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Batman: Arkham City (PS3)

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Genre: Action & Shooter / Video Game for PlayStation 3 / Release Date: 2011-10-21 / Published by Warner Bros. Interactive

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    12 Reviews
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      20.11.2013 00:05
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      Not bad if you like Arkham Asylum - but I was dissapointed of lack of progress

      I was a big fan of Arkham Asylum, (read my review) - I had a few issues with lulls in the gameplay, i.e. when you expected to fly around a particularly strategic environment and work out the puzzle of how to get around and when you just seem to have to fight waves and waves of goons using the same tactics and moves.

      I was disappointed that in general this sequel did not seem to correct this problem. You still have the same problems trying to figure out how to get to a specific point or how to find a specific entry point. Its good at first but after a while it starts to get very boring. The same could be said for attacking the various goons, sure there are different types as with the first game that have different abilities and you have to attack them in different ways, but once the muscle memory kicks in you find yourself dispatching hundreds easily, without having to think about it and it gets boring.

      The sequel has improved many things, so I didn't completely cane it on the marks. Firstly I love the new soundtrack, it sounds more like a Hans Zimmer batman begins soundtrack then some composer with a synthesizer that they paid to make a bespoke soundtrack- if you time attacks properly , the music will kick in at the right time and it feels like your playing in the movies - brilliant.

      The environment is greatly improved, not just in terms of just graphics and rendering, the environment itself is bigger. I was a little peeved at being limited to stay within the boundaries of the Arkham Asylum in the first game, this is no longer the case, you now have a huge city to explore which in itself is part of Gotham city but also a sectioned off part of it to hold the criminal fraternity.

      The storyline is more complex and sometimes goes off on unnecessary tangents sometimes- Dr Strange is the main antagonist however you rarely hear from him - the Joker, the Penguin, Mr Freeze , Ra-Za-gul all make an appearance and some of the boss fights are good, but they are temporary pick me ups in enjoyment between long sessions of the same old stuff.

      The game has more bat combo`s which are a good inclusion, although obvious really, other then that there are a few new weapons, but nothing that deserves it own remarks.

      Over-all I think the developer did a good job of making the game look better, the gameplay smoother and game mechanics more sophisticated, however the same old - good beat em up, work out how to get there, boss fight - start over formula was starting to wear thin.

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        04.06.2013 17:40
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        An object lesson in how to use the Batman licence

        Most people say that Arkham City is far superior to its predecessor Arkham Asylum, and who am I to disagree? Retaining the same basic gameplay as Arkham Asylum but opening the action up to take in a whole city makes for a bigger, more immersive experience. There is so much more to explore and it gives the game a truly epic feel. The sprawling city environment has been superbly brought to life by the artists and the sense of doom and despair superbly capture the spirit of the comics.

        True, Arkham City feels a little less imaginative. The original game stunned gamers with its brilliant use of the Batman licence and the superbly dark atmosphere; it really did feel like you WERE Batman, defending Gotham from the dangerous inhabitants of the asylum. The stealth combat and detective skills required to make your way through the game were hugely effective and a lot of fun.

        All of that still applies of course, but second time around it doesn't feel quite so innovative. It's still massive amounts of fun and, with dozens of main missions, side quests and trophies, its going to take a long time to completed. However, there are times you can't shake the feeling that it is just Arkham Asylum on a bigger scale. Missions follow the same structure (go to a certain point, find a way in, fight some bad guys and/or a major villain, rescue someone etc) and, despite being different, some of the locations feel almost identical to some of those from Asylum. An early mission, for example, sees you rescuing a doctor from an abandoned steelworks, and it feels very similar To one of the early missions in Asylum.

        The plot, though, makes it feel very different. The brilliantly co subtracted narrative is genuinely interesting and exciting and, once again, makes good use of the characters for the Batman Universe. This is a sequel in the truest sense, and there is an assumption that you have not just played, but actually completed Arkham Asylum. The game is littered to references to the plot of the prequel, some of which are directly relevant to the plot of this one. The two games are independent, but you will get much more out of City if you have played Asylum.

        Still, I'm in forgiving mood, and since the basic gameplay in Arkham Asylum was so good, it probably would have been a mistake to meddle with it too much.
        Where changes have been made, they are mostly for the better, fixing some of the minor niggles present in the original. Batman has a far greater array of moves available and they and they are even more intuitive to access. This immediately increases the strategic element, as you can assess all the possible ways to take out a bad guy and then choose the one you think will be most successful. There's a really satisfying feel to getting above a bad guy, swooping down to take him out before he even knows you're there!

        Another improvement is that its no longer necessary to play almost the entire game in Detective mode. Detective mode is still an important part of the game (giving you enhanced vision to spot things you might otherwise miss),but unlike Arkham Asylum it can now be switched off for large parts of the game, allowing you to admire the game's superb graphics.

        Although there initially seems to be a bewildering of controls, but they are introduced gradually, so you are not bombarded with dozens of controls right at the start. Anyone who has played Arkham Asylum will be instantly comfortable with them; newcomers will not take too long to get the hang of them.

        Like its predecessor, Arkham City makes superb use of the Batman licence. It's great to see so many characters brought to life, and they look superb; brilliantly realised and suitably menacing and grotesque. Meanwhile, the dark, rundown buildings help to create a genuinely oppressive environment and give the impression of a city on the edge. It might sound like a cliche, but Arkham City is about as close to playing a comic book as you can currently get. Thanks to some excellent gameplay and superb graphics, it is a truly immersive experience.

        Sound is almost as good. Some of the voice work (Mark Hamill's chilling Joker, the sultry Catwoman) is superb and really captures the spirit of the characters. Others are perhaps a little less impressive and (to me at least) don't sound right for the character or don't match their on-screen appearance. In fairness, this is obviously a personal thing and may depend on how well you already know the character.

        Ambient sound is fantastic. Punches and kicks sound painful, things gets louder as you get closer and there are always things going on in the background. This can be used to your advantage, warning you of enemies who are nearby. It's a simple thing but really adds to the oppressive atmosphere.

        Arkham City is going to offer you plenty of entertainment. To put it into perspective, I must have put in well over 50 hours on the game, and have still only completed about 60%. Even when y have completed the main narrative there are still plenty of side missions to keep you occupied. Given that the game can now be picked up For £10-15, that's real value for money.

        (C) Copyright SWSt 2013

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          28.05.2013 06:24
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          Overall fantastic game , i would recommend it to all Batman lovers!!

          The Title speaks for itself; the game does a lot justice to its prequel Arkham Asylum.

          Why is it that amazing you ask?

          Well the answer is everything, the game's mixture of intense action sequences and a outstanding thrilling/Bone-chilling storyline serves Justice for all Die-hard Batman fans out there.

          As a basic overview of the game; during the campaign you play as both the Master-thieving, seductive and highly attractive anti-hero we know to love as Catwoman and Last and not least the legendary superhero and DC comic icon Batman! The advantage with the game of the year edition is the additional features that allow us gamers to play as Batman's trusty sidekick Robin, in an attempt to stop Harley Quinn from getting Revenge in the expansion known as 'Harley's Revenge' and additional content. So getting this version of the game is a must to get the best crime-fighting experience.

