on 23 October 2011
After some time with this game now I have found myself wholly impressed. I was a huge fan of the first of Rocksteady's Batman games (Arkham Asylum) having played it from beginning to end on numerous occasions.
Batman Arkham City takes everything that was so great about Asylum and expands upon it immeasurably, then adds a load of new stuff for you enjoyment! Firstly, after a stunning opening sequence the game drops you straight into the action in the heart of a city overrun with criminal masterminds, mindless thugs and a good smattering of doctors, security and police personel who are trying to help bring pockets of order to what is essentially a city in a state of riot.
The beauty of being dropped straight into the action is that you immediately get the impact of the scale of this game - the environment is huge and explorable in a variety of ways. Straight off the bat (sorry) you can run, jump, glide, grappel, slide throughout the city. More and more of Batman's gadgets become available throughout the game allowing for access to the tiniest corners or furthest reaches of Arkham but you are free to explore a vast amount of the city and a good deal of gadgets from minute 1.
For me, the most notable improvements have to be the fact that the larger environment has allowed for side quests to be included. In the first you pretty much went from A to B occasionally stopping to collect riddler trophies. Yes it was fun, but also gave you a fairly linear story within Arkham Asylum. In Arkham city, you have the run of the city, you ARE Batman and whilst there is a strong narrative throughout - you can feel free to help this person, destroy that danger or discover those secrets without ever feeling like you're deviating from what the game wants you to do.
Riddler challenges have been massively improved too! No longer are they all hidden behind destroyable walls and in hard to reach places that you need a specific gadget for. Now they actually challenge you to think logically, or laterally or test your memoery, dexterity etc. They all actually feel like challenges for Batman from the Riddler! Also, the ability to record riddler challenges onto your own map if you can't reach them yet, or don't have time to collect just now etc. is an excellent and welcome addition.
One of the only criticisms I have read about this game is the inclusion of SO many villains that some are reduced to cameo performances rather than fleshed out stories - again, for me this plays into the story world beautifully. Imagine the world of Batman, played to such a scale as a whole city to explore yet only brushing shoulders with one or two villains!??! I feel that the scale demands the number of villains - and again, the games variety means thast some will be playing the role of main antagonist, some will be unlikely ally, some will be chance encounter. Stands to reason really!
Final thought is simply this. This is an outstanding game with many jaw dropping moments! Just remember to download the free Catwoman as a playable character element BEFORE you start playing the main game! It actually slightly changes the game right from the outset, but all in good ways!
Buy, play, enjoy!
on 17 September 2014
S T O R Y
A few years have passed since the events of Arkham Asylum. Arkham City has emerged to house the criminally insane. The dark knight is suited and booted, learning of an operation codenamed Protocol 10 being led by Hugo Strange. Joker is never far from trouble either, walled up with the other loonies of Arkham City. Batman seriously has his work out out for him in order to unveil Hugo Strange’s ultimate plan.
Arkham City doesn’t do a great job at handling all of the characters, where as Arkham Asylum kept a tight focus on the Joker. There’s a lack of continuity and flow to the story at times, in the end it makes sense, but its structure could do with some balancing.
G R A P H I C S & S O U N D
Arkham City is the playground that Batman maniacs have been crying out for - being able to glide across shadowy rooftops, swoop down onto its rotting streets and wander into some of its abandoned establishments. The map does have plenty of variety when it comes to locations, the courthouse is decayed and criminally infested, the steelworks are grand in design and claustrophobic upon entry, then we have the large cathedral, emphasising gothic architecture and excellent vantage points. The lighting is spectacular throughout Arkham City; the moon bursts through the clouds to light up the environments.
Batman’s character model looks even more polished than the previous game. displaying the detailed damage that signifies his descent into hell. There are many other characters that showcase exemplary design. The soundtrack excels yet again, matching the mood of Batman‘s journey and his desperate struggle for survival. The voice acting is superb; Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy outdo themselves as the Joker and Batman, respectively.
The graphics haven’t been overhauled since the previous title, though this constraint can easily be '. down to the expansive nature of Arkham City’s map. The street thugs and other petty criminals seem l to have very few voice actors, a recurring issue that was also present in Arkham Asylum.
