Batman: Arkham Asylum Demo, Trailers

By Jim Rossignol on August 7th, 2009 at 8:39 am.


The Batman: Arkham Asylum demo is up, and weighs in at a portly 2gb. The third-person action game seems to be earning reactions ranging from the satisfied to the hysterical, but at least you can judge for yourself in this instance. You can get it here or here. The PC version of the superheroic skull-thumping game is out September 15 in North America and September 18 in Europe, and will include PhysX support and GeForce 3D Vision stereoscopic 3D, which seems like a 3D too many. Three hefty game footage trailers sit below, making for more Batman action than you can shake a batarang at, should you happen to have one.

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108 Comments »

  1. Babs says:

    Maybe the special edition will come with a batarang

  2. Willy359 says:

    Bit heavy on the cape. Couldn’t see what the hell was going on. Watchmen was right. Capes are more trouble than they’re worth.

  3. Dominic White says:

    @Babs – you may have been joking, but it actually does.

  4. Howard says:

    @Babs
    Nah, an entire, to-scale, Bat-Suit I reckon =)

    This could be good. Interested to see. Only thing so far that strikes me in the trailers is how shiny everything is. Like everything is carved out of wax. Meh, might just be in the videos I guess…

  5. Lars Westergren says:

    @Willy359 Not to mention the danger of getting them caught in the door as you are entering or exiting elevators.

    Come to think of it, Pixar’s Incredibles had a couple of puns around the practicality and fashion sense of having capes too.

  6. TeeJay says:

    2 Gb … so that’s 17.9 peggles then?

  7. TonyB says:

    Video 2: Insta-fail stealth section? Joy.

  8. Vinraith says:

    @TonyB

    Yeah, insta-fail stealth in a game is basically an automatic no-purchase. Even BG&E got on my nerves pretty badly with that crap.

  9. Risingson says:

    PhysX :(

  10. Bobsy says:

    Well BG&E was hardly insta-fail. At least you didn’t always die when you buggered up.

    Anyway, is that the cast of the animated series? That’d be a plus.

  11. Howard says:

    Yeah, Insta-Fail-Stealth could be bad. Me hopes its not as bad as it looks…

    @Risington
    What’s up with PhysX particularly? You don’t have to use is you know…

  12. Howard says:

    Errp… The demo, after finally downloading and unpacking, has just declared that it has known issues with realtek soundcards and may not function on my system. So they are releasing a game that does not support the most common set of soundcards in the world? This seems a little counter intuitive…

  13. neems says:

    You don’t have to use PhysX, but you do have to wait for it…

  14. Risingson says:

    @Edward sure, you don’t have to use it. It’s just a feature that only works with some nvidia cards which, in the other side, don’t work better than the ati cards, and which seems to me just a way to penalize ati users. And i feel penalized! So,like I did with Mirror’s Edge, I will NOT play this game as this game is penalizing me, damn.

  15. Ian says:

    Bobsy: I believe the voices of Batman, Joker and Harley (at least) are from the cartoon.

    Also: I’d like to think if somebody sees you in that stealth bit you can take them out before they raise the alarm if you’re fast enough, but even though I’m not hopeful these actually raised my interest in the game again. A bit, at least.

  16. oceanclub says:

    Argh, does no-one like this? As someone whose earliest memory was running around our basement wearing a Batman cape, I was a bit excited that there was finally a good _serious_ Batman game.

    P.

  17. Howard says:

    Actually it is pretty good. Those throwing a tantrum about PhysX need to get a bit of a grip as enabling it makes very little difference.

    Stylistically this is very solid. It has a good feel and some great design to it. The demo is gonna put some noses out of joint as none of the controls can be redefined (whether or not you use a pad) and for me there appears to be a bit of a stutter or lag or something when swinging the camera about (which was reduced by turning PhysX on, oddly).
    It plays well, runs well, the combat is satisfying and the “detective” stuff doesn’t seem to daft. All in all this is looking pretty good tbh…
    (On another note about the demo, each time you load it, it forgets all your settings and there is no way to save your game. That is just damned annoying)

  18. Daniel N says:

    I enjoyed it, at least on me 360. I really enjoyed the way it rewards patience.

