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Even the Toughest Critics Love ‘Arkham Asylum’… But Not Its Writing?

From all indications, reviews, and personal testimonials I’ve heard, “Batman: Arkham Asylum” is a very, very good game. How good is it, you ask? So good that even the infamously scathing Zero Punctuation reviews found it hard not to give it big, sloppy kisses. Of course, there’s still some nitpicking of the minor but less than genius details of the game, but with the excellent Paul Dini on board I was a little surprised to hear that writing was on the list of complaints. Now, it’s not clear that the criticism is leveled at the plot so much as the more hackneyed (but traditional!) hero/villain exchanges, but I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t lower the bar for superhero comics writing. And he does kind of have its number when it comes to status quo reboots:

“You might say that I shouldn’t expect too much from comic book writing, but what kind of excuse is that? Comic book writers do not undergo mandatory lobotomies. Was ‘Watchmen’ just comic book writing? Was ‘Schindler’s List’ just a bunch of flickery lights on the wall? What I will blame on comic book writing is the fact that there’s no closure. It all ends with disappointing inevitability with the status quo restored and all the big name villains dropped down convenient holes so that they can make their next appearance in ‘Amazing Man-Child’ #165 or whatever.”

I find it hard to assess this personally, as I’m stuck with only a Wii and therefore no way to play this possibly best superhero game of all time, but it’s one of the first times I’ve heard less than unanimous praise for it. Any thoughts on the writing from those who have first hand experience?

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