Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Console: PS3, Xbox 360 & PC
Extras: Catwoman playable character, Robin playable character & alternate costumes.
Australian Release Date: October 18th, 2011
Australian Rating: M
Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to the much acclaimed game Batman: Arkham Asylum, and plays as such. The gameplay is pretty much the same, and the story continues where the last left off. But this does not by any means make it boring or ‘already done’, as it is the story which you play for, that is, on top of being Batman and playing with all his different gadgets to solve the ‘puzzles’ of how to collect the Riddler Trophies or just make your way through a building. Oh yes, the Riddler Trophies are back, as well as the other Riddler secrets you need to ‘collect’.
Following the story through this game is relatively easy and very straight forward. This is where all the side quests come in. Quests such as those of the Riddler, following call signals around the city made by Zsasz, helping political prisoners, training, etc. all help fill out the game. So much so that after a full weekend of playing, I’m still not quite half way through the game. Most of these quests and minor storylines are simple enough to follow, but if I were to recommend the walkthrough, it would be only for the Riddler quests. Many of the trophies I have only found by fluke, and the solution to retrieving some of them aren’t as apparent as others, however, at one point in the game you can start unlocking locations after interrogating Riddler informants. This is handy. You will also notice that there are pink trophies as well. Of course, they are for Catwoman to collect, so no matter which story you are playing at the time, you can still hunt.
Combat is simple, and involves a lot of button mashing, but it looks more impressive than in the predecessor. When you counter an enemy that is coming up behind you, you fight as though there is someone behind you, as opposed to randomly jumping to face the opposite direction. Also, it actually looks like Batman in trained in martial arts, rather than just brawling. This doesn’t affect gameplay as such, but I thought it was a nice (and appropriate) touch. There is also a satisfying ‘boom’ each time you take out an enemy and a slow-mo-blow when you defeat the last in a group, which is useful for keeping track of the fight, especially if you are like me and tend to jump around the place by evading and lose track of where everyone is, like when playing as Catwoman.
The reason combat is so simple is the fact that Batman is first and foremost, a detective. This comes into play with the use of the detective vision mode and forensic mode, as well as stealth being key. It is so much more fun to take down enemies one at a time while hidden from view than to jump down in the middle and button mash them to unconsciousness. When playing in easy mode, hints and action commands pop up on the screen to help give you an indication of the best course of action to take. I haven’t found them to annoy me as yet, since they still hold the purpose of informing me of when the best timing is for the action I wish to take. For more hardcore players, I wouldn’t worry about the hints. They are very straight forward. But for a casual gamer like myself they are a handy reminder of what you are doing.
The graphics and audio are nothing less than expected. It portrays a dark Gotham City with plenty of detail, and music to match. Both aren’t anything spectacular, but I have nothing to complain about either. In fact, one exciting point is that they were able to convince Mark Hamill to come back as the Joker (we all know he IS the Joker), and of course the voice of Batman himself, Kevin Conroy (see link below).
Overall this is an incredibly exciting game. The story will have you intrigued and if you want to just muck around for a while, there are plenty of side quests available to fill your time. The only issue I have is with some of the movement. I find it difficult to be precise when Batman fills a third of the screen and is on such an angle that straight isn’t always quite straight, but this could very well be just a user error as I am not used to playing games like this (I never was all that good at anything that is a hybrid third person shooter). And as a last side note, playing as Catwoman is pretty damn awesome.
Game Play 8
Ease of Play 9
Watch this (gameplay trailer):