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Batman Arkham City, is definitely the best game I have played this year, if not, ever. It is the sequel to the game Batman Arkham Asylum and Warner Bros have really done a brilliant job. The game is not just a simple play through and finish. I started playing the game 5 days ago and after completing the main story, I am still entertained by the side missions and the trophy challenges. It really is a game which stands out among all of the other superhero games. You've got your Spiderman games or even Marvel Ultimate Alliance but none even come close to this Alpha Male. I found that this game has hours on end of enjoyable gameplay.
The main story is well planned and though out. With twists and turns on the hour the game really keeps the gamer interested. The story starts with Bruce Wayne being put into Arkham City prison whilst he is holding a press conference to declare his opposition. Whilst in prison Bruce is confronted (well, on a screen) by Hugo Strange, who is a bad, bad man. Hugo informs Bruce Wayne that he knows his true dual identity (the Batman). The first scene you play as Bruce Wayne. As Hugo is preparing to begin "protocol 10" (in which I cannot explain more about because that would ruin the fun), Bruce finds his way to a local rooftop to get the supply drop from Alfred Pennyworth which allows Bruce to change into his Batman Attire.
The story mode now truly commences, you swing round as Batman trying to find out what Protocol 10 is whilst chasing around after various villains such as The Joker, Two-Face and Ra's Al Ghul. Along the story you meet various enemies and allies. While in the process of trying to find Protocol 10 you are faced with an instant second main objective. The Joker, who has become poisoned in some way transfers some of his blood to you and you soon find out that he is poisoning the entire Arkham City and then planning to head on to Gotham. So, along with finding out what Protocol 10 is in the short time in which you have, you also need to find a cure to the disease, which will kill you in less than 12 hours. So, the entire game becomes a race against time. Some way through you join forces with Mr Freeze as he knows the cure. So, without further explanation... The story is absolutely phenomenal.
The gameplay of Batman Arkham City is also excellent. The factor in this game that is the race against time really makes you push on and carry on. As you can imagine, where possible, you need to be stealthy and untouchable. This, being the Batman is quite possible. You will get frequent updates throughout the game from your main assistant Alfred with some minor inputs from the Oracle. Batman's gadget system is rather impressive, for example the Batarang which you have from the start or the freeze proximity grenade which you get towards the end. There are so many upgrades and gadgets that you can upgrade. The way to upgrade them is by gaining experience through fighting or completing objectives. Although there is no way to find out what level you are, you get an upgrade for each level you upgrade.
The fighting is one of the key parts of the game. When completing objectives you can be sure there will be some fighting involved. The fighting system is brilliant, you get hit combo's and you can upgrade Batman so as he gets critical hits or even knock out hits after a 12x multiplier. Hitting high combos is easy enough, my highest is 43. While completing missions and taking out guards there is also a stealthy way to do it. There are about 15 different ways to "takedown" guards, varying from silent behind takedowns, inverted ledge takedowns or blade dodge takedowns. You must swing between the buildings and glide around the city to get from objective to objective.
Completing missions in the main story can also gain you experience, and lots of it, but there are also side missions, which are all fantastic. There are side missions such as the mystery watcher. He appears when you finish a mission 4 times and you have to go and speak to him on a rooftop. When you see a random man staring at you as you walk out of a building may be very eerie however it is a side mission in which must be done. Another side mission is catching Deadshot, he is assassinating people around the city and you have to find clues using Batman's evidence scanner. You can work out the trajectory of the shot to see where it was shot from, and may I say, Deadshot is pretty handy with a sniper!
A continuous thing throughout the game is the riddles and trophies left by The Riddler. Some of these are very tedious and time consuming however they must be done. You have to complete his little tasks to try and save the hostages he's taken. Riddler trophies are found absolutely everywhere around the city and you need to find a certain amount to rescue a hostage. Once the side mission is started you can interrogate some of his street thugs to gain the positioning of trophies within the area.
That is not it for the gameplay either. The Catwoman downloadable content allows you to play various episodes as her. Catwoman's story is also a good idea, you play like a true Catwoman trying to capture some loot and get money in any way possible. Although she does not have as many gadgets or missions as the Batman, she is still an interesting character to play as. When you have completed her episodes she has also 1 side mission. Two-Face has stolen all of her loot and the side mission is to beat up 16 street thugs who possess the loot.
