Batman: Arkham City (PS3) – A Review
Batman: Arkham City (PS3)
Publishers: Rocksteady Studios, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment, et al.
Other Platforms: PC, and Xbox360
A couple of years ago, Batman: Arkham Asylum rocked the very foundation of the Batman Videogame series and made it one of the best games to feature the Dark Knight yet. Coming in, Batman: Arkham City had a lot of high expectations from the gaming community. Did it live up to the momentum its predecessor gave it?
Batman: Arkham City takes place a few months after the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum. The Mayor of Gotham City, together with Dr. Hugo Strange, creates a portion of Gotham City into Arkham City, a bigger detention place to house the city’s staggering amount of criminals. However, there is more of that than meets the eye. Bruce Wayne, a staunch critic of this movie, is thrown into Arkham City by Strange’s TYGER mercenaries. He eventually gets his Batman gear and is off to find out the details Dr. Hugo Strange’s Protocol 10. In between his main quest, the caped crusader would have to face an array of criminals and rogues in this god-forsaken place called Arkham City.
Dark Knight, Big City
Batman: Arkham City has a bigger environment in which you navigate as the Dark Knight. Compared to the last game, the player has a map size that’s around 2 to 3 times larger to roam around in. So for all the free-roaming gamer enthusiasts out there, they’d be thoroughly entertained of this game’s map. Sadly, some gamers might feel intimidated by the map size. Thankfully, Batman: Arkham City has equipped the caped crusader with a few new moves to have him easily navigate through the criminal laden streets. Using the right trigger properly can let Batman glide around the city longer. There is another technique/gadget trick that batman can use, but you can only do it once you have unlocked it within the game itself.
Bad Guys, Bad Guys Everywhere
A slight game spoiler, Batman: Arkham City not only boasts a big map but a collection of baddies that you can take down. Primarily, the baddies range from the respective goons of The Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, and the special forces of Dr. Hugo Strange. In different parts of the game you’ll encounter different gang members with different pieces of weaponry. Some have bats, shields, guns, and some even have nothing to defend themselves from the big bad bat. In other words, there are specific methods to take down a certain kind of thug/henchman that populate the city.
Batman: Arkham City gives large servings of baddies and not just in the ‘grunts’/’thugs’ form. The game picked up a number of villains from Batman’s rogues gallery. Dr. Hugo Strange, Joker, Two-Face, and Penguin, The Riddler, and others make their appearance in the game. So if you felt that the previous game lacked certain batman villains, Batman: Arkham City gives you a big serving of bad guys that will surely make you satisfied. The game also features a slew of comrades for Batman. Throughout different parts of the game, Robin, Nightwing, Alfred, and even Oracle come in to assist Batman inside Arkham City.
Sounds Good, Looks Even Better
Just like the previous game, Batman: Arkham City, has a rather talented cast of voice actors. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise the roles of Batman and The Joker respectively. The two voice actors did another excellent job in portraying their respective characters for this game. Outside the obvious suspects, the voice acting for all of the characters (goons included) was spectacular. The in-game soundtrack adds to the already impeccable Batman feel. The score of this game’s is as great as the previous Batman entry (Arkham Asylum). The character design and graphics of this game is also noteworthy. The damages done to Batman (and Catwoman if you have the DLC) can be seen after you progress throughout the game. The villains such as Dr. Hugo Strange, Joker, Two-Face and Harley Quinn also have good character designs in the game.
Outside Batman: Akrham City’s main objective, the game has a number of sidequests that are bigger and more challenging than the last game. The Riddler Challenges, for instance, is back and it’s harder than ever. If you thought the brain teasers from Arkham Asylum were hard enough, they come back with a more challenging twist in Batman: Arkham City. Aside from the returning Riddler Challenges, the game also has some side-quests for Batman. These side-quests pit Batman against a couple of familiar villains and would prove to be worth-while for any Batman fan out there.
Feels Just Like the Old Game
The controls are exactly the same as the previous game, which isn’t a bad thing to itself. Those who have mastered the controls in Arkham Asylum won’t have to fret for there’s no big overhaul in the game’s fight system. To the newcomers of the series, they would easily get accustomed to the simple yet interesting controls and gameplay mechanics of Arkham City. The game has added a couple of gadgets as well as moves for Batman to use around the gigantic prison area. From the tried and tested (and infinite) batarangs to the new gadgets such as the freeze grenades…you are sure that the Dark Knight is well-equipped for this daunting adventure into Arkham City.
Finished? So Soon? (SPOILER ALERT)
One little gripe about the game is the length of the main campaign. Side-quests and DLCs aside, Batman: Arkham City’s main plot gameplay seemed much shorter than the predecessor. Yes, the game gives closure to the plot’s questions (What is Protocol 10? will Joker’s illness be cured?), but it felt like the game concluded it sooner than from what we would’ve expected.
Nevertheless, Batman: Arkham City is one of the best Batman videogames made in recent history. Barring the ‘short’ main story issue, this game has everything a Batman fan or a videogame enthusiast wants out of an action/adventure game.
Batman: Arkham City review in ‘lazy’ form
The good: Solid voice acting, huge settings, and more villains make such a nice video game sequel.
The Bad: The story was rather…’shorter than expected’
Verdict: 9.8/10 A bit higher than the last game but it’s due to the huge setting of this one. Arkham City surely did earn its ‘Game of the Year’ award in my books. And speaking of Game of the Year award…catch the Batman: Arkham City GOTY add-on review in a few days.