Batman: Arkham City
I never was a fan of Batman growing up, the TV show was too cheesy and so were the films. But then Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale redefined what Batman was with the rebooting of the film franchise. Batman was now a much darker character in a much darker time. Things were looking good for the Dark Knight. The films however were not enough to make me want to play Arkham Asylum, and what a mistake that turned out to be. Everyone – and I mean everyone – was raving about it.
Now that I’ve had my chance to see what Rocksteady Studios are capable of, I’m kicking myself for not having played Arkham Asylum, because Arkham City is absolutely incredible.
If you’re like me, and don’t really have much time for comic book games, put your preconceptions aside for the time being and embrace Batman, because Arkham City is a third person action game that will appeal to you no matter what you think about the man in a funny costume. Hell, it may actually turn you into a fan of the caped crusader.
For me the experience of playing Arkham City is a little bit like playing a mash up of Crackdown and Assassins Creed set in a gritty future present world. You get to glide through the air with your bat wings and swing from building to building with your grappling hook, surveying the expanse of Arkham City from high advantage points, and then sweep down and take out enemies covertly one at a time or take on a gang of thugs with fluid combos that give you an immense feeling of power.
But more than just a third person beat em up, Arkham City has a gripping story-line and plenty of side quests to keep you playing till the early hours of the morning (my wife has come to see me many times this week asking if I’m aware what time it is), and it’s not going to let you just stroll right through it like you’re going for a walk in the park.
Along the way the game will teach you how to use a gadget and then expect you to know when to use it the next time you need to use it. You’ll be using your detective mode quite a bit as you try to figure out just what the hell you’re doing wrong, and then you’ll kick yourself when it becomes blindingly obvious. It’s the silky smooth combination of action, stealth and puzzle solving that keeps you enticed and stops the game from ever getting boring.
Graphically the game is freaking amazing. The city is dark and brooding, yet highly detailed. It’s a playground just waiting to be explored, from the ground up. Just gliding though the night watching the light dusting of snow build up on your cape never gets old, and with a huge environment to explore and plenty of things to find, people to help and thugs to beat up you could almost forget there was a story-line to complete.
But complete it you will, because it demand that you do. Everything is near pitch perfect, the cut scenes are the type you don’t want to skip and the characters are delightfully fiendish.
All in all, Rocksteady Studios have produced a game that you won’t forget for a long time, a game that you will be insisting that everyone you know plays, a game that will most probably be the top of everyones game of the year lists.