In 2009, Rocksteady developed the first good Batman game since the 16-bit days (okay, it was that but…) the best Batman game in recent history (okay, it was that too but…) the definitive Batman game (it was that until Arkham City was released earlier this fall) the second best Batman game ever. By taking cues from Bioshock, Metroid, and some of Marvel’s recent games, Batman Arkham Asylum puts players in the role of the Caped Crusader in a way that few games have done before. By presenting its own visual style and providing tons of fan service, Batman Arkham Asylum becomes one of the best comic-inspired games of this console generation.

Batman is escorting The Joker to Arkham after being arrested once again. However, things are not what they seem. Shortly after Batman’s arrival, things go crazy. The Joker takes over the prison, and the inmates run amuck. It seems that The Joker is after plans for a certain drug (that is familiar to many longtime Batman fans), and some of Batman’s worst archenemies are aiding him in stopping Batman. You’ll run into familiar foes such as Mr. Zasz, Killer Croc, and Poison Ivy. However, as most Bat-fans know, Batman has a series of gadgets to help him out. You’ll have access to your Batarang, grappling hook, explosive gel, and the most useful weapon of all, Batman’s intelligence. By holding down a button, you can bring up Batman’s detective mode, which allows you to scan everything from evidence to weakpoints, and is crucial to solving the game’s puzzles. All of your weapons are upgradable, and they become even more cooler than they were before. For instance, the Batarang has a remote control function. Since Batman isn’t Superman (and wouldn’t last long in a gunfight), stealth is key. You’ll swing across gargoyles hidden above, and when the time is right, you can drop down to strike down your opponent before he knows what hit him, just like in the comics/tv shows/movies. Of course for those times when you DO have to get your knuckles dirty, you have access to Batman’s fighting techniques. By timing your attacks right, you can dance gracefully between multiple enemies as you battle them all, which is also just like the comics, tv shows, and movies.

There is a lot of hidden stuff for Batman fans. Riddler trophies and challenges reference other parts of the Batman mythos, while other unlockables tell you more about the characters and enemies you encounter in Arkham Asylum. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil even reprise their Batman: The Animates Series roles of Batman and the Joker respectively. However, it isn’t just the nods to the fanbase that make Arkham Asylum a winner. The fluid gameplay also helps the game to succeed where past missteps have failed. Now if only someone can make a Superman game this solid.