Oct 22, 2011

Arkham City Review

The Greatest Batman game ever made.

In the gaming world today, fans demand excellence out of artist, storytellers, and game developers. Gamers won’t just sit back and take whatever game gets thrown at us. So, with making a good Batman game, you’re got a hard task set before you. Most gamers who will buy Arkham city will be familiar with the comics and lore around Batman. We’ll want to see all the great villains we love. We’ll want to experience the dark city of Gotham, and most of all we’ll want to be Batman. This is where Rocksteady games and Arkham City shine their brightest.

Story:
18 months have passed since the events of Arkham Asylum. The ex-warden of the asylum, Quincy Sharp, is now mayor, and has established what he believes to be the next step in the evolution to eradicating crime: A massive city complex, built in the heart of Gotham to contain all degenerates and criminals, known as Arkham City.

You, Bruce Wayne, begin the game by making a public statement to Gotham about how terrible it is that this prison has been built right in the center of Gotham. During your presentation, TYGER teams move in and take you prisoner, knocking you unconscious. When you come to, Hugo Strange, the man in charge of Arkham City and an old villain of Batman, basically tells you that he knows you are Batman and that you are being thrown into Arkham City.

After entering the city you’ll find out about the mysterious Protocol 10, which the game revolves around. Now you must brave the streets of Arkham to find out just what it is Strange is up, but don’t worry, it shouldn’t be that hard. After all, you are Batman.

Gameplay:
One of the most important, and greatest, things about a batman game is that you are Batman. Arkham City boasts awesome fighting. Combat is made up of three buttons: attack, counter and evade. However just because there’s only one attack button, doesn’t mean that combat is limited. Batman flows through enemies like water, punching, dodging, ducking and punching again, and when you get good at combat, you can walk into a room with 30 guys and smile because you know that they don’t stand a chance.
 I feel like must mention the combat is not simply hammer at the x button until all bad guys are dead. To be successful at combat you need to time you’re moves, move the analog sticks to tell Batman which way you want to attack and always be on the on the lookout for counters. Also, Batman uses his environment. I can’t tell how much I freaked out when I first saw Batman counter a punch by jumping toward the wall he was next to and then use the wall to jump back at the guy with a fist in tow, or the one time I actually slammed a guy’s head into a car just because I happened to get close to one. 
Arkham City holds a place in my heart for having some of the best combat I’ve ever seen.
If you’re not into all that "beat the crap out of people" stuff you can also use stealth. Often you’ll enter a room with about 3 to 6 armed guards patrolling it. You, as the Batman, then get the pleasure of sneaking around the room and quietly knocking them out. Believe me when I say that nothing is funnier to watch than a guard find all his buddies unconscious on the floor and then start to panic, and nothing is more rewarding than exiting a room you’ve just cleared without being seen once.

Look and Sound: 
Arkham City looks fantastic. It is a dark city inhabited by only inmates, which means no friendly faces to help you out. In Arkham Asylum, Batman mainly walked from place to place, doing most of the work in buildings spread about the island. That is not the case with Arkham City. It is a massive open world environment begging to be explored. With dozens of buildings to be entered and explored, tons of side quests that range from hostage rescues, to tracking down a serial killer using phones, to destroying special containers, to the more than Four-Hundred  Riddler challenges, Arkham is huge, awesome and waiting for you.
The sounds of Arkham are great as well. A good soundtrack exists as you travel the city and beat up baddies. You can really feel the sound of breaking bones as Batman snaps forearms and femurs. But the biggest accomplishment for Arkham City is the voice acting. Kevin Conroy deserves a hand for role as Batman, Mark Hamhill is absolutely phenomenal in his role as The Joker, and even Harley Quinn, Joker's crazed female side kick, is voiced by our favorite pony, Tara Strong (Twilight Sparkle, how cool is that).

Conclusion:
A Batman game is difficult to make. You have to balance great stealth with amazing combat. You need to place a large assortment of unique characters from the DC universe and most of all you need to make the player feel like Batman. One of the best things about Batman is the mystery behind how he does some things, so when watching Batman at all times it can take away some of the coolness of Batman. This is not a problem in Arkham City. This game is spectacular, I can’t find anything wrong with the game except that maybe the score could have been better, it didn’t really move me but this is still one of the best games on market, and is the new par for any super hero video game and possibly for any game that involves any form of combat.

9.5/10

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