I had actually never played a Batman Arkham game until I recently fired up Batman: Arkham Asylum. During my play through, all I could think to myself was: "What took me so long"?
In Batman: Arkham Asylum you take on the role of Batman. While attempting to securely deliver the Joker back to Arkham Asylum, you fall into one of his patented traps. Surprise! The inmates and crazies now run the asylum! Now it's your job to clobber your way through hordes of Blackgate Penitentiary lunatics & legendary Batman/DC villains to give order back to the asylum.
The first thing you might notice about Batman: Arkham Asylum is its wonderful presentation. The graphics are seriously beautiful, even for today's standards. The writing and story behind Arkham Asylum is top notch and really keep you invested in the events that transpire. The way the story and dialogue is conveyed is helped out largely due to legendary Batman voice actors Kevin Conroy (Batman), Mark Hamill (Joker), and Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn). It's almost as if you are playing through a much, much darker version of Batman the Animated Series.
The combat system relies on a unique mixture of all out attacking, stealth, and counter-attacks. Of course you also get to use a wide variety of Batman's patented gadgets such as the batarang, batclaw, line launcher, and so forth. I must say that I had nearly no issues with the controls during my play through as everything felt tight and concise. The music in Batman: Arkham Asylum is not necessarily memorable. In saying that, it's not really a bad thing! In fact, the musical score for Arkham Asylum is essentially mood music. Depending on the situation/location that's at hand, it does a superb job of building up the proper atmosphere for the occasion.
So to briefly recap: The story, graphics, controls, combat, and music are all great. It must be an all-time super hero video game classic, right? Well yeah, it pretty much is. This is hands down one of the finest super hero games ever crafted. In saying that, there is one major flaw that holds this back from being a perfect 10/10. The repetitive nature of Batman: Arkham Asylum.
There will be numerous times throughout the game that bears this feeling of "Haven't I done this before"? You'll frequently be dispatching enemies in the same areas after backtracking, journeying through vents, and constantly being in the detective mode to find hidden areas to reach your next destination. Thankfully, Batman: Arkham Asylum does a good job of stoking your internal video game fire quickly after a boring, or repetitive section (Mini Spoiler: Shout outs to Scarecrow for keeping me on my toes)! Heck, even though the Riddler's secret riddles can be mundane to find at times- searching through an area for all of those hidden treasures can be a good change of pace and provide some replay value for you.
Bottom line: If you like Batman in any way, shape, or form- then you would be a fool to miss out on this one.