Thoughts on Batman Arkham CityPosted: December 13, 2011
Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Platform: XBOX 360, PS3, MS Windows
This is the best Batman I’ve played so far. The open-world sandbox of Arkham City provides the player a far more open space to navigate than the previous game. The way it start was pretty cool for a tutorial section. Allowing you to do some damage to a high-profile Batman villain.
You play through the main campaign/story mode as Batman. With Alfred, and Oracle in your head via a comm device.
As I was playing though this game it reminded me of Batman Returns for the Super Nintendo in some ways. The locations vary You’ll be inside buildings, out on the streets, in the alleys, on rooftops, near water, below and high above the streets of Arkham City. One section near the start of the game reminded me of the 1989 Batman movie. The game autosaves every time you enter or exit a building, destroy certain things in the environment. You are treated to a slideshow of your current mission objectives and recent plot developments when you continue your game.
The City does have its boundaries. If you try to glide over them (using the grappling gun), you get treated to sequence where Batman evades anti-air gunfire! Batman Doesn’t like water either, especially at one point where a shark is waiting for you.
Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing are playable in Riddler’s Revenge mode (Combat challenge maps as paid DLC). Catwoman has her own set of Riddler trophies to collect and upgrades. I’ve only seen a few Youtube videos of the Catwoman story missions.
The combat is still as fun as the first game. Batman does melee attacks with a single button, add the ability to use gadgets and the cape then. Jump kicks, slide kick, glide kick, knuckle beatdown, silent takedowns. Inverted and ledge takedowns, There are breakable items in the environment ( glass windows, boarded up walls, fire extinguishers) If you fight a large group of enemies, you have a chance to get a higher hit multiplier, while splitting them up by silent takedowns or by using gadgets gives you a better chance of clearing an area filled with enemies. Detective mode helps you to I.D. and prioritize targets, and other things in the area.
You get XP by knocking out opponents. Bonuses are rewarded for getting a high hit multiplier, intimidating/scaring enemies, using different gadgets, attacks, and for different methods of knockouts. There even some combat challenges such as having batman catch his own batarang. Other ways to get XP are by destroying Joker balloons, Tyger cameras, Joker teeth and Harley Q heads. I had fun with the Boss battles Even though I had an especially difficult time with the armored man of chill.
As you go through the game. You will face off against opponents, armed with only their fists, Assault riffles, Sniper rifles, shotguns, knives, swords, bats, pipes, chairs, crates, grenades, riot shields, shock sticks,melee armor, Hammers. Fights can be one one or many versus one. Guns pose a great threat to Batman even with the optional armor upgrades.
It’s not all about the combat. There are Riddler trophies to collect with the help of your various bat gadgets. When you enter a specific area of the city any unsolved Riddler clues are displayed on the screen. These text clues are solved by “quick scanning” the environment. The reason why you want to collect these Riddler trophies is because they unlock combat and challenge maps for the Riddler’s Revenge mode, 3D character models, concept art. Readable stories are unlocked by solving the text clues. Character Bios are filled out as you progress through the story and side missions.
I actually beat story mode (Normal) with a completion rate of 50%. Missing out on various side missions, and a ton of Riddler trophies and unsolved text riddles. There are a few side missions in the game. ” Stopping random Acts of Violence”, “Search and Rescue” and “Search and Destroy”. Learning how to glide and dive (Augmented Reality). I have yet to finish the second set of tests.
The fun doesn’t end when you beat the story mode. You can keep exploring Arkham City to complete the side missions, get missed Riddler trophies and beat up some inmates. The game also has a “New Game Plus” mode. Replaying through the entire game with all your upgrades. I tried it and realized how much I rely on the counter-attack indicator. They turn it off in “New Game Plus”.
Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamil are back reprising their roles as Batman/Bruce Wayne and The Joker respectively. I really liked all the idle chatter that the inmates talk about while you’re going through the game. They do loop if you wait long enough. For Anime fans, Steven Blum is credited as voicing various inmates in the game. I think the in-game music fits with the atmosphere. The rest of the voice acting cast did a fine job. Dialog was entertaining as well.
One little nitpick I have with the game is that the “Level Up” indicator blocks your navigation compass, forcing you to use the upgrade point, to get it off the screen.
PC gamers with supported nVidia graphics cards will be able to use PhysX, just like the previous game. This adds more visual effects to the game. Be aware there are some issues with the PC version
Really good game, better than the first in my humble opinion. Being a Batman fan is not required to enjoy this one.
Image source: Official site Wallpaper section