Video Game Review: Batman Arkham City
Video Game Review: Batman Arkham City
Platform: PS3, Xbox, PC
Plot: The sequel to the video game that actually made you feel like you were Batman is back. This time around, a section of Gotham City has been quarantined and turned into a prison city Arkham City by new warden Dr Hugo Strange – who knows Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person!
Batman infiltrates the prison city to uncover what’s really going on. Along the way, he’ll run into the likes of Two-Face, Catwoman, Penguin, Mr Freeze, and many more villains. And at the heart of it all, the Clown Prince of Crime The Joker is masterminding his latest scheme. Can Batman figure out what it is and stop him before it’s too late?
To start, making Batman an open world game was, in my opinion, a good choice. Once again enhancing the feeling of what it must be like to be Batman. You start off with many of the same gadgets you had at the end of the previous game, and a whole new set of gadgets are acquired throughout.
The game does a good job of repeating the fun of the previous game – a mix of combat, stealth, and detective moments.
Combat is the one that gets all the press, which allows for very simple combo moves to be utilized while you take on hoards of goons throughout the city. This feature can be a simple button masher, but also has some depth to it which allows players to make it as complex as they want.
Stealth is no big surprise here, and is one of the more fun aspects of the game for me. You sneak around dodging / taking out goons with guns without being spotted so you can do what has to be done. Sometimes you have to save hostages, sometimes you have to dodge villains much more powerful than you.
Detective mode was, I felt, under-utilized in the previous game. Sure, you used it all the time, but not to actually solve crimes. But in this game it has more relevance. You use it mostly in the side quests to help you solve crimes being committed by the various villains within the world of Batman.
The story felt a little short, and with the side missions mixed in a little divergent. The side missions made me feel like Batman more than the main story, but I felt compelled to do the main story right away since the missions blend immediately into each other. But I was more interested in the side quests. They felt like a regular day in the life of Batman, while the main story felt like an epic story that the side quests detract from.
The music in this game is incredibly epic, and definitely sets the tone for the game overall. The city appears very similar no matter which district you’re in, which is fine since the map is small enough to not get lost in. But with each district being controlled by a different villain, it would have been nice to see how they would make that part of the city different. Emphasizing how, if they ever got out, they would change the world in their own image.
There’s a lot of controversy over the ending of the game. I’m not going to give any spoilers here, but my only issue with it was it was a little ambiguous – like there was more that was supposed to follow, but it just never did. There’s no falling action or epilogue to put a nice bow on the top of the gift that was this game.
That said, the game is totally worth buying and playing the heck out of it. With tons of Riddler Trophies (over 400) and side quests to be completed long after the main story ends, you’ll love this game!
HARLEY QUINN DLC
So my initial thoughts on this DLC was two fold:
1) It was awesome getting to play as Robin. With this game already having some switch off between Catwoman and Batman, it was great to see another character thrown in. Especially a character who made a brief and random appearance earlier in the game, which never went anywhere.
2) This DLC was way too short to justify the $10 purchase. Sure it was fun, but it only lasted about 2 hours – and that’s with me hunting down the 30 Harley Balloons. It only takes place in about 1/6th of the area of the game (just Joker’s Industrial center and Steel Mill), and the story didn’t really add anything to the ending.
Fun? Yes. Worth the investment? Maybe. If the price decreased by 50%, absolutely worth getting.