Punch, Kick, Your Face is on the Ground

Batman has been a pop culture icon for a LONG time. Like most of the other comic book heroes that exist, he hasn’t had the best video games. That was until 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum, which was a great game about Batman taking the prison back from the inmates.

Arkham City is an entire neighborhood of Gotham that has been walled off and turned into a prison. In the beginning of the game, Hugo Strange, who knows Batman is Bruce Wayne, sticks Bruce Wayne into Arkham City. It’s up to you to become Batman, find out what a mysterious plan called “Protocol 10″ is, and stop stop Strange from enacting it.

In a story that includes more villains than Arkham Asylum and story missions for Catwoman, does Arkham City “Dark Knight”(surpass) Arkham Asylum?

In short: yes


YAY :

  • The combat, believe it or not, has been improved. If you play the first hour or so you might think to yourself “this game is weak, I can just mash ‘attack’ , or wait and counter”. You would be wrong. Those combo-unfriendly tactics might work fine earlier in the game, but once you run into armored, knife-wielding, or shield wielding enemies that tactic is going to end up with you very dead very fast. Jump in the middle of five guys with guns and wait to press “counter” and see how fast one of Batman’s enemies is taunting you about your death.
  • Speaking of counters: you can now use that move for as many enemies that are attacking you at the same time. Two guys about to attack? Press counter twice. Three guys? Three times. You get the idea.
  • I don’t exactly know why, but I appreciate the time in the Batman franchise they used for the characters. Tim Drake is Robin and Barbara Gordon is Oracle (because she’s still paralyzed). If you don’t read comics, both of those characters play different roles in the Bat-universe in the current issues of the comics. This probably had more to do with when the game was written than anything though.
  • Level design, Riddler puzzles, and gadget selection all work so well together to create this world where every gadget is important, and thankfully not everything is obvious.
  • Catwoman rules. The way she fights and the way she gets around is so different from Batman. My girlfriend played the game for a while and ended up preferring Catwoman because of her quickness.
NAY :
  • The story is pretty good. It isn’t amazing, but it’s far from bad. The only gripe I had with it was, spoiler alert, the person behind Protocol 10 was someone you’d already met earlier in the story.
  • If you don’t buy it new (I rented it due to financial reasons) you have to pay $10 for Catwoman, who is an important character for story tie-ins.
Arkham City is a great game. It was one of the best of 2011. Don’t let what anyone says deter you from at least trying it. If you’re a Batman fan you NEED to play this, and I’m a little disappointed in you if you haven’t yet.
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