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I'm in love... and his name is Batman: Arkham Asylum... also Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy.
I purchased my collectors edition yesterday and played it well into the wee hours of this morning... and now you get to here my thoughts.
First (if you even care what I have to say), don't buy the collector's edition. It's 108 american dollars... and the batarang (which you really want so you can throw it at people) is not only cheap dime store plastic... but it doesn't come off the stand without destroying it. While getting a dvd and an extra book with bios and art is nice... it's not worth the money. Buy the Gamer's Guide with the standard copy of the game and you pretty much get the collector's edition (just not the Crime Alley map for free... but you can still download it.)
Now that we are past that... the game is amazing. If you kept up with the hype... everyone has been saying that. Well, they weren't wrong. I'm not going to give a sells pitch, so after 9 hours of playing here are my thoughts:
Amazing video... almost all cutscenes are interactive and beautiful. Not only that, but Mark Hamill as the Joker and Kevin Conroy as Batman (once again as they were in the animated series) is more than enough reason for me to have bought the game. They give the best Batman Movie performances I have seen (yes... Hamill beats Ledger hands down). I was never bored, infact I kept playing so
I could get more cut scenes.
Character development... is mindblowing. Everyone in the game, from grunts to guards... they all have individual programmed personalities. I've yet to find two people that act alike when I talk to them. It's quite a display...
Fighting system... there are two ways to play: pansy-pussy way and OMG-I'm-a-fucking-Masochist way. Let me break it down for you: pansy pussy way is when you play on easy or normal and you get into a fight... the enemies have blue line things over their head when they are about to hit you... and it signals that you need to counter. It's easy and makes Batman seem cheesey. The OMG-I'm-a-fucking-Masochist way is when you choose hard mode... they take away the blue lines and you have to determine counter times on your own, not only that... but the enemies have almost double health as normal mode, they do almost double the damage... and they are smarter. I chose OMG-I'm-a-fucking-Masochist way because I wanted to pretend to be Batman. I never downloaded the demo... I didn't know how to fight... and the first thing they have you do in the game (after a awesome interactive intro) is fight... yeah I died ten times as I tried to learn the fighting system. Needless to say that my initial experience was a bit pushed towards anger... but after that beginning fight scene (and after I learned how to use all the controls) I was nothing near angry.
There is tons of shit to do--LITERALLY. The Riddler has ovr 200 things for you to do throughout the game... and that's just him. You can collect patient interviews, you can stealth fight enemies to take them down quickly and silently (which I'm loving)... you collect character bios... solve crime scenes... track evidence... and that's all seemlessly meshed into the main story. I had to make myself go help commissioner Gordon because I was too busy having fun hunting down and solving Riddler's puzzles (which are actually mind-fucks... you gotta think about them).
On top of all this... is a story which i have yet to figure out. I think the Joker is up to something (DUH!) but they haven't really given me enough to go on...
All in all I'd rate this game an easy 9.2 outta 10... with 0.8 taken away for my initial anger... and the difficulty of learning the combat system. Once you learn it though... it's quite fun and it never gets repetitive or simple... you are always thinking (if I fuck up... I'm dead) and I think that's a thought that goes through Batman's head nightly... so to actually feel like the character (even though I don't have a penis... and I'm no where near as buff or awesome... you get the point) is a plus over any superhero game made to date... BUT IT! (there's my sales pitch)