Arkham Asylum EP3: Asylum of the Heart

By Shamus Posted Friday Jun 12, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 63 comments

Link (YouTube)

So that’s our first week of Arkham Asylum. I’m really glad to be covering something we like.

There’s a good bit of tension between this game and Arkham City, to the point where it’s hard to discuss one without bringing up the other. I think this one makes more sense and it has a more focused story, but I find City to be more fun to play and explore. The combat is smoother, the combat is deeper, the enemies are more varied, but the overall plot is muddled.

In Arkham City, it was like the team was compelled to use every Batman villain in existence, including some of the obscure D-listers. The game has Hugo Strange, Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman, Joker, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Zsasz, Hush, Deadshot, Soloman Grundy, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, Riddler, and Ra’s al GhulAlso Calendar Man is there, perplexingly the only man in all of Arkham City who is locked in a cell.. That feels like extreme overkill. It feels like they were overcompensating. Which is odd, since the first game was great and they didn’t need to compensate for anything.



[1] Also Calendar Man is there, perplexingly the only man in all of Arkham City who is locked in a cell.

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63 thoughts on “Arkham Asylum EP3: Asylum of the Heart

  1. Grimwear says:

    To be fair the Batscratch happened the previous episode when Harley cut down the elevator and where is Chris? I recall him having like…one line last episode total. We need Shamus to put him on the spot with his “quick Chris say something meaningful about what’s currently happening!”

    Edit- Turns out Chris went to bed? I coulda sworn he had a line in Ep2! Did I imagine that? I’m going crazy over here but please don’t send me to Arkham Asylum I’ll get better. I promise.

    1. Taellosse says:

      When did that happen? I don’t remember him ever saying he was signing off – he just stopped talking. Sounds like the rest of the crew thought he should still be on, too, at the end there.

      1. Josh says:

        Clearly he was kidnapped by the Joker.

        1. Taellosse says:

          Obviously (hence his caption in the credits). That Joker! Such a prankster. Hopefully he’ll return Chris before next week’s recording, at least somewhat unharmed.

  2. el_b says:

    riddlers response actually works better when you grief him like that because it sounds a lot more sarcastic.

  3. Gruhunchously says:

    24:31. Um, Josh?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      What?He is a man,and harley is sexy.Tis a natural reaction.

  4. Joe Informatico says:

    22:10 – Cool guys casually glance away from explosions.

  5. 4th Dimension says:

    Oh Josh. You really need to turn down the sensitivity on your mouse because you keep getting wierd angles in combat.

    I guess since he has not played it before it’s going to be one of those backseat driving seasons right?

    1. MrGuy says:

      Dammit, Chris, USE THE COMPASS!!!!!

  6. Theminimanx says:

    A big problem I have with the riddles is that far too often, I know what I’m looking for, but I have no clue where to find it. So I often end up just stumbling across them by accident. What makes this worse is that, should you stumble across one without knowing what riddle it’s connected to, you can still solve the riddle. After all, it’s an obviously unique piece of scenery, so it has to be important somehow. This is especially annoying in Arkham City, where you have to search a city block for something as tiny as a wanted poster.

    1. Benjamin Hilton says:

      see In City I disliked that there were so many riddles that often I would photograph a bit of obvious scenery without ever having had the riddle pop up.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yeah,I dislike the perception component of the riddles.Especially with the fiddly question marks.

      1. Benjamin Hilton says:

        oh man yeah I hated those.

      2. Ledel says:

        The worst for me was in City where you had to find the specific angle and spot where the dot was on top of a crane and the curved part was on the dam. I eventually just walked away and decided that the Riddler was cheating and laughing at my attempts.

  7. theghatdamncatamaran says:

    1 vote for the Deep Road Trip! Also for that catchy new Batman intro song.

  8. Nidokoenig says:

    Given the nature of licensed games, the devs may have assumed that even if they make a masterpiece, they might not get to make a second because someone else would underbid them next time or people might assume it’s some crappy licensed game because some reviewers bring up a few nitpicks and tank the score. So, they throw absolutely everything in. Besides that, they have character designs and personalities ready made, they just need adapting to the game’s style.

  9. Ed says:

    I am not a Batman guy, but I thought the D-listers really came out in Origins. Or maybe they are like the E-list. Or the Z-list. Either way there was a guy named Anarky, which is something.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Yeah. The villain lineup in Arkham Origins was… lacking.

      I didn’t know who Black Mask WAS until they started marketing the game.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Riddler is totally a murderer.He killed that douche cop that was dating his would be lady.Its totally canon now.