G A M E P L A Y
Learning to navigate Arkham City will become a very crucial way as to how you can get about with ease and efficiency. Whilst gliding you can dive at high speed and pull back up to give yourself greater air and continue your glide for a longer period. The grapnel gun is still as handy as ever, getting you to those hard to reach places and giving you a quick vertical boost if things get too confrontational. One of the best features in the game is combining the grapnel gun and the glide ability together, if you’re losing altitude then find a higher grapnel point and boost up towards it in an instant. it’s a fantastic way to keep you moving and not compromise any speed. Detective mode (DM) makes a welcome return; keeping Batman aware of his surroundings and helping him track down the baddies. The use of DM seems to have been toned down in this game, and for what it’s worth, it’s the right step taken by Rocksteady DM is more focused in its use and doesn’t outstay its welcome.
The combat systems feels tighter than ever, every hit feels powerful, countering is smooth and responsive, moving from enemy to enemy is seamless and beautiful in motion. Batman has a few new tricks up his sleeve too, there are plenty of bone-crunching attacks to deploy, which easily keep the combo counter on the rise and makes it a joy to take on waves of enemies. Enemies have received upgrades of their own too; equipped with battle armour and wielding deadlier weapons. A majority of gadgets from Arkham Asylum make a welcome return, but there are also some useful additions. The smoke bomb is a great way of avoiding mass confrontation and getting out of sticky situations, the electronic gun jammer renders enemy weapons useless and the electromagnetic gun helps stun enemies in a flash. These are some of the gadgets you‘ll utilise, but there are plenty more to unlock through the upgrade system.
The side missions are varied and there are plenty to " come across. You may think they are a distraction, Catch! but if you want to build upon Batman’s skills then they are worth doing. The side missions allow you to sway away from the story missions, but they are a great way of improving your skills and helping you get the best out of your desired tactics. Lastly, the Riddler is back to taunt us with more cryptic riddles.
I believe the overall game length is slightly disappointing, the story is oozing with content, but I feel as if so much of it does not translate into gameplay. The boss battles are disappointing, I found a couple of them challenging, but as a whole they lacked that ‘wow’ factor.
O V E R A L L
Rocksteady’s second outing of the caped crusader is another triumph. An open-world approach combined with Batman is a wet dream come true. The story could do with a tighter focus as it involves many heavy-handed plot elements, but it’s still an enjoyable romp while it lasts. Visually, Arkham City is beautiful and an engrossing spectacle. This is the playground that all Batman fans have wanted. Batman Arkham City holds its own as a quality experience.
on 9 December 2011
Buy this game, you will not regret it! Excellent story, the action is so griping you never get bored. The combat looks amazing and you look like your a jarjet zo or a karata pro but its so simple to control. Its got all the characters in and is a massive area to explore, 5 times bigger the asylem. The question is were will rocksteady go next with the series?
‘Arkham City’ is the second entry in the Arkham series of videogames, and serves as a direct sequel to ‘Arkham Asylum’. The story takes place about a year after the conclusion of that earlier game.
You play as the Dark Knight, in a third-person adventure – involving lots of action (fighting) as well as strategy, detective work and puzzle solving. For this game, part of Gotham City has been sectioned off behind fortified walls, serving as a huge prison to house all sorts of criminals and other undesirables – and it’s here, in what’s known as Arkham City, that you must work out what’s going on, figure out who’s behind it, and stop them from completing their evil plans.
This is a vastly expanded world to play in, and there are lots of enemies to fight ... from Bane to Poison Ivy, from Mr Freeze to the Penguin. The 'big' villains are the Joker (with Harley Quinn), Hugo Strange, and Ra's al Ghul. And, throughout the game, there's lots of puzzles to solve and death traps to survive as created by the Riddler. Arkham City is an open world environment, and you have total control over Batman – who is able to demonstrate amazing free-flow combat, as well as an arsenal of gadgets.
It's a game involving fantastic graphics, a great soundtrack, wonderful voice acting, and an interesting story (written by Paul Dini). It is rather more diffuse as a plot as compared to the earlier 'Asylum', but the world in this game is far more immense and allows for multiple stories to be developed. If you enjoyed ‘Arkham Asylum’ (or any of the other games in this series), you’ll like this one.
