Before Arkham Asylum arrived there had not been a really good superhero game. With that said no one really knew what to expect and Rocksteady amazed everyone by finally making an amazing game about Batman. Fast forward approximately two years and we now have a sequel titled Arkham City. Arkham City is an improvement over Arkham Asylum in almost every way. This time the game is more of an open world title and you have a lot more freedom to do what you want when you want to do it. You can bring up your map at any time to see where you need to be whether it is a main storyline mission or completing a side quest. The environments look amazing and the voice work is superb. The development team over at Rocksteady did an amazing job bringing all of the villains to life as well.
One of the first things that you will notice about Arkham City is how good it looks. This is a very pretty game and Arkham City offers you a pretty big world to explore. In addition to the main missions you literally have hundreds of other things that you can do. There are side missions to partake in that range from rescuing political prisoners to investigating crime scenes or picking up an upgrade for your equipment. Riddler trophies and secrets are spread around the world which should keep you busy for a very long time. One amazing idea that the development team had was the ability to mark the location of a Riddler trophy on your map. Just because you find a trophy doesn’t mean you will be able to acquire it at that time so Rocksteady gave you the ability to scan the trophy so it appears on your map. It is an absolutely fantastic idea and should prevent someone from being in that predicament of only having a few more trophies to collect and they aren’t sure where to look. You can also keep track of your progress finding Riddler trophies as they break the numbers down by district. As you progress through the story you will also get the chance to utilize upgrades as you level up. You can level up the “batsuit,” “gadgets,” “combat,” “predator” and Catwoman. Amongst those categories you have to pick between leveling up your armor, combat abilities, your takedowns and much more. You also have character bios that you can check out as well as Arkham City Stories once you unlock them.
The gameplay itself is as fluid as ever. The combat flows really well in this game with the best example of that being when you are surrounded by a group of enemies. Being able to punch one guy and then quickly hit a counter on the guy standing behind me while Batman flips over him is amazing. There were other times when I would punch a guy and then quickly disarm someone else before they could fire at me. Much like the original title, Arkham City will let you attack from all angles. I loved being able to play a game of cat and mouse with the opposition as I would silently take someone out and then vanish from the scene before anyone knew what was happening. As they started to notice their fallen comrades the guards would get more nervous and their behaviors would change. There were other times when I would quietly sneak up behind two guys that are talking and crack their skulls together eliminating both of them in an instant. The amount of weapons at your disposal is pretty amazing as you have your Batarangs, Bat Claws, Remote Electrical Charge and much more. There are a number of different ways to dispatch your enemies and part of the fun is figuring out the best way to take them out in any given situation.
I mentioned above that Arkham City is a very pretty game, however, the beauty doesn’t stop with the graphical fidelity. The voice work in Arkham City is amazing and it does a tremendous job of portraying each character. Nolan North did an amazing job assuming the role of Penguin while Mark Hamill was as good as ever. His Joker is pretty awe inspiring and is one of the things that have made both Arkham Asylum and Arkham city amazing titles. You can sense how vibrant the world is as you are swinging through it and one of the things that I really liked doing was eavesdropping on the conversations of Joker’s crew which would give me some insight into the story I might not have heard otherwise. Just getting through the world is part of the fun and with Batman’s “grapnel” you can swing and glide your way through the skies of Arkham City. There were some side missions where I was under a really strict timer and I would utilize these methods to try and get to my destination as soon as possible. The story in the game is also wonderfully told with a good number of villains making an appearance from Joker to Harley Quinn, Dr. Strange and more that I won’t spoil. There are a good number of twists in the story and you can feel the history that Batman has with these characters thanks to the top notch writing.
In addition to the main story you have a number of other options to occupy your time. First you have the Challenge maps which will test your skills while adding specific objectives. Each new copy of Arkham City comes with an online pass that will give you Catwoman in the game. Once you go through her episodes in the main story you can replay them at any time. If you are a big fan of the Batman universe in general there is a bunch of environment and character concept art that you can look at. You also have access to the 3D character models so you can look at your favorite characters up close. The amount of stuff to see and do and the massive number of collectibles in the game is definitely impressive and will keep gamers busy for a long time.
Batman: Arkham City really is a tremendous title. Not only is this a really amazing Batman title, it is a really amazing action adventure title overall. My only complaint is that some of the boss battles were a little annoying, however, the game overall is a masterpiece. Arkham City is a really fun world to explore and I love how smoothly the game runs even when there is a lot of action taking place on the screen. You really do feel like a superhero while simultaneously seeing how vulnerable Batman is in certain situations. In a holiday season filled with blockbuster releases Batman: Arkham City is a game everyone should experience. From beginning to end Batman: Arkham City is a spectacular ride and a tribute to the immense amount of talent over at Rocksteady.