Several years after the successful release of Arkham Asylum, Rocksteady’s sequel to the award-winning game is finally here as the Dark Knight moves from the Asylum to Arkham City, where thugs and familiar enemies in the Batman universe await. Using some of the best game elements from Arkham Asylum, fans of the Dark Knight will feel welcomed right away.
The conclusion of Arkham Asylum hinted at a sequel. Since then, fans have been excited and eager to play Batman: Arkham City. Back when the first game was released, we rated the game a perfect 5. With the release of Arkham City, will it get the same perfect score? Let’s look in the HOTs and NOTs of Batman: Arkham City.
Impressive Storyline with a lot of Twist
The identity of Batman has always been a secret, known only to a select few individuals. In Arkham City, the infamous Dr. Hugo Strange learns Bruce Wayne’s secret and abducts him, which is where the epic story begins. As Bruce Wayne manages to escape the prison where he was abducted, he then learns that Strange has a bigger plot to unveil in less than 24 hours, known as Protocol Ten. As the Dark Knight tries to figure out what the Protocol Ten really is, he will have to go through Gotham City’s Arkham area, where thugs and iconic villains await him with a plot of their own to reveal. Players can expect to see Mr. Cobblepot, also known as the Penguin, Two Face, Harley Quinn, the Joker, Catwoman, and many more.
Compared to its predecessor, Batman: Arkham City is a much bigger game with several stories to be told and an open-world gameplay. Batman will have to go through the villains’ lairs solving the mysteries that he encounters. There will be a museum, underground passages, sewers, police stations, and side streets to explore.
Beautiful Gotham City
In the dark landscape of Gotham City, players will be impressed with how Arkham City has evolved. Moving from the linear gameplay of Arkham Asylum, players will now have to explore half of Gotham City. Expect to see beautiful tall skyscrapers and dark, gritty environments that make the city come alive and emphasize its sinister side.
Along with the beautiful scenery, character designs are masterfully done. Players who hope to see characters from the comic series come to life will be impressed by how it was done by Rocksteady. The detail of Two Face, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, and the Joker is just phenomenal, and the visuals have improved from Arkham Asylum. The exemplary voice acting deserves special commendation, as it helps immerse players into Batman’s world.
Same Brawling Combat System with New Combos
The execution of the brawling combat system in Arkham Asylum is well done and, thankfully, it’s back in Arkham City. For those who have played Arkham Asylum, they will feel very comfortable with the controls of the game, as they’re pretty much the same. Brawling with enemies is done by pressing a couple of buttons, and executing combos is easy. Despite having the same brawling combat system, Rocksteady implemented some new moves that Batman can use, such as the Bat Swarm, which creates a circle of bats around the enemies, making them distracted for a couple of a seconds.
Stealth was one of the key elements of Arkham Asylum and fans will be pleased to do the same thing in Arkham City. Since Batman is pretty much vulnerable to attacks, as he doesn’t have super powers like Superman, he will have to rely on sneaky tactics. Players will have to lurk in the shadows and use Batman’s gadgets to take out foes, most of which will be armed.
Challenge Rooms are Back and Many More!
Finishing Arkham City can take players up to 25-35 hours depending as what the players do. After completing the main campaign, there are other things to do such as hunting for Riddler Trophies, doing all the available side quests scattered throughout the city, and attempting challenge rooms. Simply finishing the campaign doesn’t end the Dark Knight’s adventure at all.
For those who enjoyed the Challenge Rooms in Arkham Asylum, they will be pleased to hear that they’ve made a comeback in Arkham City. With more maps and characters to use, playing through the challenges is a fun experience especially with Robin as a playable character. The maps to the Challenge Rooms are unlocked by playing through the game’s campaign.
Play as Catwoman in her own side story
The brand new copy of Batman Arkham City that you receive will contain an online pass that will download Catwoman’s side story. Yes, Catwoman is playable and with her several missions in the game, players can explore Gotham City as the ferocious feline heroine. It is recommended to play Catwoman’s story first before jumping into the main campaign of the Dark Knight. Expect a couple of hours in finishing Catwoman’s missions.
Boss Fights are Push Over
While everything might seem too perfect in Arkham City, it all falls down to the difficulty of the bosses. In Arkham City, there are decent boss fights in the game, but none of them offer much of a challenge. It would be great if they would add some difficulty to the boss fights, since true Bat-fans are prepared to take on tough bosses. Want to know who Batman will get to fight? Well, let’s say Mr. Freeze, Hammerman, Penguin, and a lot more.
Used Game Buyers Beware
Players who loves buying used games will miss out on the Catwoman DLC, which will only be available to players that buy the game new. However, if you are willing to spend money to play Catwoman’s adventure, the DLC will become available on the marketplace. For those who buy from Gamestop, it’s been revealed that used buyers will still get the Catwoman’s DLC code for free, but then that’s something we have to see.
In the end, Rocksteady did it again with the release of Arkham City. The game is beautifully impressive and the shift to the open world gameplay really makes a big difference as players can now explore and enjoy the dark streets of Gotham City. Despite the easy boss fights, the game is still phenomenal and simply the greatest Batman adventure you can imagine.
[Editor’s Note: Batman Arkham City was reviewed on the Xbox 360 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Batman: Arkham City Review,