There were normal action figures based on Batman: Arkham Asylum. They came out a while ago, and they were fine. These premium figures, though, are brand new.
So we're taking a look at them. And by taking a look, I mean I'm going to sit in my kitchen and play with them.
If you're wondeing why there are Arkham Asylum figures coming in 2012, it's actually pretty common for toy licenses to be way behind the release of a video game. There are Mass Effect 2 figures coming out this year, for example, even though that game came out in 2009. Sometimes there are licensing issues, other times a publisher simply doesn't know if there'll be demand for a toy until the game is already out, so the process has to start later.
All of which explains why Square Enix's premium Play Art line is only now putting these Batman pieces on the market. And why I'm about to review the two figures, one of Batman, the other of The Joker.
WHAT YOU GET IN THE BOX
Batman: 2x spare hands, 1x Batarang, 1x Grappling Gun, 1x alternate cape section
Joker: 2x spare hands, 1x gun, 1x set Joker Teeth
WHAT I LIKED
Stylin'. Play Arts figures aren't to everyone's tastes with their extreme stylistic touches, but they're definitely to mine. And while the last ones we looked at - for Street Fighter - sometimes felt a little off, this pair match the looming, exaggerated visual style of the game perfectly. Especially The Joker, whose suit design and texture is awesome.
Joint Improvement. The joints on Play Arts figures can often be hideous things, displayed as either bulbous orbs or bulging hinges. These are little beter, but they're (mostly, see below) hidden well by Joker's suit and Batman's cape/cowl, meaning that usually the only time you really notice it is if you bend their knees. Which you should never do. Ever.
Heft. The Joker is great, but the Batman figure is, for the most part, damn impressive. He's massive, and heavy, and incredibly detailed.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
Neck Madness. You'll see in one of these pictures that Square Enix took a rather unique approach with Batman's neck. It's gross. Unless you get his head facing just right, the neck joints look like he's swallowed a chicken.
Cape Madness. They've also taken a unique approach to Batman's cape. Instead of being made of material, or a fixed piece of plastic, it's split into two parts, and mounted on a ball joint hidden underneath his cowl. The thinking being this lets you move it around and, if you need, swap one of them out with the alternate piece provided. Sounds good in theory, but in practice many poses are too much for the setup, and you'll often see large gaps in the back of the cape.
THE FINAL WORD
Square Enix still has some issues with these figures. Mostly in terms of their joints. But for the most part, these are two of the best figures the Play Arts line has ever produced, especially in terms of properties that don't contain the words "Final" or Fantasy". Both do right by the source material, and if you've got the $US60 each Square is asking, they'd make a great addition to your collection.
That means it's $US120 for both, though. That's a lot. If pushed to recommend one, I'd definitely go for Batman. You're getting more bang for your buck, both in terms of detail and accessories. That and, you know. He's Batman.