Batman: Return to Arkham Review
Batman Return to Arkham features the two original Batman games updated for the current gen consoles. Both games have received a new coat of paint and all previous downloadable content is included for both titles. Arkham Asylum begins with Batman delivering his greatest nemesis, the Joker, to the Asylum after recently capturing him. Unknow to Batman the Joker already had a plan in motion by the time they reach the asylum. Uncharacteristically unprepared Batman must fight his way through the asylum to unravel the true intentions of the Joker’s trap in this masterfully told story. Along with numerous thugs Batman also encounters a rouges gallery of some of his most famous enemies. All the while being taunted by the Riddler to complete his challenges by collecting trophies and solving riddles. Besides the main story there are combat challenges with an online leaderboard to be played as Batman or the Joker.
The stakes are raised in Arkham City as part of Gotham has been sectioned off to act as a prison under the supervision of Hugo Strange. Bruce Wayne is kidnapped while speaking out against the prison and forced behind its walls to become prey to the worst Gotham has to offer. Following a dangerous encounter with the Penguin, Bruce once again becomes the Bat to get to the bottom of what Strange is up to. Unlike Arkham Asylum, Batman is not alone and has a reluctant ally in Catwoman who is the second playable character in the story. Joker is back from the Asylum along with many other characters from Batman’s history. Riddler has upped the number of challenges in scale with the vastness of the open world city. There are numerous side missions to be explored from rescuing political prisoners to aiding former enemies. Challenges are back and can be played as Batman, Catwoman, Robin, or Nightwing with multiple costume options for each. There is also a Harley Quinn episode that acts as an epilogue to the main story.
Arkham Asylum, the game that redefined superhero video games, unfortunately has not aged well. While the character models are more detailed the animation is still wooden in the delivery. The character close-ups feature a dead eyed stare that becomes unnerving the more you look at it. The gadget selector feels clumsy in comparison to what it would become in later games. Arkham City improves every aspect of the game from fight to flight controls. The animations are more natural during cutscenes and the characters feel more organic. The improvements in the character models was immediately evident with the first appearance of Catwoman. There was noticeable frame drop in both games while sprinting. The voice acting is superb with the performances drawing you into the story and investing you in the characters.
With many recent reissues one may think that Return to Arkham would only be for the true fans of the series. Although if I am being honest the story is the star of these games. While one could just read an online synopsis of the games, experiencing this saga first hand with all its iconic scenes is something to be experienced first hand. For many, including myself, Arkham Asylum renewed my faith in superhero games. It has a superior original story and excellent voice acting only to be expanded and improved upon by Arkham City. This collection is for those curious to see the events that led to Arkham Knight, and for them it is worth the Return to Arkham.
Review Done on Batman: Return to Arkham for Xbox One
Review Code provided by Lex PR
Rating Overall: 7.0