Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of my favorite video games. Following Batman: The Animated Series, it’s probably the best Batman adaptation (perhaps not coincidentally, Paul Dini wrote both). The Metroid-style gameplay worked wonderfully with the atmospheric traversal through the dark corridors of Arkham Aslyum, and most importantly, you felt like you were Batman. Unlike other stealth games where hiding feels like cowering, in Arkham Asylum, you always felt like you were in control. The darkness was your weapon, the bad guys were at your mercy, and I received no shortage of joy from having my mere presence instill heart attacks in the cowardly lot.
“Be the Batman” may be the tagline for the trilogy’s conclusion, Batman: Arkham Knight, but the series has veered away dramatically from what made Asylum and Arkham City work. Rocksteady glommed on to making the Batmobile a key part of the gameplay, and it’s a part that ruins just about everything. What’s left standing are repetitive, unimaginative side quests, a drab Gotham City, and a rotten story that’s slightly remedied by an ingenious twist, but isn’t enough to stop the game from feeling like one long, tedious night.