Also On: Xbox One
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive
The original Arkham Asylum showed us that there was still hope for a great Batman game. Since then we've seen the quality of super hero games drastically increase and the games included in the Return to Arkham set are directly responsible. Rocksteady has gone from an obscure game developer to one of the biggest and most respected studios. Many are wondering what’s next for Rocksteady, but they aren’t letting that cape out of the bag yet (I assume a Superman or Justice League game), so we have to just settle for this collection (and the Batman VR, if you were so inclined to buy the gimmick headset).
I’ve been pretty enthusiastic to return to the Arkham franchise after completing Arkham Knight last year, and the Return to Arkham collection helps scratch that itch…a bit. Included in the collection is Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, with all of the DLC that was released for both titles. Glaringly absent is the non-Rocksteady release; Arkham Origins. When Origins was first released I think it got a bit of a bad rep; it felt like more of the same on a slightly larger map than Arkham City. After playing Arkham Knight (which I did enjoy), I felt a bit more appreciation for what Warner Bros. Montreal did with Origins and thought about going back to it. So the lack of Origins in this collection is rather disappointing but I understand to an extent why they didn’t include it. I still expect that we haven’t seen the last of Origins though.
On top of including all the DLC from both of the included Arkham games, Virtuos also took both games from the Unreal 3 engine and upgraded them to Unreal 4. In practice this was a good idea, but I did notice a good amount of clipping and frame rate stutters in areas that I don’t recall having issues in the original releases. Having said that, none of these issues really affected my time with the games, but they were noticeable having played both games multiple times. The games look great with the engine and graphical upgrades too. I’ve seen some mixed opinions when it comes to the visuals, but I thought they did a commendable job with it. I find that most remaster reviews I do, I feel this very same way. So either developers are doing a great job on making these remasters look close to current gen or these games were just pretty damn good looking in there previous gen form (or I’m just getting soft).
If I haven’t been clear enough thus far, I’ll just come out with it. I love the Arkham games. If you haven’t played the Arkham games at all, this set is a must buy if you consider yourself any kind of Batman fan. Even if your not a huge Batman fan, both of the included titles are great action adventure games. Having said all of that, there aren’t any new features included here. I couldn’t help but compare this collection to the recent released Bioshock Collection. While Bioshock also featured the games and DLC, it also included a new museum and developer commentaries (not to mention including 3 games for $59.99). So I was kind of hoping we would get something new… commentaries, maybe an interactive bat cave, I would have taken almost anything new. Remasters seem to come in one of two varieties now: The first includes extra stuff not included with the original releases and the second is just doing the bare minimum to sell an old title and cash in on it again. The Return to Arkham collection falls in between those two classifications (but closer to the bare minimum).
Having said all of that, I still love the Arkham games included in this collection. This was the 4th time I’ve played Arkham Asylum and it still holds up. I’m not crazy about the $50 price point for two last gen games with no new features, but that’s a slight nitpick. Price point is always a tough area to gauge and I think a $30-$40 price point would have been better suited for this release. Fans of the franchise and people that might have only tried Arkham Knight owe it to themselves to take a step back in time and don the cowl.