The one disadvantage of Batman Arkham City is the fact that there is no online play. My friend also has this game and the only thing we can compete on is the amount of achievements we each have from the game (I'm leading by 60 Gamerscore!). I would have liked there to be some sort of co-op online mode or something which would allow us to compete. Offline however there are some small challenges in which you can complete to earn some trophies. The challenges are also set by that horrible man, the Riddler.
The achievements on this game are also a good challenge. Although approximately 400 is collected from campaign and a further 200 from the side missions. You can collect achievements from completing the offline trophies and there are even a couple of challenge achievements such as "Gotham Base Jumper" where you have to jump from the highest building in Arkham City and glide for a minute straight. Other achievements require more time. Such as the achievement for getting another to catch a thrown Batarang. To do this you must throw a remote Batarang at the Mystery Watcher I spoke of earlier.
The graphics of this game are also jaw-dropping. The combat and even the cutscenes have brilliant scenery and a fantastic detail. Throughout the game Batman and Catwoman both gain various cuts and slices, and Batman, even a gunshot wound. These are impressive as they can be seen as you progress. Even in combat, you can make out the war wounds on the Batman which I think is a brilliant effect. While in Batman's "Detective Mode" where you can see everything that is happening, the BPM of enemies hearts and an analysis of them and their weapons, the graphics are still impressive. It consists of a blue background.
In conclusion, Batman Arkham City is my personal favourite game as far as I remember. I tend not to play these logic games however as a big Batman fan I wanted to get the game. Although Arkham City is still reasonably expensive (£10-£20) it is definitely worth getting and I would recommend it to anybody.
Rocksteady are the producers and they have announced that they will introduce the next game in the series which will be a prequel. I am looking forward to this although it is coming out at 2014 earliest! So all considered, Get Batman Arkham City!
If I'd told you in 2001 that soon the Batman films and games would be brilliant you would have laughed in my face. Now with the excellent Nolan films and the truly outstanding Arkham series of games, we seem to be going through something of a Bat-renaissance. I don't know what it says about our modern culture that our version of the renaissance is based around a man who dresses like a giant bat but that's a debate for another time.
Arkham City, the sequel to the brilliant Arkham Asylum, isn't as good as its predecessor, but is still an excellent action adventure game that I can easily recommend. The graphics and presentation are fantastic, the story is entertaining and I won't spoil any of it here (there's a place for a games plot, and that's in the actual game, not in a text box describing it) and most essentially of all it is fun to play. Gliding through the streets of Arkham City is probably the closest a game has come to making us feel like Batman, and unless the sequel kills our parents and inspires us to become costumed vigilantes I can't see it topping that.
Where it falls down is its relationship with Arkham Asylum (easily a five star game). The effective combat returns from that game, which is still fun and satisfying but there's a lot more of it this time. Doing something again and again in a videogame isn't fun, and enemies should be greeted as an exciting new challenge, not with a heavy sigh as you realise there's even more of them to get through.
It's easy to get lost in Arkham city, not that it's a huge sandbox for a videogame, just that the navigation isn't as reliable as you would like, and Batman doesn't quite move through the city as smoothly as you need him too. Gliding isn't designed for accurate landing and sometimes that really shows. Again, not game ruining, but frustrating.
Arkham city's biggest flaws stem from its ambition to be more than Arkham Asylum. More combat! Larger levels! More gadgets! But in doing that it's lost the excellent pacing of Arkham Asylum, and feels like more of a game filled with ideas than one that quite knows how to use them properly. Strange when you consider most of those ideas were from the first game, where they were intergrated seamlessly.
Regardless of its flaws, an outstanding title, but not quite the Arkham Asylum beater you might have been hoping for.
This game is the sequel to Batman Arkham Asylum which was an awesome game and really set the standard for Batman's follow up games.
