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Batman: Arkham City
Published by: Warner Bros. Interactive / Developed by: Rocksteady Studios
Available For: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (This review will focus on the Xbox 360 version)
Holy shit, this game is awesome! There is no other way to describe it, there is no other way to start this review out. This game is fucking awesome. This game is the perfect example of how you do a sequel, how you make a video adaptation, and how you make a fucking video game.
The game takes place little over a year after the first game, and Quincy Sharp, the warden of Arkham Asylam in the first game, has taken credit for stopping the Joker’s takeover in the first game to become mayor of Gotham City. Since both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Penitentiary were deemed unsuitable to house the criminals of Gotham, Sharp turns the slums of Gotham into Arkham City, now ran by Hugo Strange.
When the original Batman: Arkham Asylum came out, it took everyone by surprise. It was the first game where you truly felt like you were Batman, backed up with brilliant art design, fantastic writing and voice acting, and fun gameplay that was a perfect blend of stealth and fast-paced fighting. The game was a bit on the easy side and the bosses were rather…dull…but overall it was a great game. So, naturally, people had high expectations for the sequel. And Rocksteady not lived up to everyone’s expectations, but EXCEEDED THEM!
Everything about this game is awesome! More villains, more fluid movement and combat, a larger and more open world to explore, more challenging Riddler Challenges, cooler gadgets (Batman has a fucking gun that shoots E.M.P. blasts!), more playable characters (who have their own gadgets and play-style, so they aren’t Batman with a different skin), better graphics, more enemy variety, better boss fights, and it’s more challenging and difficult than the original.
I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m just gushing right now. Because this game really is that awesome. It really took me by surprise just HOW awesome it was, and this coming from someone who absolutely loved the original Arkham Asylum.
I think what surprised me the most was how easy it was to move around and navigate through the city. It does away with a mini-map that most games use and uses a “compass” on the top of your screen. And if you are having a hard time following that, just look up and see the Bat-signal in the sky. That is just another thing that really makes you feel like Batman. Once you get some of grappling upgrades and gadgets, you won’t even touch the ground while moving in Arkham City. The HUD is simple, but is so much more effective than most other open-world games.
They also fixed the Detective Mode in this game. The problem with Detective Mode in the first game was that it made the game incredibly easy (easier than it was before) and having the thing on really took away from the awesome art direction the game had. Not in this game. This time the Detective Mode can let you see enemy outlines and exactly see where certain sounds are coming from, but the things that help you navigate through the city (the compass AND the Bat-signal) are gone. It really makes you turn off the Detective Mode and it makes you look at the even more awesome scenery that they put in this game.
Now, in order to be fair, I should list some negatives, shouldn’t I? Well, if I had any negatives, it would probably be some of the villains could have got more screen time (Two-Face doesn’t show up as much as I thought he would have) and some boss fights could have been more thought out (Deadshot’s “fight” was a fucking joke). The dialogue wasn’t as well-written as the first game’s (though still good) and I wish Catwoman’s part of the story played a much bigger role.
Other than some minor complaints, Batman: Arkham City was pretty fucking amazing, and you should go play it. Right now. GO!
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