Asylum is one of the best games of last generation, and City is certainly no slouch (if not a bit too big for its own good), but for those that have beaten these games to death such as myself, this collection is definitely not a must-have in season full of stellar new IPs and sequels.
The Batman Arkham series are some of the best games out there, the story, the gameplay, the maps are all stellar. Return to Arkham allows newer older fans to experience this epic again on newer consuls as well as giving the opportunity an opportunity to new fans.
It's also important to note that Return to Arkham includes all the dlc from both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, this includes the top tier DLC, Harley Quinn's revenge.
If your a fan of batman then get this Return to Arkham, you will not be disappointed.
Although it is never great to aim low, I can't help but think the reaction to Return to Arkham would have been better had both games simply been 1080p, locked frame rate versions of the originals, running on Unreal Engine 3.
It should have been an easy slam dunk: port the game over to the Unreal Engine 4, apply some polish, maybe through in some behind-the-scenes features, and profit! Instead, what we end up with is a poorly-optimized port which sees even the older Arkham Asylum stuttering from the game’s first moments, and some odd lighting that cuts into the otherwise excellent ambiance of both games.
Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City are amazing games, but this collection doesn't stand up to the same quality. The visuals have been improved, but at a loss of the dark ambiance of the originals. The 30 fps frame rate isn't locked, with the occasional stutter marring the experience. Worse, there's no new content available here. If you own either game on PC, there's no reason to get Return to Arkham.
Quick background on me the reviewer, I tend to like single player games that is heavy on narrative the most. I also play a lot of racing games and use to play multiplayer games in my high school days but now that it's hard for me and my friends to find a good time to link up so now it’s rarer for me to get into a multiplayer game. Up to try any genre of games and sometimes I find something new that I didn't think I'd like. I own a PC (built by me), Xbox One X, Xbox Series X, PS3, PS4, PS5, and a Switch. I prefer Playstation due to their focus on narrative games. For scoring, I’ll be using the Gameinformer review scale and of course influenced by my personal opinions.
(7) Average. The game’s feature may work, but are nothing that even causal players haven’t seen before.
I tried the Batman series out for the first time in 2022. I've heard many good things about the series and was looking forward to trying it out. It's been in my back log since I usually don't like superhero games. Usually because of bad writing. I thought the villains were well written with good voice actors but they did a horrible job with Batman and I can't stand the voice actor they picked for him. Batman voice actor made it a struggle for me to keep going. Everyone says the combat is fun but I don't see it but this game is ten years old so maybe it was good for the time. I only recommend if your a hardcore Bat fan wanting something to do but this wont convince people that are not fans to convert.
F**k me if these games don't have one of the worst and most frustrating combat systems I've ever had the misfortune of encountering in a video game. You constantly get swarmed by an ABSURD number of enemies, giving you no chance at all do do anything other than mashing triangle in order to counter, let alone maybe getting to do something cool with the myriad of gadgets you have. And not only do the enemies always outnumber you 5, 10, even 20 to one, but they each also take a laughable amount of hits to knock out. You could, in theory, do a ground takedown once you've knocked them down, but in practice, you will NEVER have a chance to do that in open combat because you will always get interrupted and take a hit, so it's not even worth attempting.
And honestly, the stealth encounters with a room full of armed guards might not be as infuriating as the fist-fights, but they are giant pace killers and not really fun, either, to the point where I found myself audibly groaning whenever I stumbled into one of these. The mechanics are just way too restrictive to make stealth feel rewarding in this game, like it does in e.g. Metal Gear Solid.
Marred with too many technical issues to be considered a finished product, Return to Arkham left a bad taste in my mouth. While the uncapped and inconsistent frame rates of these titles is certainly a problem, that's not even the worst of it. Arkham City crashes occasionally, has bugs that weren't present in the original release, and even shipped with an untextured character model. One that you encounter during the Identity Thief side quest. Yes, we've officially entered Silent Hill HD Collection levels of laziness with this port.
Arkham Asylum fares a bit better. While it runs at a lower frame rate than Arkham City does, and while both titles suffer from frame pacing and stuttering issues, Arkham Asylum at least doesn't crash. And though its frame rate is uncapped, it manages to be more consistent at reaching a somewhat stable 30fps. It's not perfect, but the version of Asylum in this release is definitely worth playing.
The new visuals being a major plus point to Asylum. While you can argue that the game has lost some of its atmosphere in the process of changing these visuals, there's no denying that the game looks pretty darn good. The new rain effects are fantastic,and the lighting is a lot better than I was led to believe it would be from the trailers.
Arkham City also features enhanced visuals, but I don't believe they're as prominent as what we see with Asylum. It's certainly a cleaner looking game than its original release, with its improved resolution, and the new effects added like stronger lighting and ambient occlusion don't go unnoticed. For all intents and purposes, it's a fine looking game. Which only makes the issues that are present that much more frustrating.
I love the Arkham games. I consider Asylum and City as two of the greatest video games ever made, period. But Return to Arkham doesn't exactly do them justice. As said, I appreciate the new visuals, and at their core, the games are as great as they've always been, from a design standpoint. But when crashing, inconsistent frame rates, and bugs start to rear their ugly heads (again, especially in Arkham City), you have to question whether the trade-off for the improved visuals is worth it or not.
I would love nothing more than to say Return to Arkham is a fantastic remaster of two of the greatest games ever made, but in its current state, it's kind of an unfinished mess. If a patch were to come along and alleviate the issues I mentioned, expect my score of this game to go up to a 9, easily.
SummaryReturn to Arkham and experience two critically acclaimed titles from the last generation - Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City, with fully remastered and updated visuals. Batman: Return to Arkham includes the comprehensive versions of both games and includes all previously released additional content. Batman: Arkham Asylum expo...