By: Corey Lack
I recently got the game bundle, Return to Arkham, which includes remasters of the first two games of the Batman Arkham games, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. The bundle was released back in 2016 and featured both games advanced to PS4-era graphics and gameplay. First, let me say that as a big comic book fan, I was a fan of the Arkham series and I still am. That said, the first one is by far the worst of the lot and they bring all of the issues I had with it to this remaster.
The story focused on Batman bringing Joker to the titular asylum after stopping another one of his schemes. This turns out to all be a part of a bigger plan made by the Clown Prince of Crime as he escapes and takes over the whole island in one fell swoop, leaving Batman to try and stop him from achieving his ultimate goals and save as many people as he can. The plot is certainly a good one, especially since it feels like a comic plot. It features a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar characters from the Batman stories. Everyone from the two previously mentioned characters to the likes of Jim Gordon to various villains like Scarecrow and Killer Croc appears in the game either in person or as mere references found throughout the island.
It is the gameplay where the remaster unfortunately brings the accurate recreation of the previous version’s works. The gameplay, specifically the movement, was not nearly as good as it could have been. The player character frequently moved like he was on a Roomba rather than walking around. The player couldn’t grapple to a new location unless they were on the ground, which made moving around the maps very annoying. The gliding was so short, it was basically useless. Combat is really the only area where the game shines in terms of gameplay. The attacks and movements suddenly become more fluid and the various attacks and counterattacks really show where the developers’ focus was.
Despite my issues with the gameplay, I still recommend this game for any fans of Batman or of this series. While it is basically the same game with better graphics, I enjoyed it a lot. I’d give it 8.5 bloody playing cards out of 10.