Review: Batman Arkham Asylum Demo

So the demo for Batman Arkham Asylum came out yesterday, and like any good geek, I had to play it. This is all really just a knee-jerk reaction to the game as the demo is fairly short.

The story itself is written by Paul Dini, a five time Emmy award winner who is best known for writing season 1 of LOST and Batman: The Animated Series. Not only that but they got the voice actors from the animated series to play Batman and The Joker, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill.

So the story here starts out that The Joker was  holding the mayor hostage when Batman showed up to put a stop to it. The Joker apparently surrenders fairly easily which puts Batman on edge. Batman takes The Joker to Arkham Asylum where he meets with Commissioner Gordon briefly while they take The Joker in. Once through the first gate, The Joker manages to escape the guards, and with the help of Harley (who has a new outfit) takes control of Arkham and its security.

It’s at this point that you get to begin playing the game as Batman. The first part of the demo has Batman fighting a bunch of released inmates. The FreeFlow melee combat system used in this game is as far as I’m concearned top notch. You get to see Batman deliver bone crushing blows and counter-attacks in slow motion while still keeping the fighting to a brisk pace.

Batman also come equipped with his ususal Batarang, a little ear piece that lets him talk to Oracle, and this thing called “Detective Mode”. Now Detective Mode is something similar to x-ray vision (I guess you could argue kinda lik a bats sonar chirps) but it isolates the baddies and turns them red while everything else is a shade of blue. While completely necessary for the game in terms of not getting killed, I think that this is a bit of a stretch even for batman. But hey, who am I to challenge the Bat?

Some of the other ool features of the game, you get to grapple up onto gargoyles inside the asylum from there you can hang upside down and do silent attacks from there, glide using your cape and take out baddies with a flying kick, or just throw the Batarang around a bit.

While all in all I thought the demo was fun, I had a few gripes aout it. First off the thing was 1.58 GB, the size isnt the issue, its what I felt I got for the size. The graphics were sick, don’t get me wrong, but the cut scenes where people are talking…..I don’t think they could have tried any less to try and make it look like the lips synched up wih the voices. Its a small thing, but annoys the ever-loving shit out of me.

Also, while the environment is really cool looking, its ultimately dissappointing. Why? Because you can’t interact with any of it! I mean, I have seen wayyy shittier games that at least you were able to interact with shit hanging on the walls, or if I could throw the Batarang at a tv they could at least make the tv look cracked or some shit. The only thing in the place that I saw that I could interact with was a security camera that i could knowck off the wall, whoopity-doo. I mean, this is the XBox 360, right? Not the Wii?

Enough of the bitching and moaning. All in all, it was a pretty fun game, not sure that I would pay for the full version personally, but I will definitely put it in the Gamefly queue.

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