Friday, August 7, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum Purchase Decision

With the Personal Computer demo for Batman: Arkham Asylum finally being released today, I was finally able to play all 3 versions of the game's demo. The PC version is definitely the clear winner here: $10 cheaper than the console versions while presenting graphics that are two times more beautiful than what the consoles could ever produce, thanks to its pristine full 1080p native resolution support and its higher resolution textures. With the demo, I set all the graphical settings to maximum with no anti-aliasing and everything was running flawlessly. On the consoles' side, the game looks a bit sharper on the PlayStation 3 than the X-Box 360 but overall, they are on par with each other. Both of them are unfortunately stuck at 720p (upscaled to 1080p on the X-Box 360) so they have a slightly blurry presentation compared to the PC version. This game will be Live-enabled on the PC so if you are an achievement or trophy whore, you can still indulge in your addiction to unlock them so feel free to abandon the console versions for the obtained graphical superiority. All the screenshots shown here are taken during my play session with the PC version.

Your perfect Batman, complete with manly stubble.

Arkham Asylum is a very cleverly made game with a sole purpose of fully satisfying all the Batman fans out there. For starters, it's going to be packed-full of super-villains alongside Joker and Harley Quinn because the whole game takes place inside Arkham Asylum itself. What a logical (and easier) way to bring all the characters you have known and love from the Batman universe into one game! In the beginning, you see Batman taking the Joker back to the Arkham Asylum where he belongs but soon after, the Joker is able to get free while entrapping everyone else within the high-security prison walls. So it is up to the caped crusader to stop the Joker and his diabolical plan while having to battle the denizens of the asylum.

This may hurt a little.

Arkham Asylum is a third person action adventure game with simplified but fun combat and a bit of stealth action. Batman can use a "detective mode" vision where you can see pass solid walls to survey your surroundings and recognize areas of opportunities. The game's graphics are spectacular, from the beefy character models courtesy of the Unreal Engine to the moody environments and everything is runny silky smooth. Batman himself looks authentic and is modeled after his more modern, darker interpretation - and the trademark cape moves as naturally as it should. It's not the best Batman game from what I have played so far - that title still belongs to Sunsoft's Batman on the NES - but it is probably the best one in recent memories. This is a very promising demo. The final product shouldn't stray too far from its excellence, one would hope. The game is set for release on the 25th for both consoles and on September 15th for the PC. Wait for the PC version if you have a gaming rig that can properly run this game.

Why so serious, Batman? It's only a game.


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