Batman: Arkham Asylum – Story Mode Impressions

by on July 20, 2009

As mentioned yesterday some of the members from the GodisaGeek team attended a special invitational event held by Eidos to show off the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum game. As promised, today we bring you our impressions of the game itself. First up we have our thoughts on the story mode demo, enjoy!

Now I don’t to ruin the details of the story for you guys so I won’t say too much about it and try to keep my impressions relatively spoiler free. The demo starts of with a lengthy cutscene in which we see Batman taking the Joker into Arkham Asylum and a few minutes later (as you can imagine) things go a bit pear shaped resulting in the Clown Prince (along with his “friends”) taking control of the Asylum. The first half of the demo mainly focuses upon the hand to hand (or melee) combat, easing you into the games mechanic as you take on a few thugs, whereas the second half focuses more on the stealth/predator gameplay.

The melee combat is simple but very effective. By that I mean it easy to pick up the game and start beating up enemies but to be really good you will have to learn the nuiances of the combat system. Going by the Xbox 360 version you press X to strike, Y to counter and A to dodge/avoid. You can use the batarang during fights too with a simple press of the left trigger. Like I said all that sounds simple enough but mix it up a bit and you can do some real damage. There is a real meaty feel to this facet of the combat, you really do feel as if you are really hurting every enemy you hit.

The stealth gameplay is what I enjoyed the most though, it is fantastic. Unlike most of the other Batman or superhero games, here you really do feel like you are the Dark Knight himself.  A quick press of the left bumper puts you in “predator” mode and you can see detailed information about your environment including enemies. With the right bumper you catch latch onto highlighted areas and pull yourself up high so you can survey the area below you. You can move from point to point with considerable ease, literally stalking your enemies who are highlighted by a small bat symbol above their head. You can take them out in a variety of ways, from glide kicks to inverted takedowns (these are very cool). It is always in your best interests to take down enemies one by one and silently. Batman is a superhero but he is also just a human so alerting enemies with guns of your presence is never a good idea.

Graphically the game looks really good, one of the more impressing looking games I have seen on this generation of consoles. There is a great amount of detail on the character models and the surrounding environment. The best words to describe the game visually would be “mature” and “gritty” which is sure to please fans of the comics and the more recent Chris Nolan movies.  The only minor greivance I have with the visuals is that initally the character models (and world in general) looks a bit too “plastic” but as you get into the game the look really does grow on you so maybe I’m just nitpicking here!  The sound is also fantastic, pretty much every character is voiced superbly especially The Joker! Mark Hamill has done a brilliant voice acting job, he really brings The Joker to life.

Overall the story mode demo lasted about 20-25 minutes but really gave me a great idea of what to expect from the final product and in all honesty left me wanting more. Like I mentioned earlier on, Rocksteady have really nailed the sense of making the player feel like they are the Dark Knight himself which is something developers of previous Batman games have failed to do. Batman: Arkham Asylum is shaping up to be one of the best superhero games of recent times and, more importantly maybe, a damn good action game in its own right.

Batman: Arkham Asylum is due to be release on August 28th for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. Keep tuned in to godisageek.com before that date for our official review. Thanks.