I cannot tell you how excited I’ve been about Batman: Arkham City ever since I played Arkham Asylum three times to complete it 100% and get all but three of the achievements. Now it’s here but can it live up to the hype or like in music, will Bruce Wayne be struggling with his difficult 2nd album?
I don’t want to give away spoilers so let me just say that for one reason or another, Bruce Wayne finds himself inside Arkham City – a sort of open prison inside Gotham City where prisoners are left to run amok and take each other out. Of course, you’ll have a fair few missions to do and people to help as almost every character from Batman and some from the wider DC Comics universe are also in there too with their own agendas.
This time the world is much bigger and as well as the main campaign to complete, there are also plenty of side quests. You’ll be solving the Riddler’s puzzles again but also rescuing hostages, stopping street gangs, completing AR challenges and also completing longer quests linked to other characters you’ll meet along the way. Batman starts the game already fairly powerful with loads of gadgets and it can actually be a bit overwhelming at first. As you get used to your arsenal you also upgrade even further which grants you access to areas you couldn’t previously get to. You’ll also learn some new fighting moves on top of the already satisfying combat such as unleashing swarms of bats at foes, catching projectiles and throwing them back and disarming thugs with knives. This is by far the best combo fighting system ever created and improved over the last game, although with so many ways to fight, it’s possible to get a bit flustered during a fight and accidentally press the wrong button, losing your combo in the process. You can also put your skills to the test in the challenge mode where you can fight for a high score and compare your stats on the leaderboards.
Of course it’s not all fighting – there’s the sublime predator mode where you creep around the shadows and terrify those goons as well as take them out one-by-one. Once again you feel very powerful as you swing around the beams above them or crawl through grates below and grab them!
As you can see, the game also looks stunning and really captures the gothic Batman feel. Along with the atmospheric music and great voice acting from the likes of Mark Hamill as the Joker, it’s a fantastically realised universe.
There’s so much to do in this sequel. You can even play as Catwoman in her own story complete with her own cool moves in order to find all the collectibles as well. If you like action/adventure games then there’s no reason not to play this. If you’re also a Batfan then this is simply a must-buy game and probably your game of the year. It gets an almost perfect 9 out of 10.
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