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Batman: Arkham Asylum Demo Impressions

Batman Arkham Asylum

The history of the caped crusader in games is not one to brag about. With a few exceptions, most of Batsy’s forgettable forays into the gaming realm have been met with underwhelming reception, but all that may be about to change. Finally, after waiting for what has seemed like an eternity, the release of a downloadable demo for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 owners now, finally, have the chance to sample “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” and this ain’t you’re daddies Batman.

The game starts off with a cinema showing Batman escorting the newly apprehended Joker into Arkham Asylum. Batman meets up with Commissioner Gordon and explains that the Joker gave up without almost any sort of resistance. As the gaurds escort the psychopath into the prison he breaks lose, and thus begins the adventure that is “Batman: Arkham Asylum.”

The game’s combat system feels pretty fluid, with the square button allowing for most of Batman’s basic attacks; tapping it plus the direction of enemies will have him handling normal lackeys effortlessly. You can hold down R2 and triangle while opponents are on the ground to dish out a finishing blow that will save time from wearing them down with normal attacks. However, the attack does take some time to complete, so performing a finishing blow with other baddies still on their feet will usually result in Batman getting struck. Gamers are also given the option to sneak up behind opponents and deliver a stealth kill, offering no resistance from enemies, and gaining you extra experience points. The only tools available in the demo were the Batarang, which I only used to knock enemies unconsciousness for brief amounts of time, and a grappling hook, that allowed Batman to stalk his enemies from above.

Batman Arkham Asylum

The most useful option available to players in the demo was Batman’s detective mode, which is reminiscent of his sonar mode from The Dark Knight. This allowed Batman to see secret areas, enemy and ally heart rates, grappling points, various weapon types, etc. It was all very intuitive, and could be turned on or off with the press of the L2 button. It seems as if this detective mode will play a huge role in the new game, and I’m looking forward to mastering its nuances.

Finally, some of the other cool things in the demo were character bios, Riddler’s trophies (which I’m unsure of what they actually do), and, of course, the villain cameos from the likes of Mr. Zsasz, and Harley Quinn, and of course the Joker, himself. It looks like you’ll be able to unlock new abilities for the bat through an extensive experience system, but I was unable to upgrade anything in the demo.

The demo for “Batman: Arkham Asylum” has gotten me very pumped for the final product. It looks like it’ll offer tons of collectibles, including character bios, interview tapes of villains, and much more. Check it out when it hits stores in North America on August 25th.

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