          In terms of the scoring this masterpiece; this is my review breakdown:

          Storyline 10/10

          The reason for this is solely because of the in-depth story-telling within the game; its phenomenal. It got to a point that i thought i was watching a Oscar-winning movie, it is just out of this world. I won't talk that much about the storyline itself as i don't like to spoil the game for the audience; but lets just say it blew me away from start to finish.

          It carries on from the ending of Arkham Asylum; Hugo Strange is the first character you come across from the beginning and the voice acting is just precise and really got the hairs on the back of my neck shooting up. Very dark and scary voice from one very sinister character. Likewise to its predecessor Arkham Asylum the list of enemies such as thugs and super-villains is almost entirely limitless. We have our all time favorites making an appearance Two-face,Penguin,Joker,Harley Quinn,Riddler and many many more!! The likes of Mark Hamill as we all know as Luke Skywalker from the original star wars trilogy produces another mind blowing performance as the Joker; who is one of the greatest characters within the game. Nevertheless when has the joker ever disappointed us Batman fans!

          Overall the storyline grows onto the player, you start to feel for the characters. The feelings of despair, anger, love and jealousy really gives this game a very dark but compelling storyline full with both passion and pain.

          Gameplay 9/10

          In terms of it's game playability there are some minor flaws denying it a full 10/10; in terms of the fighting sequences and the combos; its very close to the same style as Batman Arkham Asylum, however controls have improved immensely. The controls are simple but also fun to use; the fighting combos run so smoothly. Using Square to repeatedly pummel batman's adversaries unconscious and triangle to counter any incoming attacks and various other controls to defeat an enemy. If you want to see Batman and Catwoman both take out numerous thugs with their different devastating and unique techniques, then this is the game for you. In terms of uniqueness both catwoman and batman have there very own gadgets and fighting advantages and disadvantages that will allow players to use different strategies to beat up foes and solve puzzles and environmental challenges within the game.

          The game also uses a free-roaming 'do what you like' feel to it, there is a lot more freedom in Arkham city than there ever was in Asylum. This allows the player to do other things besides the main campaign with their character; they can complete side missions, collect the hidden riddler trophies, fly and glide around aimlessly for secrets within the game. The Game play is limitless!
          Arkham city's game play is also quite demanding in terms of dodging obstacles and quick efficient problem solving techniques making Arkham city a relatively hard game for kids to play. So i reckon this game should be played for the more mature gamers in terms of difficulty, however their is an 'easy' option for players that are not confident with tackling the task at a normal difficulty apart from that the game isn't too hard to complete.

          In terms of movement batman can walk,run,crouch,slide,climb up ladders, hide into crates, use his grapnel gun to shoot up tall buildings and glide across the crime-ridden city. Most of these controls are relatively easy, however some techniques take some time get used and sometimes trying to get batman to glide into the correct place a little tedious what unfortunately stops the game play from being a 10/10.

          In terms of online gameplay; i don't honestly think the game's overall intent was to create a long lasting online mode; however the game does consists of a riddler's revenge mode of which has downloadable online content and provides all the great features above but with multiple playable characters!

          Overall the gameplay is one of the best ever with a batman game, the gadgets are fun to use, the reactions from enemies and the beat em up style that really does suit a batman game. What more fun could you have than flying around from building to building cleaning the city of bad guys and saving the day!

          Arkham City Game of the Year edition i give you a outrageous 5 Dooyou stars out of 5 congratulations to the creators of this wonderful form of art that will have me playing for many years to come.

          Yours Truly

          Bryan McRitic- The man who puts the 'tic' in Critic!

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            20.01.2013 01:32
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            It is worth 40 bucks of anyone's money, and is definitely better than the first.

            It is not very often that a videogame tie in is released that can be a great experience while sticking as close as possible to the source material. Occasionally you can get a Goldeneye calibre game that plays amazingly without sticking too closely to its source material. Other times you can get a game that offers a fun experience to fans for the nostalgic value, but has limited appeal otherwise. To be perfectly frank, most just plain suck, but in 2009 Rocksteady studios developed one of the exceptions to this rule. Batman Arkham Asylum was a game developed by fans of the character who knew exactly how to turn classic aspects from the source material into a cracking videogame experience.

            Despite gaining the Guinness World Record for the 'Most critically Acclaimed Superhero Game In History' Arkham Asylum had one notable problem. How exactly would it be topped in the inevitable sequel? Some speculated that the backdrop could be changed to Gotham City itself, while others figured that doing so would destroy the flow of the gameplay by overloading it with needless 'save the little girls balloon' sidequests (see any open world Spiderman game). Thankfully Rocksteady have once again pulled out all the stops to create a sequel that is bigger and better without losing the Batman atmosphere that made the original so notable.

            Batman Arkham City is set one year after the events of the last game. In it Warden Quincy Sharp has taken credit for stopping The Joker's rampage on Arkham Island and been voted mayor. His first act was to Cordon off a section of Gotham City that was already ridden with crime (including the infamous Crime Alley) and use this ground as a new super prison he terms Arkham City. Sharp rationalises that by placing the crazes in the city environment; without cells, they can do their thing without escaping to bother the honest citizens of Gotham. At a press conference in which he opposes this development millionaire Bruce Wayne is arrested by prison security and thrown into Arkham City as a political prisoner. The bad news is that the prison is being run by the sinister Dr. Hugo Strange, who seems to have figured out Bruce Wayne's big secret and is obsessed with one upping The Batman's crime fighting ways. He plans to do so through a project he terms 'Protocol 10.'

            Playing as Wayne you must escape a beatdown from the Penguin and then head up to the roof tops to find your costume. Only then are you free to investigate every inch of the city and uncover the truth behind protocol 10.

            From a gameplay perspective this will all seem very familiar to fans of the first game. Arkham City is a third person adventure game where the player takes control of the infamous Batman. Throughout the game you will traverse an ever expanding hub world and explore a series of locations within. Think Legend Of Zelda with a cape and you will have a fair idea what I mean. Like Zelda the game is loaded to the gills with sidequests, and each 'dungeon' will unlock a new gadget that will enable you to backtrack to previous levels for missed collectables. They also feature a few very large bosses that can only be beaten by figuring out their weakness and hitting them; though there is one extremely good boss who bucks that trend.

            That may seem familiar, but the environment of Arkham City is now five times larger than Asylum and so control of Batman has been improved to accommodate this. Controlling Batman is still limited to three basic areas, running, jumping and gliding. Running and jumping are fairly self-explanatory but gliding has been improved immensely. You are no longer limited to gliding slowly to the ground as you can now push R1 to dive bomb straight down for either a devastating attack, or; using the momentum, swooping up to glide even greater distances. It feels genuinely exhilarating to soar through the derelict alleyways of Arkham city, and is even used quite fiendishly in a few of the games puzzles.

            Frequently you will find your explorations halted by a combat situation, and thanks to the classic Assassins Creed inspired engine you will find that this never becomes a problem. One button on the pad is used to attack enemies head on, while another is used to counter any attacking enemies. The other buttons enable you to stun or jump away from enemies but do no actual damage. However once you figure out what you are doing you will be able to string together brutal combinations that will open up Batman's amazing repartee of knockout attacks and leave you feeling like the world's greatest martial artist.

