Mete out justice to cowardly and superstitious criminals from the rooftops
Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to Arkham Asylum, is a third-person action game where you play a brooding, masked vigilante Batman who has to patrol a vast open-air, walled-off urban prison – the titular Arkham City.
It's a silly premise, but it allows the gameplay to take place in a rich variety of environments such as docks, an abandoned underground station and a museum as well as numerous dark, grotty streets. The finely crafted city is beautiful, especially if you have a DirectX 11 graphics card. This makes the lighting and weather effects, such as fog and snow, look astonishingly realistic.
As Batman you have to stop the schemes of both the tyrannical warden and the backstabbing inmates using a mix of investigation and vicious fighting combining both clever gadgets and sneaky intimidation.
The more successful you are at mastering this combination, the more points you gain, which allow you to unlock more gadgets and combat moves to master from tasers to smoke bombs. Even better are the 'predator tactics' such as bursting through weak walls to grab criminals from behind or hanging them upside down from ledges and gargoyles. Although playable using a keyboard and mouse, this is a game best played with a gamepad.
As fun as Arkham City is, the vast city with its huge number of side-missions, some of which are quite tedious, is daunting and can distract from the main story. The game is also too similar to its predecessor with many of the same problems, such as repetitive trial-and-error boss battles, surreal fantasy-style platformer sequences which feel out of place and shallow, easy to accomplish gadget-based ‘detective' missions.
There are some refreshing new elements such as where you play as Catwoman, Batman's enemy and love interest, who has different combat moves and gadgets. Sadly, her refreshingly different heist missions are all too short.
Batman: Arkham City isn't without its problems and it's not an essential purchase if you've already played the first game. Even so, it's still a fun, immersive game, especially for fans of the original comics and the recent movies.
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A great action adventure game, whether or not you like the comic book source material
Fun and diverse gameplay; gorgeous graphics
Too similar to the original; a few poorly thought out elements
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