Video Game Review: Batman Arkham City

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Video Game Review: Batman Arkham City
Platform: PS3, Xbox, PC
Developer: Rocksteady
Official Website
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!

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.

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Showing 6 comments
  • Albone

    Awesome write-up and so well timed. I got this game for Christmas and it’s still in it’s packaging. I was going to open it finally this weekend but I had a few deadlines to meet. I did read a game faq on….GameFaqs and it seemed a little involved but still equally as appealing. The combat system with the ground and pound and the sneaking…all seemed awesome but intricate. I’m looking forward to it more than ever after reading your review.

  • Trevor

    @Albone: It’s an awesome game. Did you ever play the first one (Arkham Asylum)? Because this one ties into that game directly. If you haven’t played the first game yet (and don’t plan to before you play this game), I can give you a quick run down on spoilers to catch you up on the story.

    It seems like a lot to take in with the controls and the freedom (the whole bloody map is open to you from the beginning of the game, which can be a little overwhelming at first), but you get used to it as you play. It’s a lot of fun, and you totally feel like Batman! Do some of the tutorials on your moves and gadgets to get familiar with them, and have fun playing as Batman!

  • Albone

    Spoil away! Yeah, I don’t plan on playing Asylum….especially since I got City for Christmas and haven’t even busted it out of its packaging! 😛 But I do want to play City. I hear good things about it and it looks really fun.

  • Trevor

    E-mailed some info to ya. You’re really gonna dig that game – and if you want to borrow the first one, let me know.

  • Albone

    In theory, I would LOVE to borrow the first game but I still have your Valkyria Chronicles and I’ve yet to find the time to play anything other than DC Universe. XD I’ll let you know if I get some time because I heard great things about Asylum as well.

  • trevor

    What, are you too busy making comics to play a superior Batman game? Arkham Asylum does a good job of introducing the player to the gadgets and how to play the game (predator or “stealth” missions, as well as patrolling and detective modes, and combat). In Arkham City, they kind of assume you know what you’re doing, so there’s no real tutorial on gadgets or how to navigate the world.

    You’ll get the hang of it soon enough, I’m sure. I really dug both games.

    Yeah you still have my Valkyria Chronicles – but that’s okay, I have like 12 other games that need playing / beating right now. Just moved onto Assassins Creed: Revelations. Love that game series!

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