            Thankfully this is tempered with those sections designed to make you feel like the world's greatest detective also. Once again Batman's cowl comes with a special gadget to enable his 'detective mode'. This sort of gives him a night vision perspective, while a tiny computer in his mask analyses different things in the environment (blood, fingerprints, even bullet trajectories) and sends the info straight to the batcomputer. It may seem illogical to a casual observer but this is the Batman experience and so must be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless locating a bullet and figuring out where it came from is an atmospheric, and highly satisfying experience.

            It is this atmosphere that makes Arkham City the worthy sequel that it is. Arkham Asylum may have been an excellent personal story for Batman, but Arkham City offers a much grander look at the actual world Batman inhabits; including his classic roster of villains. It is a credit to the talents of writer Paul Dini (Batman the Animated series) that he can almost cram in Batman's entire rogues gallery without his story feeling rushed. I do not want to spoil any of the surprise encounters, but needless to say, any Batman fans out there are in for a treat.

            Graphically this means that you are in for an atmospheric tour d force of the Batman mythos. The city itself is set in three distinct sections where the three big villains (Joker, Two Face, and Penguin) fight for control of the city. As you move freely through these sections you will find the décor changing to reflect the man in charge, and this even includes the dress of the street thugs you encounter. So while you may find yourself in a noirish urban environment to begin with, you could quite easily find yourself wondering into the bright lights of Jokers domain and the change of scenery this entails. Either way the game looks fantastic with a draw distance going right out to Arkham Island and very little in the way of glitches or popup.

            The graphics though are just a sample of the atmosphere this game has to offer as once again the sound team have done a phenomenal job. Returning voice actors such as Kevin Conroy (Batman) and the legendary Mark Hamill (The Joker) do an even better job in this one than the first game and show that same chemistry that made their efforts in Batman The Animated series so enjoyable. Most of the cast of the first game return and are joined by some all new cast members, including a barely recognisable Nolan North whose cockney penguin was both intimidating and entertaining in equal measures.

            So that is the main game but what can you expect in the way of extras? Well there are around 9 major side quests with their own storylines, some of which are worth doing for the teasing glimpses they offer into a potential third entry. Included among them is once again a hunt for The Riddler. Do you remember desperately trying to solve all of his riddles in the first game? Well you will be pleased to hear that he is back with a challenge so epic it manages to dwarf the main game itself. There are around 436 Riddler challenges in this game, and solving them all will often require thinking outside the box with Batman's abilities. Plus there are some disturbing surprises in store for you as you find more and more of his trophies.

            The key extra though is a 2nd playable character in Catwoman. Her story is available for free to anyone purchasing the game brand new, and is available to purchase from the PSN market place for a few pounds. It is worth having too, as seeing Catwoman's perspective opens up the story better, and gives you new gameplay challenges due to her very different abilities. Besides, if you want to beat The Riddler again then you will need Catwoman as there are certain trophies only she can retrieve.

            Lastly there is a return to the challenge rooms from the first game. These are basically a separate section with 2 different gameplay elements. One has you simply fight waves of enemies to pile up combos and try to beat the high scores. The other a series of 'predator' campaigns where you are alone in a room full of armed enemies that you must stealthily take out from the roof tops. Credits are awarded for taking them out in prespecified ways. Both of these modes return from the first game and it is as cool as ever to string enemies up from a gargoyle. Sadly you do have to accept that they do not offer you anything new. If it aint broke don't fix it is a good philosophy, but with around 200 of these rooms they can try your patience. I did not finish them all, but the fact remains they are an optional extra and so if you can do them then the length of this already fairly long game is extended further. If you are willing to pay a little extra then you can further delay boredom by doing these challenges with extra downloadable characters Robin and Nightwing (who the first Robin grew into) who each have a different move set. So one charge you could never lay against the game is that it does not offer value for money!

            So any fears I originally had about this game have been allayed. The story is amazing and flows nicely due to the fact that you can do the sidequests after finishing it. The sidequests are all entertaining and different, and there are plenty of extra game modes to compete for your time. It is worth 40 bucks of anyone's money, and is definitely better than the first.

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              02.11.2012 00:41
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              An almost perfect game

              I used to be a heavy gamer, however in recent years I have rarely bought any games. Arkham City received universal acclaim upon its release and hence I finally splashed out on a new PS3 game and can say I have no regrets.

              Arkham City is aptly based in Arkham which is on the outskirts of Gotham where of course Bruce Wayne grew up and became the legend that is Batman. It is a follow up to the highly successful game Arkham Asylum. It was released back in November 2011 and became one of the fastest selling games of all time selling around 2 million copies worldwide.

              So needless to say you play as Batman and strictly Batman. Your job is to clean up Arkham and there is a main plot as well as plenty of side missions. Without ruining too much of the story, the joker is poisoned with a deadly virus and he tricks Batman in to getting poisoned as well in order for Batman to then go and hunt down the cure. This takes Batman along a route involving many different classic Batman characters like Penguin, Mr Freeze and Bane just to name a few. I have to say the cut scenes in this game really are excellent and almost in the same league as the God Of War cut scenes.

              It is open world so much like Grand Theft Auto and many other games these days, however the one problem here is the world is quite small. It is probably the only map where you can literally know your way around the city without ever needing to look at the map. This is a criticism just to be clear, some people don't see it as one but I do. Also whilst on criticisms the main mission is way too short. There are side missions to keep you accomplished for many hours, the problem here though is when there is a main mission I really don't care about the side missions and they get neglected. A more positive thing would have been for the creators to take some of the side missions and put them in to the main game as this would have extended playability.

              The fighting and gliding is where this game really shines. It is pristine and they have pretty much perfected the system. Essentially you have an attack, jump and a button for your gadgets which you can access with short cuts. The more attacks you make without getting struck in between will increase your combo, which increases your power and special moves that can be performed. The gliding is just beautiful, and only when you realise that you can dive bomb to the ground and then go straight in to a glide of the speed that you build up dive bombing does the game really hit the next level of appreciation.

              Graphics wise this is great, although not perfect but there is a lot of detail in this game. The creators really have covered most angles and I can see why this has got critical acclaim. Personally I will give it four stars but I can see why plenty of people have stated that it is the best game they have ever played.

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                14.06.2012 14:08
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                A first rate game that is a must play for gamers and Batman fans.

                Batman: Arkham Asylum was something of a surprise hit back in 2009. Developed by little known studio, Rocksteady, the game managed to combine original gameplay with a very authentic interpretation of DC Comics' darkest hero into one of the finest games produced this generation. A sequel was inevitable, and when the first whispers of Arkham City started to appear people began to wonder if Rocksteady could make lightning strike twice. The final game is here now and we can see how well it lives up to its predecessor.

