Batman: Arkham City is a pinnacle achievement for Rocksteady. Taking everything that was great in Arkham Asylum, Arkham City manages to be better in almost every way. Batman has managed to captivate me from beginning to end. Even after the credits rolled, I found myself still playing for hours trying to finish the many outstanding side quests. Batman: Arkham City is a huge game and has truly succeeded in creating an authentic alternative world in the Batman Universe. With some minimal problems and occasional “throw of the controller” moments, Batman: Arkham City is nonetheless an outstanding and superb game that deserves a spot on your gaming shelf.
The game starts with flashing cut scenes showing Bruce Wayne who is allegedly captured by Dr. Hugo Strange. Batman is then released into Arkham City, which is in full control by Strange. Arkham City is filled with thugs and criminals and the good people that inhabit it need Batman’s help. Strange’s main intention of Arkham City revolves around a mysterious “Protocol 10”, which Batman has to solve. Then there’s the Joker and his main purpose in the story is somewhat more unique than before. Because of what the Triton had done to him in the previous game he is dying and needs Batman’s help to find the cure. Typically though, he infects Batman, with the same disease that is killing Joker, who is now forced to find a cure or he will die and Gotham and Arkham City will parish. Batman now has to find out what “Protocol 10” is along with a cure, but on his way he is blocked by some of his greatest enemies The Penguin, Ra’s al Ghul, Mr. Freeze and many more. Without giving too much, Batman’s story line is a significant one contains many twist and turns. The greatest factor in the story is that which each villain it introduces; they all play a relevant part in the main story line.
The controls in Arkham City were great but not perfect. At times Batman felt stiff when walking, and there were occasional goofs in trying to counter an attack from an enemy. The controls were often slow and button mashing. Regardless, Arkham City played great. From zipping to building and gliding from roof tops, Arkham City gave you that feeling of truly being The Batman. I am proud to say that even for a superhero, with no real powers, Batman felt powerful to control. Batman’s utility belt now features an even wider variation of gadgets. For example, Batman now sports a new freeze gun capable of freezing your enemies allowing you more time to take out the other baddies and then your frozen counterpart. These new gadgets play a great part in allowing you to slowly or quickly eliminate your foes.
Arkham City is a beautiful game. At times though, there was some bad camera angling but not that much. Regardless the graphics are beautiful and really make Arkham City come to life. The game has a shiny and nicely polished look too it and it even never managed to lag. The load times felt faster than Arkham Asylum and you’ll really notice especially if your like me and tend to die during the campaign just to see the cool cut scenes featuring a villain talking down to you. The enemies AI were remarkably a lot smarter this time around. I’ve seen cases where the enemy shot down and destroyed the obstacles Batman uses to hide on; this made it harder for you to stay in stealth mode and giving you less things to swinging from place to place. The world of Arkham City is smart and with the AI it makes it more challenging when trying to do stealth. In Stealth missions you have many gadgets/objects to distract the enemy. You can throw a smoke pellet and take out some “baddies”, or you can throw a bat-wing at a fire extinguisher causing it to explode to distract the enemy. There is a lot to do and a lot I’m sure still waiting for me to discover.
Arkham City features come of the greatest side quests. They are not those measly racing or gliding quest but actual detective work that makes you feel like you’re still playing the campaign. For example, there was one instance where you are captured by a particular “Mad” character that even features a unique cut scene. The world of Arkham City is huge, and provides you with countless opportunities to enjoy yourself. There are lots of more Riddler puzzles here to be solved and many are unreachable until you’ve reached a point in the game where you’ll need a certain gadget. This gives you reason to go back to previous places you’ve thought you never go back too. The Riddler himself has even amped up the difficulty making some trophies hard to get. There are even riddles, situations where you need to figure out the steps in order to obtain a Riddler Trophy.
In the end, Batman: Arkham City is a must play for anyone of any age. Weather you hate the capped crusaders or love him, you’ll have hours of fun playing Arkham City. There is a lot to do and the overall Grand Theft Auto feel makes it even more exciting to play. The complexity and strange world that is created in Arkham City gives a great feel of obscurity to the player. So grab your utility belt and iron that cape! Arkham City is a must own this holiday season and is easily a contender for Game of the Year for 2011.