December 28, 2012

Batman: Arkham City (Part 1)

I know I am a little bit late on the draw for this one. Batman: Arkham City has already been out for a good year or so.  Although I have played it through a few times, I felt the need to play it again, and might as well write some blogs about it, because why not? Anyway, Batman: Arkham City is a third person, action adventure sandbox game developed by Rocksteady Studios. It is the sequel to the critically acclaimed game, Batman: Arkham Asylum, and of course continues the never-ending story of the one and only Batman. Having played Batman: Arkham Asylum and thoroughly enjoyed it, I had high expectations for Arkham City and was quite ready to be blown away if the game was anywhere near as good as its predecessor. Arkham Asylum was an extremely good game with solid combat and gameplay, good graphics, and an intriguing story. It also had Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill voicing Batman and Joker respectively, which could only add to the overall awesome batman-ish experience. Any complaints I had for Arkham Asylum were insignificant and few and probably not even worth mentioning. So when Arkham City finally showed up on shelves, I was quite ready to start curb stomping thugs into the cold, harsh streets of Arkham City.

While Batman: Arkham City is a sequel to Asylum, City’s story is very different from the previous game and doesn’t really need any kind of backstory to understand. You start out as Bruce Wayne giving a press conference in protest of the construction of the new super prison, Arkham City, where Gotham’s most dangerous criminals were kept after the events of Arkham Asylum. I can’t help question the logic behind such a decision though. Round up every single criminal in Gotham, throw them into a city, and give them weapons to fight it out amongst themselves – yeah, that’s not going to backfire any time soon. Whatever, this is comic book story writing – everything is valid in this world.

Anyway, you are soon captured by evil mastermind prison psychologist Hugo Strange, who reveals to Bruce that he knows about his costumed vigilante side. Strange also hints to Bruce/Batman that something called Protocol 10 will make him a savior. Wayne is then promptly thrown into Arkham City, because how else is the game going to get the plot moving? Inside, Bruce wastes no time suiting up as Batman and quickly finds out to nobody’s surprise that the situation within the walls of Arkham City is going to hell fast. Witnessing an all out gang war between the Penguin, Two-Face, and Joker (not to mention the many other super criminals), Batman decides to join the fray as well in an attempt to save the day from the many villains trying to ruin it.

One of the many things that made Arkham Asylum such a good game was its combat. From punch to kick to glorious limb flailing, the fighting in Asylum was nothing less than awesome in my eyes. Arkham City has added on to the already stellar combat system of Asylum and made it even more exciting and fun than it already was. The new and interesting gadgets have made beating criminals up even more diverse and fun since you can now grapple thugs with your batclaw and clothesline them as they stumble towards you while you electrocute their buddies with a makeshift Taser gun and fling your endless supply of batarangs into their faces like there’s no tomorrow. Another major addition to the combat is the ability to counter multiple attackers at the same time. While in Arkham Asylum, Batman was limited to only being able to beat thugs into submission one at a time. In Arkham City, Batman can counter up to three attackers by beating them up with their own limbs in beautiful animation. It’s almost impossible to get bored of the fun and variety each fight in Arkham City brings, and I am loving every punch and kick I can get.

Image Credit: Rocksteady Studios

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