                Arkham City picks up loosely where Asylum closed with a large section of Gotham City fenced off and turned into an open prison for all the thugs and crazies that make up Batman's rogue's gallery. Though, funnily enough, the neighbourhood also seems to house most of Gotham's famous landmarks. The so-called Arkham City has become a political and legal nightmare which is brought to a head when Batman's alter-ego Bruce Wayne is arrested in the middle of a peaceful protest and locked up with the rest of the baddies. This is not entirely unwelcome however, as Batman can now investigate the city from the inside and find out exactly who's pulling the strings behind the whole shady affair.

                Within Arkham City, you'll also find some subplots involving a lot of the supporting cast from the Batman comics. The Joker has a major storyline that interweaves with the overall plot which is tied to the plot of the first game, but you'll also see some faces we missed last time. The game features are great take on both the Penguin and Mister Freeze, you'll also spend a lot of time solving the Riddler's puzzles once more. Each of the characters feel like they were written and designed by people who read and love the Batman comics. For anyone familiar with the comics, it's very much like returning to that world of plot twists and interlocking characters, and it's nice to see a Batman game that takes this source as its inspirations and not the films or cartoons.

                The game has made some changes from Arkham Asylum. Where the first was a tightly scripted affair, walking you through the Asylum building by building, Arkham City is an open world game. You are free to make your way around the city as you please, but the story will guide you to various locations such as the old police station or the abandoned steal mill. These sections are more tightly controlled and feel much more like the previous game. This creates a nice balance between the exploration sections that let you really feel like a superhero, and the more plot driven moments that give the game a stronger sense of narrative. One of Arkham's Asylum's biggest strengths was the feeling of authorship, of being guided through a really well constructed story. This is a double edge sword however, as the game occasionally felt on-rails and restricted. In Arkham City, the balancing of these two factors does have the consequence that the story feels like it has been placed on the back burner a little. The effect when you finish the game is a little less grand, the whole experience less gripping, but it feels necessary. A sequel could not have returned to the setting of the first game, nor performed the same tricks in a similarly structured location. It's a step forward, but a little is lost in the process. Still, Rocksteady do a lot with their transition to open world. There is a lot to find in the game, ranging from in-jokes and trivia for comics fans, to whole sideplots you might not discover until you've completed the main game.

                The combat system returns, with very few tweaks, from the first game. This is easily one of the best fighting styles in games at the moment and the gameplay is so strong that the game is comfortable making set pieces entirely around one of Batman's martial arts battles. Essentially combat is divided into only two controls, Attack and Counter with more complex moves arriving later in the game. The goal is not to unleashed complicated attacks on enemies, but to fight multiple opponents gracefully. Moving from next to next without getting hit yourself. It has to be played to be understood really, but it remains one of the series' best features.
                Also returning are the stealth sections. These take the form of rooms or locations patrolled by prisoners with serious weaponry. These fights are generally impossible to win when attacked head on, instead you are required to pick off opponents one by one using stealth attacks. The combination of the flowing martial arts sections and the slow stealth rooms really add to the feel of being Batman that make these games so unique.

                Where things have changed from the previous game, they have mostly changed for the better. Batman is equipped with "Detective Vision," a sort of x-ray vision, computer mode that highlights enemies and strategic objects. In the previous game, this was criticised as having no restrictions. It would be too easy to simply leave it on permanently and play the game with super-sight. Arkham City however places clever restrictions on this that feel natural. Essentially, while the new detective vision highlights enemies and weapons, it obscures the environment somewhat. Leaving it on all the time will make it significantly harder to discern the room's details further away. You also can't view other directional info with detective vision enabled. This forces you to be more tactical and is a definite improvement.

                Most of the gadgets from the first game return, with many of them unlocked from the start of much earlier in the game. There are even a few new ones. The game adopts the Legend of Zelda model, and uses the gadget progression model to lock you out of certain places earlier in the game, keeping you moving through the story to explore further. You can use the in combat also, but they're mostly superfluous and unless you're trying to get your trophies/achievements, you'll probably never use them.

                Arkham City is a definite step forward from Arkham Asylum. That doesn't necessarily mean it is better in every way. It is an excellent game, but Asylum offers a more tightly scripted experience that moves from scene to scene with precision and timing. City looses a lot of that by going open world, but what it gains in return is a sense of forward momentum, a real reason to play the sequel. Most importantly, Batman: Arkham City is not a game to be overlooked by those who aren't necessarily Batman fans. It's a really great game that would appeal to all kinds of players.

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                  06.03.2012 10:57
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                  If you've ever wanted to be Batman, this is your best chance...

                  Following on from the 2009 breakout hit, Batman: Arkham Asylum, this sequel expands upon the environment by bringing the story out into an open world cityscape as opposed to the contained Asylum. After the riot on Arkham Island, the Gotham elite are manipulated by Hugo Strange into constructing Arkham City, a large city-sized prison which is walled off from the rest of Gotham and prisoners are allowed to free reign within the area, excluded from the decent law-abiding citizens. However, Strange begins to use his power to throw in political prisoners, including a certain Bruce Wayne, who once inside decides to investigate just what Strange is up to, as his alter-ego, The Batman.

                  Everything about this game feels bigger and better than its predecessor, but without losing the key factors of what made the first game so great. We have more villains appearing, but not at the expense of the main story. A lot of the extra characters appear in side-missions, which are optional and give a larger view into the Arkham City experience. I enjoyed the character design of the Penguin, with a beer bottle wedged into his eye giving him a rough-look monocle. Although, I wasn't convinced by the choice of voice actor, which sounded like a hammy version of Bob Hoskins.

                  Mark Hamill returns as the Joker, and yet again he challenges Heath Ledger for the title of 'Best Joker Ever' pissing all over Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero. He injects a real sense of pathos into the Joker, who is slowly dying from his overexposure to the Titan formula he used in the last game's climatic boss battle. At his side is the sultry Harley Quinn, sporting a new look for this game and played perfectly by her original voice actress, Arleen Sorkin. Her comic book costume even makes an appearance as the Harley Dolls littered around her and the Joker's base.

                  With the focus more on a free-roaming city, there is less importance placed on the sneaking and stealth sections from Arkham Asylum. Although, mid-way through the game, there is an increase in the number of armed combatants, so approaching enemies requires more strategy and elements of stealth. There are some more strategic boss battles as well, especially the Mr Freeze battle which requires attacking him using each of the stealth tactics once - something that is more challenging than you first think. There is also a Two-Face battle in the Cat-woman Downloadable Content (DLC) which also plays out using the Predator Challenge mode.

                  Cat-woman is a bonus playable character, made available to people who buy their copy new through a DLC code pre-packaged with the game. However, it is a one-time only code, so people in the same household cannot use the DLC of that game. This was particularly frustrating for my younger brothers who couldn't play the Catwoman stages on their own Xbox. I understand why developers place these new-only bonuses in games to encourage people to buy new instead of pre-owned, but I think it should be reserved for bonus costumes or weapons rather than actual story content, especially content linked to achievements.

                  Overall, this is a great leap in scope for an already excellent franchise and a contender for Game of the Year. If anything, this game makes the player feel more like Batman with the scaling tall buildings and swooping down onto groups of criminals. The extended cast, of both heroes and villains all fit into the universe created by Rocksteady Studios and I eagerly await where the game goes for an inevitable sequel.

