Top positive review
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The Dark Knight rises!
on 31 October 2011
I was a massive fan of the first Arkham game, Arkham Asylum, this caused me to have almost crippling anticipation that this would be a bigger and better version. Disappointed? I think not!
The story is set a short while after Arkham Asylum (the plot gap can be bridged with the Batman: Arkham City comic book series) where the badly damaged Asylum has had to be shut down, and a new Prison facility has been formed by sectioning off a large area of Gotham City and putting all the inmates there instead, along with the inmates from Blackgate Prison. Bruce Wayne is arrested at the very start of the game, giving Batman access to the area.
Once inside he interacts with an excellent role call of Batman enemies including Joker (Mark Hamill outstanding as usual), Penguin, Catwoman, Two-Face, Mad Hatter, Mr Freeze, Bane, and more. Sometimes you co-operate, often you fight, but each character is given their time either in the main story or with side-missions. The story is excellent, engaging, and not entirely predictable. It wouldn't have seemed out of place as a comic story itself!
The game difficulty progresses well and eases you into new actions, gadgets and moves without it ever seeming overwhelming. There's plenty to do, the main story itself is large and constantly interesting. The side quests add extra dimensions and ask different things from you, although they can generally be a little 'go find'. Riddler trophies/challenges are also back and some can be tricky, while seeming rewarding when you finally get them!
Catwoman is also a playable character in the main story (internet connection required I believe), but her 4 missions are among the duller moments of the story. I'd rather have had Nightwing or Robin as the alternative story arc, but hey!
In addition to the story, various challenges are available to play in the challenge modes, similar to the first game, these are great places to hone your skills and trying to beat top scores can be addictive! There is also a harder game+ addition when the main story is completed.
Graphically the game is excellent, it's exactly how I'd picture Gotham being, the sounds are minimal but seem perfect, more may seem instrusive, especially with the game relying on stealth much of the time. The game plays well, the combat seems better in this version than Asylum, which occasionally felt like it could be beaten by button mashing. Here there feels more strategy and has been improved greatly.
For the geekier people (such as myself) character models, concept art etc are all unlocked as you progress and can be a real treat!
Overall this is an improvement on Asylum, it's bigger and generally does things better. Much recommended!