    It’s fun trying to see how many different ways you can kill people in the last room. The inverted takedown, where you kill somebody when they’re underneath the gargoyle you’re stalking on, was probably my favorite. The glass takedown was also fun but too loud for my taste.

    The melee combat against unarmed thugs was on the easy side, but I thought it was enjoyable enough just to kick that much arse and the game quickly got to be more challenging (still not too hard once you figure out the controls, though).

    Hopefully the finished product is good.

  19. Dominic White says:

    @oceanclub – I think what you’re seeing here is the initial knee-jerk reaction to it being a multiplatform game. The first couple of reviews for the game are in the high-90s, and I’ve heard nothing but gushing praise for the PS3 version demo.

    Word is that this one is a gem.

  20. oceanclub says:

    I’m sorely tempted to get the Collector’s Edition with the batarang, if only for the look on my wife’s face.

    P.

  21. Howard says:

    Oh. 2 gig for that?! Wowser…

    Very enjoyable and I think it just sold me the game but DAMN that was short…

  22. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I’m predicting a 2GB of demo fail.

    First, because as good as Arkham Asylum is looking, I suspect it’s still going down the same route as other comic book character adaptations – in this case, Bats looks like your average skulking thug rather than a detective.

    Second, this so is not going to run on my PC.

  23. Howard says:

    @Diogo Ribeiro
    I don’t understand your comment. Batman looks like Batman, as he always does. How exactly could he look like a “detective”?

    Also its the UT3 engine so it is pretty scalable but if you want the bells and whistles you have to pony up for the hardware…

  24. Simon Jones says:

    Absolutely love it! They’ve managed to perfectly mix the styles of the cartoons, the latest movies and the comics into something rather special.

    Most notable thing about it is how slick everything is – the controls and interface always do exactly what you expect and you’re never left unsure of what you can do. Which isn’t to say it’s too easy – you might know what your options are, but you still have to think your way through how best to execute your plan.

    The final room killed me a couple of times (love the death bits) before I figured out a Sly Plan to take out all the enemies silently.

    So, yes. Artistic, gameplay and design success! Can’t wait for the full game.

  25. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I was talking in general terms, of how the character is being portrayed. I’m not saying he looks like a random, generic thug fresh out of Goonschool. I’m saying from what I’ve seen across several trailers and assorted footage, that it’s all the same stealth/combat motions that don’t really make him standout from other characters in videogames – when there’s a lot more about the character that could be explored.

  26. Dominic White says:

    I’m just happy they managed to get Mark Hamill to play The Joker again. I think of him in that role more than Luke Skywalker now, as he absolutely nails it.

  27. CMaster says:

    @ Bobsy – there were several insta-fail stealth sections in BG&E – where there were those hovering, invulnerable cannons that would lock onto and blow you away if you got spotted.

  28. Freudian Trip says:

    A big fat Hardey-Ha-Ha at the guy sayin he won’t buy the gae because he can’t support PhysX. “My cape does not flutter through my the air quite as well as my friends cape. I SHALL RAMPAGE THE STUDIO”

    Who gives a fuck. Just like dX10, stuff like this is purely visual at the moment because the studio’s aren’t going to cut out potential users.

  29. catska says:

    Seems like a great game. Sad that its getting the delayed PC release because of piracy though. Don’t be fooled by their PhysX excuse when its already up and running in the demo, they don’t want people pirating it on the PC and never buying either version.

  30. Simon Jones says:

    Talking of (presumably) PhysX stuff, it was rather fun to see individual sheets of paper fluttering about on the floor and getting scrunched up underfoot. Makes no difference to gameplay, of course, but it does help towards atmosphere.

    On the Batman characterisation: too early to say so far, just from the demo, but the voiceover and dialogue definitely leans towards making him more than just Generic Hard Man.

  31. Gorgeras says:

    It’s written by one of the series writers and has the creme of the series cast. It’s Batman, the animated series Batman; probably the best incarnation of him where he has some of Superman’s strong personality traits.

  32. Simes says:

    Having played a decent chunk of the game, I think it’s worth giving it a shot. There’s a lot more to it than just Generic Tough Guy and that stealth section’s not such a big deal either.

  33. Maykael says:

    I just finished the demo and I absolutely loved it. As someone from this thread said it does reward patience.

    Also it’s not instafail. You just have to go gargoyle jumping very fast so that they lose sight of you.