This is the standard edition of the game … to access to additional content (e.g. the Harley Quinn mission) you’ll need to purchase the various DLC’s. But I suggest you look around, and see if you can buy the 'Game of the Year' edition - which comes with many extras.
I thoroughly recommend this game.
on 24 November 2011
When other reviews said that this far surpassed Arkham Asylum, I was skeptical. The first game was huge, full of life and detail and, ultimately, incredibly fun to play. Within the first few minutes of playing, I understood what they meant. The first game was like playing a game as Batman. Arkham City is like being Batman.
The city works as a location: it's huge but fun and relatively easy to find your way around and the detail is incredible. One of the most striking aspects of the game for me was the dialogue included for thugs that tied in realistically to events that you were taking part in: a tiny detail that's easy to miss if you like to take out enemies right away, but it adds so much depth to the world. The combat works just as well as the first game (although I found the blade dodge basically impossible, but that may just be my failing) and is often more challenging: trying to take down a room full of guards was a little more difficult but mostly just a bit of fun in the first game, but now is a real challenge that involves actual planning. The introduction of new gadgets makes combat (and puzzle-solving and exploring) more diverse. My only criticism is that as there are so many, the learning curve has to be very generous and so you spend more time than usual being led around at the beginning. Still, this was probably necessary in the grand scheme of the game, and once you're into the story proper, you're mostly given free reign to work things out for yourself.
The main missions are engaging and all different enough so as not to become repetitive, but the side missions are well worth doing too (especially before you finish the story, as some of these unfortunately become unavailable once you've completed the main story). Again, they're deep and detailed and give you something fun to do if you only have a few minutes to kill. The characters are strong as always, particularly new additions Two-Face and the Penguin, and playing as Catwoman is a welcome change, although she features a lot less in the main missions than I expected.
Overall though, it feels like a Batman game should: it's huge and theatrical, slick, funny, dramatic and cool. If you're a Batman fan, you'll love it. And if you're not a Batman, you'll still love it.
on 4 December 2014
Batman: Arkham City (AC) builds on the excellent Batman: Arkham Asylum (AA) to provide the ultimate Batman and superhero experience.
Much of AC is largely the same as AA. This' entirely understandable because AA got it so right. Why fix what isn't broken? The much-lauded free-flow combat returns, looking more brutal than ever. The gadgets return, adding a few more notches to Batman's utility belt. The Riddler Challenges return, offering a much more diverse range of puzzles. The gameplay and cut-scene graphics remain high-end. The iconic voices of Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammill are back as Batman and Joker respectively.
What is different about AC is the depth. You have the excellent gameplay from AA and are given a whole city and an exhausting list of foes to play with. You go up against the likes of Clayface, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Hugo Strange, Joker, Mad Hatter, Mister Freeze, Penguin, Ra's Al Ghul, Riddler, Two-Face and Victor Zsaz. You also cross paths with Aaron Cash, Azareal, Bane, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Robin, Talia Al Ghul and Vicki Vale. This is all packed in to an enthralling story, complimented by diverse side quests and challenges (Riddler, VR Training).
Overall, definitely 5/5 Stars. This' the best ever Batman game, the best ever superhero game and arguably one of the best games ever. Absolutely a `must have' game!
on 29 November 2011
I was eagerly awaiting this release, given that I enjoyed Arkham Asylum so much. I must say, though, I couldn't quite imagine how they could improve on such an excellent game. Well, they did. Everything is bigger and more complex, but the game doesn't loose focus, instead it gives you plenty to keep you entertained for a long time - I've played a few hours and haven't even scratched the surface.
The combat sequences are even more refined than in the original game and playing as Cat Woman is a hoot.
Also, this time around, the Batman begins completely unarmed, but quickly acquires almost all of his arsenal from the original game and then gets even more upgrades along the way. Let's just say that you'll have plenty of options to move around, fight, hide, access places and survey information.
on 22 May 2015
What a game.