                  Review Originally Posted on my Blog
                  (http://spiderjamb.blogspot.com)

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                    07.02.2012 21:58
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                    As complete a single player game as you can get.

                    The superhero game genre has been largely destroyed by game developers who have time and again made half-hearted cash ins of movie licenses. Batman has fared better than most in the chequered history of super hero gaming with some passable titles released over the years. This is largely thanks to the lack of any "superpowers" making the game dynamics far easier to translate. However, it was only when Batman: Arkham Asylum moved entirely away from any movie or cartoon tie in that Batman really came into his own.

                    The main reason Arkham Asylum in 2009 was such an engrossing experience is that it immediately sucked you into a rich and intense storyline and Btaman: Arkham City continues in the same vein. However, gone are the claustrophobic walls and corridors of an Asylum and instead you are treated to a whole locked down City to explore. Think Escape from New York with Batman instead of Kurt Russell and you are not too wide of the mark. However, this game is all about humanising Batman and as such you are initially thrust into the action not as the caped crusader but rather, as Bruce Wayne. This introduction intentionally throws you off kilter a little but builds the tension beautifully as you are thrown into a microcosm of corrupt city life complete with thugs and super villains. From here the story simply takes off and builds to a unique climax that I will not spoil for you all.

                    The gameplay is far more varied this time round with a lot more freeplay despite a strong central theme throughout. You can choose to steadfastly follow the main story or you might hear a cry for help from a political prisoner and decide to investigate or even stumble across a fiendish sub plot by such villains as Penguin, Ra's al Guhl and many others. Whereas in Arkham Asylum the goal was always relatively linear, this time round you are encouraged, rewarded and punished in equal measure for exploration. There are clues and riddle littered throughout Arkham City and the scope of gameplay is vast. The main storyline alone is epic but with the plethora of sidequests and secrets to uncover there really is an almost endless longevity to this game.

                    Batman is far more equipped this time round with many of his trademark gadgets readily available and upgradeable. You feel genuinely like a lean mean crimefighting machine as you eavesdrop, solve puzzles, stealth attack and distract enemies with a variety of weaponry from batarangs to freeze grenades. Hand to hand combat has been improved even further with some genuinely intuitive button bashing combinations justly rewarded with explosive knockdown and animations. However, the game really excels when Batman has to use his stealth and ability to strike fear to take down heavily armed and clever adversaries. Will you hide in a great and drag surprise them? How about throwing a sonic batarang to throw them off your scent? Either way however it is not a foregone conclusion that you will be victorious and it is much tougher this time round to dispatch the bad guys. Your enemy actually tries to outwit you destroying vantage points and checking ledges as they go. Even the most base thugs involved in the various turf wars will learn and adapt. This game gives an assumption that you will be au fait with the various gadgetry and tactics Batman can deploy and for the rookie it can be very unforgiving but equally rewarding.

                    Everything about Arkham City is polished from the flawless voice acting to the stunning graphics. The voice acting in particular shines through and the attention to detail as thugs around Gotham comment on your actions and their subsequent consequences draws you in and makes you feel like you are having an effect. I can't emphasise enough how much you feel like you are Batman as you play this game and this is helped along by intuitive controls that make both combat and exploration seamless. Of course, this is all helped along by a stunning soundtrack and flawless sound throughout.

                    There are no real criticisms I can make of this game as even on completion the availability of challenge modes, side missions and unlockable characters make the game almost endless. The various versions available give you extra storylines to play with Catwoman in particular tying seamlessly into the main story although I was disappointed by Robin's rather brief appearance. Many have stated that there should have been an online mode but I honestly cannot see what that would accomplish and it would have felt tagged on for me. All in all Arkham City is the most rounded game available on the PS3 at this time and I include Skyrim in this. It's storyline is second to none and it is simply the ultimate single player experience. In 2009 Arkham Asylum was the best single player game I had ever played. Three years later and along comes Arkham City to go one better.

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                      24.12.2011 17:57
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                      Batman Arkham City Is The Game Of The Year!

                      Introduction:
                      Batman Arkham Asylum was one of my favourite games of 2009. It shocked the world when it came out. It was a superhero/comic book based game that was actually good. Now, 2011, Rocksteady releases Batman: Arkham City, everyone has high expectations and Arkham City doesn't disappoint one bit.


                      The plot:
                      Gotham City, the mayor has decided to move all the inmates from Arkham Island and Blackgate Facility to the middle of Gotham City now known as the super prison, Arkham City. Bruce Wayne doesn't like this and campaigns against it and for his efforts he gets thrown in Arkham City himself. You play as Batman and try to stop the criminals there from committing crimes and stop a diabolical plot, that promises to damage all of Gotham City. I really can't tell much more or I think I'll give the plot away and I don't want to do that since it's amazing and so engrossing. Batman Arkham City has one of the best stories of the year. I loved it and I'm sure you will too. This game is an absolute thrill from the awesome beginning to the shocking end. Arkham City like Arkham Asylum has its own unique story and is not based on any of the batman comics or movies/shows. It took me about 10-11 hours to beat the main story and there are a ton of side missions also that will eat up the hours.


                      Atmosphere:
                      For me the atmosphere is one of the most important things of the game. A lot of people like to think of batman as a kid's character but with the release of Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady asserted that it would be different. Arkham Asylum was dark and mature and was for an older audience. Arkham City follows suit and as its predecessor is dark and mature. In my opinion that's how batman games should be. Batman has a great atmosphere, you feel like you're in the middle of Gotham, you feel like you're in a mega prison, you feel like you're in the most dangerous part of Gotham.


                      Graphics and Environment:
                      Arkham City is 5 times the size of Arkham Asylum. In simple terms that means it's extremely big. The environment is so varied and so detailed. Arkham City is certainly a looker. All the buildings are extremely detailed and beautiful. Whoever designed this game has to be a genius, the mega prison looks exactly like you would think it would. All the characters also look great and the lip-syncing issue from Arkham Asylum has been fixed. You will explore a lot of places in Arkham City, from underground subways to the underground of the city. All those look really great. The animation is also top notch and batman performs like you imagine he would, from all the attacks to the gliding. Everything on the graphics side of this game is extremely impressive. For example, batman's own cape is extremely detailed you will see all the immense damage it has taken. Batman himself will have a lot of scars and bruises from the fights he has had and you will be very pleased how real and authentic they look. Batman Arkham City is just stunning in the graphics department.


                      Gameplay:
                      One of the best combat systems in gaming is back in Arkham City. Arkham Asylum obviously had that really great combat system and now in Arkham City it has drastically improved. Whenever batman punches anybody you will feel the impact. It is amazing. You can finish off an opponent many ways Batman can counter almost anything an enemy does. All you press is one button but it is so satisfying when an enemy tries to attack you, but you counter it and destroy him. Combos are performed when you continuously attack someone without getting attacked yourself. Combos hurt more than normal attacks and will leave a lasting impact on the enemy. There are several different combos and more can be gained after you gain experience points and unlock them. The enemies are varied as they range from normal thugs to thugs that have guns to the thugs that have riot shields.

