Review by Bullshifty12
"Exciting, Rivetting, But Short Lived."
The Dark Knight returns in Batman: Arkham City; The sequel to the critically acclaimed Arkham Asylum, a game that shattered are delusions of 'all comic book based games being mediocre'. It returns with some similar elements but a whole new setting, character roster, and story.
If anything is near perfect in Batman: AC; It's the story. AC's story is full of exciting twists, turns, and quips that are made even better by the well voiced and fantastically imagined cast of characters.
In the beginning, Bruce Wayne is protesting the continued use of Arkham City; An 'Escape From New York' style prison city build on the ruins of old Gotham. The nefarious Hugo Strange has taken control of the camp and soon ensnares Wayne himself, who quickly escapes and has Alfred drop him his suit...and the fun begins.
On his journey Batman meets some familiar faces from his past; Including Two-face, Penguin, and of course---The Joker Himself who has recently become rather green under the gills. The plot thickens as Batman soon finds himself in just as much danger as Joker is from dying; And he must race against the clock to find a solution to the problem.
The characters of Arkham City make it an exciting place to be in and there are a number of surprise guest appearances from the comic...but there are also a few missing that were in AA; But are not present here. Croc and Scarecrow, for instance, are nowhere to be found.
The story is exciting and well imagined. And thankfully, the voice actors are up to the task.
Just as the story is getting exciting and coming together; It ends abruptly...although, thankfully, the ending is just as jaw dropping, if not more so, than the rest of the game...but there are still some loose ends you wish were resolved.
Not a whole lot has changed since Arkham Asylum. Much of the combat mechanics remain the same, while there are a few gadgets like Freeze Grenades to liven things up. There's an interesting upgrade system that allows you to customize your batman when you gain enough experience, as well.
Detective mode is also back. It's incredibly helpful whether you are fighting or looking for trophies and secrets. The downside to this is that you almost never want to turn it off; and you will find yourself missing some gorgeous land marks if you leave it of for too long...but doing so is almost necessary when fighting foes. It would have been nice if they had included elements of detective mode in the game that didn't completely change the visual appearance of your surroundings, but this is just an aesthetic nitpick.
As you glide and grapple around arkham city, the game will do everything it can to distract you with a number of side missions. While it's a bit odd that you are in a race against time to find a cure for a deadly disease, yet still have the time to stop to pick up riddler trophies, these side missions add an important level of depth to the game.
Unfortunately; The games activities are rather short lived. If you don't count finding all 400+ riddler trophies; The game and side missions can be completed in about 16 hours. Some may have expected something longer with such an open ended game; But sadly this is not the case.
Batman: AC is another Gorgeous game regardless of what platform you use. The game is dark and gritty, while at the same time adding a colorful comic style appeal that borderlines on noir. It's character models for nearly every main character or villain are so flawlessly realized that any batman geek is sure to wet themselves with joy when Mr. Freeze lowers his visor; Which quickly fogs up with his cold breath.
The sound design is just as special. Sound Effects sound real enough, and as always voice work (especially Mark Hamill's) are extraordinary.
There are a few problems with bugs, as there always are in most games. Batman, in my case, fell through Arkham's floor on a number of ocassions and got stuck...and there were a few times where catwoman appeared twice in a couple cinematics. Thankfully none of these glitches were game breaking; But I did have to restart the game a couple times to continue.
Overall I'm pleased with the way Arkham City turned out; But I can't help but feel a bit miffed at how short the game was. I managed to beat the game and all the side missions in less than three days...and while there is still some stuff to do (new game +, riddler missions, challenge maps), the game went by just as quick as Arkham City did; Which is a shame.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 10/21/11
Game Release: Batman: Arkham City (US, 10/18/11)
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