Saturday, August 8, 2009

Early impressions of...Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Last night saw the release of the official demo for Batman: Arkham Asylum on Xbox 360 and PS3 (the demo for PC version is coming later apparently). And the short answer is: Hand over the full game NOW. I've just played through the demo twice and first impressions all point to success. Weighing in at about 1.5GB, the demo takes an eternity to download but it is well worth it. 

Pictured: 1.5GB of AWESOME.

The demo covers what appears to be the early introductory stage of the game with Batman (THAT'S YOU YEAH YOU PLAY AS THE FUCKING BATMAN) transporting Joker back to Arkham after yet another escape only to discover that Clown Prince of Crime has organised his own welcoming party. With the help of Harley Quinn, shit goes down.

The combat feels great. I lined up against a bunch of thugs and they never stood a chance. True, they hit me in the face a couple of times but action triggers an equal and opposite reaction and that reaction was to punch the fuck out of a whole bunch of thugs.While only very basic moves were evident in the demo, they were damn fun to control. Some punk tries to creep up behind me and I can counter their attack by pressing the Y button at a specific time and it's time for some broken bones. Right from the start, the feeling of 'being Batman' is really apparent.

See that dude trying to sneak up behind me? He's about to take a dirt nap.

Another major aspect of Batman's arsenal is Detective Mode. Tap the Left Bumper button and Batman's cowl enters a scan-vision type scenario. Information on the surroundings is shown in detail and the enemies' heat signature becomes clear through walls. Complete with a heart BPM indicator to show how scared out of their minds they are. The voice acting is solid. Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy are expectedly awesome as the Joker and Batman. Hamill can still laugh maniacally like nothing else on earth.

One of the most exciting sections of the demo was an encounter with Victor Zsasz who, after escaping from his cell, took a guard hostage. I told the other guards to chill out and took him down. Jumping down from a gargoyle in the ceiling, I glided on my cape, kicked him in the head and knocked him out cold. As Zsasz was face down on the cement, I punched him in the back of the head. Just to be sure. And to top it all off, Batman turned to the guards and said...

"Take this animal back to his cell!"

Oh hell yes. 

Batman: Arkham Asylum is out on August 28th. I'll be there front and centre.

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