Just when you think a game can't possibly be topped, Rocksteady Studios rockets through the roof and takes off into the stars with Batman: Arkham City. The sequel to the award-winning title, Batman: Arkham Asylum, thrusts the player back into the cowl of the Dark Knight as the story continues beyond the massive destruction of the asylum. So for those who thought they actually were Batman, let's get you out of those silly pajamas and into some real tights.
What Is It?
The story starts a year after the events of the first title and shows Bruce Wayne calling together a press conference to discuss the dangers of Arkham City and why it needs to be closed immediately. Suddenly, a group of professional mercenaries, known as TYGER, surrounds the area and arrests Wayne. It turns out that they work for Dr. Hugo Strange, who knows that Bruce is Batman and required his capture to proceed with "Protocol 10." After escaping the company of random thugs, Wayne contacts Alfred, dons his cape and cowl, and decides to further investigate this "Protocol 10."
The control mapping for this title matches its predecessor’s, providing an easy switch between titles for fans. The graphics are phenomenal; it's snowing in Gotham and individual snowflakes can be seen as well as those floating down to rest on the Dark Knight's cape. Like Arkham Asylum, the environment is rendered with a darker color palette, but this title has sections of the city designated for specific super villains with their own groups of nameless thugs. The score is composed by Nick Arundel and Ron Fish, who provided the tunes for Arkham Asylum. The music is set up to be dynamic and will adapt to the scenario based on how its played.
Why Should I Care?
This game is huge! The map of Arkham City is five times that of Arkham Asylum and the player will spend much more time outside than inside. With such a large world for game play, this title provides many missions and side quests outside the main story to guarantee many, many hours of enjoyment. Some of the side missions include locating and acquiring the 400 Riddler trophies dotted about the whole world, and aiding trapped political prisoners in getting to safety. There are also many more collectibles to earn and challenge maps to unlock.
There have been quite a few advancements and improvements made to an already fluid movement and combat system. The simple gliding has evolved to include methods of diving straight to the ground and using that momentum to swoop even higher, theoretically allowing the Caped Crusader to glide indefinitely. There are many new "takedown" moves added to Batman's combat repertoire, including hanging takedowns and double silent takedowns.
There are many DLCs involving other characters, like Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing. Some were pre-order bonuses depending on where the player purchased the game while others were available for purchase after the title's release. The Nightwing pack was released early November and includes two challenge maps. There will also be a Robin pack with more challenge maps and a Skins pack in December. These skins are for each of the main playable characters and will alter their appearance, like from Batman: The Animated Series or from specific comic stories.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
Though there is no multi-player mode, there is more than enough content in single player to keep players busy for many hours. The environment is so complex and vast, it will take some time before you'll no longer need to switch back to the map screen to determine your location. The Riddler's puzzles are quite enjoyable and will aid in the quest of learning the layout of the city. The side quests cannot all be done at once, but will require the gamer to advance the story line along with the quests.
The future DLCs will add to an already incredible experience in this title. With the advancements made to the combat, movement and story, this Batman game will provide both challenges and enjoyment to the player. Being in this small part of Gotham allows the gamer more elbow room for gliding, swinging and overall exploration that can make you really feel like you're Batman!