As a FPS gamer I didn’t think I would get much out of Batman: Arkham City, but boy was I wrong! As I had not played the previous Batman Arkham Asylum game all of this was very new to me and I am not sure how any of the game interlinks with the previous one, but it didn’t seem to matter.
The game opens with you playing as Catwoman – you will get to play as her a few times, mostly when Batman is captured and you have to save him. You have little time to comprehend what is going on before you have to beat up bad guys. At this point spamming the left mouse button (attack) is your friend. Catwoman will perform some amazing moves leaving you wondering how the hell you did them?!! You learn fairly quickly that when an enemy is about to strike a blue indicator above them will illuminate, allowing you to dodge their attack… this is very useful.
But the game is called Batman, so where is he? After beating up the bad guys Catwoman is captured by Two Face who is not too happy about her trying to steal from him. The game then fades to the story of Bruce Wayne. He has been captured and taken into Arkham City which has been over run by all of the inmates. At this point there is not much for the player to do but sit back and enjoy the movie atmosphere complete with scrolling titles. We learn that Hugo Strange is planning ‘Protocol 10’ which is one of the main storylines in this game; trying to figure out what protocol 10 is!?
You eventually get a chance to spam the attack button once again and escape onto the roof top where your bat suit is waiting. Once suited up it’s off to rescue Catwoman.
Even at this point of the game I was hooked, I wanted to know more. The scenery and character models were extremely realistic, mix that with what I thought was above average voice acting and you are left feeling as though you are part of a movie. Even watching Batman’s windblown cape was memorizing.
The best part of this game of course is gliding your way through and above Arkham city. After gliding that first time there was no way I was going to walk anywhere! Also the fact that the city is crawling with criminals, I felt a little safer gliding above them freaking them out.
Not long after saving Catwoman you have the chance to meet Joker. He is not looking too well these days and you find out that his blood is killing him HURRAH! Except for the fact that he has now injected you with his blood and many unsuspecting Gotham citizens. This of course leads to the other main storyline; Batman trying to find a cure.
This game will keep you busy for days!! Not only do you have the main storyline but there are many side quests. Including solving Riddler’s puzzles which will drive you INSANE!! I found it was much easier to solve some of these once you had progressed further into the game and had new weapons at your disposal. The side quests themselves do not really impact the storyline so you can happily play the main storyline and then go back and complete them. Completing side tasks though will unlock character models, bios and other goodies and of course all experiences will earn you XP points which you can use to level up your characters, either Batman or Catwoman and their arsenal of fun toys.
Your arsenal of weapons present a learning curve of their own, it did take me a while to learn in what situations to use certain weapons, but you eventually get the hang of it. Although even towards the end of the game, I still found myself blindly pressing number keys in hope one of them will execute a weapon or distraction that will help when I am surrounded by 20 bad guys! And this usually worked fairly well, as you really don’t have time to look down and figure out where your number 5 key is to try and freeze someone!!
A lot of the time in fights you will be outnumbered 1 to 6-10 bad guys, and if there are any more in the vicinity who hear the commotion they will come running to join. The bad guys themselves are not overly difficult but throw in some with guns or shields and it makes it a bit more complicated. The majority of times I died it was due to bad guys with guns! Until of course I obtained the nifty disruptor tool which has the ability to jam up their guns.
Some bosses are easy to figure out and others take a few tries. I do like that the game will display a ‘reminder,’ that pressing the displayed number key will allow you to use a certain weapon with quick succession. This basically tells you how to defeat that particular boss. Of course I am sure there is an option to turn off hints, but I did enjoy those little reminders.
I really could go on for hours about how much I loved this game. The storyline, the game play, the voice acting, the gliding!!! But of course there has to be something that frustrates you about a game right? Well firstly, the fact that you have to be logged into your Windows Live account to be able to save and continue in your game. I can imagine this would be frustrating if your internet went down and you think ‘I’ll play some Batman.’ Well you can but nothing you do will save, so you will have to play it all again once the net is back up!
During gameplay, the one thing that frustrated me from time to time was the camera angles during a fight scene (who knew that one was coming!?). At some stages I didn’t even know which character I was anymore as it just became a big blur with 10 bad guys and me somewhere in the mix. I guess that is where spamming the attack button once again becomes useful. But if you master the attack button with a few other keys you can earn big points pulling off impressive combinations of attacks.
Would I recommend this game? Yes I would!! As a hard-core FPS gamer, There are very few games of this genre that tickle my fancy (the last one was Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines, and if any of you have played that you will instantly recognise Catwoman’s voice as that of Therese/Janette which made this game that little bit more special for me.) There is enough to keep everyone happy, from those who like up close brawls to those preferring to hide in the shadows and take out their enemies one by one, and of course those who enjoy a challenge. And once you have finished the main storyline in Normal or Difficult setting a new mode will unlock where you get to play the game again but this time there is no warning when a bad guy is about to strike and they seem that little bit more educated, so you will have to use everything you have learnt previously to get through this game…oh and did I mention that in this mode you get to bring across all of your lovely toys that you accumulated from your first run though!? What more could you possibly want from a game?
Batman: Arkham City is available for PC for $39, as well as PS3 and Xbox 360 for $49.
The Good: Graphics; voice acting; storyline and addictive gameplay will make you glued to your computer for hours.
The Bad: Having to be logged into your Windows Live account in order to save your progression in the game.