Batman Return to Arkham 

Version reviewed: PS4

Without question, the Arkham series – including Origins – is a shining light of gameplay, style and story. Since trying to escape the Gerudo Prison in Zelda: Ocarina of Time I dreamt of grapple hooking my way around Gotham. Now, nearly 10 years since its introduction with the Dark Knight delivering Joker to the infamous asylum we take a retrospective at last years remaster bundle.

Prior to playing the collection I would have ranked the games as:

  1. Arkham Asylum
  2. Origins
  3. City
  4. Knight
  5. VR
  6. Blackgate 

However, revisiting the games has changed this order and perhaps my memories of some of the games. Before Arkham Knight, I replayed the original game through PS Plus. It was a great playthrough. The atmosphere of the iconic Setting along with the attention to detail of environmental storytelling were unrivalled in my opinion by the other games in the series. Skulking in air vents with bat-eared shadows echoing the stylised silhouette, which instantly puts fear in the hearts of Gotham’s rogues, felt as good as it did all those years ago. The smaller, focused setting had always been my preference over the vast expansiveness of the later games. However, this is a post Knight world which for all its flaws was a slick, smooth experience. The team at Rocksteady had learnt from their prior work. 

When popping back in to Arkham Asylum, the combat felt sluggish and clunky. Not being able to deploy all the tricks I’d developed over the more recent bat-games also felt off. The graphical update adds a layer of polish but this is now markedly a game of the previous generation. City, too, felt clunkier plus literally and figuratively smaller than Knight. 

The two games on offer here are both 10/10 unmissable experiences. Though in 2017, their mechanics have been surpassed by the games of the current console generation. The game was recently on sale for £15.99 on PSN and if this is your first time with these games it is a steal. However if you already own them from the previous generation (and penniless!) it is difficult to justify buying them again. In 2017, gameplay-wise there are better ways to be the bat. Controversially the list now reads:

  1. Origins (should have been in the collection)
  2. Knight
  3. Asylum
  4. City
  5. VR
  6. Blackgate (we can all agree on that one!)

Perhaps the original list could be proof of the existence of rose tinted glasses. Although it could just be defective vision on the fritz…

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