By Michael "Mr. Kebabs" Schaap on June 8, 2015

Because Batman: Arkham Knight is set to be released on June 23rd, I have taken it upon myself to play the previous two installments in the series: Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Of course, we'll begin our journey at the start. So first up is Batman: Arkham Asylum.

When I tried to play the game on my PC, I ran into trouble right off the "bat". This however, was not the game's fault; because I have no Nvidia video card, I have no NVIDIA PhysX. Without PhysX, the game doesn't want to run. So I scoured the forums until I came across a solution that took care of this problem for me. So finally, I was set to kick some serious butt as the caped crusader.

Batman: Arkham Asylum starts with you (Batman) bringing in the Joker for a little alone-time in Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane. This however, turns out to be easier said than done. As I watched the intro, I got the sneaking suspicion that something wasn't right. This was all far too easy. Turns out, my feeling was spot-on. The Joker escapes from the questionable grip of a few guards' butterfingers, and takes over the asylum. Now, I don't know about you, but having the Joker run loose in Arkham Asylum doesn't quite sound like a million-dollar plan, does it? Mainly because he can choose to set every inmate free if he so chooses, turning the Asylum into a fortress, guarded by Joker's private criminal army. So your main objective is to get your bat-claws on the Joker and put him behind bars once and for all.

But before you can bring in the Joker, you'll have to overcome tons of enemies and other obstacles, which you negotiate the Batman-way. Besides the Batarang and the grapple gun you have Detective Vision at your disposal. According to Wikipedia, "The Detective Vision is a visual mode which provides contextual information, tinting the game world blue and highlighting interactive objects like destructible walls and removable grates, the number of enemies in an area and their status—such as their awareness of Batman's presence—and shows civilians and corpses. The mode is also used to follow footprints, investigate odors, and solve puzzles." In short, this visual mode is your best friend and essential for solving puzzles and stealthily defeating enemies.

By defeating enemies and solving puzzles, you gain XP, which you can use at your own discretion to purchase upgrades. Upgrades are divided into four categories. They are six Combat upgrades, four armor upgrades, six Batarang upgrades and four tech upgrades. It's up to you to decide which category to upgrade, letting you customize your gear to suit your personal playing style.

While playing through the main campaign of Arkham Asylum, you'll come across Riddler Trophies, which you can collect. There are literally dozens of websites out there that can provide you with every trophy's location, so a quick internet search will suffice if you're missing one or two after hours and hours of painstakingly scouring the Asylum and surrounding grounds. Some Riddler Trophies unlock certain challenges for you to complete. Please note that not every challenge is unlocked by collecting a Riddler Trophy, some are unlocked by just playing the main campaign.

Even when you've finished the storyline, you do not need to get bored. There are still a few challenges that you can try to complete, like the Combat challenge and the Predator challenge. There are four different combat challenges, each made up out of four rounds. Your objective is to clobber a number of enemies in order to set a high-score, which is not represented in stars or points but... yes, you've guessed it, in bats! Then there's the Predator challenges. In these challenges, you need to take down multiple hostiles while staying undetected. So it's time to really get into our silent predator mode and be the Bat. Lurk in the shadows and wait for that perfect time to strike. Each of the predator challenges features three separate requirements for you to fulfill. You earn a bat for every requirement you meet.

Arkham Asylum is a great game that delivers in every area. The graphics are nice and smooth, much like the gameplay itself. An intuitive control scheme and awesome takedowns make this a game worth playing. And come on, you're Batman. How much more awesome can you get?! Just imagine this: You, emerging from the shadows and tapping an unsuspecting pedestrian on the shoulder. "Hello good citizen... I am BATMAN" The you immediately drop a smoke pellet, fire your grappling gun and vanish from the scene without a trace, leaving the poor guy disoriented and in absolute terror...'s good to be Batman!

available on:

Rocksteady Studios & Eidos Interactive (now Square Enix Europe)
August 25, 2009 (PS3 & XBox 360)
September 15, 2009 (Windows)
November 3, 2011 (OS X)