Batman Arkham City is the sequel to Rocksteady's masterpeice, Batman Arkham Asylum.
The Dark Knight has arrived and it's been quite a while coming. When Batman Arkham Asylum was released in 2009, developer Rocksteady knew they created a masterpiece. It was well received and became not only the best Batman game but also the best comic book game. So it comes to no surprise when Rocksteady had lots of pressure in making it's sequel. Whilst Arkham Asylum will always be one of the best comic book games around, Arkham City now takes the lead and it's certainly up there as one of the best games ever created.
The game takes place one year after it's predecessor. Quincy Sharp has now become the mayor of Gotham and has moved all the criminals and other Asylum inmates to Arkham City, which has been turned into a large prison. Gangs of thugs wander the streets and some of Batman's biggest enemies are leading them. Joker has returned but Batman has many new enemies, from Penguin, Mr Freeze and more.
When your first suited up as Batman you will be free to explore Arkham at your leisure. The atmosphere Rocksteady has brought to the city is spectacular.
You get a sense of the dark, cold and terrifying world surrounding Arkham. Everywhere you look is incredibly detailed with crumbling buildings, bright lights and other delightful distractions. The game is five times the size of it's predecessor so you get a feel of the scale. The open world isn't classed as a sandbox experience but more like a hub for all the places you will visit throughout the story. Having said that, it's still a very large environment. Once you complete the 10-15 hour story there's so much more to see and do. From a ton of side missions, people to save and over 400 riddler trophies to discover, so if your a completionist you will spend a long time hanging around
Your first time gliding around Arkham can be a little daring. It can take a while before your flying across rooftops and weaving past obstacles, but you should pick it up in no time, thanks to the neatly placed tutorials. If you wish to get around Arkham in style you will need to keep momentum. This can be done by diving towards the ground and then pulling up quickly. The grappling hook is also needed to travel. Once you receive the upgrade boost you can fire it at structure and pull yourself towards them to gain more speed. It can take while to master but once you do, it is highly enjoyable.
The freeflow combat that was introduced in Arkham Asylum worked extremely well. The gameplay mechanics are here again but they have been improved much from it's predecessor. The new Freeflow 2.0 makes the combat even more fluid and entertaining than before. Batman can perform new counter attacks and fight many more enemies on screen at once. Switching from enemy to enemy is quick, fun and extremely satisfying. Later on you will be forced to change your strategy with new enemies having shields and guns. The amount of depth in the combat alone is overwhelming and it can sometimes get confusing with how many combinations are available.
The gadgets play a big part in the Arkham City. Most of the gadgets Batman earned in Arkham Asylum are given to you at the start. From the explosive gel, grappling hook and batarang, etc. The gadgets play a larger role in combat than they did before. Now you can quickfire most of your gadgets. For example, You can constantly throw batarang's at foes with the tap of LT, whilst in battle. You are also introduced to some new gadgets.The Remore electric charge is one of them. This can be used to shock enemies momentarily to give you time to attack or disarm enemies. The gadget is also used to unlock doors by firing it at a nearby generator. It's a great new addition that offers some new gameplay elements and will be used frequently throughout the game.
One of the newest additions available is the levelling up system. As you use gadgets and fight enemies you will earn (XP) experience points. You can spend these on upgrades for your gadgets, combat and Batsuit. It's a great addition to the game that will keep you busy even when the story is complete.
Catwomen is also a playable character in the game and this adds a nice change of gameplay. She fits into the story extremely well but you need to redeem the Catwomen content first to receive the best experience. She is only playable for 10% of the game but it offers a nice change to gameplay. Catwomen is simply an acrobat with sharp claws. She is quick and very sneaky when taking down enemies. You can pounce on enemies, climb across the ceiling and travel around the city with her whip. Whilst she is only playable in four missions, there is still a bunch of challenge rooms and Riddler Trophies for her to discover.
The challenge rooms featured in Arkham Asylum are back. This time it's known as Ridder's Revenge. There's a ton of Combat and Predator rooms to complete, which your are rewarded medals for doing so. If you didn't already know, combat challenges have you beating up waves of bad guys. Whilst Predator challenges test your stealth skills as you pick enemies off one by one. There's also new Riddler campaign challenges which allow you to select your own modifiers. From regenerating health to increased time, for example.
Arkham City is a remarkable sequel. It brings back everything what made
It's predecessor great and expands on it. Rocksteady have once again created a fantastic Batman experience. This is the best comic book game on the market today and will be an experience you won't forget anytime soon.
Review by Gareth Smith