    The only thing that kinda annoyed me was the console 3rd person camera with Bats occupying the left 1/4 of my screen. A bit confusing at first but you get used to it. Fortunately in combat and running it doesn’t stay that way.

  34. MeestaNob! says:

    Could everyone who HASN’T taken the time to download the file please stop commenting? I’ve just scrolled through numerous comments about basically nothing.

    Yes, the irony of my own comment isn’t lost on me (although demo is downloading as I type this), but crikey, can we just once stick strictly to the topic at hand: Batman demo: GOOD/BAD.

  35. Manburger says:

    Just finished the demo. Good stuff! I like how everything is really smooth, from the fighting to the interface and movement. The combat is a bit on the easy side, though this is just from the start of the game so I assume it will get tougher.
    The stealth is awesome! You have a lot of cool Batmoves and gadgets to terrorize your enemies with.
    Someone mentioned it might not run on their system, but I think it’s actually pretty well optimized. My computer is just decent, and I could run it fairly smoothly.

  36. JKjoker says:

    wth with the texture problems and tearing in the last part of the second video and first part of the third video ? its the first time i see official trailers with so many obvious problems, i doubt this game will be very bug free

    the game looks fun (a little too much slow mo for my taste tho) and i would like a less annoying “glow” or some other indicator instead of a “tap X for quick batarang” that flashes all the time

    im surprised at how dated it looks, im hoping to runs fine in my box without upgrading

  37. Pemptus says:

    Really good stuff. I like the fluidness of combat and stealth, genuinely fun. Oh, and somebody mentioned that you can’t redefine controls – you can do that through the setup launcher thingy I believe.

  38. kurashu says:

    Diogo:
    I got a P4-3.0 ghz , 2gb ram, ATI X1600 256mb
    It ran well with EVERYTHING on (on Very High setting) at 800×600.

    It looked good and fps wasn’t crap. Yeah, 800×600 is a shame, but hell, i wanna play the game, not play graphics. (even though they are part of the game =)

    But i think Rocksteady did a great job, this game doesn’t feel rushed or ‘ported as usual’ from consoles. Really feels polished.

  39. bookwormat says:

    One would think that a huge international company like Square Enix could afford to distribute its software without bothering its customers with annoying, add-financed third party services like “atomicgamer” or “nzone”.

  40. Dr. Nerfball says:

    Aha, but Bookworm, you are forgetting that Square is one of the great forces of evil on this planet, along with Sarah Palin and Lord Madleson and will make the gamers experience as hellish as possible. And yet we still come back, kinda odd that, huh?

  41. Dr. Nerfball says:

    Gah, Mandleson not Madleson =P

  42. Abhishek says:

    2 gb, huh? I’m hoping that means the demo is substantial in its length.

  43. Adventurous Putty says:

    It’s written by Paul Dini. It’ll be fine, trust me.

    OH, and I absolutely love how, even though they got some of the old animated cast together for this, they’re all putting a slightly different spin on their portrayals. It’s all much more down-to-earth — the Joker sounds more subtly sinister (though I surmise there’s a reason we haven’t been exposed to the “full” laugh yet, as he seems to be on the very edge of releasing it and may well do so in a climactic scene), and Harley sounds more…real, I guess, though still whimsical and off-kilter.

  44. Vinraith says:

    @Bobsy

    BG&E had some stealth sections where you could fight your way out of an alarm and some where you couldn’t. I’m not remotely referring to the whole game, just a few specific sequences when fucking up and being noticed was instant death. I HATE that in games, even otherwise really, really good games like BG&E

  45. MysteryLobster says:

    Well, it definitely left me wanting more. That last section, where you swoop down and pick off guards one by one, was very satisfying.

  46. Psychopomp says:

    It definitely left me wanting more, but I get the feeling that the game’s going to fall into a rather predictable pattern. Gargoyle swooping for ten hours, with the odd boss fight doesn’t seem like it’s going to stay interesting for long.

    I hope I’m wrong, though.

  47. SuperNashwan says:

    I give the demo Escape From Butcher Bay/10. Think I’ll be keeping an eye out for a good deal on this to pick up at some point.