Arkham Asylum - the first game of this series - was fantastic. A true `game'; reminiscent of previous eras' excellent design and gameplay focus. Arkham City, although of a slightly different focus to its predecessor, is equally as well executed and as fun to play.
The game starts with Bruce Wayne addressing the public about the newly created `Arkham City' - a successor to the now defunct Arkham Asylum - a locked-in city installed in a dilapidated part of Gotham City which acts as a kind of open-world prison for Gotham's baddies. They can do whatever they want - as long as they don't try to escape.
At the centre of this monstrosity is one Hugo Strange - not to mention a small army of Gotham's other favourite criminal masterminds. Naturally, `Bats' is on the case before you can say `holy opening cutscene!', and you're once again thrust into a veritable playground of punch-ups; riddles; puzzles; side-missions; über gadgets and a whole lot of gliding and grappling and walloping and `Pow!'-ing and combo-ing and ...
Sorry, got a bit lost there. As with the first instalment, Arkham City is just so much fun to play. The list of stuff to do is endless, and the sheer size of the city is enough to keep everything fresh.
While it is indeed bigger than Asylum; it is also far less taught. To put it another way: Arkham Asylum was a brilliantly focused story-led action game with lots of extra bits to do on the side; Arkham City is a huge toy-box with lots - and lots - of bits to do with a story on the side. This is my only criticism - the story is rudimentary to begin with. Not bad - just not good. Around the 60% completion mark it kicks into overdrive, but the opening chapters are almost anonymous. The `other bits' more than fill in the blanks, but the story could have been better.
That aside, the world created is so encapsulating of the Batman universe. There are plenty of characters and hidden unlockables that can keep you going for ages and you can play as more than one character. Put simply, it's the best realisation of the Batman universe, ever. And it's great fun to be in.
The voice acting is superb - again, and the mood created by the city is perfect.
The beating heart of the gameplay again lies in the combat, which has been nicely expanded on with some great upgrades. These will be critical to your enjoyment of the game - you can play through the combat by essentially only pressing one button, but if you use them properly the upgrades make this part of the game masterful.
In short, there's nobody I wouldn't recommend it to. A great sequel; a hugely entertaining and fun game to play and the best tribute to Batman to date*.
*That is, until the impending Arkham Knight(!). If you're interested in the PS4/XBox One game and have not played the previous games, it's not too late to get this and the predecessor (and the prequel - `Origins'), in.
With the Gotham TV show wrapping-up and the new film due this year, there's never been a better time to be Bruce Wayne.
on 29 September 2013
For Batman fans this game appears to have it all. Cool gadgets, great combat, most of Batmans major villians from the DC comics and and fantastic story to boot. Until I had completed it, I found it hard to put down.
It starts of shortly after the previous Arkham game, with Warden Sharp becoming Major Sharp and deciding to block part of Gothem City off and create a superprison. Batman as his alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, gets imprisoned there himself as punishment from running against Sharp in the Major elections, but secertly so he can get inside Arkham City and discover what is really going on behind the scenes. I'll not say anymore about the story so I don't ruin it, but it's extremely well written, with lots of twists and turns and certainly worth playing the game for. The amazing graphics and voice actors really suck you into the world that has been created.
Thankfully the gameplay is just as good as the the first game. If you have never played the first one, gameplay involves the player defeating enemies by using your fists or the shadows. When your fighting goons head on, the combat is simple and easy to get to grips with, but still has enough depth to keep each fight interesting and stop the game from going stale, mainly due to the the combat upgrades and new gadgets you recieve as you continue through the game.
My favourite parts however are the set peices where you have to take out your enemies sliently, without them becoming aware of your whereabouts. The tension created in these moments as you wait for the enemies to patrol underneigh you, so you can hang them up from a ladge, is epic. One of the best boss fights in the game requires you to use various different ways to sneak up on the boss, as he remembers each attack you use on him and counters each repeated attack you use.
Some of the missions also require the use of Batmans detective skills, which offer another change of gameplay to keep things interesting and are also quite clever, as well as enjoyable. As well as this, The Riddler challenges return and are even bigger than the last game. As well as having more Riddler Trophies to find, and more riddles to solve, there are also hostage to be rescued from the Riddlers traps. There are well designed and reminded me alot of of the Jigsaw games from Saw (Especially the last one). The game is now an open world game as well, meaning you can glide around and fight bad guys, as well as look out for hidden easter egg, that really add to the game.
