Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Batman: Arkham City Review

Platform(s): Playstation 3, Microsoft Windows, X-Box 360, Wii-U
Developer(s): Rocksteady Studios
Publisher(s): Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Genre(s): Action-Adventure
Rating: T for Teen
In 2009, we were introduced to what has been hailed as the "best superhero game ever made." Batman: Arkham Asylum gave gamers exactly what they wanted--a great comic hero game and, moreover, a great Batman game.  Two years later, Rocksteady Games is looking to catch lightning twice.

The Story:
Batman: Arkham City picks one year after the events of Arkham Asylum.  Taking credit for stopping the uprising at the asylym, Quincy Sharp has been elected mayor of Gotham City.  His first act was to buy a large section of Gotham City's slums, which he converted into a massive prison and leaving it in the care of psychiatrist Hugo Strange.  The criminals are allowed to run free with the exception of one rule.  They are not allowed to escape.  Batman, fearing the former warden's plan may go awry, has himself placed in Arkham City as his alter ego Bruce Wayne.  After escaping and contacting Alfred, Bruce suits up and sets out to uncover the truth of Arkham City.
Right off the bat (pun intended), you get a majority of Batman's gadgets that were aquired in Arkham Asylum minus the Ultra Batclaw and Sonic Batarang.  The game's open world gives it more depth than the confines of its predecessor.  It truly depicts Batman's worst fear--a city where anarchy runs rampant; where values and sanctity are cast to the wind.  It's one man against seemingly overwhelming odds.  At the start of the game, the Dark Knight learns that Catwoman has been captured by Harvey Two-Face.  He suspects there is some hidden agenda Dr. Strange has and that Catwoman might have useful information.  After sneaking into an old courthouse, Batman finds Catwoman and Two-Face.  Fighting Harvey's men, I immediately noticed that the freeflow combat has been tweaked.  Batman glides smoothly from foe to foe, taking them out with a variety of moves.  I discovered that I can take out two badguys at once in the midst of combat.  I like how Batman immediately has a strong set of moves right away.
The Pros:
When I got my first glimpse of Arkham City, I was awestruck by the sheer scale of Batman's new proving grounds.  This city is massive.  It is a vibrantly lit landscape with dark overtones.  It is as if the city itself is a living entity.  The graphics completely blew me away.  Not one once of detail was spared.  Everything from all the characters to the buildings to the TYGER helicopters flying overhead is intrigantly detailed to perfection.  The game machincs are polished to a mirror finish.  You have absolute control of everything with no hinges at all.  And the cream of the crop--open world exploration.  No longer restricted to the clastrophobic confines of Arkham Asylum, you are free to take Batman wherever you want in this massive, living, breathing landscape.  With an enhanced Glide machanic, there are no restrictions.  Plus, you get to play as Catwoman, whose combat machanic is just as sleek and beautiful as she is.
The Cons:
The only cons in this game are the ones you get to beat up. There is nothing bad to say about this.

Epic.  A beautiful dark symphony that will enthral all who listen.  Rocksteady has not only struck lightning twice, they pulled it from the sky and tamed it to create this beast of a game.  Arkham City is truly a masterpiece.  The acting is phenominal.  Kevin Conroy is awesome giving Batman his gritty voice and Mark Hamill is just electric portraying the best Joker ever.  The action is intense and the boss battles are amazing.  I love how each new villan is introduced as well as old ones.  The inclusion of Catwoman as a playable character is a plus and just adds to the craziness of the action.  The characters are beautifully detailed and the city is just majestic.  While buying this game, the retailer told me that Arkham City makes the previous title look like toilet water.  I can now go back to him and tell him that he was wrong.  Arkham City makes the asylum look like a baby's crib.  Rocksteady has brought one of the most beloved comic heroes into the spotlight of gaming.  Batman: Arkham City is a game that should not be missed and a strong contender for "Game of the Year."

Final Score: Batman: Arkham City's rating is 5 out of 5. My only regret is that I can't go higher.

See you on the next level,

Brian M.

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