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Review

Batman : Arkham City [PS3]

November 26, 2011

It’s games galore these last few months of 2011, evidently out of the main few that have been heavily promoted and spoken about among the interwebs the only one i lack is Skyrim.

TItles wise it’s all things we recognise, hello sequels I’ve come bearing high hopes for you all now let’s sort the men from the boys.

First on the chopping block is Batman Arkham City, the grunge-tastic bat-fest where player demands to take the excitement of playing as a “somewhat” all new in-game Batman to a larger arena of crime-fighting mayhem; has resulted in all the prisoners in Gotham ending up in a city-in-a-city. Enter Arkham City, stage left. Excuse the theatrics but in all honesty Arkham City brings a lot of its own right from the main menu, where each new menu section brings about a flurry of bat-posing surrounded by subsequent enemy flurries.

One of the draw cards for the new Batman games has been the adaptions of the characters both friendly and villainous; and Arkham City appears to be so jam-packed full of them that within the first 5 minutes or so of Singleplayer you’ve been spoken to or bumped into at least a half dozen or so.

Catwoman is on the scene as an alternative character to play as in some of the plot as well as subsequently within the city, at a whims notice, after completing the campaign; however the introduction of playing as her first rather than Batman threw me for a six. All excited to yell in a gravelly voice “I’m Batman!” was suddenly subdued as Oh I’m some kind of leather-wearing whip-flailing thief who was clearly modeled by some game designer who constantly had a canoe in his pocket while working.

But if you can tolerate the constant shift in characters and the lack of time spent with some of the other characters (like the random 1 minute cameo appearance of Robin where Batman promptly tells him to go deal with all the other crime in Gotham, all 0% of it since all the criminals were in Arkham City. We can all read between the lines here) then you’ll be happy to know Arkham City has provided more of the same as in Arkham Asylum.There’s new gadgets and new abilities with old gadgets, a variety of unlocks and more choices then one knows what to do with.

Without giving away any spoilers, the storyline follows on somewhat from the previous game, with characters from one continuing from the state where you, as Batman, left them last time around.

Detective Mode is back but tweaked so you don’t feel like you have to sit in it all the time, however if you wanted to you still could.

The combat has stepped it up, with thugs and crims now sporting everything from heartbeat monitors to nighvision, radar jamming devices and more. As such it’s easier if you’ve first played the first game as many of the controls are familiar.

Which brings us stoutly to controls. With the added abilities etc button combos are everything, and if you’re playing it on a console like myself, suddenly it feels like the game would of benefited if i could duck tape 2 controllers together, as sticking to just one seemed like it didn’t give me enough buttons for what the game was asking for me to use. There’s quick-use button combos to quickly use a particular item, it would of been great if I could assign these to what ever I wanted to have quick access to. The same with the gadget selection. Arkham Asylum had something like that from memory, why did they not continue it.

Then there’s movement and the camera; and while Arkham Asylum had this issue of the camera seeming to crash into things or not be where you want it to be; Arkham City …. does about the same. With your glide ability you can now nose-dive in order to gain speed to be able to fling yourself higher into the air. This is controlled using both thumbpads one for camera and one for your movement. Seems simple enough until you realise your camera seemed to have hit the bottle before coming to work and had his sleepy friend attempting to drive him there. It can be slow to react but at the same time overreacting. Great idea, execution needs some tweaking.

The game presents a whole plethora of side-quests and missions and little things to collect; giving you back stories to read on all the characters but unless your an avid fan of all things Batman (which we all should be) you’ll just play and look at the pictures and not worry about reading anything.

So is it worth playing, definitely; does it have much replay value, perhaps if you weren’t paying attention the first time around. It’s like any Spiderman game, once you finish the storyline all you really want to do is fling around the city on your webs and throw yourself off as many buildings as possible. Batman : Arkham City is a good game, and it lives up to being it’s predecessors sequel; but after completing campaign you’ll most likely shelve it until you feel the urge to run around and combo thugs to death; which if you want to do there’s probably a multiplayer section, but considering all the other releases that are known for their multiplayer, the only reason you’d be playing multiplayer in Arkham City is you got owned in every other new release and need some solace to reassure you that you can’t be that bad; afterall, you’re Batman!

Storyline – 4/5 (Continues on from the last game, with some cool twists and turns if you make it that far)
Gameplay – 3/5 (Nothing revolutionary to add to what the last game gave us, it’s all just repackaged slightly differently)
Presentation – 4/5 (Great environment, however dark and grunge-styled means there’s only so-many shades of grey to choose from)