What every game with a spandex-clad hero should learn from Arkham Asylum
1. Build the game around the character, rather than changing the character to fit the game
Developer Rocksteady never force the Dark Knight into situations that would be out of kilter with his stoic heroism. So you won’t find Bats suddenly shooting inmates in the face with a 12 gauge just to crowbar in some shooting sections.
2. Don’t pump your game out to coincide with some shitty summer blockbuster
Arkham’s not directly tied into any one interpretation – i.e. a cynical celluloid vehicle designed to sell Batman burgers to sprogs. This means it has the freedom to paint a broader, more fully realised view of the universe than if it was constrained by a single licensed property.
3. Don’t stick to any single gameplay convention
Bat’s latest isn’t a beat ‘em up. And it’s not a stealth game. Rather, Rocksteady’s title is more like ambitious open world fare that flirts with both gameplay elements without getting entrenched in either.
4. Be respectful to the source material, but don’t kiss its ass
Arkham is reminiscent of both the movies (the heart-pumping music is like the intense scores from the Nolan flicks) and comics (with certain character designs). But it creates its own unique identity, none more so than the Joker transformation at the end.
5. Stuff your game full of ‘Hells yes!’ moments
We could stroke our facial hair (eh, if we had any), put on our reviewer’s hat and monocle and wax lyrical about Arkham’s thematic success or impressive rendering. But, ultimately, this is a game that lives on these kinds of moments...
The Dark Knight tutors Spider-Man, Wolverine and others, teaching them how to fix their games.