Reviews// Batman: Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year Edition

Posted 26 Mar 2010 04:00 by
“We've got Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY in at work!”

“Erm... you know it creeps me out when you talk in acronyms. What does 'gotty' mean?”
“'Game of the Year'! It's totally in 3D.”
“I thought it was already in 3D?”
“No, like, proper 3D! Like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. And, er... The Final Destination 3D...”
“Oh.” It's difficult to really put across in straight prose, but my housemate's 'oh' was actually suspended in a speech bubble with icicles hanging off it. There might have been a little steam on his breath. 3D's all cool and shit. He's not buying it. I am.

Having a game world you can walk around and interact with wasn't enough for me. I wanted... more. An extra dimension. And, you know, maybe some extra challenge maps, something like that.

In walks Batman: Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year Edition, complete with Trioviz 3D and all the DLC Eidos Enix has put out so far. So, I gave it whirl. I did, after all, love the regular edition of Arkham Asylum above all other superhero games.

I was, I have to admit, a little bit disappointed to pull some old-school-looking red and green glasses out of the game's fancy-pants lenticular packaging. That wasn't what they gave me when I went to see Avatar! I wanted my eyes polarising! Or something... Anyway, I'm no eye scientist, but I gather that, until we get 3D tellies at least, this is the kind of 3D we're stuck with. It's not, according to Trioviz's website, the Anaglyph 3D of old but rather “uses the z-buffer information of your game or film to create more depth and volume in a scene.” Whatever the hell that means. More kooky eye science here.

In a nutshell, it works. It's not perfect, but it does succeed in creating the illusion of depth. Sometimes it works better than others. In the cutscenes it's barely noticeable, to the point where Tim SPOnG was swearing that we'd not even switched the 3D mode on (yes, it's optional thankfully). But, then, he was claiming that he couldn't see the 3D during gameplay, so maybe he's just colourblind from too much banjo-strumming as a child.

GOTY fact: the game comes with two pairs of glasses and the 3D works on both standard and high definition TVs.

In the fight sequences when the camera pans back is when the 3D really deepens (heh-heh) the experience. That extra depth really does up the ante in terms of (at the risk of sounding like a PR douche) immersiveness. It may also be because you're more focussed on Bats himself that it seems to work better during fights as, alas, there's some blurriness to be seen. At any given moment there seems to be something on screen blurring, while another element of the game is in sharp focus. Usually the Dark Knight himself is as crisp as you like while the background is a bit smudgy, but occasionally the middle ground comes into its own and ol' pointy ears becomes a bit more indistinct.

Also, the colours are altered a little bit by the glasses. Trioviz claims that won't happen, but it does. I know this because I looked at it using my eyes.

But, y'know, I think I'm just a bit spoiled by Avatar. The Trioviz tech really does bring something to Arkham Asylum. It's not a game changer - it doesn't suddenly send the title's awesome levels shooting into orbit, but it does work well.

You also get all the previously released downloadable content straight off the disc. This consists of a selection of challenge maps, in which you complete tasks that all either involve punching Arkham inmates' lights out or stealthily punching Arkham inmates' lights out. It's nice to have them, but the challenges were always just a bit of diversion from the meat and potatoes of the story mode.

As for the rest of the game – well, I already reviewed it once. You can find that here.

Conclusion
Batman: Arkham Asylum Plain Old Regular Edition got 92% - that's an extra 2% the GOTY edition has netted thanks to its extra dimension and its added content. So, yes, it's better. Not loads better, but a bit. Most retailers seem to have the GOTY version at five to seven pounds more than the regular edition. If you don't have it already, it's worth the extra at a pinch. If you got the original, don't bother re-buying it for the 3D and the maps. You're fine.

SPOnG Score: 94%

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