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Batman Arkham Asylum - Next Gen Consoles


Romier S
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....and developed by Pandemic at that! Pandemic is quite busy these days with six games in development but oh boy would I love me a really good Batman game.

 

They definitely picked the right cover to get me interested:).

 

**CORRECTION** - Pandemic is supposedly working on a followup game to TDK but it is currently in limbo with very little confirmation. This new game is an original title being developed by Rocksteady Studios/Eidos.

 

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Fact sheet about the game from the Game Informer article:

 

Batman: Arkham Asylum

 

1 Player Action Game, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC

 

Publisher: Eidos

 

Developer: Rocksteady Sudios

 

Release: 2009

 

- Clever choice of location moves the game away from an open world Spider-Man clone and more into the dark and gritty realm of The Chronicles of Riddick.

 

- Packed with Batman's most dangerous archenemies Arkham Asylum boasts a brand new story reminiscent of the depth and twists of Bioshock

 

- Story is written by Paul Dini (Batman: The Animated Series, Detective Comics)

 

- Wildstorm is crafting the authentic yet distinct new look for all the key characters

 

- Gameplay places just as much focus on Batman's role as a detective as his combat prowess.

 

- Game isn't being rushed to tie in with any TV/Film marketing cycles.

 

- Game runs on Unreal Engine 3

 

- Most of the game is played through an over-the-shoulder perspective

 

- You're going to see and get to fight against all the big super villains. Seen so far. Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Zsasz, Penguin, Riddler, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze and others the magazine doesn't want to spoil.

 

- Allies revealed so far are Commissioner Gordon who plays a big role and Barbara Gordon (aka Oracle) who is your radio contact in the game.

 

- Game opens with the Joker surrendering himself and subsequently taking over Arkham because of some secret the facility holds

 

- Magazine teases that this game will be the ultimate Batman experience so the voice cast will reflect that (Think Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill).

 

- Arkham was chosen as a location because of its limitations including the fact that it's an island prison. It's a persistent location so you can visit any location at anytime including Batman's secret on site Bat Cave etc. Don't think that just because this is an island prison there will only be small hallways. The developers have taken into account all the construction/destruction of the facility over the years so locals will vary.

 

- Eidos' Batman license includes all 70 years of comic book fiction so they're pulling from all of that.

 

COMBAT

 

- Boss Battles won't necessarily be a series of straight pugilistic fights. Each enemy represents a different side of Batman and not all of them can match his wide skill set. Some battles are focused on combat others will focus on gadgets some are similar to giant Zelda style bosses.

 

- Combat description in the magazine talks about Batman perched on a high ledge in a wide open room as he watches some of the Joker's thugs rifle through drawers. Batman switches to investigation mode using a blue tinted visor that among other things lets Batman see his enemies through walls and identifies things like guns and knives. One thug is carrying a machine gun so Batman jumps of the ledge, spreads his cape and kicks him in the face. He then swipes his cape in a large arc to stun his other enemies and then goes to work on them with a stylish blend of punches, kicks, a knee to the face here a behind the back elbow there. Combat has a gymnastic flourish and is accomplished using only three buttons. Attack, Stun and Throw.

 

- Combat is only one element of the game so the developers didn't want a bunch of button combos that you'd forget because you'll be doing other things besides fighting.

 

- During battle a combo multiplier at the top of the screen will increase with every strike. Once the combo expires a colony of bats will swirl around Batman and then contribute to an experience bar on the left side of the screen. In an RPG like skill tree system players will be able to distribute points where they prefer. Think Combat moves, faster takedowns, or gadget upgrades like the ability to throw multiple batarangs at the same time.

 

- Gadgets are revealed by collecting items in secret rooms. You'll need gadgets to survive as there are very tough enemies in the game that you can't just go head to head with (Think Killer Croc, he's 10 feet tall in the game and super tough)

 

- There are sections that involve sneaking but the developers call them Predatory gameplay sections as stealth tends to imply weakness, they prefer to think of it as picking off the weak people or people you wouldn't last too long in direct fight with from strong positions. The example they give in the article is Batman creating distractions with bodies and victim's yells and then stalking the guards as they go to inspect.

