First Impressions: “Batman: Arkham Asylum” Demo

1:46:12 PM: Alright guys, liveblog time again! Taking a look at the Batman: Arkham Asylum demo, out today on PS3, XBox 360 and PC.

1:46:39 PM: I’m checking the demo out on XBox 360. For those who care, the demo is 1.6Gb in size.

1:47:12 PM: Very nice menu screen. I’m digging the moody feel to the characters. I was kind of opposed to Batman’s design at first, but it grew on me

1:47:41 PM: Alright, we’ve got 5 options available: New Game, Character Bios, Character Trophies, Options and Exit Demo

1:47:53 PM: Two other options, Challenge Mode and Downloadable Content, are grayed out.

1:48:37 PM: Character bios is fairly self explanatory. Story, Facts and Attributes about characters, accompanied by some very nice concept art.

1:49:33 PM: Only The Joker and Batman are available right now, with another 39 slots showing as questions marks. 41 total, for those who suck at math.

1:50:43 PM: Character Trophies is a place to look at the renders of the characters. There’s only 20 trophies, with only 2 initially available…

1:51:00 PM: …Batman and Killer Croc. And both look gorgeous. It’s really nice to get to zoom in and look at the detail on these.

1:52:16 PM: Nothing too special under Options. Only have Game Options, which consists of controller inversions and brightness, and Audio Options…

1:52:43 PM: …which I guess is pretty self explanatory. That said, let’s dive into the New Game.

Note: Some spoilers for the opening of Batman: Arkham Asylum after the jump. Consider yourself duly warned!!

1:53:22 PM: Demo isn’t the same Free Flow Combat from before, but instead is the beginning of the game. The first 10 minutes were online yesterday…

1:53:53 PM: …and can be viewed at MTV’s Multiplayer Blog

1:54:55 PM: Not the full beginning. The ride in the elevator isn’t int eh demo, but instead cuts right to letting Joker in the Asylum.

1:55:24 PM: Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill are pretty fucking awesome so far, I must say.

1:56:10 PM: Game jumps in with some free flow combat.

1:56:56 PM: As I’d mentioned a while ago, Free Flow combat feels a little weird at first, but it’s easy to get the hang of. X to strike, Y to counter.

1:57:28 PM: When moving around, holding A dashes. The cape animation looks great.

1:59:15 PM: After two rounds with thugs, Joker invites you into an obvious trap and the Commissioner Gordon bio is unlocked.

1:59:36 PM: Game allows you to pause and view new Bios as they’re unlocked with the Back button.

2:01:13 PM: Some Batarang training now, it’s pretty intuitive. Left Trigger aims, Right Trigger throws.

2:01:30 PM: You get a reticle that’s normally white and turns orange when on a target.

2:02:32 PM: Right trigger typically crouches. Moving with a Batarang armed and ready to throw is pretty easy and convenient.

2:02:59 PM: Unfortunately, I don’t see any way to crouch with a Batarang armed, or to throw one. Which kinda sucks.

2:04:08 PM: Camera normally stays in a third person over the shoulder perspective, but pulls back and becomes more fluid during combat.

2:04:37 PM: The transitions from exploring to combat are also very fluid too.

2:05:04 PM: Unlocked an Oracle bio! Giggle giggle. I’m such a nerd.

2:06:29 PM: First boss is up, it’s Zsasz. Looks pretty creepy, but I don’t see the tally marks that are normally carved into his skin.  On my second play through of the demo, I used first person view to see Zsasz’s body and yes, the scars are apparent up close.  They’re rendered as scars, and therefore can’t be seen unless you’re right by him.

2:06:58 PM: Goal is to take out Zsasz and rescue a guard. If Zsasz sees you, the guard dies.

2:08:04 PM: Zsasz bio unlocked now. There’s a lot being unlocked for just the demo, I’m pretty impressed.

2:08:29 PM: Using Detective Mode, you locate Gargoyles which you can grapple to.

2:09:49 PM: Pretty easy to pull off, grappling around the room to take out Zsasz. Then it’s revealed that Gordon is hostage.

2:10:06 PM: No, not Gordon, the Warden of Arkham. My bad.

2:14:02 PM: Three guards with guns head on, running straight in is suicide.

2:14:26 PM: Grappling around the room, you can walk right up behind them and initiate a “Silent Takedown” by tapping Y. Pretty efficient.

2:15:04 PM: Tapping Right Bumper shoots the grapple line. An icon flashes at the top of the screen when a grapple point is available.

2:15:31 PM: From there, you can throw Batarangs, glide down to perform a Glide Kick that renders thugs stunned, or hang upside down…

2:15:44 PM: …which I presume is going to pay off for scaring the shit out of thugs in the full game.

2:17:09 PM: There are air ducts that are opened in a “God of War” style Tap To Open sequence.

2:17:36 PM: Joker learns that you’re on the way, and decides not to warn his thugs because it’s a “nice surprise”. How sweet of him.

2:18:52 PM: You can also grapple back and forth from different levels of the rooms.

2:20:04 PM: Just got axed! You really can’t be spotted, Batman can’t survive much gunfire.

2:21:48 PM: You also need to do a Takedown to take out thugs after a Glide Kick…RT + Y.

2:22:58 PM: Demo ends with Batman facing a boss battle against a mutant of some sort, not anyone I recognize from the comics.

2:23:25 PM: Game is definitely a lot of fun, and I normally don’t enjoy stealth games. Controls will take some getting used to, but they’re very easy..

2:23:35 PM: …easy to pick up, and the game takes the time to teach you how to do a lot of it.

2:24:27 PM: Fortunately, for those of us who are somewhat dense (myself included), Batman’s narration provides clues as to what to do next.

2:24:48 PM: The game likes to hold your hand and help you, but at the same time their isn’t a giant arrow pointing to the exit.

2:25:16 PM: Full version comes out in a few weeks! Maybe I’ll get lucky and can afford it, but I definitely want it now.

2:25:39 PM: If you’ve played the demo or are getting the full version, leave us a comment! Thanks for joining me guys.

2:33:00 PM: Something I noticed after I’d finished this liveblog, “Patient Interviews” are unlocked for The Joker as you beat levels.  Not sure how or if they’ll affect gameplay, but still pretty cool.  Only two available right now, but appear to be 5 total, and can be listened to from Joker’s character bio.  They’re denoted by an orange cassete reel by the character’s picture on the bio list.

About Christopher Baggett

Christopher Baggett has owned and operated The HomeWorld independently since 2009 after spinning it off from his previous concept, ‘The Anime Homeworld’. In addition to journalistic endeavors, he is an aspiring novelist. Arizona born military brat Christopher currently resides in the Georgia area.

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