Batman: Arkham Asylum Demo Impressions

Batman Arkham Asylum Demo Head

The Dark Knight was arguably the best film of 2008, now the inevitable video-game cash-in is in sight; is this a real tribute to Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece? Or does it just flop and wave in the air, like the cape of the dark crusader. Batman Arkham Asylum is quite possibly, one of the best games this year, well that’s the impression I got. Now a demo has been released, we can get a real taste of what to expect from AA (or B:AA, but it sounds like Bah, and I don’t like being a sheep) and boy, oh boy, have we got a big chewy chunk of Batman. No, not in a sexual way.

Arkham Asylum tells the tale of a trapped Batman. After capturing the Joker, Batman takes him to Arkham island to be locked up. But it is all a trap, as Joker’s mistress Harley Quinn has somehow bust into the security controls and stuff, and shuts down the island. Batman must defeat new enemies and old in order to capture the Joker, and stop the madness on Arkham. The demo doesn’t give us much information about the plot or story, but it does introduce a few characters, it sets the scene and the ending to the demo is the best tease you could come up with.

Batman Arkham Asylum Demo 1

As far as the story goes, it’s almost like a classical Batman graphic novel, a good plot for any Batman thing. If it was a movie, it would be great, if it was a comic book, it would be great but as game it is awesome. After playing this short demo you can obviously see that the developers have slaved over every single detail to make it as Batman authentic as possible. All the villains, the look, the style and even the way Batman’s cape flows in the wind. It’s all so brilliantly detailed, and we’re only giving ourselves a brief taste of what to expect from the full Arkham experience. God knows what awaits us.

The voice cast are top of the line, possibly some of the best I’ve heard and probably the best cast you could ever get to voice a Batman video-game. Every line is delivered with emotion, laughter and it all pings at just the right moments. You can tell that the cast really got into this, and most of the actors actually come from the early 90’s and early 2000’s animated series of Batman. Kevin Conroy voices Batman, and echoes some light charms from the early Tim Burton films. Mark Hamill just dazzles me on how chilling he sounds as the Joker. He doesn’t exactly give it in a Heath Ledger way, but he gives his own unique and brilliant performance as Joker.

Batman Arkham Asylum Demo 2

Most of the time in Arkham Asylum, you’ll be planning or preparing for attacks. These large room ‘predator’ experiences are linked in between by either set pieces or cut scenes. That’s the impression I got from the demo anyway, and although it sounds linear it will most certainly be spiced up somehow. There’s talk of a huge Arkham main hub, in which Batman has to navigate around to find the next villain to defeat. Planning and preparing for attacks is like hyping yourself up for a game, it can be exciting, thrilling and when it comes. It’s just awesome.

You move Batman around, and then scale high ledges, gargoyles and other stuff with the grappling hook, at a tap of the R1/RB button. You can then look down and survey your enemies, even open up the detective mode to track their movements and current state of mind, then even Batarang someone with a quick tap of the L1/LB, or hold it down to fully aim. With your enemies dazed from a Batarang attack, if you hit them in the head; if you don’t then they’re just injured, then you have to go over and fully knock them out. This is done by a quick R2 + Triangle or RT + Y. It’s simple to do, the animation is satisfying and it balances the game.

Batman Arkham Asylum Demo 3

Combat is weird, like REALLY weird. There’s only ONE button to attack (which is Square/ X), and one button to counter (Triangle/Y). But strangely enough I think this is one of the best ‘beat-up’ systems in any video-games ever. For starters, it’s simple and you don’t need to learn every combination to master the game (you can mix up counter + attack though). Second, there’s a gazillion animations so you’ll never tire of it and finally, there is a real sense of intensity while facing off against seven thugs. You juggle each of them and it’d be hard to do it with a complex fighting system.

What can I complain about? Go play the demo, and you might understand. There is a few points that I will raise though, just to be fair and unbiased. Batman sort of looks silly, and the whole grappling hook is slightly overpowered. The cast and crew obviously do a phenomenal job of voice acting, but the actual dialogue is messy and too quick paced. There’s also some glitches too: I played the demo and was able to silently takedown (quick tap of Triangle/Y) a guy who was JUST behind another guard. There’s also quicktime events but I’m just nitpicking by now.

If you want to check out the demo, and get a taste of Arkham Asylum. Go download the demo on PSN and Xbox Live now if your in the UK and tomorrow if you’re in the US.

  • Played it Loved it cant wait for the game to come out!

  • keruption

    If it was a movie, it would be great, if it was a comic book, it would be great but as game it is awesome.

    “but as game it is awesome.”

    Oh Really?

