After the runaway success of Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight", you might be forgiven for assuming a new Batman videogame - themed heavily on the exploits of the Joker, to boot - would be little more than a hollow add-on designed to generate a large amount of money, and not a lot else. So it's a pleasant surprise that Eidos Interactive's Batman: Arkham Asylum is, in fact, the perfect blend of carefully layered plotting and third-person platformer combining combat, stealth, and detective work (sort of a 'CSI: Gotham' meets Assassin's Creed).
When the Joker (ably voiced by erstwhile Jedi, Mark Hamill) takes over the infamous sanatorium and holds the city to ransom, you assume the role of the billionaire with borderline schizophrenia and a penchant for pointy ears, to take him down. Gliding in on your prey from vertiginous heights - cape fluttering in the wind - is one of the more gratifying elements of the game's mechanics (as is hanging from conveniently positioned gargoyles to incapacitate unwitting goons as they pass beneath you), and its mixture of sinister scenery, witty dialogue, and easy to master controls make this a new benchmark for the long-running Warner Bros franchise.
Out now on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC