Review: Batman – Arkham City

27 10 2011

After the awesome game that was Arkham Asylum, which took everybody by complete surprise on its release, you’d think it would be hard to have a follow up game stay just as good. But Rocksteady somehow manages to pull it off, releasing a game that is argueable just as good as the original.

Graphics: 9/10

For me, the graphics are what makes this game. Usually I couldn’t care less about graphics, but in Arkham City, that’s one of the main draws to the game. Rocksteady has done an amazing job capture the dark, gothic setting of Gotham and then shrinking that down into the smaller area that is Arkham City. The city is huge and gives vast amount of freedom to traverse, allowing the player to explore to their hearts content and see just how well put together it really is.

Character models are also well done. Many of the familiar heroes and villains from the Batman mythos are present, with several obscure characters I was not expecting to see. While many of them look different than most interpretations, they still feel like the same characters, which is really all the matters. I did feel there was a disconnect sometimes between the voices and movement of the mouths, but it can be overlooked in light of everything else.

Gameplay: 9/10

The gameplay in AC is solid. The controls are smooth and the freeflow system makes combat quick and easy. Gadgets can be fired quickly during battle with specific control combinations, which is incredibly helpful during longer boss battles. The combat prompts for newer players is nice as well, allowing you to see when takedowns, counters and special combos can be preformed.

Traversing Arkham City is an experience in and of itself. The city is massive, divided into different districts, yet still appearing as one large map. Batman’s glide has been extended, allowing for longer glide times (there is actually one trophy for gliding for over a minute at one time) and the way the batclaw is used is reminicent of webswinging in Spiderman games. But combining themse makes travel quick and fun and really adds to the game a lot.

Boss battles aren’t too difficult, although I would have like more variation in strategy regarding the tactics you can use against them. Freeze is the only boss that really does this well. Side quests are abundant and interesting, give the play much more to do outside of the main story. I was a little disappointed with the Catwoman missions though. They felt kind of “tacked-on” compared to the main story and took me out of the story for the most part.

Story: 10/10

One of the best Batman stories I’ve seen in a long time. This story is dark, and I really appreciate that. Well-executed, dark superhero stories are a rare breed. Many well known Batman villains make an appearance and even some lesser known ones, and yet all of them feel like they belong there. Nothing feels rushed. I debating calling the story short but, now that I think about it, its just about the right length. Not too long, but not too short either.

Music: 10/10

Its reminicent of the old Batman cartoon, while still keeping the gothic feel of the new games. Really nostalgic and really well done.

Overall: 9/10

This is an amazing game. This is how an open world game should be done. Lots of freedom, lots of guidlines, lots of sidequests, and you actually feel like you’re accomplishing something. Couple that with the fact that its Batman and you just have the formula for a great game. I reccomend buying this game new, that way you have access to all the DLC (including Catwoman’s story missions), its worth every penny.

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