you have a pretty good idea of what this game is like. Not like Double Agent though. Screw that. I'm talking about good old fashioned Chaos Theory gameplay. However, it isn't level based. It is an open world exploratory take on that style of gameplay. At any time you can choose to go investigate explore or maim another part of the island. The gadgets break up the monotony of taking out henchmen. You could very easily walk up and just beat each one to a pulp. Thats boring and repetitive though. Why don't I....
1. String him up from a gargoyle?
2. Blow a piece of wall up while he's standing next to it?
3. Blow out the floor from underneath him?
4. Knock over three of the four of them in one Batarng toss and glide kick the fourth?
5. Bat-grapple him to me?
The environments make all of these possible, and increase the ability to go back and play it through a dozen times, differently each time. The game also has a variety of optional puzzles, riddles, and exploration based experience bonuses. There are also a few spots that will throw your mind in a blender. At one point I went from being pissed, to confused, to laughing hysterically in the span of twenty seconds. The only part they could have improved upon would be adding in more villains. Understandably, they didn't. You can only use so many in one game and still keep a focus on the individuals. There were minimal environmental collisions (getting stuck on corners) and nothing in serious combat situations. Every now and then I would Glide Kick somebody from a gargoyle and get caught on the railing next to them, but nothing serious.
Story- Great story. In case you don't already know, the game starts out like this...
Batman has just apprehended Joker after another failed(?) scheme. You arrive at Arkham wary of Joker as he was much easier to capture this time. You escort him along with security into the depths of Arkham Asylum. Once inside, he escapes. This was all a ploy to get you INTO Arkham. He and Harley are in control of the Asylum and its security systems and have released most all of the prisoners. Now... Come get us...
The story contains several of Batman's most FEARED (see what I did there? :) ) adversaries. Including Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Bane. You come across references to most every other villain as well if you know where to look.
Audio- Wow. Just Wow. Mark Hamill has always been The Joker in my mind. (Luke Skywalker as well, but let's stay focused) What is the Award they give out for best voice-work in an entertainment software title? He should get one. His role as The Joker was done supremely well. Whether he is talking directly to Batman or to one of his own henchman, Joker's voice will send chills up your spine. Thinking about it, Everyone did a great job with the voices, even the henchmen.
Replayability- This was, I thought, the only weak point in the title. Sure there are Riddler challenges to go after, but once you have them all (You can easily find them all) there is very little reason to go through the story again. You can approach areas with a different style, but the story doesn't change AT ALL. The challenge rooms help this as well as giving you ideas as to how best handle situations in the game and showing off the flowing combat style of the game.
Accessibility- Batman is not hard to pick up and play. You know that saying we all hate "Easy to pick up, difficult to master"? Well, Batman is that. Anyone can pick it up and beat some henchmen into the ground, but a master can do it without being seen. The master can also do it to Six henchmen in under a minute. If you've played stealth based games before like Splinter Cell or even Metal Gear Solid, this is right up your alley.