It’s hard to find a good Batman game.

Oh sure, there’s the ones from Sunsoft based on the first movie for the NES and Genesis, Konami’s Batman Returns for the SNES, and the LEGO: Batman game that came out last year, but most digital adventures of the Caped Crusaders have been, well, crappy. And that’s putting it gently.

So I’ve been cautiously optimistic about the new Batman title from Eidos-Square-Enix-Warner Bros.-etc. – It’s too easy to buy into the hype, to get caught up in the fact that they brought over Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to reprise their roles as Batman and the Joker from the brilliant animated series. But a free demo stands for the option to try it out with nothing to lose but some time on your hands.

And the verdict? I like it, from the brief demo I got to play.

Most games focus on the punching and kicking of Batman without the intelligence, stealth, and detective work of the character. On the other side of the coin, due to the hype on the “stealth” aspect, I thought it would be all sneaking with little emphasis on fighting. Batman’s not about that, either. But the two elements are actually integrated well into each other meaning that, even while you’re hiding in the shadows, you still have a chance to kick the appropriate amounts of butt without being seen.

The character designs are a little more dark and twisted, which is different, but easy enough to warm into the new look without crying “foul”. The voice work is excellent, it controls well, and “Detective Mode” is a long overdue feature that has been missing or incredibly downplayed from pretty much every Batman game. Batman makes use of his environment, and this reflects in the game as well.

For a short demo, a lot of quality has been put into the product, which I hope is reflective for the overall game. If that’s the case, then I may get off the fence and give the full game a try.

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