Batman: Arkham City
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If you played Arkham Asylum, after getting Arkham City, you will know that it was just a practise game to prepare you for this greatness Rocksteady created. One more thing missing from the intro is a stupid joke so lets get that out of the way before we go any further. What did Batman say to Robin before they got in the Batmobile? Get in the Batmobile Robin! Now after you gave me a simpathy laugh, lets get to the game. "Whats new, how does the story go, is Batman real?" you ask. Stay here, grab a cup of coffee and then drink it.

It's safe to say that a lot of you would complain if the devs had just copied the basic Arkham Asylum design and wrapped it all with a different story. But thats not what happened here. Major point of difference for the sequel is in the title. Let me give you a clue, Arkham City (you get a city to explore).

The Story

The events of Arkham City take place a year after the ones of Arkham Asylum. Quincy Sharp, former asylum warden, has taken the credit for stopping the Joker, moved up the power ladder, and is now the mayor of Gotham City. After establishing that the asylum was no longer fit to contain the villains and their numerous henchmen Batman captures, Sharp buys a large section of the Gotham's slums and arms the perimeter with private millitary contractors from a group called Tyger in order to create "Arkham City". The prisoners are brought into Arkham City and are allowed to roam free, as long as they do not attempt escape. To oversee the city, psychiatrist Hugo Strange is hired, but it seems he has his own secret agenda for the city. Batman continues looking over the city, worried that the situation may get out of hand.

The Gameplay/Content

The game, like its predecessor, is an open ended third person action adventure with elements of stealth and predator tactics. It will have an over the shoulder view at most times. Many additions have been made in this sequel aswell. Thanks to the size of Arkham City and the fact that Batman is no longer contained within the walls of one building, the focus of activity is now somewhat taken away from him. Criminals commit crimes regardless of the Dark Knight. This means it falls onto the player to respond to missions as they are happening and handle them. This is nothing new, in fact it's the equivalent of driving to a mission in Grand Theft Auto, but it means something entirely different when you're Batman. The act of getting somewhere when you're needed is a very important part of watching, reading, playing and being The Caped Crusader. This actually gives you the feeling that you in fact are him. Batman's enhanced gliding and grappling hook abilities make navigating this huge playground a very enjoyable experience. This gives a hint of Spiderman to it. Apart from the lengthy main story, there is a ridiculous amount of side quests to complete involving many of the characters in the Batman universe. But you cant have a Batman game without a riddle or two... The Riddler makes a return with around 400 tasks to complete. You'll need to keep a close eye out and spot objects in the area surrounding you to solve riddles. On top of that there are also collectable trophies which are "hidden" in plain sight contained by a small cage like device. Opening them won't be a walk in the park. It will require a bit of brain power to solve the puzzle. If you are lazy, you can always just ignore everything else the world has to offer, however you will be skipping a nice chunk of gameplay experience.

The Combat

The combat system of the original has been improved (duh). Theres an addition of new gameplay gadgets to play with, meaning you can use your *insert synonym for gadgets* while in combat. All of your original Arkham Asylum powerups return, unchanged, which begs the question, how the hell can he even move with all that stuff on his belt. It does get a bit control-heavy to have your entire movelist changed while holding one button. A new diving manoeuvre is implemented which allows him to float over a group of enemies then come down at them, switching into a combo attack. And equipment, like the grappling hook and batarangs, can now be chained in for even greater impact.

Another new thing, the AI is smarter. They'll follow you into hallways back to back, shoot the gargoyles to destroy them, chase you in the direction you go, and even have devices that shut down your detective vision.

The fluid combat helps now that they have increased the number of enemies you'll face at a given time. This adds a bit more to the difficulty of knocking out your foes. If this still isn't challenging enough for you though, some encounters will highlight an enemy who is one of the Riddler's informants. If you want a bit of a bonus you can leave this guy until the very end, if successful you'll interrogate him and be provided with details marked out on your map with the location of the Riddler's puzzles which are nearby.

Some new stuff

Over the course of the game Batman's suit changes as he takes damage from the battles. Bullet marks, rips and scars will be present on his chest plate, which is a nice addition. Kinda like marks of war. Another cool "geographical" improvement is that every building has its own, kinda unique design so you can just look around and know where you are in the city. The detective mode has gone through a few changes aswell. It can now be used to perform forensic activities like tracing the origin of a sniper round. The player also has access to a criminal database that tracks the major villains across the city.

The player also gets to play as Catwoman exploring her heist-focused storyline at specific points in the game. She has her own version of the detective mode ("thief mode") to locate items and scan environments. Catwoman's combat sequences are more acrobactic based and allows the use of her claws, whip and bolas. Her sections are said to take up roughly a tenth of the main experience. There was a lot of characters to choose from, so why her you ask. Because she is a criminal, because she has a different agenda to Batman, so when you're playing as Catwoman you get to explore areas of the city not even Batman is able to go to. And it really gives a lot of flexibility in terms of the gameplay and a nice change of pace. When she moves, she's fast, but doesn't hit as hard as Batman. When you switch control to Batman, he's not as fast as she is, but when he hits, he hits.

In short

-Improved Gadgets                                                                                                                                            -A New Playable Character                                                                                                                             -Improved Detective Mode                                                                                                                           -Puzzle-based Gameplay