                      In Batman Arkham City, like Arkham Asylum you rely on stealth a lot. If there is a room with a bunch of thugs with guns, don't expect to take them out straight on, that's suicide, you will need to use stealth. You can take them out silently from behind by performing a silent takedown, which is a devastating move that will make your enemy go to sleep. You can also silently take an enemy down by going up on a gargoyle and then when the enemy is directly underneath you go down and bring him back to the gargoyle and leave him hanging from there. One of my favourite takedowns was the ledge takedown. It goes like this, if you are on a ledge and an enemy is on top of you, you grab him and let him hang from the ledge. You will love when your enemies scream and beg to be set free.

                      Of course there are the gadgets. One of the reasons I love Batman and why he is my favourite superhero is because he has no superpowers. He relies on his intelligence and his gadgets. Batman has a lot of gadgets. For your convenience I will list all the gadgets you get, those include: the batarang, remote controlled batarang, bat claw, explosive gel, cryptographic sequencer, Sonic Batarang, Reverse Batarang, Disruptor, Remote Electrical Charge, Freeze Blast, Smoke Pellet, Freeze Cluster, Line Launcher, Mine Detonator. I will discuss some of them. The batarang is very useful as it is very handy. You can take down an opponent with it; you can break alarms and fuse boxes with it. Another handy gadget is the bat claw. With the bat claw you can explore all over Arkham City. It lets you grapple to vantage points and the tops of buildings. Also, the smoke pellet was really useful. If some enemy had a gun and was shooting you, you could just throw a smoke grenade and then the enemy wouldn't be able to see you and you could turn on your detective vision and attack him. When you turn on detective vision it gives you an x-ray like vision and you can see more things and you can scan things to solve mysteries and riddles. The last thing I will talk about the gameplay is the gliding. Gliding was my favorite part of the game. Soaring through the sky and exploring the beauty of Arkham City is one of my favorite moments in gaming. I just loved it. The best part, of course, is that you feel like batman.

                      Arkham City doesn't have any multiplayer and it proves games don't need multiplayer to be fun and exciting.


                      Sound:
                      The sound in the game is great. For example when you hit something with the batarang it will sound just like you would expect it would. When you punch someone you will hear their groan and you will hear the impact of the punch. The music is great and it really sets the mood for the game.


                      Characters:
                      The characters in Arkham City are unforgettable. Everyone in the game gave it their all in terms of voice acting. They all sound great, from batman to the extras. You have to respect the cast for that. Batman voiced by Kevin Conroy is played wonderfully. He sounds amazing and delivers like you would expect him. All the villains sound great too, from the Penguin's wickedness to the Riddler's and Ra's Al Ghoul's madness. Even the extras sound great. The extras would be the inmates of Arkham City. Prior to the release of the game, Mark Hamill said that he would be playing the Joker for the last time. Upon hearing this, many of us were saddened that the voice of Joker will retire but we knew that his final performance would be his best and true enough it was. He delivers the performance of a lifetime and sounds as chilling and maddening as ever. Every line he says is superb. I think Mark Hamill should receive an award for his stunning performance. This man really gave it his all. Another character who returns from Arkham Asylum is the Riddler. The Riddler is back and has planted more than a whopping 400 riddles for you to solve. The riddler has also kidnapped hostages and you can only rescue them if you solve enough riddles. You can also play as catwoman and other downloadable characters. Catwoman has her own story and has her own unique batch of move and tricks. She also has her own unique riddles to find. Some people have disliked the fact that if you have a second hand/ used copy than you have to pay for Catwoman. Just a note, I felt that not all the characters were fully fleshed out. I felt that some of their story lines were over a bit too quickly. A pity too because they were great and interesting characters.


                      Conclusion:
                      Batman Arkham City in my opinion is the best video game of 2011. It is a complete game. It has everything you want in a video game. It has the superb gameplay, the graphics, the atmosphere and tone, the voice acting is terrific and Mark Hamill gives the performance of his life and the story will thrill you from the fantastic beginning to the shocking end. Batman Arkham City is a fantastic feat. This is a must buy for anyone who loves batman and just video games in general. This is a rare game that deserves to be highly praised and celebrated.

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                        18.11.2011 23:10
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                        Great story line however the game is far too short

                        The story.

                        The main story within arkham city starts off within the new prison which is part of gotham city that has been bordered off and created a new place for the inmates to roam free. If you got the game new and input the catwoman code you start the game as her and you will find every now and then you will jump into her own story.

                        The story is a tale of batman trying to figure out whats happening behind the walls of arkham city, as the story unfolds you uncover the mystery that is hugo strange and you meet many of Batman's old enemies such as penguin, two-face, mr freeze and raze al ghul. As the story of hugo strange unfolds you have to of course deal with the joker who is dying thanks to his over use of the titan formula in the last game, He is nice enough to place his blood in Batman infecting him as well this opens up the story and you are racing against the clock to find the antidote that will save your life.

                        When I finished this game my thoughts could be summed up in one word "wow", this was a gripping story and I really couldn't put the game down. I found that as I was playing it I was becoming so addicted to the story that the side missions and riddler trophies got left behind but no worries to that because when the game is complete you have the option to go back and collect all the trophies you missed and complete all the side missions. The story itself doesn't have a lot of game play which is a shame because I found that I completed the game in about 8 hours game play and further to that I collected all of the trophies and did all of the side missions in about 3 hours after that. This in itself is a major let down when there are games being released like skyrim which contain around 30 hours of game play maybe more which one would you rather spend £40 on?

                        Playing the game.

                        I was a big fan of the first game and I loved the controls for it as well, this meant I really picked up arkham city fast and did not take long to adjust to the controls. The buttons are very similar and you get to start off with the same gadgets as the first game minus upgrades. The map of the city is rather big and can take some time to get from one side to the other, to add to this there are various places you can go such as the subway which have their own map. Exploring can be fin to take a look at some of what gotham had to offer before it was bordered off and filled with convicts.

                        The combat system can be as basic as you want it or it can get rather complicated with most of the gadgets having some form of shortcut usually involving pressing several buttons, on top of this when you get your combo to 7 you can perform a take down and within the unlock there are different take downs you can purchase with your upgrade points. Batman seems a lot slower in this game than the previous and this did hamper my game at first because I could not time the attacks properly however I soon picked it up and began doing my x40 combo's. The riddler challenges are a good way to get used to the combat system as well.

                        The sound to this game is pretty awesome I like the sound track and the voice overs for the characters are done well. What I especially liked was when your gliding around the city you can hear the henchmen talking about the recent events that has happened and you often hear them talking about Batman or their respective leader.

                        My thoughts

                        What can I say about this game, I hate to love it would sum it up really well. When anybody asks me what I think of this game I can only say fantastic story line too short. given that the game gave me little over 10 hours game play I was not impressed however I was so engrossed by the way the game finished that I was simply sat there watching the final cut scenes with my jaw open. The riddler challenges you unlock throughout the game are fun to play but often repetitive and therefore I only played a few of them. Even purchasing the nightwing DLC barely spiced the game up for me the fun of playing as nightwing lasted all of 5 minutes that's £1 for every minute I played as this character.