Here we are in Arkham City where the enemies from Arkham Asylum of the previous game have now broken out and have taken over Arkham City and has now been locked off by the government creating a kind of baddie-playground of destruction which Batman has now got to go and sort out. Weirdly though Catwoman is on his side and you can play the game again but as Catwoman who handles quicker than Batman but her method of getting around the city by trying to jump up buildings but then falling down them if you don't hit the right control button at the right time is very annoying to say the least.
Batman handles exactly like the previous game infact the whole game handles like Arkham Asylum only it's not in Arkham Asylum it's in a less scary city with streets, lamp posts, and public telephones. The scenery of the city looks like the cat's thrown up on a texturisation update. In plain I think they're trying to do too much too soon graphically although it does look nice and everything it still needs to keep up with Batman as he's flying around the place with his Bat Claw.
Missions again don't differ too much from the original game only you're not focused on just one baddie you're trying to focus on all of them which is distracting and you get the feeling that there is just too much going on in this game. Infact people I know have tried to remedy this by just following the storyline missions, completing the game and then discovering that some of the side missions are locked off once the game is completed. So beware.
Having said that the game is good and you will go back to play it again as Catwoman as she has her own set of different missions and collectables. Go back for seconds!
With my experience with the game, I say that it is phenomenal. You could even compare it to Assassins Creed and you wouldn't know which would win. But to be fair to warn you that this game is not meant to be played by really oblivious gamers. I might even call myself a really dumb gamer at times. But the twists and turns (and complications) are very interesting. You will always be drawn into it more and more as it goes on.
Story: Of course, you are Batman, but if you have a certain dlc you can play as Catwoman in a whole different storyline. But since I didn't try to play as Catwoman yet I won't touch on the topic too much. So in a nutshell, Batman is captured by Dr. Hugo Strange as Bruce Wayne who was on a campaign to get rid of Arkham City, yadda yadda yadda, and you have to find a cure for yourself because the Joker infected you with his infectious blood. There will be many twists and turns but if I tell you about them, it will spoil the fun :D
Game Mechanics: The way you smash the faces of your enemies and the various amount of gadgets you get always amuses me. It feels very authentic to the Batman franchise and way you level up and go on quests causes a rpg feel to the game. By leveling and going on side missions causes you to find more information on other villains (sometimes), like the side quest with finding telephones. It gives you more background information on that one villain. Also it is just plain fun to grapple your enemy with the batclaw and then piledrive them into the ground with your elbow.
Batman: Arkham City is the second Batman game from developer Rocksteady Studios. By acquiring the license to produce games based on the Batman universe, the developers were taking a big risk. Probably not a financial risk, as any half-decent game which used Bruce Wayne's alter-ego as the protagonist would surely sell. Rather they were risking their credibility; would they opt to cash-in on an incredibly popular franchise and sully their reputation, or would they fulfil fans' dreams and create something special?
Fortunately the latter has been true of both games; Rocksteady have clearly put their heart and soul into both projects. This game's predecessor, Arkham Asylum was very well received, but the sequel builds and improves upon it in almost every conceivable way. This is a brilliant adventure game, with an atmospheric setting, diverse and thrilling combat, a great variety of gameplay and loads of engaging content...
<<< The Caped Crusade...>>>
1 - The Situation...
Arkham City is a single-player adventure game, set in the North of Gotham City, which has been cordoned off from the rest of the metropolis and used as a heavily fortified prison to house the local criminal contingent. Chaos reigns inside, with competing criminal factions locked in conflict, orchestrated by top notch baddies The Joker, The Penguin, and Harvey Dent (aka Two Face). As Bruce Wayne, you inevitably find yourself kidnapped and stranded in this cauldron of mayhem, for a reason as yet unknown...
2 - The Setting...
From the very beginning of the game, the towering metropolis of North Gotham is open for you to explore, and although it isn't the largest open-world ever in game, it is certainly one of the most richly detailed and fun to discover. The city is brilliantly realised in a dark and grimy stylised gothic way, almost exactly as you would expect.
3 - The Story...
The main story line is exciting, full of twists and turns, making great use of the whole city and striking a delicate balance between the sublime and the ridiculous. The plot is satisfyingly sinister and foreboding, but with the presence of ice grenades, toxic viruses, mutated henchmen, mind control, and even a shark, you are constantly reminded that you are in a comic book world, and anything is within the realms of possibility.
