Greetings mortals, I am DracoJames102 and I am here to give you a review.

Sorry I have been out of commission for a while. University work has really been getting in the way lately as well as a bunch of other stuff, but who cares. It’s time for my twentieth review spectacular. Seeing how I reviewed something I absolutely hated for my tenth review, I am going to review something I absolutely love for this review. This is my review of ‘Batman Arkham City’.

Batman Arkham City Title Card

‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ was a massively successful game in 2009. If you want my opinion on the game, check out my review of it on this site. Only a few months after the game was released, there were already leaks on the internet which implied that a sequel was coming out in 2011. Needless to say, people were exited for it. After playing ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ myself a couple of months before ‘Batman Arkham City’, I was getting exited along with everybody else. It is 2014 now which makes the game nearly three years old. Does ‘Batman Arkham City’ still hold up? Did it manage to improve upon what already made ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ so great? The answer is obvious at this point but let’s dive right in anyway. Before we do, I’d like to point out that I am reviewing the PS3 version and I have no experience with the Wii U Armoured Edition.

batman cover

Story

The game takes place one year after the events of ‘Arkham Asylum.’ During that time, Quincy Sharp (the former warden of the asylum in the last game) managed to win his political campaign and became mayor of Gotham City. After he became mayor, a man named Hugo Strange became the new warden and decided to close off a huge part of Gotham City and create a huge super prison called ‘Arkham City’, which contains all of the asylum inmates as well as the prisoners from Blackgate prison. Bruce Wayne doesn’t think that this is right and so he begins a campaign to get Arkham City shut down. However when he makes a speech to the press, Hugo Strange sends his guards to arrest Bruce. When Bruce wakes up, Strange reveals to him that he is aware that Bruce Wayne is Batman and that if he stops something called ‘Protocol 10′, Hugo will reveal his secret to the world. Hugo throws Bruce into Arkham City where a crime war is taking place between Joker, The Penguin and Two-Face fighting over territory in the city. Bruce orders his butler Alfred to send him his bat-suit via the Batwing and now he has to fight his way through a huge chunk of his gallery of rogues, including Raj’s Al’ Ghul, Mr. Freeze, Riddler etc. and put a stop to Protocol 10.

batman story

The story as a whole is really enjoyable. Although it isn’t as streamlined as ‘Arkham Asylum’s story, I was really invested in what was happening. I enjoyed running into the many Batman enemies, the story was interesting and there was a brilliant twist at the end which I won’t dare give away. Overall the story was good and I really enjoyed.

Gameplay

The game mechanics of the last game make a return here. The control scheme is the same as the last game though I feel like some actions were switched around between buttons. The L1 button allows you to access your gadgets, the L2 button activates detective mode, the R1 button allows you to shoot the grapple hook and the R2 allows you to crouch. I never understood why they did that but aside from that the control scheme is still the same.

batman gameplay three

There are some new features in the gameplay. For example, Batman can use a multiple counter technique when he is fighting grunts by  tapping the triangle button a certain number of times equal to the number of grunts that are about to punch Batman. Batman also has a new ultra stun technique which you can perform by pressing the circle button three times. This technique is incredibly useful against bigger enemies. Batman can also perform a glide boost by holding down the R2 button while he is gliding. This can be used to dive bomb into enemies or it can used to gain extra height in flight by releasing the button.

batman glide

Not only do most of Batman’s gadgets from the last game make a return here, but he gets a whole lot of cool new gadgets to play with. Batman gets his trademark smoke pellet which can be used to escape from enemies armed with guns and can also be used as an offensive weapon where you can blind your enemies and take them down while they are confused. Along the story, Batman assembles a big gun which shoots out electric pellets that not only shocks enemies but is also used for progression (though where he could fit it in his utility belt is what I’m still trying to figure out). Batman also acquires freeze grenades from Mr. Freeze which not only freezes enemies but it also creates a platform on water that Batman can use to get to areas he couldn’t access before. Another one of his gadgets is a disruptor that can deactivate the guns of the grunts and it can later be upgrades to detonate mines. Like ‘Arkham Asylum’ you can spend experience points to upgrade Batman’s techniques or his gadgets.

batman gadget

Most over-world games have a tendency to be boring and the landmarks can blend in with each other. That is not the case with ‘Arkham City’. This world not only manages to be bigger than ‘Arkham Island’ from the last game, but it has tons of memorable landmarks such as the Ace Chemical Factory, the Steel Mill and the building being taken over by Poison Ivy’s plants.

