Review by lolalted

"Batman is back!"

Batman makes an amazing return with the release of Batman: Arkham City. Many of you probably enjoyed running around Arkham Asylum in the previous title and if so you're in for a treat. In Batman: Arkham City we our hero set loose in a massive section of Gotham City that has been turned into a super prison of sorts. Behind the concrete walls of the city anarchy reigns, gangs led by Batman's most fearsome enemies control various parts of the city and only you stand between them and the unlucky innocents trapped in Hell on Earth.

Gameplay 9/10
The familiar gameplay of Arkham Asylum returns with some notable improvements. Fighting is still as fluid as ever with addition of being able to counter multiple assailants at once. In a few button presses Batman can make short work of even the most heavily armed foes. Gliding has also been greatly improved since the original, now Batman is able to dive and lift. This in combination with the Grapnel allows him to navigate the entire city without touching the ground. His new found aerial abilities also opens the door to a wider range of combat strategies, like the boosted glide kick which can take down multiple enemies at once, and a stun move that can follow a daring dive bomb. Gadgets have been improved and several new gadgets add more interesting options for engaging the enemy. Outside of battle traversing the city has never been easier, between the new glide mechanics and the improved map system allowing custom waypoints, getting where you want to go is a piece of cake.

Story 9/10
When it comes to the story this game doesn't disappoint. As I said before, Batman is let loose in the super prison Arkham City and must do everything he possibly can to protect the people of Gotham and the innocents trapped in the prison from the villains and gangs that rule the city. There is one main story to the game that ties into more than a dozen side stories. Each separate story connects well with the others and makes the experiences feel believable. It's very easy to become distracted by the sheer number of side missions, but the main story is so intriguing that you'll likely feel compelled to see it through to its climactic finale.

Graphics/Sound 10/10
This is one of the most beautiful games I've ever played. Walking through the city it feels like a living, breathing, place, The snow sticks to Batman and melts away leaving damp spots and the wet streets reflect the lights from neon signs and streetlights. Most buildings look worn down like they would in any major city that has been overrun with gangs. This game also offers a wide variety of environments each more impressive looking than the last, from the city, to areas covered with ice, even a desert makes an appearance. Contributing to making the city come alive is the sound. Gang members regularly talk about recent events in the story in addition to complaining about the poor working conditions they share. In combination with the ambient sounds of the city and the fitting soundtrack, an atmosphere is created in which simply gliding around is a treat.

Game Length/Replay Value 9/10
If you only intend to play through the main story then the game can be completed in less than ten hours. To complete all the side missions, challenges and collectibles would take a great deal longer. More than 30 hours in most cases. This game also features a new game plus option which makes playing through a second time more enjoyable, given that starting with all obtained upgrades makes playing again that much better.

Final Opinion
This game is nearly perfect, the only problem I have with it is the autosave system. It's only a minor peeve and has little bearing on the game itself. Overall this is one of my favorite games and fan of Batman or not, it is worth buying new.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/25/11

Game Release: Batman: Arkham City (US, 10/18/11)

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