4 - The Stars...
Arkham City makes fantastic use of the array of It is a real ensemble performance, with star turns from The Joker (of course), Penguin, Harvey Dent, Edward Nigma (The Riddler), Catwoman (who you can also play several missions as), Poison Ivy, Bane and Mr Freeze among others. I'm not a hardcore comic fan, so I was able to discover loads more villainous characters who enter into the main plot and side missions, including The Mad Hatter, The Black Mask, Calendar Man, and a great many more besides.
<<< Be The Bat... >>>
I'm not an avid comic book fan, but for me, Batman has always been one of the most appealing comic book heroes. Please note that I did not say "superheroes", as Batman's main discerning characteristic is his lack of actual super powers. In the comics, he is referred to as "The World's Greatest Detective", and prospers due to a combination physical prowess, stealth, intelligence, agility and skill.
This is what makes the character so compelling, and what Rocksteady have recreated so well in this game. Whatever you're doing, wherever you are, they really make you feel like you are Batman throughout the experience...
1 - Go Go Gadgets...
Whether you're using 'Detective Vision' to pinpoint the position of enemies or analyse evidence at a crime scene, or shooting up to the heights of a skyscraper using your grapple gun, the wide range of gadgets at your disposal provide so much fun, variety and immersion into the character. The brilliantly intuitive controls mean you can hack security terminals, destroy surveillance cameras, soar across chasms on a zip-wire, disable mines, spray explosive gel and much more with a couple of simple button presses. There are so many features and gadgets to get your head around that you often have to stop and think before you accidentally do something you shouldn't, but they are introduced incrementally throughout the game to ensure you get used to them at a comfortable speed.
2 - I Get Around...
Probably my favourite aspect of Arkham City is the rudimentary process of moving around. Sure, Batman can stride confidently about the streets, or crouch and move urgently and silently through the shadows, but that's not even 1% of the thrill here. From the very first time I reached the summit of a Gotham skyscraper, leapt from the building and opened my cape, I knew I could happily spend hours gliding, soaring, swooping and diving around the city. I probably had to restrain myself from yelling "I'm Batman" on more than once occasion.
In all seriousness, there is no better way to see the sprawling metropolis of Gotham than by cape and "grapnel gun", surveying the scene, exploring the heights and depths of the city, and swooping down on unsuspecting goons on a whim is an exhilarating experience, and a real highlight of the game which has been exceptionally crafted.
3 - Pow! Biff! Thwack!
Hand-to-hand combat makes up a significant portion of the game too. The city is swarming with faceless goons to be dispatched, and you will often find yourself outnumbered, which is part of the fun. Now, this is not a 'beat-em-up' game, and you could actually criticise the controls for being too simplistic here - there is one button to attack, one to counter, one to stun your enemy with your cape, and one to jump/evade. After a couple of encounters, your options begin to look very limited and things look like they could become very stale indeed.
However, the pleasant surprise is that they don't. The beauty of the combat system is timing, rhythm, and stringing together long combos without being hit yourself. Rather than mindless button-mashing, you are rewarded for carefully timing your attacks, reacting to your enemies' strikes and executing evasive manoeuvres. As the game progresses, you gain access to many upgrades, including more powerful attacks, special combo moves, and the ability to integrate gadgets such as the Batarang and grappling hook into your combos. Similarly, your enemies may acquire certain 'tools' to aid them; baseball bats, knives, riot shields, and body armour will force you to mix up your tactics in order to survive.
4 - Hunter or Hunted?
Of course there are many, many occasions in the game, where the enemies you face carry firearms, which is a total game-changer. One of the most important aspects of Batman is that he is vulnerable; he is tough and wears body armour, but he is human, and most definitely mortal. You must do everything you can to avoid being discovered, or coming face-to-face with a trigger happy goon, and thus the 'stealth' sections of the game are a stark contrast to the combat sections.
Entering a room or outdoor area occupied by armed enemies, your chief weapons are stealth, strategy, surprise, and fear. The pace of the game completely changes; you hang from gargoyles, crawl though ventilations shafts, and hide under grates as your survey the scene, then pounce and swoop to dispatch the enemies.
