Batman: Arkham City (360)

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Monday, November 7, 2011

Graphics: 10.00
Sound: 10.00
Gameplay: 9.50
Replays: 10.00
Gamelength: 10.00

Before 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum, super hero-based video games were the laughing stock of the gaming industry. They were rarely fun and had little to do in-game, aside from spamming one button for the entire game on top of trivial objectives and frustrating repetitiveness. That all changed with Arkham Asylum. Now, back with their follow up to the smash hit success of Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady Studios looked to not only live up to the expectations of its previous title, but to also make it even better with Arkham City.

The story starts out with Bruce Wayne giving a speech outside the gates of Arkham City – a sprawling new super-prison roughly five times bigger than the original asylum – battling the policies of Mayor Quincy Sharp who has proposes that even more of the city be added to this prison. Rather than listen to the concerns of citizens – including the powerful Bruce Wayne – Sharp ships off anyone who badmouths the proposal into Arkham. Mid speech Wayne is attacked by Tyger Guards (Arkham City police) and wakes up inside Arkham City, only to be accosted by a group of The Penguin’s low life henchmen, here’s where you get your first taste of combat. After you break free from your shackles you immediately climb to the roof of the nearest building, where your loyal butler Alfred sends a drop off of your suit. After getting suited up, you intercept a transmission that Two-Face, formerly District Attorney Harvey Dent, is about to execute one of the many women in your life – Catwoman. After rescuing her, she’s immediately targeted again – this time by Joker.

As was the case with Arkham Asylum, Joker is your main adversary throughout this game as well. But don’t worry; there will be some great appearances from some of the more familiar villains like Mr. Freeze, Clay Face, The Penguin, The Mad Hatter and slightly lesser known characters like Zsasz, Solomon Grundy and Deadshot. As well cameos from Calendar Man, Killer Croc and a few more I won’t spoil. Also returning is The Riddler, for a substantially more difficult trophy hunt challenge in the form of both solving riddles and collecting a whopping 400 riddler trophies.

Combat has been polished since the last game and is now so seamless that you truly feel like you’re inflicting the pain yourself. A cool addition to the game play was allowing you to play as other characters through DLC (downloadable content). Throughout the campaign you’re able to do side missions and predator/combat challenges as Catwoman (and some of the riddler trophies can only be obtained while using Catwoman), Nightwing and the Boy Wonder – Robin.

Overall, my only complaint – and it’s a very minor one compared to all the positives of the game – was the ending to the main story arc. I say this only because it seemed very rushed compared to the flow of the game play prior to the games final fifteen minutes. But after playing through my second play through of the game one thing is clear – Rocksteady Studios took everything that was great about Arkham Asylum and improved them, setting the bar that much higher for all future super hero games. Even if you’re only a casual fan of Batman or super hero games in general you owe it to yourself to play this game.

Overall Rating: 9.75

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