Batman: Arkham City

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Batman: Arkham City review
Ryan Sandrey

Review

A Bat-tacular experience

Riddle Me This


Adding further 'challenge' to Arkham City is the return of the Riddler's challenge maps, with additional challenges for all 4 playable characters - Batman, Catwoman , Robin and Nightwing (the latter three are DLC). If your insatiable desire to fight crime still hasn't been satisfied by multiple playthroughs, you can work your way through the many challenges available. Even without the presence of multiplayer, Arkham City has a huge amount of replay value, meaning that time and time again you will answer the call and fight crime.

The strength of the gameplay certainly helps this as well, by being an improvement on Arkham Asylum in many ways. Combat has been improved by the ability to use many of your gadgets in quick-fire instead of just the Batarang as well as the various combat styles used by the variety of characters at your disposal. Add to these a variety of new unlockable moves such as bat swarms and a range of possible tactics from gadget-reliant stealth to lightning-quick fighter and there has never been more ways to render idiotic thugs unconscious.

Unreal Beauty


Arkham City also shines in its presentation. Unreal Engine 3 has received several upgrades, including motion blur and increased lighting effects, that compliment the decrepit, neon-lit nature of Arkham very well indeed. With all character models looking stunning, and the game never ceasing to cause you to stop and stare in awe at the wondrous beauty before you, Arkham City's graphics are already a marked improvement over its brother, and that's before we've even seen the graphically-enhanced PC version due in late November. Those with an eye for aesthetic beauty will want to pick up the game, if not now, then definitely when the PC version arrives.

The sound design is top-notch, from the haunting orchestral tones of the main menu and soundtrack composed by Nick Arundel and Ron Fish, to the outstanding quality of voice acting, with the likes of Kevin Conroy, Mark Hamill and Maurice LaMarche lending their talents to the game with expert aplomb. It all adds to the atmosphere of Batman's universe brilliantly, making Arkham City almost the definitive experience for a Batman fan.

Minor Setback


Despite its near-supreme excellence, Arkham Cityisn't a perfect game; nothing ever is. A few problems blight Arkham City, each of them carrying the potential to possibly add a cloud of irritation and dread to your experience. The most fundamentally annoying of these is the fact that the game wastes no time in teaching you how to perform the moves Batman has at his disposal, but when it comes to using moves like the invaluable Slide mechanic for the first time in order to advance the story, several players may have already forgotten they have the ability to do that. With no hints on screen, it can lead to frustration and annoyance at the game for offering too much help with things like combat but not when you need to traverse the city. Minor irritations also result with the absurd difficulty of some of the Riddler Trophy challenges, but these are all minor personal irritations that don't detract from the game.

In such a strong year for gaming, Arkham City needed to step out from the crowd and punch mediocrity right in the face. It has done, and is one of the best games so far this year. If it wasn't for the bumper crop of titles including Skyrim that are arriving in the coming months, Arkham City would be Game of The Year. As it stands, its fate is undecided, but its challenge will not be ignored.

9.6

fun score

Pros

Truly one of the best games ever, improving on Arkham Asylum in every way. The ultimate superhero title and the closest mere mortals will ever get to being the Dark Knight himself.

Cons

Minor problems with difficulty of Riddler challenges and the sheer array of moves means some may lay forgotten and cause frustration and annoyance when their use is required.