 

DETECTIVE

 

- Developers have come up with a very "sexy" CSI style for forensic puzzles because Batman will always have the very latest gadgets.

 

- Investigative mode is the centerpiece in Batman's arsenal. The visor can highlight points of interest and much like the Metroid Prime games will scan items into your database.

 

- They also mention another forensic gadget, a fingerprint tracker that allow Batman to follow trails of fingerprints.

 

OTHER

 

- Magazine hints at the ability to play as the villains in the game. Not sure if this is inserted directly into the game or available as a second playthrough option.

 

- Magazine lists a few suggested reading items. Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, Batman: The Last Arkham, and Arkham Asylum: Living Hell.

 

GRAPHICS

 

- Game is very gritty looking. The screens in the mag are all inside Arkham and show case a few hallways, The Riddler's cell, A sewer etc. Lots of great lighting going on.

 

- Character redesigns are pretty good for the most part. Joker looks like classic Joker only with Heath Ledger style make up (long drawn on red lipstick etc.) he still has a the bright purple suit and bright green hair. Definitely more sinister looking than say the TAS Joker. Killer Croc is huge and looks more like Jim Lee's Hush redesign as opposed to some of the more human renditions of him.

 

- Batman is in the Black and Grey costume. It looks more like armor however his gauntlets in particular look like the ones from TDK. Overall it looks very awesome.

 

- They show screens of fights and predator segments and all look very interesting and very Batman in scope. Lots of classic poses etc.

 

- You can control Batarangs from first person mode.

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:jaw

 

Wow, very impressed with those images and the art direction they are taking. The Joker looks superb (though Killer Croc looks a bit too much like an enemy from Gears of War:)) and some of the images of Batman just brings out the freaking Batman fanboy in me. God I hope it ends up being as good as those images look.

 

I couldn't remember whether the forum has a policy on the posting of magazine scans or not.

We do. If they exist, post them.:) We removed that limitation awhile ago being that we're such a tiny community.

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Non-scan screeenshots from Rocksteady..

 

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You'll notice the Joker in the top left in the screen where Batman is facing off against a baddie in a fighting game like side view. The screenshot of the Joker reminds me of Sander Cohen in Bioshock too.:)

 

Oh and that's Killer Croc in the last shot.

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...and more.

 

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That last shot just has to be The Riddler's cell.:)

 

I wonder if Alex Ross was involved in the art direction.

Jim Lee apparently has some involvement but yes, Ross' Batman looks to be somewhat of an inspiration:

 

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I have hopes for this title. I'm hoping TDK is a decent game too but eh. I've been waiting for a really good batman game for a while. Some of the recent ones were OK, but they always feel like they were missing something. I liked Vengeance, and Rise of Sin Tzu (to a degree) but felt they were far from perfect. Batman Retruns both SNES and Genesis had good elements but again.. lacking something.

 

This title Looks promising but it's a hard property to build a good game for and the CSI games are a bit tooo oldskool adventure gaming from what I've seen. Doesnt mean the detective work side of it can't be fun but I hope they can keep that aspect from being Too old skool adventure gamey.

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Well, different strokes for different folks, but I personally don't think there was (or is) anything wrong with old-school adventure gaming.

 

And being a big fan of both (and having played every CSI title), I can assure you that the CSI titles are quite entertaining but in no way as complicated as an old adventure game. They're very oriented on investigation which I'd say makes them a good fit to adapt to Batman without overcomplicating that portion of the game too much.

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No, I like old school adventure gaming too but im not sure how they could integrate that with the batman franchise in a way that keeps the gaming fresh and not feeling dated or clunky esp on a console. On PC OK, most of the oldschool adventure gaming stuff can work, but on console unless it's the Wii its harder to pull off due to mouseover being controlled via thumbstick etc. And any Batman game should really put the consoles first in terms of development features/setup.

 

I'll wait and see how the features are implemented - I'm just nervous about it being done well. Batman NEEDS a good game. We've come Close now and then to a really really solid Batman title, but nobody has managed to truly capture the character well enough in any game so far :|

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