Arkham Asylum Demo Impressions

The problem with their plan is that when you take an insane person to the asylum, you’re just taking him home…the very place he knows best.

One of the advantages of the PS3 is the nice, free online set-up.  I don’t play online multiplayer (three months of Xbox Live after Halo 2’s release was all I needed) so my only interest is downloadable content for games.  Rock Band track packs, extra Saints Row 2 content, a Metal Gear Solid encyclopedia (even though people could just use the Internet, it was free dammit!), and demos for upcoming games.  So when the demo for the upcoming Batman: Arkham Asylum hit the PlayStation Network, it was on my PS3 a few minutes after public release.

In short, it’s not much of a demo but a “midnight snack.”  Aside from the grapple gun, gadgets were absent.  A shame, I was hoping to mess around with the explosive gel shown in the trailers.  With the gadgets missing, the variety of ways to dispose of henchmen did not feel so variable.  The demo was also a lot shorter than I would have liked.  Hopefully, these are not indications of the game’s gameplay/depth (or lack thereof).

Still, it was a fun romp through the asylum.  The freeflowing combat was easy but exciting, although the constant slow-motion might get old.  The voice acting, while a bit off at times, was still great (Batman, Joker and Harley Quinn are all voiced by their animated series’ counterparts).  And despite being gimped by the lack of gadgets, the possible ways to dispose of henchmen were fun, creative and awesome!

While there isn’t much competition, Arkham Asylum is shaping up to be the definitive Batman game.  Most of those games focused on the action and while Arkham Asylum has that, it also captures the shadowy aspect.  There’s more to Batman than his physical prowess.  He’s a criminal predator who strikes fear into his opponents by being able to strike unexpectadely.  Hopefully, the detective aspect is captured as well.

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