Batman: Arkham City for the Xbox 360, is published by Warner Bros Interactive. Warner Bros is popular for publishing many games from Lego Harry Potter yrs 1-4 to Lord of the Rings: Aragorns Quest. Arkham City is the sequel to Arkham Asylum, which was another best selling game during its year of release.
When I first started playing Arkham City, I thought that there were a lot of negatives for the game. At first sight there seems to be too many villains and they all seem to be in large clusters. I was expecting it to be more evenly spread out. It seems like Arkham City has clearly tried to replicate the Scarecrow stuff from the first game but failed as it didn’t turn out as well. Batman still moves rather stiffly when you are just walking around. But as i spent more and more time playing i found that i was becoming addicted to the game. All I seemed to think about was playing Arkham City, I even found myself having dreams about the game play and graphics.
Only months after the release of Arkham Asylum, this game becomes the next big thing. The former warden from the city’s asylum now reigns as the mayor of Gotham City. Whilst Quincy Sharp is reigning as the mayor he decides to move all the bad guys from Blackgate Prison and the inmates of Arkham Asylum into an area of Gotham City that he has cordoned off. This is then what becomes Arkham City and Dr. Hugo Strange runs it. It is your job playing as Batman to find out what is going on inside.
This story has an amazing opening, where you watch video footage of you becoming an inmate and being treated like a villain, you then managed to escape the wrath of Penguin and his goons. You will instantly become hooked into this game when you have the option of countering any of the attacks that the make against you even though you are chain up.
Fans of Arkham Asylum will instantly feel at home when they play Arkham City. The developers have taken the core game play and refined and polished it. You now brawl using one button, counter with another and leap into the air whenever you feel the need to. Batman’s countering attacks have greatly improved and he has many new abilities, one of which is the new found ability to take out several attacking enemies at once. This may all seem simple but you will be mistaken, as the diversity of the attacks and battles keeps the gamer interested. I constantly found myself wanting to leap into battle when I should have been concentrating on sneaking past silently in the shadows.
You will be constantly on your toes as the game throws in special enemies with stun rods, armoured outfits and broken bottles. These enemies have to be dealt with in specific ways and are always more challenging than the last. Whilst playing this you may find yourself feeling like you are actually batman. You feel like you have the upper hand when you walk into an area where you are so obviously outnumbered, when there are 20 enemies because you know you have the ability to use a smoke pellet or freeze grenade to take some enemies out of the game and continue on to kick some evil ass.
Many of you may think that when faced with 5 gunmen holding people hostage that you should be thrown out of balance but not when your completely into the game and thinking exactly how Batman would. You will realise that these are easy to take care of with the ability to camouflage into the shadows and string them up from the overhanging gargoyles.
This feeling of empowerment will also carry over onto the bosses, which at first can be found weird but then starts to make sense. The only boss I found myself really struggling with would be Mr. Freeze, due to the fact that once you have used an attack on him you cannot repeat the same attack, this made defeating him a bit more challenging than I found all the other bosses.
Arkham city isn’t an open world like Liberty City, but its more like a hub world with a bunch of dungeons like the Legend of Zelda, or even a bigger version of Batman: Arkham Asylum. You don’t have the access to enter all the buildings but as you explore you do realise that you have been kept from over 400 Riddler challenges. This can later be resolved by going back through the game once you have later gained new gadgets to use.
If being Batman feels good to you then you can expect yourself to play this game twice. The second time playing this game will feel a million times better than the first, New Game Plus unlocks after your first run through of Arkham City and it carries over all your unlocked items from the first time. You will probably all be thinking whats the point in playing a second time round when you will k now everything there is to expect from the game, well this is where you are wrong. During New Game Plus the level of difficulty is amped up and the enemies are more diverse from the start, all the reversal indicators are turned off which adds to the difficulty level.
There are no training options when playing New Game Plus, so from the very beginning you are required to be on top form, triggering your memory to remember the controls as best you can. Batman always knows how to win no matter who he is fighting he just needs to carry out his plan, well that’s you in this mode.
Challenges rooms return and have been given an amazing update since the days of Arkham Asylum. There are plenty of combat challenges where you are required to take out four waves of ad guys and also a dozen Invisible Predator challenges where you are required to sneak around silently and eliminate all the bad guys. Each challenge comes with three medals in which you can earn. All of this sounds standard but Arkham City offers up Riddler campaigns, these link three challenges together and apply game play modifiers like time limits and so on. There is even an option available where you can come up with your very own Bat exams.
Batman Arkham City out shines Arkham Asylum from the minute you buy the game with its all new 3D complatibilty. Most of you will think that it is of no use unless you have a 3D enabled television well this is where you are wrong. You don’t have to own a 3D television; you just need to have a pair of 3D glasses and a HDTV.
That said the graphics in the game seem so unbelievable, I can’t seem to imagine how they pulled it all off. The characters have received masses of detail when compared to Asylum. Batman’s cape gets all torn up and his face becomes bloody as the night rages on. The city prison is presented as gothic and foreboding as you would expect from a game of such popularity. Even the little details hammer it home in this sequel, for example when you are gliding just above a filthy river and the water kicks up beneath you. All of this detail comes along with an increased enemy count and no visible aliasing. The only real graphical hitch that i noticed was that sometimes the enemies would clip through objects within the environment, and that every characters facial expressions don’t seem to portray many emotions.
The audio in this game is epic. It should now be illegal for Kevin Conroy not to voice Batman, as he is so perfect for the controlled rage the character requires. The same can be said for Mark Hamill’s joker, though his role is not as prominent this time round. He is still the perfect maniacal foil for Batman, with the added deranged twang to his voice it just adds to his perfection. The games music emphasizes the dark and ominous undertones. The sound effects are that suited to the game that i actually found myself cringing at the sound of Batman breaking an arm or leg.
Overall I personally found this game to be highly addictive and entertaining. Although my only downside was that I am unable to gain access to Catwoman due to not receiving the download code. I would of loved to of been able to play as Catwoman as well as Batman just for the change of scenery. The graphics and sound are perfectly matched to the game. It is completely what I expected of the hottest game of 2011. I did not fine one thing disappointing about the game. I would highly recommend this to everyone who enjoys an entertaining and challenging game.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.