Batman : Arkham City Review
Batman : Arkham City
The latest release from game developer Rocksteady is Batman: Arkham City, which picks up after the smash 2009 hit Batman: Arkham Asylum and continues the great gameplay and storyline. Returning as Batman, you control the superhero through the streets, buildings, and roofs of Arkham City while searching for numerous villains bent on ruining you. Rocksteady has another bona fide hit with this installment of the Batman legacy.
The caped crusader has never looked so good on the screen, built on the Unreal Engine 3 the game graphics look amazing, with the dangerous city being extremely detailed and flowing flawlessly as Batman flies and glides amongst the rooftops. Beating up the low level thugs has never been as much fun, the combat mechanics are smooth and the easy to get a hang of. It is extremely satisfying when you swoop down on a group of henchmen and detach them all using punches, kicks, counterattacks, and combos - never mind the use of all of the Dark Knight's gadgets. Once you have unlocked all of them there are numerous different ways to bring the beat down on the baddies.
The story is limited to just the streets of Arkham City and while the actual area may be small compared to other open world games it certainly does not feel small. As I said before the game is extremely detailed and has a really dark feel to it - as it should since after all this is Batman we're talking about. In addition to the main storyline where you face off against the Joker there are numerous side missions that involve other criminal minds from the comics including Victor Zsazs, the Mad Hatter, and others whose appearance I will not spoil. All of the villains seamlessly appear throughout the story, none of it feels forced which is a real tribute to Rocksteady and the story that they have created.
Adding to the story is the return of the Riddler's Revenge challenges and the new appearance of Catwoman (for anyone buying the game new there is a downloadable code to unlock her), both of which only add to the overall experience for the gamer. Just the collecting of Riddler's medals prove to be a timely task - but a necessary one to complete the challenges and earn all of the achievement points. The Catwoman storyline is more of a diversion from the Batman story but does have some interesting points. Certainly combat is not her specialty so you will have to rely more on stealth kills and counter attacks when using her. She does prove to be handy when searching for some of the Riddler's trophies, since she can collect hers as well as Batman's.
Completing the game and unlocking all the achievements prove to be too different things since the campaign will have to be beat once on Normal or Hard to unlock what is called New Game Plus (basically a very very Hard mode). In order to get the full achievement points you will need to complete the game to 100% twice - which will be very time consuming especially when you factor in the time it will take to collect & complete the Riddler's Revenge challenges with gold medals.
Also taking a bit of time is one achievement that requires Batman to visit a criminal named Calendar Man on certain dates throughout the year (Christmas Day, Valentines Day, etc.) but this has already been accomplished by anyone who has the patience to manually change the date on your Xbox 360 before starting the game. So while technically it shouldn't have been completed by anyone yet, there are a growing number of achievers who have done so.
Batman: Arkham Asylum was the first truly great comic book video game and this game only ups the ante, Arkham City is easily the best comic book superhero video game adaption ever put out. Building upon the characters and world from the original Rocksteady has made the sequel all the more awesome. This game is highly recommended to all gamers, especially those who can appreciate the numerous hidden gems and comic references sprinkled throughout the city.
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