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Batman Arkham City
Recommended for mature audiences

Batman Arkham City

Warner Bros Interactive
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10.0 / 10
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Developed by Rocksteady Studios, Batman: Arkham City builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, sending players soaring into Arkham City, the new maximum security home for all of Gotham Citys thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City, this highly anticipated sequel introduces a brand-new story that draws together a new all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver the ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.

Member Reviews (1 Reviews Rated: 10 out of 10)

Rated 10 AWESOME
A must-have.
stevivor / 25/10/2011

This is how I started off our review of Batman’s last outing: “Let’s face it: no one is reading this article because they’re already playing Batman: Arkham Asylum.” I’d like to pretty much use that opener again, but I can’t — whilst all of Australia has their hands on Rocksteady’s newest work thanks to a broken street date, the rest of the world is just getting to release time. Only a couple more hours, guys — hang in there!

Arkham Asylum had the honour of being our site’s highest rated game. Sadly, that’s no longer, as just like Batman himself, Arkham City swooped in and left the competition utterly destroyed in its wake. Care to find out how?

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I’m not about to ruin the story or reveal any non-hyped characters here, but writer Paul Dini has once again outdone himself. The main campaign, with the various side missions I was able to complete without resorting to some sort of guide, took me about 15 hours to complete. I’m convinced I have about 15 more to go, at that. The whole while, Dini was able to weave together an amazing storyline that included a cavalcade of Batman heroes and villians, diverse locations, and several side-storylines that really make the Batman universe a rich and comprehensive one.

Without resorting to “this is Batman’s origin story, retold…again”, Dini is able to use the story to give the gamer a real sense of who Batman — and more importantly, Bruce Wayne — is. Ask my roommate — I literally squealed with delight the first time I saw Catwoman (more on that later), and of course, Robin. The Batman Family is in full force in this sequel, and fans of Batman — whichever medium you prefer him in, really — will be truly pleased with the way Bruce, Tim, Barbara, and of course, Alfred are portrayed.

Taking the story from Arkham Asylum into Gotham itself is handled logically and maturely, even though it initally seems a little far-fetched. Luckily, Dini’s thought of that and you’ll be satisfied by game’s end. The sandbox nature of the game is refreshing and works well — you’re constantly finding something to do, and best yet — Batman’s skills mean moving from one end of the large city structure to the other is a breeze.

Freeflow combat has been greatly improved from Arkham Asylum — and with that, so too has enemy AI. You won’t be fighting a squad of goons only to have one attack at a time, oh no! This time, multiple enemies will jump on you at once, and you’ll have to counter up to three attacks at the same time. It’s a great way to revitalise the familiar combat system of the previous title, though I feel like some boss battles ended up just having the game scream, “SEE? YOU’RE BATMAN FIGHTING, LIKE, TWENTY-FIVE PEOPLE EXACTLY AT THE SAME TIME! ISN’T IT WONDERFUL?” in your face. Batman’s combos are varied and effective, and there are a whole lot of them to try to memorise. I stumbled with the shield-carrying baddies; for the life of me, I couldn’t remember which button sequence to use without the game having to prompt me. Pro tip: leave the tutorials on.

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Stumbling aside however, you feel like a badass the whole time. You’re thrown up against twenty enemies at a time, but you never worry. Why? You’re Batman, of course! He’s got all his familiar Arkham Asylum gadgets, plus some new toys and moves. Boss battles or large enemy encounters are hilarious fun, but you always feel like you’re going to come out on top — it’s a wonderful balance of challenging, yet satisfying action as you progress through the game.

Side quests will keep you on your toes for hours, and involve villians the likes of Bane, Riddler and Zzazz, all making return appearances from Arkham Asylum. So too do Joker teeth and Riddler trophies. I’m all for the clever Detective Vision-scanning Riddler trophies, but the collectible regular trophies and teeth are very taxing. Arkham City does not need padding out.

The most frustrating of the side quests are the Augmented Reality training scenarios, which are supposed to help Batman get used to his new cape glide and dive-bomb abilities.

They don’t.

In short, gliding is easy, and so is the dive-bombing — but trying to fly in exactly the path that the game wants you to? Nope. Think Superman 64-level frustration with those damn flying rings, and that’s where I was. At times, Arkham City‘s general control schemes made me want to cry out in pain — I wanted Batman to leap over a railing, but instead he jumped at it, hung there for a minute, and jumped back. It’s alright — I wanted Penguin’s henchmen to shoot me in the face anyway.

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Adding Catwoman to the mix gives Arkham City an entirely new dynamic; Selina Kyle and her moves are completely different from Bruce and lead to radically different gameplay. Catwoman has “Thief Vision” — it helps to identify enemies, but it doesn’t show who’s carrying weapons, or how many there are total in the room like Detective Vision does. She’s nimble and light on her feet, which means that Silent Takedowns can be performed without really slowing down too much. Without giving anything away, there’s a sequence after the game’s ending credits where you take contol of Catwoman again. Have fun with that gamers, as it took me a LONG time to figure out how to successfully achieve what the game was asking of me after being Batman for so long.

I said I wouldn’t spoil the plot, so all I’m going to say about the game’s ending is that I wouldn’t be surprised if the game’s “New Game +” doesn’t offer up an extended ending, a la Halo‘s “Legendary endings.” At least, I hope it will. Wow.

The sad part about Catwoman and Robin? While I love seeing them in-game, it’s hard not to feel like both characters were wedged into the game just to make a quick buck. Playing as Catwoman was fun as hell, but the campaign has been structured to make perfect sense if you don’t play as her, thanks to that “Catwoman Online Pass.” As for Robin, it’ll be fun to play as Tim Drake in Challenge Maps (when the DLC becomes valid, that is), but you’re largely going to be using him on the same maps you’ve already played as Batman. Oh, and as Catwoman. Boo.

Overall though, I found myself really reaching to pick out flaws in this title. If you’re a Batman fan — and you know this entire site is classified as extremely Batman friendly — you owe it to yourself to pick up this game, and quick. Avoid spoilers, avoid talk — just get in there and experience it for yourself. If you’re knowledgable in all things Batman, I dare you not to squeal like I did.

Batman: Arkham City, simply put, is a must-have.

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