  • mhmm

    But as game it is awesome

  • The Editor

    Clearly the current editing staff is inept and lazy. I would like to apply to become a editor on a temporary basis to show I have the skill and time to properly edit. After a one week trial period, I will refuse your offer to become a full-time editor because I am above meaningless blog editing.

  • Nathan Hardisty


  • The Editor

    “It could have been something get.

    Just Cause caused, and why?”

    I suggest you just do an actual proof-read of anything you write.

    I posted these two errors on your previous article, and you freaked out saying it must have been some sort of accident that this terrible writing got through.

    Then you managed to make the article into something even worse. You also apparently sent it to the editors to fix. This is what you came out with.

    “But the emphasis is on “It could have.”.

    You use a quotation before but, then another quotation, then a period, then a quotation, then another period because for some reason you need two periods to finish a sentence.

    Seriously, this site is an absolute joke. I did a longer, more in depth review for “Real Racing” but the author responded with half-ass remarks on why he can’t write at all, yet continues to write for this site. Disgraceful.

    • To the guy hiding on the internet. I’m sorry if my writers don’t meet your expectations. These guys here work for no money, they have wifes, husbands, kids, jobs and lifes. They write for the simple fact that they love gaming and that should honestly matter more then if they can write a well put together paragraph or two.

      We are not USA Today, the New York Times or any other major site, we are a community site that writes about what we love.

      If a well put together paragraph matters more to you then an honest review from a real gamer, then check out the sites above, but if you want to read what real people that play games think, feel free to enjoy our articles and please be nicer to our writers.

  • To The Editor,
    I am the Managing Editor with P*N and I am proud of all the writers here that at least give it a try. I am truly sorry that this site does not live up to your full potential as a site, but you keep coming back. So unless you have something positive to say about the site and it’s staff why not just take your comments elsewhere, but if you would like to hang around and maybe leave a little positive feed back sit down, relax and enjoy the ride.

  • ???

    I am not expecting New York Times quality at all Steve. I don’t care about tense shifts, or sometimes bad word usage. The problem is that most of the mistakes in this site can be fixed by simply pasting the article into Microsoft Word. Word even highlights the errors for you!

    Scott, there is my tip to you. Paste every article into Microsoft Word. Have it fix those errors. Then, read every sentence in the article backwards. Start with the last sentence, and then read that way. That will break up the flow so errors can be seen more easily. Also, I am not expecting amazing work from you either. I know everyone else has jobs, families, etc. But if you don’t have time to read the articles or even put them into Microsoft Word, then why did you become the editor?

  • “Scott, there is my tip to you”. Should have proof read your work. Thanks for all the helpful tips and I answer to one person and that is Steve and if he thinks my performance or the other editors work is under par he will let us know. Thanks again!

  • ???

    I assume you are talking about how you think it should have been “here,” instead of “there.” I admit, the real error is the fact that it isn’t clear, and the follow up to it made you confused. When I said “there,” I was referring to Microsoft Word in the previous paragraph, and not the next sentence. My mistake if that wasn’t clear enough, although I am not writing articles, but rather comments.

  • ???

    Also, I find it somewhat ironic that you try to correct me with errors in your own work.

    ““Scott, there is my tip to you”. Should have proof read your work. Thanks for all the helpful tips and I answer to one person and that is Steve and if he thinks my performance or the other editors work is under par he will let us know. Thanks again!”

    Should be corrected to:

    “Scott, there is my tip to you”. You Should have proof-read your work. Thanks for all the helpful tips, and I answer to one person and that is Steve. If he thinks my performance or the other editors work is under par, he will let us know. Thanks again!

    There were just some errors with run-on sentences, lack of commas before conjunctions, and incomplete sentences without subjects that could have been made more clear. Some of the errors I corrected are debatable. Hyphens can be seen by some as subjective mistakes.

  • ???

    Also, to make it clear. I am no expert in grammar at all. I probably even made some mistakes in correcting your paragraph. But at least it looks better now. I am more concerned about the obvious errors on this site, such as the ones I posted a few comments ago.

    “It could have been something get.

    Just Cause caused, and why?”

    Those are pretty obvious, and even someone like me can find those.

  • Nathan Hardisty

    If you’re such a good editor, why are you trolling such a ‘PETTY’ site such as Platform Nation? I thought you’d be editing some big-shot place, and getting paid for it.

    • At the same time, I don’t see the need to attack a reader of the site either.

      I think things might have been taken a little too far, there is no reason for this bickering that is going on.

  • I’m amazed that someone has this much time on their hands as to critique a community site like this.

    Ignore him and he will go away.

  • White Silhouette

    I liked the article. Keep up the good work. I may be unique since I was reading it for what it was about. Not the manner in which it was wrote.

  • Bobby Gonzalez

    Everybody … group hug!

  • might gio

    good review, n who kares wat that other guy had 2 say