Greetings and salutations to you all and welcome back to my little corner of the T4 website. As you can see from the title, I’m gonna be reviewing Batman: Arkham City. I know there are a small handful of you out there who are disappointed with that decision, as you suggested I review “Hulk Hogan’s Main Event” for the Xbox 360, but I don’t have Kinect with my 360, so I was unable to do your request. So instead of playing a horrible game that’s crowning achievement thus far has been a 4 out of 10 review, I went with a game that I’ve been dying to play ever since beating Batman: Arkham Asylum, and let me tell you, for the most part, this game is worth the wait and you best believe all the hype it is getting. Batman: Arkham City is definitely a Game of the Year candidate and it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Uncharted 3, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Saints Row 3, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, and Assassins Creed Revelations join the video game scene in the next couple of months. As you can see, it’s a great time to be a gamer.
The events of Batman: Arkham City take place all in one night about a year after Arkham Asylum. The general storyline is that the former warden of Arkham Asylum, Quincy Sharp, has built this huge prison like atmosphere in Gotham City and have let the criminals take over their own little sections of this mini-city. If you’ve ever seen John Carpenter’s “Escape from L.A.” or “Escape from New York”, you can get a good idea what I’m talking about when I describe Arkham City. Once you enter the city, it’s complete bedlam down on the streets as you have various gangs battling it out in turf wars with all sorts of different weapons, and each of the bosses have laid claim to certain locations within Arkham City. If you have watched the trailers, you’ve seen Two Face in the courthouse, Joker in the steel mill, Penguin in the museum, and Mr. Freeze in the old Gotham City Police Department building. While those are the main criminals in the storyline, there are plenty of other heroes and villains that make appearances through out the night. While that sounds like a great thing, after finishing the main story, I’m kind of mixed bag on it. The story works for what it was supposed to achieve and there was a twist at the end, but the villains that they tied together for the story didn’t feel all that special and could’ve been replaced by any one of the other main criminals, which to me is a big let down. When you have such a great choice of villains and you choose these big names, they should have more to them than what there was in Arkham City. I guess an easy way to describe it without giving away any of the story would be that they have the great villains and used them more as pawns to a master plan than giving them their own space/mini storyline within the grand scheme of things and making it that much better. It’s kind of like they knew that they had to get from Point A to Point C and just threw random criminal in for Point B. “Oh he’s a big name and the fans want him. Let’s put him in here.”
Outside of the main storyline, you have 12 mini-quests/missions, Riddler trophies to find, and tons of places and things to find like the site of the Thomas and Martha Wayne murder. While I was playing the game and getting material to write up this review, I mostly stayed with the main story line and it took me 2-3 days of regular style play to do just the storyline, so figure maybe 10-12 hours of story mode if you take your time and enjoy it. Once the story mode was complete, I unlocked New Game + mode and found that I was only about 30-35% complete with everything in the game, so obviously there’s a whole lot of stuff for you to do outside of the main storyline and it’s rather nice that Rocksteady’s estimate time of 25-40 hours wasn’t just lip service. They really gave you a wide open world to explore and play around with. Outside of the main part of the game, you still have the challenge modes that are somewhat similar to Arkham Asylum. A big difference is that they’ve grouped together maps and called them campaigns. There are map packs that are combat/stealth/combat, some that are pure combat oriented where you wanna get the best score possible, and then some that are stealth only where you wanna take everyone down in certain ways and in the shortest amount of time possible. And the same as Arkham Asylum, 3D character models and profiles have returned and can be unlocked through the Riddler trophies and riddles.
It’s time for the trophy/achievement rundown. There are 60 trophies for Batman: Arkham City + 1 for you PS3ers who want to Platinum the game. 34 of the 60 trophies have to do with the story mode and the 12 side missions. Due to them being tied into the story and the side missions, I will not be giving out the trophy names or spoilers. 7 trophies fall under the Combat/Predator challenges for things like “Obtain 24 medals on the original Arkham City ranked maps (as Batman)” and “Obtain all 108 medals on the original Arkham City campaigns (as Batman)”. The remaining trophies range from “Completing New Game + Mode” to “Complete a combo of 50 moves (any play mode, any character) “. If you are serious about getting all the points or trophies in an honest fashion, it will take you quite a while as there is a trophy/achievement for visiting a certain prisoner 12 times. If you are into Batman lore or have already looked at the achievements list, you know who the character is and you know why it will take about a year to get this achievement.
Getting into the criteria…..
The Good: Rocksteady has done it again! They’ve come out with another fantastic game and made so many new additions and 99.9% of them really add to the gameplay. Since you are in the outside world and not confined to the Asylum, there are new Gliding mechanics to make traveling around the city easier. Combat got some upgrades as well. You can now take down numerous enemies with a single counter move and they are awesome to watch. When you go into the combat Riddler campaigns outside of the main game, when you get up to level 4, you can have Batman going up against 20-30 guys at a time and it’s just an incredible feeling when you’ve cleared the room and you’re the last man standing. Another addition to the combat mechanics would be the quick fire gadgets. Instead of just being able to do quick throws with batarangs like in Arkham Asylum, you can now pretty much quick fire all of your gadgets from batarangs, explosive gel, zip line, grappling hook, and another few gadgets you pick up along the way. In the middle of combat, you just hold down L2/Left Trigger and hit one of the face buttons and POW! There’s your quick fire. The last good thing I can think of off the top of my head would be the upcoming downloadable content. There’s the Catwoman DLC pack which comes with the game if you purchase it brand new. Then in the next couple of months, there will be the Batman Skins pack which adds numerous looks to Batman like the Animated Series skin, Batman Beyond skin, Fat Batman, and 3 other skins for our favorite Dark Knight. There will also be a Robin DLC pack (which was a Best Buy pre-order bonus) and a Nightwing DLC pack.
The Bad: The only bad thing that I could find with this game was the feeling that they really threw everything into one game, which like I said earlier kinda had a negative effect on the story, and you get this overwhelmed feeling like you’re not sure what to do next. Even when I completed the story and was working on the mini-storylines/missions, I wasn’t sure what to do to activate them or to keep them going. I really wish they would’ve saved some of the characters for a potential sequel. There’s so much they can do with the Batman archives that they could probably make at least another 1-2 games out of it, but with so many cameos and additions to Arkham City, I scratch my head and wonder where they can really go from here.
With all that being said, thank you for reading my review. If anything in this review caught your interest, please check out this game. Feel free to leave comments and feedback. They are greatly appreciated. If you agree with what I have written, say so. If you don’t like the game or my review, say so. If there is a certain game you’d like to see me review out of my collection, once again, just say so, and I will do the best that I can to write one up for you.
My personal video game collection: http://www.icollectmedia.com/collection/game/wboyd31/?display=
My Xbox Live Gamertag: WBoyd31
My PSN Gamertag: LonesomeRaven