There are great gameplay features at work here, including the ability to cause rising tension and even panic among your enemies as their comrades are picked off one by one. There is also a tremendous array of attacks and strategies at your disposal, and there are always many ways to clear a room, depending on your favourite gadgets or chosen approach. This is another of the game's high points, which makes you really feel like Batman.
5 - Meet the New Boss...
The Boss encounters in Arkham City are a mixed bag, and the only real downside to the game. The Batman universe has an embarrassment of riches in terms of villains and whilst many are well integrated into the story, the final showdowns with them often leave a lot to be desired. They are sometimes rushed, often too easy, and generally patchy. Fortunately they make up a relatively small proportion of the game so as not to spoil it. They aren't great, but the saving grace is that none of these encounters are anywhere near as bad as the predecessor Arkham Asylum's appallingly bad final confrontation with The Joker.
<<< Side Shows and Extras... >>>
In addition to the main story, this game boasts a strong set of side quests. Some of these will last a few minutes, whilst others will have you trawling the entire city, or frantically racing across the rooftops. There is plenty of variety here, and the opportunity to engage with lesser known characters in the Batman universe. However what really sets the game apart is the massive selection of hidden items, secrets, unlockable features and additional story points to explore.
1 - E. Nigma...
The most expansive side quest without doubt is provided by Edward Nigma (The Riddler) who is desperate to outwit Batman. He has taken hostages who you have to save, but in order to find out their locations, you must collect hundreds of hidden trophies, solve riddles, complete challenges, and destroy objects throughout the city. This section of the game provides a great diversion, some compelling and often very challenging puzzles, and interesting riddles, and ultimately contributes to several hours of game time in itself.
2 - For the BatFans...
Throughout the game, and depending on how thorough you are, you will unlock lots of interesting story snippets and exposes on characters you meet and places you explore. These add great depth, and must be great extras for true fans of the comic books.
3 - Upgrades and Progression...
As I have mentioned, there are many combat upgrades and new gadgets which become available throughout the game. These are a great way or encouraging the player to invest more time in the game, and ensure a good sense of progression, whilst adding some real fun elements to gameplay.
<<< Graphics... >>>
The dark, moody and gothic feel of Gotham City is very well captured in this game. You feel like you are part of a living, breathing graphic novel, and the surroundings of the open city are richly detailed, full of deep shadows and shallow neon lights. Character animations are very well done, and I did not experience any kind of graphical glitches while playing; this is a very polished game.
One unfortunate drawback is to do with the detective mode. This is an invaluable gadget, akin to night vision, which brightens the surroundings, and highlights the locations of enemies, security consoles, destructible objects, etc. in vivid colour. It's a great tool, but I found it so essential to picking out enemies in the darkness and planning my attacks that I often felt I was spending too much time viewing the world in this modem and not fully appreciating the normal dark and moody setting of the city. The lesson: make sure you take time to soak up the atmospheric setting before popping those goggles on!
<<< Sound... >>>
Arkham City features a rousing and brilliantly orchestrated soundtrack. The music suits the changing moods of the game very well, will a good mix of suspenseful, tense tracks and dramatic, exciting ones too. The wide range of sound effects for the gadgets and combat are very good without being amazing, and fit well with the game.
Perhaps the best facet of sound design is the voice acting. Although the generic thugs can sometimes be a bit repetitive in their dialogue, the main stars and villains are all most all brilliantly done. Special mentions have to go to Kevin Conroy as Batman, and especially Mark Hamill (of Star Wars fame) who is superb as The Joker.
<<< Final Thoughts... >>>
Wow. Batman: Arkham Asylum is a brilliant action and adventure game. It combines stealth, gadgets and combat to outstanding effect, to create a really engrossing, fun and varied experience. The wealth of unlockables, collectibles and hidden extras mean there is loads to explore, many hours of entertainment, and lots of value for big Batman fans. Most importantly, this game does the character justice; it lets you be Batman, and fully experience the thrill of being the Dark Knight, complete with your skills, intellect, power and vulnerability.