Batman: Return to Arkam Review – Holy Remasters of Recently Released Games, Batman!

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Editor’s Note: We’ll be introducing you to the FUTURE with a review of Batman Arkam VR in the… future.

It’s 2009 all over again! Rocksteady Studios just released their remastered versions of “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City”, which make their first appearance on the latest gaming systems. These games, along with 2015’s “Arkham Knight”, make up the most bestest and satisfyingest series any manchild could ask for.

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Villains and henchmen abound in all parts of the Batman universe. Only the coolest, line-launching, grapple-gunning, batarang-throwing, cape-sweeping, crush-every-thug’s-spine-even-with-your-no-kill-rule superhero can save the night (yes, each game takes place over one night, but the Caped Crusader can do it, BECAUSE HE’S BATMAN!). The controls are mostly useful as you bludgeon, soar, creep, and drive to accomplish a few plot tasks and whole Stagg airships full of side objectives. There are group fights and stealth missions, all of which end with the Dark Knight putting enemies to sleep.

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The visuals are less grainy and more color-saturated than the original versions, but the best way to compare is to watch the “Return to Arkham” launch trailers. Sure, the remaster is a cash grab thanks to non-reverse-compatibility, but it’s worth it. Because he’s Batman.

The voice acting features the big hitters from “Batman: The Animated Series” along with other not-so-savory characters (Seriously, if Batman is such a great detective, why would he let a guy like Mike Ehremantraut pose as Comissioner Gordon?). The score is unsettling and appropriate, and is constantly punctuated by sound effects of machinery and fighting.

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The series builds successively, with multiple villains appearing in multiple games. The games grow in scale from Batman covering a small island to a larger portion to eventually the whole city. The Guardian of Gotham retains his gadgets as they become available, so by Arkham Knight he is operating on all Batmobile cylinders. Meanwhile, the enemies get more heavily armed and they grow wise to our hero’s tactics, which offers a slightly different feel to each game’s style of play.

At its best, the storyline soars higher than The Cowled Crimefighter off a high-powered grapnel boost. Arkham Asylum, with the Joker as the main villain, is lighter in tone, but overall the games are up to the standard of melancholy one would expect from the Morose Marauder (okay, I made that one up).

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The open world gameplay lets you explore as you go, and the many collectibles and audio tapes give a rich history of some of the lesser-known characters as well. The Riddler challenges are a feature of all 3 games and provide an excellent excuse for replay. All of the downloadable content comes standard with “Return to Arkham” so you you can gloat thusly:

Na-na-na-na
Na-na-na-na
Na-na-na-na
Na-na-na-na
DLC!
Just for me!
Batman!

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Get it now for $50.

9/10 Bro Fists (8 + 1 cowl)

 

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