Hand-to-hand combat is a small part of Batman’s crime-fighting arsenal; the other main focus being his detective work. During moments where you’re required to investigate scenes for clues, Batman switches to the aptly-titled Investigative Mode with the help of a visor that highlights areas of interest and scans crime scene-related details to be stored in a database for later use. There will also be a number of CSI-styled forensic puzzles for the Dark Knight to solve with a slick array of Bat-gadgets (these can also be upgraded with experience points) that includes a fingerprint tracker.
Being Batman and all, lurking in the shadows and moving stealthily does play a part in the action, but Rocksteady isn’t a fan of the word ‘sneaking’, so they’ve gone and named these elements ‘Predatory Moments’. During these, Batman can create distractions using bodies and the recorded screams of his victims before turning his attention to those he has just thrown off his scent.
Arkham Asylum’s gritty, manic look is being co-crafted by Wildstorm Comics – a company owned by the artist Jim Lee. Specifically, Wildstorm’s job is to craft a new look for key players in the game - one that stays true to the form of the characters, but brings the look to a new level, much like what Shaba is doing with Spider-Man: Web of Shadows. Wildstorm’s take on the Batman cast is impressive: just take a look at the size of Killer Croc or the frazzled punk-rock style of The Joker. Also note how Batman is clad in classic black and grey, but with a substantially more armoured appearance than in previous versions of the crime fighter.
Duking it out with classic villains is set to offer up an interesting challenge, with each boss playing off Batman’s different key skills. So, while battling Killer Croc might require brute force, defeating The Riddler will require the use of smarts to solve puzzles. Batman will also have allies in the form of Commissioner Gordon and his daughter, Barabara – who, as Oracle, is your radio contact in the game and will guide you through the expansiveness of Arkham Asylum. Coupled with this support network is Batman’s hidden on-site Bat Cave that, despite current details being scarce, acts as a hub for upgrades and a resource for additional puzzle-solving once you’ve collected certain pieces of evidence that need to be examined.
So far, so very interesting at this stage of the game for fans of Batman and anyone out there craving a Dark Knight title that goes beyond the usual realm of dreadfulness. So, with Eidos’ Arkham Asylum stepping out from the shadows, over to you EA.
Sep 26, 2008