Batman: Arkham Asylum

WARNING! There is a spoiler I marked for people that want to play the game.

The story of the game is essentially Batman brings the Joker to Arkham Asylum, Gotham City's penitentury/mental institution, to place him into custody. During the transfer into the facilities the Joker manages to escape and becomes the captor of everyone inside. Batman is trapped with all the inmates, including both the fun loony-goon nobodies and a handful of major baddies from Batman's main rogues gallery that the Joker has released from their holding cells. It's now your(Batman's) job to bring order out of the chaos Joker has unleashed.

The main quest is a series of things the Joker wants you to accomplish, and the substories/trials is comprised of tons (literally a couple hundred) of the Riddler's challenges.

The atmosphere and scenery of this game is very gothic, reminiscent of eerie old horror stories. Arkham Asylum itself, the land and achitecture, should be considered a character, and it's dark history is narrated by the voice of Arkham's founder, Amadeus Arkham. These wonderful bits are found carved on stone tablets hidden throughout the island, lending to an immersion into a very dark place indeed. The difference in areas is quite amazing. From crumbling old subterranean tunnels to the lush vegetation in the botony building. Each area of the compound is unique. You may find yourself wandering around just to look at things left lying around.
I love the fact that while a majority of the villains from the comics and cartoons are absent, there are references strewn throughout the game of most the denizens that once inhabited these halls. A few I notable ones were Vote Dent posters, Catwoman's claws in a display case, and my personal favorite Batman villain, Mr. Freeze's frosted over containment cell.

I am roughly 75% done with the game, and it flows quite well.
So, far the first boss encounter has been the best. It deserves an award for how well it was written. *SPOILER ALERT*. It starts with a dead Jim Gordon in a hallway, and Batman telling Oracle he will get the man who did it. You end up going into the Arkham morgue with a bunch of doors left open, and overlapping ghostly voices telling you that you shouldn't be there.
So heading back through the only door in the room, you end up in the same place you just walked out of. This time there are 3 bodybags squirming on tables and freezer doors flapping openg and closed. Upon opening them you discover that two are Batmans mother and father. The third is the Scarecrow. A flash and You find yourself in an Arkham hallway. Things are definitely not right in this hallway. Papers start blowing by. Trashcans begin appearing. Rain begins coming down.
The hallway is slowly transforming into an alleyway. Specifically the alley that Bruce Wayne watched his parents die in as you come upon that memory. There is another shift, and you are now that young Bruce Wayne reliving the scene. A little farther on you go leave the dead parents and enter a door.
Once through everything goes crazy. You find yourself in a strange mental landscape. A massive Scarecrow is surrounded by floating chunks of buildings in this odd realm. He is searching for you with searchlight eyes and where his gaze is are beams of searing light burning the area. If you are seen you die. You have to sneak around and find a way out of this insane land.

This is the type of Batman game someone should have made years ago.
It's not always about just running bat-guns ablazin' into a room bataranging anything that moves. There are plenty of times you HAVE to take your time and think of ways to catch and knock out guards without alerting everyone else. There is a need for a level of stealth and trickery. So this isn't just an action game as it adds enough strategy to not put off casual gamers like myself.
It's dark, broody, and 100% about being a detective. A great story with entertaining commentary throughout by the Joker making fun of you and many of his low level henchman over the Arkham loudspeakers.
You finally get to feel like you ARE Batman. Sneaking around in the shadows, using crazy gadgets, striking fear into the hearts of crazies, and punching them in the face while they are peeing their pants.

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