While Batman and his rogues’ gallery have been adapted to video game form countless times since the advent of the console age, it would be fair to say that the Caped Crusader’s computerized track record was not always the most consistent. For every decent-to-good Batman game, it seemed like several more underwhelming titles hit shelves, with most failing to accurately capture the experience of being the Dark Knight.
That is until 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum, developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive. Introducing fluid new combat mechanics and a narrative polish mostly absent from past Batman games, Arkham Asylum was a huge hit with both critics and audiences. This naturally led to 2011 sequel Batman: Arkham City, which earned similarly positive marks all around. With that legacy in mind, it’s no wonder that the Batman: Arkham franchise is about to become the latest to receive an HD collection update.
Batman: Return to Arkham, the collection — heading to both PS4 and Xbox One this summer — will include graphically updated 1080p editions of both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, along with all of the DLC previously released for each game. While both games did technically support high definition on the PS3 and Xbox 360, their native resolution topped out at 720p, in line with most HD titles released for those consoles.
Those hoping for a complete set of the Batman: Arkham series for current gen systems are out of luck though, as prequel game Batman: Arkham Origins will not be included, and no solo 1080p remaster has been announced. To be fair, Origins was developed not by Rocksteady but instead by WB Games Montreal, and wasn’t nearly as well received by either critics or consumers. Still, it was released as part of the series, and completists are likely to be annoyed that this HD collection doesn’t compile all three last gen Batman: Arkham installments. Batman: Arkham Knight — 2015’s fourth and final entry in the series — is also not being included, since it doesn’t need an update.
While the trend of remastering and re-releasing popular games for each successive console generation can sometimes wear thin, it’s hard to deny the potential value in offering an updated experience for players who didn’t partake during a title’s initial release. With Rocksteady’s celebrated Batman: Arkham series now finished – at least for now — it seems fitting for the games that rehabilitated Batman’s interactive legacy to get one last hurrah on current gen consoles. Plus, with seemingly nothing exclusive included — outside of 1080p graphics — owners of the original versions of Arkham Asylum and City really aren’t losing out on much if they choose to avoid double dipping.
Batman: Return to Arkham comes to PS4 and Xbox One consoles in June 2016.
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