  48. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Liked. I think for once they got Batman more or less right (large angry man dishing out his own type of justice in a silly outfit) and rather than emulate one of the many styles that Batman has been rendered in over the decades they’ve gone for a mix (although I thought it leaned heavily towards Miller’s take on Batman, with Simon Bisley’s Gordon – biggest forearms ever!).

    The control scheme wasn’t my favourite and I might actually consider digging out my gamepad for the full game (if it hasn’t seized up from lack of use). All in all it looks like fun.

    Is there a Batmobile chase? I’d like one of those.

    Final word: BANE!

  49. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    @kurashu:

    My system’s a Core 2 Duo, 2 Gb Ram and a GeForce 8600GT. First run through the game was rather laggy. I then updated my drivers, and changed some options, like disabling PhysX (pointless), Bloom (no blidness for me today, thanks), Ambient Occlusion (huh?) and Spherical Harmonic Lightning (lol wut?).

    So far it runs very fluidly at 1280×1024, even if most non-important characters like guards seem to have terribly plastic faces, so it’s good to know I was (mostly) wrong. But in the face of several recent releases one tends to grow weary of poor optimizations, especially when it comes to cross-platform titles.

    As for the game, my expectations were somewhat spot on. Ever since I’ve been following the game I took a liking to Rocksteady’s approach, and some aspects are simply to good to pass up. The most obvious is combat, which has a very nice flow to it. This is both surprising and expected – it’s a giant step above every single Batman game ever released but it’s also quite par for the course nowadays, considering what several other action titles have achieved (like God of War). Still, no complaints there.

    Graphics and art direction are both great with the odd blemish. Jim’s looking rather butch (er, Gordon, not Rossignol, although I haven’t seen that many pictures of him to make that claim >_> ). Joker feels quite right while Harley looks like Jeanette from Vampire: Bloodlines – not bad in itself but not that daring, either. Zsasz looked fairly maniacal but seemed reduced to a gibbering and obvious goon, exchanging his knifing-and-leaving-them-in-naturalistic-poses for a pretty mundane form of torture. Maybe it makes sense considering his situation and all, with no tools of his liking, but that the game throws your way a character with such potential quite early in the game and doesn’t do anything remarkable with him is regretful. Maybe he will be back later on? No idea.

    The asylum itself seems rather standard and filled with straight corridors, though. Was hoping for something more like the asylum from the first graphic novel, but of course, that’s not what the developers went for so no point complaining (much).

    The range of abilities seems adequate, with corner skulking, silent takedowns and perching atop gargoyles. That you can use several of these abilities any way you want when confronted with areas filled with goons is great but, like Psychopomp, I think they relied too much on the gargoyles. Hoping there’s more nooks, crannies and vantage points to spy and attack from. Besides, shouldn’t gargoyles be outside the building?

    Also, while I’m glad when I’m wrong, I also hate it when I’m right. Case in point, even with all the marvelous touches and nuances, I feel I could be playing Riddick with a cowl. Detective Mode, in the face of all other things Rocksteady achieved, is pretty disappointing. There’s the context-sensitive button presses, the hacking minigame of sorts and really, not much else. This is perhaps the area they could have ventured further into, or stepped out of the norm. Maybe this will also improve further into the game but there’s a chance it becomes terribly samey. It’s like studios trying to make a Superman game having no idea what do with the character, when they could actually research him a bit. John Byrne did great things with Supes many years ago, storywise, and devs just use him as an ├╝bermensch that solves everything through sheer force. While not on the same level, this seems to go the same way.

    It’s got the Batman “look” and part of the “feel”, but for some reason, even after enjoying most of this (I admit I am a fan of the character, though), there’s the nagging sensation something is missing. Some details just feel off, like the Joker talking to a goon through a security system, watching Bats as he takes down the criminal but only kicking in a conversation when the guy’s down. Taking the guy down was an obvious dialogue trigger, and maybe it’s something that can be fixed or is not representative of the rest of the game. There’s also the fact you can escape from armed goons just by swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle quickly.

    It seems I trying hard to find things to dislike but this isn’t the case. I want to see this game succeed where all other Batman games failed.

    One last note is that the game recognized my gamepad but believes it to be a 360 controller. Obvious problems aside – like telling me to press X or Y when my buttons are numbered – it also reverted my movements, so walking forward is actually going back. All other buttons work alright except this. Anyone else had this problem? For reference, I have a Logitech Dual Action.