Games based on movies and comics are rarely well received. They generally come with a stigma of failure and “shoddy workmanship” that has been associated with said games for many years now. It was with trepidation that I picked up Batman: Arkham Asylum when it was released in 2009 after hearing my brother raving about it being the best thing since sliced bread. The game did not disappoint, it was an incredibly well polished, immersive game that sucked you right in and made you hold on for dear life as the world’s greatest detective battled some of the most well known and feared super villains of comic book history.
Batman: Arkham City picks up where its predecessor left off and to say I was eagerly anticipating getting my hands on this game would be an understatement, luckily, Rocksteady Studios did not disappoint me.
Is this Batman or Assassin’s Creed?
First off let me just say, if you are playing this game you are going to recognise a lot of similarities between our masked crime fighter and a certain assassin trouncing about in the middle ages / renaissance era. Being a massive fan of the Assassin’s Creed series this only increased my enjoyment of the game and there are more than enough differences to set the game apart and allow Arkham City to stand on its own merits. The open world, abundance of side quests and hidden challenges will all seem quite familiar, yet Arkham City adds a superhero flair to your gaming experience.
Dishing out Justice
Combat was seamless and free flowing in the previous game and Rocksteady have improved on this experience by adding extra features to build your combos to near unbelievable heights. For someone who could barely break the 20x mark in Arkham Asylum it was a testament to the improvements when I was regularly hitting the over 50x multiplier. In the previous game I had real issues with going up against fire-arms, but the guys over at Rocksteady have answered my prayers and I counted 5-6 different abilities you could specialise in that would give you options in combat to counter weapons.
Nearly all the gadgets from Arkham Asylum make their way into the sequel and with a greater ease of use in combat. For example there are now combinations that will quickly place explosive gel, launch zip lines, and shoot electricity with ease, freeing up your time to fight the bad guys instead of trying to find the correct gadget for the job. My personal favourite which helped me immensely was the addition of a smoke bomb that would automatically activate when being fired upon, this little wonder saved me countless times.
It’s over already?
My only negative from the game was the time it took me to complete the main story, now I must state here that I am speaking purely in regards to the main story. Granted there are Riddler challenges (almost 200), side quests and Catwoman downloadable content (which I unfortunately have not had the chance to try.) The main story played on normal took me 5 hours to complete, when the credits started rolling I was left pondering “Is that it?” Having said that, I’m sure if you were to go through and complete every little thing in the game your total would be closer to 40, if not 50 hours of game play and would be well worth the investment. However, for those who are just looking to continue the 20 hours of pure uninterrupted story that Batman: Arkham Asylum gave us, you might want to consider renting before you sink $100 into it.
Say goodnight Batman
Overall my impression of the game was quite pleasing, admittedly I was disappointed they did not give Mr. Freeze an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice… but the combat, gadgets and immersive story kept me feeling like I was in a Batman movie until the abrupt end.
If you have played the game and want to share your thoughts or were after some further “spoiler free” information, please feel free to comment below.