Like most who began with the series in 2009 with Batman: Arkham Asylum, I instantly fell in love with what Rocksteady Games created and what they did for comic book games. By becoming the status quo of video games based on comic books, Rocksteady struck gold. The series returns with a new remaster collection for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Return to Arkham features both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City – and all the DLC for both games to a new generation of consoles.
The collection of two Arkham games do look prettier than they did on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with that in mind, both games do show their age. Arkham Asylum suffers the most from the transition of Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 4. The game was beautiful when it came out – it was dark and broody just like Batman, with the move to UE4 things have changed. The lighting and environments are brighter and more vivid but this detracts from the Batman experience. Textures are a mixed bag, Batman’s suit looks phenomenal and is detailed down to the cape and cowl. Supporting cast has been upgraded but don’t feel up to par when compared to the work put into Batman.
The combat in the Arkham series has always been fun and fluid and feels just as good as it did with both original versions of the Arkham games. Easy to learn and hard to master.
A question I had on my mind since I started playing the collection is why it isn’t 60FPS, the games would greatly benefit from this. The other issue is the current framerate fluctuates far often wherein cutscenes become choppy. It’s noticeable and somewhat distracting.
My second and more important question is just exactly where is Batman Arkham Origins in this package? When WB Games Montreal took lead of the in-between Arkham title, it was just as important as the other two games in the series. It’s story was interesting and entertaining and felt more like a comic than Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
Batman: Return to Arkham is a good remaster of two stellar games from the previous generation. The shift to a new engine puts a new shine on both games but creates new problems that are right in your face. The new lighting and framerates just don’t cut it in 2016. This collection is perfect firstly for those who have never played either Arkham games. Others should wait for a price drop as it’s retreading old ground. I still adore both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City; the time and attention I put into them are exactly why revisiting each of them isn’t such a bad idea.