Batman: Return to Arkham – Review
Follow Genre: Action/ Adventure
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Tested on Xbox One.

Batman: Return to Arkham – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Both games come with all DLC. Remastered with improvements.
Bad: Sometimes suffers from graphical rendering.
User Score
7.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)

In this day and age where remakes of popular games are becoming a trend, we knew sooner or later there would be a remaster of the popular Batman Arkham series, or at least the titles that were present on the previous generation of consoles. It seems our wait is rewarded, and now we can relive the first two games of the Arkham series. Do you dare to traverse the maze of Arkham Asylum, or do you prefer the free roam nature of Arkham City? Anyhow you will still need to save the day and catch those bad guys – Nananana Batman!

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Story

Return to Arkham Asylum follows the story of Batman returning the Joker to the Asylum. In the beginning all goes well as the Joker is escorted by Batman and many guards throughout the facility. The security is on such a high alert that even Killer Croc (one of Joker’s most intimidating henchmen) is subdued from attacking Batman. Although all looks well there is one thing that Batman finds disturbing: the Joker surrendered without even putting up a fight. Moments later Batman’s hunch was proven to be rightas the Joker breaks free and with the help of Harley Quinn (former psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel who was employed at Arkham Asylum) all the inmates are released and the whole building is on lockdown. Because they don’t want to face Batman head-on, they let him go through the mad house like a maze, following each step and each action.

Return to Arkham City allows us to follow the incarceration of Bruce Wayne in Arkham City, the gigantic super-prison that encloses the decaying slums of Gotham City which is currently run by the Joker and his goons. After the events at Arkham Asylum the Joker has been infected with the Titan disease which is slowly killing him. Harley Quinn is put on the job to set out to search for doctors to cure her beloved Mister J. Batman needs to catch the Joker to find out more about a mysterious threat named ‘protocol 10’. When our hero was admitted to Arkham City he was approached by Hugo Strange, informing Batman that he will be launching ‘protocol 10’ really soon. After saving Catwoman from Two-Face they are attacked by their old nemesis the Joker. As the story progresses many things become clear about what Strange’s plans are and how the virus is affecting the Joker.

The overall flow of both stories is at a slow and steady pace, this means that story unfolds bit by bit and doesn’t feel rushed. These titles are always known for their well filled story, donating many lore items along the way, from profiles to audio logs and hidden treasures.

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Graphics

When looking at the presentation of both the titles it is clear that the graphical bar has been set high for the current generation. While bigger textures such as buildings and furniture have a nice finish to them, the craftsmanship done to the characters come astonishing and details are found even in the tiniest places. When comparing the original version and the remastered one we notice that this collection has improved textures and lightning effects. Various character designs have been tweaked and motion blur in cutscenes has been deleted. It can however appear that the graphics in Return to Arkham City feel rough at times, this is because of initial rendering during some load times. Even though both titles were originally launched at different times (2009 and 2011) these remasters are equally as good, so no real difference is felt when switching from one to another.

Sound

Batman games are well known for their ambient background music and distinctive sound effects. Fighting sometimes remembers you of the cartoons while not being childish and more adult-like. Hits and stuns all come with their own unique sound pallet and enemies are colorfully voice acted, this means that not many sentences are re-used, bringing forward a more realistic feel. The background music sure knows how to play on emotions and situations. When first coming out of the Asylum heavy rain is falling, and a soothing song plays, embarking the feeling of freedom towards the player.

Not many upgrades were needed to be done in the sound department. Voice acting is executed perfectly and every conversation is enjoyable, Joker his energetic laughter is true to his character and Batman’s deep voice makes you feel like an empowering entity while beating down inmates.

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Gameplay

Batman: Return to Arkham are action adventure games that places us in the footsteps of Bruce Wayne, a super hero that goes by the name of ‘Batman’ and his quest to rid the world of criminals. The Arkham games incorporate tactics from stealth games in a free roaming scenario. One of the most popular things from these titles is the Freeflow combat system: this system allows attacking and countering of multiple enemies without causing any hiccups or missed chances. Combat controls are smooth and causes the player to be more accurate even without a locking system. You can compare it to those cool Kung-Fu movies when the protagonist is fighting off twenty attackers in fluent succession; such combat is implemented with Freeflow. The good thing about these titles is that they really tend to hold your hand at first, by giving you a clear and well instructed tutorial to start with. This tutorial is implemented within the main story and does not feel like a holdup but more like an assisted start of the game.

To aid you in said combat many of Batman’s gadgets are available to use, like the Batarang, grappling hook and smoke grenades. By solving puzzles and beating up bad guys you will be rewarded with experience points, these points are used for leveling and each level allows you to select an upgrade from WayneTech. These enhancements can range from advanced body armor to extended combos andabigger range of gadgets. To reach higher places you will need to make use of Batman’s athletics skills and grappling hook. All of these extra moves and situations do not hinder the controls, impressing as this may be it does take a little while to get used to, but the learning curve is small compared to other games.

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Being Batman is not just all fighting evil and using cool gadgets, in some scenarios you will need to rely more on brains than on muscle, this is where your trusty Detective Vision comes in. This Detective mode grants him the ability to detect certain elements like bullet trajectory or residue from gasses. It is also a great aid to solve some puzzles involving circuit breakers or locked doors, or to plan how you are going to take down your next victim.

If the already large main story that gives us many hours of enjoyment starts to get boring, feel free to discover the many side activities are available: our favorite quizmaster The Riddler has scattered many puzzles around Arkham City and Arkham Asylum. While some require a riddle to be solved, other will test your dexterity and stamina. If solving riddles is not your cup of tea we can advise you to check out the extra content brought to you in this collection. Arkham Asylum has a survival/challenge mode to test your skills to get the best time possible. Arkham City rewards you with two extra game modes which are available from start namely, Catwoman episodes and Harley Quinn’s revenge. Keep in mind that Harley Quinn’s revenge may contains spoilers of the original storyline, thus it is wise to complete the main story first.

Conclusion

Batman Return to Arkham is a well welcome remastering for the console players among us. Filled with all the extra content and the graphics and sound have been improved even in the tiniest of details, making this title an interesting piece for the collection to enjoy during the cold winter days.Still leaning on the well renowned Freeflow combat and smooth controls, Batman Return to Arkham can be enjoyed by every type of gamer and fan in the world. When either you like to know what happened in Arkham Asylum or enjoy the freedom given in Arkham City, be sure to let everyone know the Bats is back!

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Rating: 7.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Batman: Return to Arkham - Review, 7.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
MC_JP
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

1 Comment

  1. […] Developed by Capcom back in 1996, the Resident Evil franchise has come a long way since its very first release. Due to Biohazard’s 2017 release date, the graphics are far more developed and refined than those that came before it in previous years. Staying true to its roots, however, the game still features the ever-popular behind-the-shoulder camera angle that was introduced back in Resident Evil 4, an effect that is also prominently utilised in other popular contemporary video games such as Batman: Return to Arkham. […]

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