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Batman: Arkham Asylum Demo Impressions

August 8, 2009

batman-arkham_asylum

I’ve been following Batman: Arkham Asylum for a while now and it looked very impressive. It seemed to have very solid mechanics and looked like it would be the truly good Batman game fans had been hoping for. Now that the demo’s out I’ve been able to come up with an idea of how the game will play and I am very impressed with most of it. The demo is available to download for PS3, 360 and PC.

One thing that I knew before playing the demo is that the graphics were very good. The character models look great and the environments are excellent. There is lots of detail in the environments and there was no slow down, pop in or anything in the demo. Whether this will reflect on the full game is a different matter though. The animations are superb though. The fighting looks very smooth and Batman’s cape looks amazing.

Now onto the gameplay. The fighting is the main focus of the demo and it gives you a decent amount of enemies to try it on. You can use quick punches or heavy punches. The quick punches are what will be primarily used as the heavy punches are normally just used to stun the enemy. You can string together a good few combos and moving between enemies is very fluid. You can give a few punches to one guy and then spin round and kick another which makes combat good fun. You can also counter enemies which is also very fluid with the rest of the combat. My only complaint with the fighting is that is seems to be lacking depth and could get repetitive in the full game if you don’t unlock more combos as the game progresses. Apart from that though, it works very well and is very fun to use.

There is also a stealth side to the game which I thought was a lot better than the combat. You are able to activate detective mode which puts you into an infrared vision allowing you to pick up more detail. You can see all nearby enemies and when you get closer you can examine their equipment and status. This all works very well and allows you to plan out attacks before starting them. To remain hidden you can use high up places, such as gargoyle statues sticking out from the wall. You can grapple onto these and to get a better view of the enemy. The final part of the demo puts you in a room with five guards who you need to take down. There are lots of ways to do this. You can try and sneak up behind them and silently take them down, you can glide kick them, you can hang from a gargoyle and use an inverted takedown, you can use specific environmental takedowns and more. Each time is different and the A.I will always respond differently to your actions.

The A.I is very good in Arkham Asylum. They will work together if they know you are there and if they feel confident that they can take you down then they will be more competent, if they are scared they will be easier to takedown. This works really, really well. There was one point where a guard’s status was “terrified” and when the Joker spoke over the intercom he jumped and started shooting behind him (I was watching him from above). My favourite thing about this part though was giving him a fright myself. I jumped down behind him and waited for him to turn around. When he did, he cowered in fear and then tried to attack me but I was too quick and beat him up before he had the change to move.

The voice acting is also worth mentioning. It is very good for the most part, especially Mark Hamill as the Joker who really makes him sound like the crazy, psychotic, messed up person he is. The other voice acting is good too but the Joker looks like he may just steal the show.

My only major problem with the demo was the difficulty. I never died once; it was really, really easy. I rarely even got hit in combat and in the stealth parts I might as well be invincible. Hopefully this is just an easy part of the game or there are other difficulty modes that do revamp the difficulty.

If the demo is anything to go by Arkham Asylum will be a superb game. This should be the Batman game that the fans have been wanting for years. There are some great ideas in Arkham Asylum and as long as they continue to be just as fun in the full game then we’re onto a great game.

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