batman building

‘Arkham City’ also has a ton of side-quests that you can do, some of which you unlock as you play through the story. You can rescue political prisoners from being abused, acquire upgrades for your gadgets by completing certain side-quests and accomplish side-quests that have you battling more of Batman’s enemies such as Bane, Mad Hatter, Deadshot, Zzaz and Hush. But the biggest side-quest of them all involves the Riddler, who has kidnapped hostages and threatens to kill them if you do not solve his puzzle rooms. In order to access the rooms however, you have to collect more riddler trophies and solve the riddles that are scattered around Arkham City and once you have finally collected everything Riddler related, you can access this hideout. This is one quest I’m pretty sure you will spend a long time trying to complete. In fact this is the first time I ever fully beat this side quest while I was playing this game for the review.

batman gameplay one

The grunts that you fight along the way have the same tactics as they do in ‘Arkham Asylum’ along with a few new tricks up their sleeve. Some of them can be armed with new weapons such as knives which are awkward to counter, shields which are annoying to deal with in big groups, stun batons which can stun you temporarily allowing enemies to get a free shot and they can throw nearby objects. Stealth sections can also have grunts armed with goggles that detect heat signatures whenever they scan gargoyles or even signal jammers which can disrupt your detective mode. They have even grown smart enough to shoot the gargoyle statues down so you can’t use them anymore. Overall the grunts are more challenging than the grunts in ‘Arkham Asylum’, but don’t worry. The challenge still feels just right and the difficulty rightfully scales as you progress with the game.

batman grunt

One of the problems I’ve had with ‘Arkham Asylum’ was how repetitive and boring the boss fights were. That is not the case with ‘Arkham City’. The boss fights are more exiting, more fun and there is more variety between them. Raj’s Al Ghul’s boss fight is what the final fight with Scarecrow in the last game should have been and the fights between Solomon Grundy and the final boss are something I never tire of. However the best boss in the game has to be Mr. Freeze. The fight itself is structured like a typical stealth section, but Mr. Freeze adapts his freezing suit so that you can’t use the same strategy twice, allowing you to use your brains and figure out other creative ways to deplete his health.

batman boss

Challenge mode is back from ‘Arkham Asylum’ only in this game it is known as ‘Riddler’s Revenge’. It pretty much works like it did in the last game so there’s not much to go into it. Read my ‘Arkham Asylum’ review on this site to know what it’s all about.

Graphics

The graphics of the game are just as good as ‘Arkham Asylum’. The character models from ‘Arkham Asylum’ are re-used here which I don’t mind too much because they were very well structured and detailed to begin with. What does set this game apart from the last game is the atmosphere. The lighting and colouring really make us feel like we are in a dank, dark city of corruption which can make the player feel pretty tense at times.

Music

The music in this game is superbly epic. Since ‘Arkham City’ is much larger and grander than ‘Arkham Asylum’, the music has scaled right along with it. Each piece of music manages to fit the mood perfectly whether it’s during stealth sections, gang fights or exploring along a certain area. The title piece music is also fantastic and it puts you in the right mood for a game like this.

The voice acting is also superb. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill do a fantastic job as always, but now we have Harley Quin being played by a pretty famous voice actress named Tara Strong, who is famous for voicing Ben 10, Raven from ‘Teen Titans’ and that purple unicorn from the recent ‘My Little Pony’ cartoon (Don’t get any funny ideas! My little sister watches the show while I babysit her).

Control

The control feels just as smooth as it did in the last game, although it does feel more flowing when you are fighting groups of enemies.

Downloadable Content

When you get the game new, you would get a free code to download Catwoman as a playable character and you can play as her in certain parts in the main story. Catwoman has less health and doesn’t have as many gadgets as Batman, but she is more agile so she’s pretty fun to play as.

batman catwoman

You can also download Robin and Nightwing as playable characters but they can only be used in Challenge Mode. Robin fights with a staff and Nightwing uses stun batons. There are even more challenge maps for you to download. My personal favourite DLC are the alternate costumes that you can get for each character. My personal costumes are the animated series costumes for each character, Batman’s suit from ‘Batman of the Future’ and Batman’s Sinestro core outfit.

batman costume

The last bit of DLC is a short event that you can play through called ‘Harley Quin’s revenge’, which takes place after the main story. Honestly this event is pretty underwhelming. It doesn’t add anything new to the story and the objects you have to achieve within the event are pretty forgettable. Overall it isn’t bad, it is just uninteresting. On the positive aspect, it does allow us to play as Robin during a story sequence.

harley quin

Final thoughts

Overall ‘Batman Arkham City’ is without a doubt the best superhero game ever released. I think that ‘Batman Arkham Asylum’ is still a great game but this game manages to improve on just about everything. There is a reason why this game won the ‘Game of the Year’ award in 2011. You don’t have to be a fan of Batman to enjoy this game and I think that just about anyone can pick up and play it. If you can, grab the ‘Game of the Year’ edition which comes with all of the DLC so you can save some cash. It is an incredibly fun game and it is definitely the definitive Batman experience.

 

Final rating: 10/10

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Comments
  1. capebuster says:

    This is probably my favorite video game of all time.

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