                        One part of the game I was really not impressed with was when you complete the game you unlock something called story mode + now don't be fooled this is not extra game or a different game, basically you get to play the whole game again however whatever trophies you have and whatever unlocks you achieved you still have. The only difference is the henchmen are far tougher than in the ordinary game but since you should have everything from the first play through this is really not challenging. What a waste of disc space I would rather them use that to add more side missions or make the story longer, after an hour I got bored of playing through the game again and switched it off.
                        And there you have it people the game that I really wanted to be so much better but after I had done it I placed it on my shelf and there it still sits gaining dust.
                        I would not recommend this at new price a second hand price and maybe you have a free weekend then knock yourself out because the story line is amazing.

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                          13.11.2011 17:37
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                          Superb sequel. This game is the catwoman's meow.

                          Batman, the world's greatest detective, is a costumed crime fighter created by Bill Finger (and trademarked by Bob Kane.) Even though, when it comes to comic superheroes, I am more of a Marvel fan boy I have to admit that the Caped Crusader is one of the greatest superheroes of all time. Although the quality of video games featuring the Dark Knight has varied wildly over the years I would have to say that his 2009 adventure "Arkham Asylum" would have to rank amongst my favourite games of the current console generation. Ever since a sequel was announced I have been chomping at the bit to give it a go. Well the wait is finally over. Arkham City is here, but does it live up to the high standards of the original? Let us find out.

                          STORY

                          Prison overcrowding is a problem everywhere and Gotham City has opted to address the issue in a rather novel way. Instead of constructing more buildings to house outlaws the mayor has sanctioned an idea proposed by the crazed psychiatrist Hugo Strange. A rundown area of Gotham (dubbed Arkham City) has been cordoned off with the intentions of throwing anyone breaking the law there to fend for themselves. If this sounds rather inhumane to you I would suggest keeping the opinion to yourself. Billionaire Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) and a number of politicians opposed to the plan have been chucked into Arkham City to silence their protests. Ah you just have to love that Gotham City corruption.

                          The story is top notch as you would expect given that it was by penned by Paul Dini who worked on the first game. His credits also include writing scripts for quality animated superhero shows such as Batman, Superman, Justice League and erm Krypto the Superdog. Batman's ultimate aim is to take down Hugo Strange, the mastermind behind Arkham City, but along the way he gets sidetracked by his infamous rogue gallery of villains who have taken control of sections of the city and are bickering amongst themselves over who the top dog should be. Before the dust has settled you can expect to encounter the likes of Penguin, Two Face and Joker (who is looking worse for wear after overdosing on titan formula in the last game.)

                          PRESENTATION

                          Graphically Arkham City is beautiful matching the bar set by the first game. Adapting the stunning visuals of the comic book page to a video game is not an easy task, but the makers managed to pull it off. Forget the campy Batman from the sixties TV show, what we have here is a more realistic dark interpretation of the character which feels like the Tim Burton and Christopher Nolan live action movies. Although the character models are similar to those of the first game it all feels more grand thanks to the setting. You are no longer confided to a building so as you swing/glide along the rooftops you get to appreciate the city's landscape of gothic architecture and dilapidated buildings.

                          Sound wise the thing that stands out is the quality and quantity of voice work that features in the game. I was surprised by how much dialogue they managed to squeeze on the DVD. You can spend ages eavesdropping on lowly thugs discussing matters such as Joker's health, what they would like to do Catwoman and how they could easily beat up Batman (which makes kicking their arses moments later all the more satisfying.) Kevin Conroy who has been voicing Batman since the animated series continues to do a brilliant job portraying the character. Ditto Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) who plays the Joker. It's rumoured that this will be the last time he dons the mantel of Batman's archenemy which is sad as he does a perfect job delivering the funny yet sinister lines the green haired goon is famous for.

                          The supporting cast also do a bang up job, although I am wary of mentioning too many names as it may give away spoilers. Half the fun of the game is seeing which villains get included in the game and what their role is in the story. The Penguin who I mentioned earlier is played by the accomplished voice actor Nolan North (who seems to be everywhere these days.) This time round Joker's girlfriend Harley Quinn is voiced by Tara Strong instead of Arleen Sorkin. I would have to say that Strong did a fine job as I didn't notice someone else was playing the character until the ending credits rolled.

                          GAMEPLAY

                          Like in the first game, in order to succeed, you will need to use both brains and brawn. Your puzzle solving skills will be tested as you work out how to get past obstacles using Batman's wide assortment of gadgets. These cerebral challenges are interspaced with combat were Batman gets to show off his martial arts prowess. Hordes of enemies can be downed by pummelling the square button to punch coupled with the triangle button to execute flashy counter attacks. If you string together a series of blows you'll also be able to pull off a devastating combo which knocks out most foes in one hit. Bashing a couple of buttons may sound shallow, but thankfully they introduce new kinds of enemy from time to time to keep on your toes. To efficiently beat the more serious threats you'll have to use items from Batman's utility belt, learn to dodge at the right moment and stun adversaries with your snazzy cape.

                          At times the original Arkham Asylum felt like Metal Gear Solid as stealth play was required to get past certain sections. In this sequel sneaking about doesn't feel as important. Although there were a few parts were I would have to swoop down, subdue a guard silently and then get away, on the easier difficulties at least the game is far more forgiving when it comes to evading detection. This is great for players who are not known for their patience, although I am sure it will disappoint the hardcore crowd. Stealth is given less importance this time round as you have more tools to combat the armed enemies who were so deadly in the first game. Thanks to improved body armour, smoke pellets and gizmos that jam rifles it's often more effective to take on gunners head on... providing that there are only a couple of them in the area.

                          Despite heavy promotion on the open world aspect of the game, I must say that Arkham City itself isn't that big. The area doesn't compare to something like Grand Theft Auto or Infamous which may be a let down to those of you keen on exploration, but I personally didn't mind. I find travelling from one objective to another a little boring so being able to get from side of the game world to another in a couple of minutes is fine with me. Thanks to a handy map, that allows you to set waypoints, getting lost shouldn't be a problem. For the most part the story missions are set inside buildings, much like the first game, with the outside areas hosting optional side quests and hidden collectibles that you are encouraged to find in order to unlock goodies such as artwork.

                          OVERALL

                          Batman Arkham City gets full marks from me as it delivered everything I wanted from a sequel. It's basically Arkham Asylum with heaps more content. If you were disappointed by the lack of Batman villains in the first game don't worry as this second instalment features tons of familiar (and obscure) faces from the Batman universe. I would argue that this is a must own title even if you are not a huge fan of superheroes. You get a clever story combined with enjoyable combat, responsive controls and challenges that test your grey matter. Even if you are not familiar with the source material the game is accessible as the in game menu has detailed biographies of the main characters you meet during the adventure.

                          I have few complaints although I wish the main story had been longer. Prior to its release Rocksteady Studios were boasting that the main game would be much longer than the original which blatantly isn't true. You can get through it within eight to ten hours, but even so I reckon the game is worth a purchase. After completing the game you can go back and tackle the side quests you may have missed (or if you are insane enough try to find the hundreds of Riddler Trophies scattered about the city.) Buying the game (as opposed to renting or getting a second hand copy) also rewards you with a code for downloadable levels were you play as Catwoman. The DLC stages are rather short, but a nice change of pace as Catwoman is more nimble that Batman. Although she lacks his array of gadgets she has some nifty moves such as being able to climb on walls and the ceiling.

