Thursday, August 6, 2009

Being One with the Darkness... The Batman: Arkham Asylum Demo Hands-On Preview

The highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Asylum is out later this month (more like August 25 in normal and limited editions that come with the battarang) and while stores like Target, Wal-Mart, and GameStop already have a demo of this game, that is pretty much a challenge mode demo being a showcase for the combat. The demo that comes out today on the Playstation Store and later tonight or tomorrow on Xbox Live Marketplace is the first minutes of the single player game. Since it is the beginning of the game, you will watch the intro cutscene as Batman brings the Joker to Arkham Asylum and once Joker goes loose, he brings out chaos thanks to Harley Quinn and it is up to Batman to set things right by cleaning up Arkham. Even though the demo provides a taste of what is yet to come in the final game, it is a pretty good taste demonstrating not just the combat, but also what makes Batman famous, which is using stealth and his gadgets to his advantage.

Even though the melee combat in Arkham Asylum feels a bit mashy, meaning you can mash the attack button to take care of normal enemies, it still feels solid as well as flowing smoothly especially when you counter someone's attack by the press of the triangle button. There's also a cape stun move to stun enemies as well as his battarang to attack from a distance, but still you can get away from dealing with a crowd of guards with melee alone. I hope the other gameplay elements in this new Batman game truly shine, which is the stealth and detective elements. Since Batman is a stealthy dude, the stealth has to be pretty good and it is so far from what I played. You can grapple to high gargoyle spots in certain rooms and either glide kick by surprise or hang down Spider-Man style to attack nearby enemies as well. The grappling mechanic also flows smoothly being simple to control with the press of a button as well as being stealthy. As for the detective mode, once you press L2, the screen goes in blue vision allowing you to easily spot enemies, platforms to swing to, hidden paths to explore, and other things to solve puzzles. This especially helps when planning out an attack line for certain areas, which is satisfying when your plan works. Just by gameplay alone so far, it definitely feels like you're Batman and being badass at the same time too.

I'll keep this short and save the rest for a review if I buy this game in which after playing this demo, I'm more stoked than I thought I should for arguably the Batman game fans have been waiting for. The game looks great and the audio is awesome with the voice cast from the 90s cartoon providing the voice work. For now, I'm not willing to waste 100 bucks on the limited edition, but I would just buy it normally when it comes out on August 25 for the 360, PS3, and sometime after on PC.

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