Every so often a game comes along that truly surprise you, that delivers something totally unexpected. Well that is what Batman: Arkham Asylum is for me and the demo has only impressed me further. When I heard that this game was actually going to become a reality I was excited and I was even more excited when I found out it would follow the comic book rather than being based on a movie like so many of the ones of the past. Let’s be clear this is not your normal Batman game.
Arkham Asylum is just not a fun place to be.
The demo is superbly executed as it covers lots of different gameplay components in a short amount of time. By now you have all seen the demo trailer and if you haven’t you can find it here. The demo starts out as you have “captured” the Joker once again and are delivering him back to a place that he knows well, Arkham Asylum. As you are about to escort him all the way to his cell, you are notified by hospital staff that you can go no further because your presence may agitate some of the more disturbed patients unnecessarily. Like any good superhero you comply and resolve yourself to watch on CCTV as the guards escort Joker back to his cell.
In what seems like an instant the Joker turns the tables on the unsuspecting guards and escapes. You are watching from a glass enclosed watchroom and of course you break through the glass and leap down to engage your arch nemesis but as fate would have it that is exactly what the Joker wanted you to do, yes my friends its a trap. At this point we get our first introduction to that free flow combat system that we have been hearing so much about. I wasn’t quite sure about it and how it would work in application but I am pleased to say that it works very well. The combat system is crisp, fluid and simple. It is very easy to strike and more importantly counter your enemies attacks. This battle is fun but its actually not really indicative of what the majority of combat will be like in Batman: AA.
That Joker guy is a sneaky one.
Batman isn’t an alien, he is a regular person who uses his superior intellect and physical skills to outsmart his enemies and that is what will serve you the best in this game. Batman has tools that allow you to see through walls to assess how many enemies are in an area, if they are armed and with what and then to determine if there are environmental objects that may assist you in coming up with an attack strategy. In the demo, you come into an area where there are three armed guards and for Batman to go straight toward them would be suicide since the Bat can’t stop bullets, so what to do? You use your tools to get up above your enemies and then behind them to take them all out silently before any of them even know you are there and this seems to be the game’s M.O. and we think that its a good strategy.
The game allows you to take take on your enemy head on but encourages you to outthink them and really allows you to take on a true stealth strategy, I can already see myself attempting to get as many silent kills as possible. You can also hang from certain objects and grab your enemies up and incapacitate them.
The game doesn’t appear to be without its flaws though. I am not the fondest of some of the camera angles, when you follow the main character that closely in the third person it can get a little annoying but its nothing you can’t deal with. The only other thing that you can’t tell from a demo is how the game will continue to develop and the only thing you have to hope for this game is that it doesn’t suffer from the Assassin’s Creed issue of repetitiveness. If Batman: Arkham Asylum can do that then we could be talking about a surprise hit here. I could go on and on about Batman: Arkham Asylum demo but I won’t I will just tell you that you need to need to download this demo as soon as you can.