Along with the main missions, there are numourous side missions to keep you entertained for hours on end. Brand new versions of this game also include an unlock code for the Catwoman story which runs side-by-side with Batmans story. This is well worth investion in as her story is also well written and as includes new gadgets exclusive to Catwoman and boss fights exclusive to her story.
Overall an excellent purchase for Batman fans and everyone else who enjoys games in gerenal. Great fun, Great experience.
on 10 October 2012
I had heard a lot of good reviews about this game and only just around to buying it as i already had a back catalog of games to work through and i am really impressed.
The couple of bad points that do spring to mind are mainly down to not enough explanation of certain aspects.e.g. The concept of the riddles you have to solve for The Riddler is not well explained.
I figured out the location of my first riddle but then had no idea what to do. I spent a long time inspecting the area for further clues or something to interact with until i gave up and looked online to find out i simply had to 'take a picture' of it.i.e. you have to get the required part of the environment on your screen and use the inspect environment button (hold down L2). I found no explanation of this anywhere.
Another point that i had to figure out was how you regained health. When you get xp you gain health but this wasn't explained and i would notice my health had gone up after a fight which i guessed was to do with xp but due to being in the middle of action and generally not having the time to stare constantly at my health bar to see exactly when it restored i wasn't sure but luckily my girlfriend was able to watch it and confirm that for me.
Saying that though, in general the game breaks you in quite well with some early hand holding to teach you how to do things and then leaves you to do as you please.
This is born out in the combat system in particular where the first couple of fights you get prompts of what buttons to press and then they stop and you are left to fight as you wish. One of the beauties of the game is the combat system which is easy to learn and you probably could muster through with some general button bashing but there is a lot of options to use and if you take time to learn them and master the system properly.e.g. timing your hits, using all the tools at your disposal, then you can play in a greatly varied, interesting and flexible way. You also get rewarded for fighting better also so it's not just added fluff.
In general i think the ability to customize the hand holding throughout the game is a great aspect which opens it up to all manor of players. The hints can be turned on or off at any time for example, many of the more complicated combat maneuvers can have prompts turned on it you desire so you can play the game to suit you.
Are you more of the stealthy, plan your every move and take out a whole room without being spotted? Then you have plenty of tools to take that approach. Do you prefer jumping in to a group of bad guys and taking them out in a mass action packed brawl? Then you have plenty of tools to do that also.
The map/way point/guidance system could have been better. The map is great in general but with one minor flaw in that you could do with a mini map also.
This is probably most prominent when your flying around the city where you can fly endlessly using your grapnel boost and cape but the big problem comes (at least at the start of the game) in the fashion of a large restricted zone you cannot enter, which almost cuts off one side of the map from the other so if your objective is on the other side of the map it is likely you will have to go around that zone and when your boosting along, especially in time restricted missions you often find yourself going headlong into a dead end (the edge of the restricted zone) or you can follow the map but that requires going repeatedly into the map screen and breaking the whole flow of the experience.
In the open city you have a compass with your destination marked to follow but once inside you don't have that anymore? So every few steps you need to check your map so you don't get disorientated.
The compass also disappears when you go into detective mode which is useful to use when aiming to land on a rooftop or even just bouncing off rooftops as you fly along as it allows you to see any potential threat before you get there. As it stands you have the choice of having a compass with a way point so you know where your going but the potential to encounter a rooftop with multiple armed guards who will shoot you to pieces when you land/fly past or turn on detective mode so you can avoid potential dangers but don't know where your going.
A mini map would have solved all these issues and greatly improved the flow of much of the game.
My only other type of complaint would be an inability to cut the beginnings of missions.i.e. cut scenes. Some missions require some working out (if you turn off the hints) and thus a few attempts to figure out exactly how to defeat that encounter and repeatedly hearing the same cut scene/speech etc many times start to grate a little.
The augmented reality training in particular can be particularly annoying in this aspect.
In the grand scheme of the game though any issues are very minor flaws in an otherwise perfect game.