Two weeks ago I sat down and chewed through Arkham Asylum on Steam; one week later I did the same with Arkham City and Harley Quinn’s Revenge.  I enjoyed them so much, I even got all of the Riddler trophies in both games.

Now, those of you that have read this blog for a while know that I actually completed the same feat quite last year on the OnLive console.  I found the streaming gameplay to be acceptable and, while I was initially annoyed by the pre-update connection drops in Arkham Asylum, I didn’t have much trouble completing the game on normal.

By playing it on Steam, I wanted to test out three things.

First, I wanted to see how the story held up for replay.  Surprisingly, both games held up very well.  I noticed that I moved through the stages more quickly the second time.  I suppose this was because I knew my way wround the island and the city well enough that my moves could be more bold and decisive.  In any case, I was pleasantly surprised to see things the second time around that I had not previously noticed.  In Arkham City, I noticed certain ironic echos between Batman and Catwoman, and I also noticed certain villains that I would later face standing in the prison line at the beginning of the game.  I wrote recently about my frustrating with games that try to explain everything, but Batman does the opposite; it lets you discover everything on your own.

The second thing I wanted to gauge was the difference in video quality.  While the local video quality was definitely better, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t as dramatic of a difference as I expected.  The OnLive graphics were satisfactory, and sometimes the degraded quality actually made the scenes look LESS CG and more realistic.

The third thing that I wanted to test was the response time of the game.  In this area, the Steam version blew OnLive out of the water.  When I played through the game on Normal on OnLive, I occasionally struggled with some of the stages because of the lag.  I compensated for this by predicting ahead of time how I would need to make the battles flow, and was eventually able to get through them.  On the Steam version, however, no such prediction was necessary.  I played on Hard Mode, and had no trouble beating either game.  In fact, I would say that I was fighting more effectively on Hard Mode on Steam than I was on Normal mode on OnLive.  In these two games, that’s saying something.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the experience of the games on both consoles, and I can’t really bash OnLive for the experience.  I’ve just come to realize that the games I select through OnLive will tend to work better if lag is not an issue.  Games like World of Goo or A Kingdom for Keflings work great.

Speaking of those games, I had the chance to play both of them on my Tablet recently through the OnLive android app.  The experience was wonderful.  If you get a chance, I strongly encourage you to try it out.