    1. Corpital says:

      He should just hook up with GLaDOS. They could go on a date and build some elaborate deathtraps, then compose some incredible insults for Batman.

      1. MrGuy says:

        We’re going to outsmart you, Batman! With SCIENCE!

      2. Sleeping Dragon says:

        Ohhh, GLaDOS would have a field day with this one.
        “You know, they said black makes you look thinner. Apparently they lied.”

        AND he’s an actual orphan to boot.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I must say I love it how batman draws the little bat with the gel every time,even when no one is around to see it.So cute.

    1. MrGuy says:

      It’s kind of like how all the Batarangs just have to be bat shaped. Dude’s got a motif.

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      Wow! I never even noticed that until you pointed it out. I just thought it was some random shape, ’cause Batman’s just glopping explosives onto whatever he wants to blow up.

      1. SpiritBearr says:

        In Arkham City DLC Robin does his gel in a R shape

  12. MrGuy says:

    In Arkham City, it was like the team was compelled to use every Batman villain in existence, including some of the obscure D-listers. The game has Hugo Strange, Penguin, Two-Face, Catwoman, Joker, Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, Bane, Zsasz, Hush, Deadshot, Soloman Grundy, Clayface, Poison Ivy, Mad Hatter, Riddler, and Ra's al Ghu

    You missed at least Deathstroke and Firefly, both of which are at least minor boss enemies. The game was staggering in its cast list.

    1. Benjamin Hilton says:

      Those two were in Origins, not City.(because of course Origins had to up the ante even more.)

      1. MrGuy says:

        Crap. How does I Batman?

  13. Thomas says:

    I think Detective Vision is one design problem the series really needs to solve (unless Origins did it). It’s a really neat mechanic, but it’s just too easy/valuable to leave it on and then have the whole game look kind of rubbish. That takedown sequence would have looked a lot more epic in colour.

    Maybe if you have to hold a button down to use detective mode? Or they make it so detective mode highlights things without making the whole world go into x-ray vision.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      Maybe have detective mode highlight detective stuff, but make other stuff hard/impossible to see? There’s got to be a way to encourage the player to not just leave it on all the time. :S

      1. Thomas says:

        Actually Josh, would it be okay if you try to remember to turn it off as much as possible? It does make the video look not so cool when its on for long periods. It kind of sucks that one of the introductory quests to the Asylum requires people to use their detective vision a ton.

        Thanks for doing the LP though, even if it’s not one of your favourites! I’m super happy to see this game and hear you guys speak about it.

      2. MrGuy says:

        I’d almost go the other way and just expect it’s going to be on all the time, and design your visuals for that. What do we accomplish from having it be a “turn it on/turn it off” back and forth?

        You’d have to get rid of the scary skeleton cam, and do something subtler, like a subtle color highlighting for hostiles and weapons that’s always on. I mean, we can already do some level of enhanced reality vision. He’s Batman. He’ll have really awesome enhanced reality vision.

        I get they were trying to create a “mechanic” here with the detective vision on/off, but it’s too useful to ever turn off. And making a penalty for using it seems arbitrary and forced (and also leads the the inevitable “why not just turn it on in one eye and have the best of both?” complaints).

        The other terrible idea (which I’m glad they didn’t elect to use) would be to make this a flashlight-style mechanic with arbitrarily limited “battery life” (bonus nega-points if you made a battery collection minigame).

        I think they ouththought themselves on this one. They made the detective vision too awesome to ever turn off. The skeletons looked so cool they didn’t want to cut them. But they crippled their pretty amazing art direction by making “see what the game actually looks like” the CRIPPLED gameplay mode.

        1. Peter H. Coffin says:

          Maybe just make the Detective Vision only work of you’re not moving. Watch as long as you want perched on a gargoyle, but when you swoop down, it automatically turns off and won’t turn on until you stop moving.

      3. Grimwear says:

        It reminds me of Yahtzee’s review of Asylum way back when since he mentioned that there’s no need to ever NOT be detective mode. And it brings me back to my days of playing the game where I just kept it on because it was more convenient but looking at when Josh first entered the asylum grounds proper…dang that looks good. Makes me regret not paying closer attention and turning detective mode off more often.

    2. lethal_guitar says:

      I actually do sometimes switch between detective and normal vision during predator encounters, simply because with normal vision, it’s easier to see whether a thug is behind a wall or out in the open.

  14. Thomas says:

    One of the other things about Arkham is they take all this effort to personalise the guards and policemen, giving them their own names and personality, backstories and arcs – but I can never remember or recognise any of them.

