Batman: Arkham City Review

Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City was an example of a superhero video game done right. No other Batman game successfully captured the feel of the character and highlighted his title of "The World's Greatest Detective" so well before. It had gritty, modern takes on just about every character from the Batman universe and made you feel truly immersed in the experience. Batman: Arkham City is all that and then some.

The Plot

The plot revolves around the creation of Arkham City, a portion of Gotham City that has been cordoned off as a superprison, and Bruce Wayne's opposition to it. Hugo Strange's Tyger mercenaries throw Bruce Wayne into Arkham City under false pretenses and that's where the game picks up. You actually begin the game as Bruce Wayne and have to collect your suit and gear after Alfred has the Batwing drop it off in Arkham.

Of course, Arkham City is full of the worst of Gotham City, including all its supervillains, so you have to make your way through an entire rogue's gallery of Batman's foes. Catwoman is also a playable character, and her plotline interlaces with Batman's, but she is of course focused on looting the joint rather than trying to put down criminals.

The plot line gets deeper than that, of course. Batman and the Joker are both infected Bane's Titan formula and it's killing them, so you're looking for a cure and need the help of Mr. Freeze...and so on. It's actually a really great story that weaves all these characters together seamlessly.

The Gameplay and Gadgets

Batman: Arkham City ReviewOf course, no Batman game would be complete without gadgets. Batman always has his batarangs and batclaw, but now there are new gadgets and upgrades to previously existing ones. New gadgets include ice grenades for freezing foes, the remote electrical charge for shocking foes, smoke pellets for confusing and blinding foes, and the signal disruptor for jamming foes' guns and explosives. As far as new features for old gadgets, you can now change direction with the line launcher and you can use its line as a tightrope, among other things.

Freeflow combat is still in effect and has been improved, with inmates now attacking with thrown objects, among other things. They'll also throw grenades at you if you try to hide in the rafters after being spotted. The gangs of the various supervillains in the game are omnipresent and you'll be using freeform combat a lot unless you can take them out silently one-by-one.

Detective Mode has also been improved. In Arkham Asylum, I and most other players pretty much kept Detective Mode active at all times. This time around, it has been muted so that it's harder to navigate the city with it on, though it still highlights people, relevant items, and clues appropriately.

Catwoman handles a little differently than Batman. She doesn't have all the gadgetry, but she does have her own form of Detective Mode called Thief Vision. In combat, she's quick and deadly but can't take a beating quite as well as old Bats. When she sneaks she crawls like a cat and when you activate Thief Vision her goggles actually come down over her eyes. Catwoman uses her whip like Batman uses his batclaw, but her movement is more fluid in that she swings rather than getting pulled. Her whip isn't long enough to zip around like the batclaw, so you end up clinging to the sides of buildings and hopping to the top. She can also cling to the ceiling in certain areas using the same mechanic.

In the End, It's an Excellent Game

Really, I can't recommend Batman: Arkham City enough. If you like the Batman character and/or the Assassin's Creed games this will be right up your alley. This is a game that makes hunting collectibles interesting, and I hate, hate, hate collectibles! It's true to the characters and offers you an open-world, sandbox environment that can keep you busy for dozens of hours even after you complete the main story arc. This is pretty much the perfect Batman game and the one by which all future Batman games will be judged. Now if only Warner Bros. could do the same for all the other DC superheroes...

Article by - Brett Huffman

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