                          So there you have. Stop reading, whip out your bat credit card and buy a copy ASAP. In the words of Arnie's Mr Freeze, this game is "cool."

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                            29.10.2011 17:51
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                            Tops its predecessor by a mile!

                            Batman first emerged over 72 years ago, yet he's better than ever today. Batman: Arkham Asylum, released back in 2009, was a great surprise and overtook Goldeneye 007 as the best licensed game ever. So there must have been a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the devs at London-based Rocksteady Studios to make a worthy sequel. After a long wait, it's out - but can it quite reach the high expectations? Thankfully, it does! An excellent story, improved combat and hugely impressive voice work make Batman: Arkham City strong contender for Game of the Year. If you're a console owner, this should be the next title you buy whether you are familiar with the comics and films or not.

                            ===Story===
                            The game doesn't tell you exactly how much time has passed since the first game, but I'd presume it's a several month gap. Bruce Wayne (the man behind Batman's mask) is displaying his concern for new prison facility Arkham City in front of a crowd of reporters, before being captured and taken away by TYGER guards. We hear Hugo Strange explaining to Bruce that Protocol 10 would begin on that night, and if Bruce would even attempt to stop him, he would reveal Batman's identity to the world. Naturally, our protagonist goes out and tries to find out what this Protocol 10 is. Along the way, we meet some old enemies from Two-Face to Penguin and, of course, Joker and also some unexpected friends including Catwoman.

                            The game has a very dark tone - anyone that has committed even the smallest of crimes are sent to Arkham City, or even politicians campaigning against the mega-prison. The place is crawling with rough henchmen that are either part of Joker's, Penguin's or Two-Face's gang. It's good that the storyline allows for lots of classic allies and villains. There are several returning characters from Arkham Asylum, including Victor Zsasz, Bane and Poison Ivy, as well as a cameo appearance from Killer Croc. There are also many new ones, though - Penguin, Mr Freeze and Catwoman are just a few on a long list. Don't worry if you're not a fan of the DC Universe, however, as you get a bio on each of the characters you encounter which tell you about their history, powers and even small details like facial features.

                            ===Gameplay===
                            Combat was clearly one of the things that made the original so good, so that's where I'll start. At the core, it remains the same here but is improved in some ways. You use one button to punch and another to counter at the basic level. It may not sound very good, but the fluidity of your character's movements and the array of animations is great. There's more to it than that, however. When you attack and counter successfully, your multiplier builds up earning you points. Earning a number of points means a level up and this allows you to purchase upgrades, ranging from improved armour to special moves and more. One certain upgrade, for instance, allows you to snap an enemy's weapon by tapping two buttons on the controller at the same time. Another gives you the ability to stun opponents around you within a distance by hitting two other buttons. The final big feature, is being allowed to use a variety of gadgets while in combat but much more easily by using the button combination unique for each gadget. It can be difficult at first, but when mastered it could be handy.

                            Stealth was another gameplay mechanic that made Arkham Asylum the success it was, so Rocksteady haven't appeared to change it at all. Here's your typical stealth scenario: you're in a large room with a group of thugs with guns. Melee combat isn't an option, as Batman is pretty defenceless when it comes to gunfire. Grappling up to the nearest gargoyle or platform is the best option. For me, it was sadly a case of 'hang from platform, wait until enemy walks under and tie them up (you can hang enemies from platforms, which can be quite funny), make sure no one is looking'. This was possibly a result of the rooms being more open than in the first game, so unfortunately I sighed as I entered one of these situations.

                            Possibly the biggest new thing is the open-world you can explore. Initially it seems quite big, but as you get used to it you realise it's nothing compared to Just Cause 2. Despite the small size, there's a lot to do and plenty of buildings to glide over. There are over four hundred Riddler secrets to discover, including riddles, Riddler trophies, Joker teeth plus balloons and cameras to destroy. These give you points, but doing these things is a reward in itself. There's plenty of content here, then, to keep you occupied for hours and hours and you're sure to come back for more later even after completing the game 100%.

                            Overall, the gameplay is much improved so it's near perfection now. The combat is fluent and easy to get to grips with. The multiplier system makes it even better and in each fight, you'll be pushing even harder to get your highest score yet. A variety of animations, new moves and upgrades also make the game even more compelling. The stealth needs improving in my opinion, however. I felt there wasn't much strategy to it but this is made up for by the open world and loads of unlockables. The city may not be that big but is extremely detailed and fits in well with the dark and gripping story. In addition, there are loads of challenge maps to play, which place you in combat and stealth scenarios so there's much more than plenty to get your hands on.

                            ===Graphics & Sound===
                            The graphics aren't of the quality in Uncharted 2, but are still very good. The dark city looks beautiful and extremely well detailed. The characters also look good and Batman's suit gets torn and battered as the game goes on, which is a nice touch. There is a lot of concept art to get your hands on too, which shows off drawn designs of characters and elements of the city. The sound is another strong point in the game, with a brilliant voice cast. Kevin Conroy returns as Batman, and Mark Hamill (best known as Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) also comes back as Joker. Nolan North plays Penguin (sigh) but at least he proves he can be quite versatile in his voicing, using a Cockney accent here. There are loads of other great voice actors, too. The music is top-notch - there are some epic pieces which really deserve to be heard.

                            ===Content===

                            Arkham City has a BBFC 15 rating for 'strong bloody violence and images of injury'. I didn't see much blood at all in the game, but it is quite violent, with brutal fights occurring frequently across the course of the game. There is also some language but there's nothing really strong. I'd say it's suitable for anyone of 12 and over,

                            ===The Verdict===

                            NEGATIVES
                            It's really hard to point out anything wrong with Arkham City, but there are a couple of negatives. There aren't as many 'bloody hell!' moments as there were in Arkham Asylum. Nothing comes close to the Scarecrow scenes, for example. Also, I didn't enjoy the stealth sections. But other than those, there's nothing to complain about.

                            POSITIVES
                            The story is fantastic and is much darker and complex than the first time round and from the dark beginning to shocking ending, you'll be gripped. The gameplay is excellent, with combat really impressing and some great improvements. There's a great world to explore - it may be small, but is greatly detailed and full of hidden secrets to find and collect, meaning 40+ hours of searching around. The graphics are fabulous, and there is loads of great voice acting. The music is excellent too and the atmosphere is nailed; you really feel like Batman. This game proves that Rocksteady are a developer to look out for in the future.

                            NOTE: The Catwoman levels available in the game require an Online Pass to play, meaning you won't be able to play them if you have no internet or a pre-owned copy of the game. If you have a pre-owned copy, you can pay £7.99 for them but in my opinion it's not really worth the money for only a few hours of gameplay. Though, you need this to complete the game 100% so its really your choice.

                            Thanks for reading! This review is also posted on Ciao under my name YoshiCheesePuff.

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