    1. Phantos says:

      Because we know they’re just gonna be killed off anyway, so it’s like, why bother remembering their names?

  15. Phantos says:



    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Gargoyles can be gryphons.

      1. AileTheAlien says:

        Gryphons can also be gargoyles.

        1. SpiritBearr says:

          The important part is that those gargoyles weren’t gryphons.

          1. PowerGrout says:

            Gargoyles, indoors; guys seriously? Quit rustlin ma jimmies, they are so obviously grotesques.

    2. J.M. Alexia says:

      It was a good show, certainly, but there’s no need to scream its name to the heavens.

    3. Merkel says:

      Technically, I think they were just grotesques. Its only a gargoyle if it is part of a rainspout or designed to convey water away from the building.

  16. Ardis Meade says:

    Is Rutskarn trolling or does he not know who The Creeper is? I know he’s a D-list hero, but he strikes me as someone that Ruts would be into.

    1. Vect says:

      Well, The Creeper is primarily famous for being in The Animated Series, in which he was basically a proto-Freakazoid before Freakazoid became it’s own series.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      I didn’t know until I played Arkham Asylum. Actually, I suppose it’s more accurate to say I forgot, because I did watch the animated series.

  17. Phantos says:

    As much as I dislike Batman Forever, I do sincerely love the Batmobile designs from the first few movies. That might have something to do with them being designed specifically to look like toys so that people would buy the actual toys.

    No disrespect to the Tumblr… Except in Rises, where at that point it really should have been more streamlined, because they were well past the whole “prototype” stage excuse.

    Okay, I’ll give it this much: Batman Forever isn’t as horrible as Rises.

  18. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Mumbles,would you say that the batmobile from the third movie will remain iconic forever?

  19. James says:

    “its like if Reginald Cuftbert knocked out batman and put on his costume”. Oh so that’s what happened in Frank Millers batman from all star batman and robin than.

  20. Ledel says:

    So, if Josh’s piloting of Batman causes someone to get a brain aneurysm from frustration, would that break the “Batman doesn’t kill people” policy?

    Also, wow, 3 episodes in and Shamus is already questioning if it was a good idea to play this game. I definitely lost that bet, I honestly thought it would be in week 3 that this happened.

  21. Sicod says:

    Well, hopefully I did the link right. Anyway, if you guys liked an idiotic batman facing off against the joker, well then the link below is awesome.

    The concept is very simple: What if Batman was a moron who somehow still got the job done? Pete Holmes who had a show on TBS plays Batman, and he is awesome as Batfool. If the link doesn’t work just Google Pete Holmes Batman and Riddler, you will be glad you did.

    Idiot Batman vs the Riddler

      1. SIcod says:

        Clearly I cannot do links. Thanks Syal!

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I love badman,he is so cool.

  22. IFS says:

    Wow that moon is huge, are you sure you guys aren’t playing Bloodborne?

    In more seriousness I had forgotten how cool that area looks when you step out into it, and if I remember correctly it changes a few times over the course of the game as things get worse and worse. Was another detail along the lines of Batman’s costume accruing damage that helped give the sense of time passing which was pretty cool.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Have you ever noticed that whenever the moon is out in fiction, it is always a full moon unless otherwise dictated by the plot?

  23. lethal_guitar says:

    Man, I’m so glad I played Asylum first before getting into City. The combat is just soooo much better in the 2nd one.

    I didn’t really “get” the combat during my playthrough of Asylum, I was just button-mashing my way through it. Then when playing City, I started learning how to do it right. I spent a lot of time in the challenge mode there, and while not perfect, I feel like I’m quite good by now. I can easily reach combos above 40 given a large enough crowd.

    Then yesterday while looking at my Steam library, I saw all the open achievements from Asylum, e.g. “do a flawless free-flow” and “get a combo above 40”. So I thought “well, that should be easy enough” and reinstalled it.

    Oh how wrong I was.. The combat is so different. It’s way harder to keep a combo going, it feels like you have to be much more precise with pointing Batman in the direction of the next foe. The combo meter and assorted information is also less pronounced and harder to see. Then you also don’t really get large enough crowds.. It’s actually really challenging to get a combo of 40.

  24. Joseph P. Tallylicker says:

    This is going to be better than the incinerator!

    1. MrGuy says:

      You shut your gorram mouth! Nothing will ever beat the incinerator.

  25. Jakale says:

    After playing some Thief, recently, the detective mode darkness sort of warps my perception of whether or not the mooks should be able to see Josh.

    Rutskarn breaking into the Zooboomafoo song made me smile.

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