Batman: Arkham Asylum in came in the mail from Gamefly yesterday. Initial impressions are favorable. Batman has a very cinematic animation feel, and invokes a lot of badassery in his moves. Melee comboing guys with slow-motion defeats is very fun and doesn’t seem to get old. I’m also very glad that they got the DCAU voice team (at least, most of it) back to do the voices for this game. Kevin Conroy is a perfect fit for this Batman, and of course Mark Hamill is one of the best Jokers out there. This adds a lot to the atmosphere, as I generally associate these guys with “Batman” more than, say, Christian Bale.
The grappling gun feels very much like autopilot compared to Bionic Commando. It’s a point-and-click automatic system without much thought or skill. It does get the job done in the sense of movement, but Batman really should be able to grapple on to any surface, so I’m baffled as to why he can’t do it more times. Also, Batman can’t jump (generally). He can leap forwards to attack guys or cross platforms, but there is no general “jump” action. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but we’ll see as the game goes on.
The game is also a lot more punishing than Metal Gear is as far as being stealthy. You really need to play the role of “Dark Knight in the shadows” and off guys one by one without being seen. Going in against more than one guy with a gun is suicide, since Batman obviously can’t use guns. He will sometimes steal their melee weapons and use them in takedown actions, but overall he’s not a weapon user (as is his wont).
People who are doing licensed games should take note – this is how its done. Treat the license with respect, make a game that truly gets you in to the spirit of the franchise, and people will buy it.