Batman: Arkham Asylum Challenge Mode Hands-On

We get to see Batman's angry side in his latest adventure.

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Batman: Arkham Asylum
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We've already written a few impressions of our experience with the Caped Crusader, but we had so much fun busting heads in Arkham Asylum that we decided to write a new take on the same bat combat. The final game is scheduled for release in August, so check back later to see how this dark adventure shapes up.

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As you progress through the main adventure in Batman: Arkham Asylum, you unlock a series of individual challenges that test your bat might. We had a chance to play through a few of these today. In two of them, we were in a small room against a large number of angry men. This is a pure combat mission, so all of the stealth and detective work from the main game is tossed aside for some good old-fashioned bat fisticuffs. You can smash enemies with your fist, but it's just as important to lay back and let your foes be the aggressor. Squiggly lines shoot out from their heads when they are about to strike, and you can counter their moves with a single button press, easily turning their attacks against them. These are high-score challenges, and the best way to get a good score is to keep your combo going, always attacking, countering, and leaping over your enemies until they are all out for the count.

The other challenge room that we took part in was called Silent Predator. Here, Batman is in a larger room with plenty of climbable surfaces. Armed guards patrol the area and you must silently finish them all, trying to put them down without alerting their trigger-happy brothers. This feels very different from the standard combat sections. You can use your grappling hook to latch onto gargoyles, giving you a bird's-eye view of the environment. When someone walks beneath you, you can just swing down and grab them by the neck to dispose of them quickly and silently. At one point, we swooped behind a wall and sprayed explosive gel all over it. When some poor sap was unlucky enough to walk in front of it, we pulled the trigger and took him out.

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The combat is fierce and the movement smooth at this point, which makes us interested in how the final version will wind up. Thankfully, it's only a few short months away, so we'll find out soon enough if it's worth your bat time. Also check out Guy Cocker's impressions of the Joker's challenges, which should be online soon.

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