Publisher: Feral Interactive
Description: Open-World Batman Exploration Returns
Arkham City takes place sometime after the events of the first game (knowledge of the first game helps, but is not essential). It seems Gotham has yet to learn from its previous mistakes and decides that building a huge city to house all of the criminals of Gotham is a great idea. It turns out that it isn’t, especially when you assign one, Hugo Strange, to head up the project. It is quickly revealed that Strange has some ulterior motives, and he ends up throwing Gotham’s finest, Bruce Wayne, into the deadly arena. Donning the Batman suit, Bruce needs to get to the bottom of this mad metropolis, causing him to come face-to-face with is arch nemesis, the Joker, once more.
But the Joker isn’t the only bad guy Batman is going to be fighting in Arkham City. The city’s gang culture has resulted in three main gangs, lead by either the Joker, Two-Face or Penguin. You’ll also come across other Batman villains you may recognise from the comics such as Mr Freeze and Bane. It’s an awesome line-up that’s portrayed absolutely perfectly. In fact, characterisation across the board is excellent, and the writers, voice actors and animators have done a sterling job at bringing some of the most loved characters in the comic and film industry to life.
This Game of the Year Edition features
However what this new story lacks when compared to Arkham Asylum is the intense physical and mental struggle between the main antagonist, the Joker, and Batman. In City, the story feels much more diluted, with the story jumping from Penguin to Two-Face to Joker, which causes it to lose that special flare. That being said, I really can’t complain about the additional cast.
What Arkham Asylum fans will love about City is that not much has changed from the core gameplay, it’s just got bigger and better. The stealth gameplay still involves swinging from gargoyle to gargoyle, sneaking through hidden vents, smashing through walls and taking advantage of environmental objects. But now, enemies are even more dangerous, with added gadgets like proximity mines, radio jammers, thermal vision goggles as well as new behaviours. They can even start holding hostages at gun point if they get too desperate. But Batman is equally more formidable with his extra gizmos like the reverse batarang and freeze blast which help unleash all kinds of mayhem upon your unlucky targets.
City has also got bigger. A lot bigger. Arkham City allows you to explore a huge open-world environment, much, much bigger than what was seen in Asylum. What’s more, the game has a lot of optional content as well. If you want, you can ignore the main campaign for a few hours, save a few Political Prisoners, collect a number of Riddler Trophies (of which there are over 400) or complete some of the many optional side-missions involving some otherwise unseen characters like Deadshot and Zsasz. Even if you manage to do all of that, there are still a ton of Riddler challenges, which add a lot of replay value onto the game. As in Asylum, City includes many Predator and Combat maps that test your skills in an isolated arena. If you want, you can try and clear the room a quickly as possible, or attempt to complete all of the specific challenges for that particular map. Arkham City certainly isn’t a game you can burn through in a few hours.
This Game of the Year Edition of Arkham City means that you won’t miss out on any extra content for the game. This version includes all extra maps, costumes and concept art, as well as the ability to play as Cat Woman in the campaign and Robin or Nighthawk in the challenge levels. It also includes the additional DLC, Harley’s Revenge for no additional cost. In short, this version has everything, ever released for the game from the start, which is awesome.
Batman Arkham City has its eye set on not replacing Asylum as a game, but expanding upon what it started. If you even remotely enjoyed Batman Arkham Asylum, then this title is only a natural extension from that, and is an absolute must purchase.
Pros: Bigger and better than is predecessor, some excellent new foes, Catwoman, Robin and Nighthawk playable characters, a much larger open world with optional missions.
Cons: Story can feel a little diluted.