Retrospective: Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham city was developed by Rocksteady Studios, the same team that brought you Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Arkham city received critical acclaim mostly for its narrative and fighting system which were both top notch.

If you enjoyed Arkham Asylum then Arkham city should be right up your alley. Everything you enjoyed in Arkham asylum has been upgraded and tweaked to give you the best superhero action game experience. Did I mention that it’s also an open world now? No… well it is and it won’t disappoint. From zipping through the city on your line launcher to exploring the insides of the dilapidated buildings within the city, the game grabs you and doesn’t let go.

The game starts with Bruce Wayne being thrown in a prison. He meets Penguin later and manages to trash him and his goons up to escape the prison.

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Arkham City is graphically the best superhero game released so far. The dark semi destroyed city is one of finest looking open world cities in games. Neon lights flash throughout the city’s buildings while the light rain that falls makes everything from the roofs to the streets shimmer with realistically reflected lighting. Batman’s suits are so well rendered that you can see the smallest details in them from the tips of his ears (horns?) to each plate of armor on his suit.

The cut scenes also look amazing which is important because most of this excellent story is told through the cut scenes. You will be treated to a lot of these while you play through the game and I suggest taking the time to really kick back and watch them.

The gameplay in Arkham city is superb. As you glide through the city you will run into all types of different bad guys. Most will be bad guys you know like Two-Face, the Joker, Penguin and the Riddler. That’s just a small sample of the big name bad guys. You will also have your normal enemies like the thugs who work for the Joker or two-face.

These are the guys you can really have fun with. Batman’s fighting skills are much improved since he left Arkham Asylum. Taking out groups of 15 or 20 enemies has never been so much fun or looked so good. All of Batman’s fighting actions seem fluid.

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He easily transitions from smashing someone’s face with his fist to grabbing a thug with his grappling hook and kicking him in the chest shooting him into another group baddies. Every fight feels new and you very rarely feel like you’ve seen the same thing twice. On top of that the environment plays a big role in fights as well. If you’re close enough to a wall or anything you think you can reasonably use to hurt someone, Batman will use it. Slamming faces into walls never felt or looked so good.

Arkham city has some challenging puzzles to figure out. Some of the puzzles you will find going through the story but most will be in the many different side missions you can chose to do. There are a lot of puzzles to find most of which will be part of the Riddler side quests. Some of the puzzles can’t be completed until you get the right equipment. Don’t expect to get all of your equipment in the story either. Completing a particular side quest once will give you an upgrade that will be useful.

The Audio in Arkham city is great. As you sneak around the city you will hear thugs talking about everything from Bruce Wayne being Batman to the jokers own henchmen wondering where he’s been or if he’s even alive. Punches and kicks land with a hard thump sound and enemies beg you not to hurt them.

The voice acting is what really makes the story shine. Batman’s (Kevin Conroy) deep dark tone of voice is perfect for the environment he is in. I can still hear the Jokers (Mark Hamill) loud shrill laughing voice in my head screaming “you will never win Batman!”. Mark Hamill has said this will be the last time he voice acts for the joker which is sad because he plays the role so well.

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The only real problem with the game that I ran into was that there was sometimes a lack of direction. At points I would be tasked with going here and doing this only to find myself wandering around a building wondering where I was supposed to go.

The mini map would get me to my destination but once inside your supposed to do something and it doesn’t tell you how to get to the spot that you need to be at to do whatever it is you’re supposed to do. At one point I was stuck for a good hour and a half wandering around a building looking for the wall I’m supposed to blow up only to find out it’s in a different section of the building which was never really indicated. This was annoying but it’s a minor annoyance when compared to how much fun the rest of the game is.

Overall Batman: Arkham City is a great follow up to Arkham Asylum. With the Harley Quinn’s revenge, Catwoman, Nightwing, Robin and the challenge map pack DLC this game shouldn’t be missed by any fan of Batman or great videogames in general.

9.0

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