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Arkham City is the follow up to 2009′s highly acclaimed Arkham Asylum in which players take control of Batman and his lofty array of gadgets. Players are tasked with scaling an open world finding inmates and super criminals and bringing them to justice. You must battle the way through the world using stealth and predator tactics to remain unseen, the element of surprise is often key. While making your way through the game you will receive various side quests from some of the Batman comic books most famous characters.
The primary focus of the game is to stop the super villain from killing everyone in Arkham City while preventing a poison of sorts being unleashed upon all of Gotham. This poison is TITAN, the very same poison used to turn Joker into a huge raving maniac at the end of the first game. TITAN is killing the Joker so he is developing a cure, but if you don’t help get it finished in time he, you and the rest of Gotham will die, this is why your mission is so time critical. You must bring all the villains to justice and develop the antidote before TITAN kills you. All of this is on top of stopping “Protocol 10” from launching upon Arkham City, as usual Batman will be busy.
The main villains of the game include TwoFace, The Penguin, Harley Quinn, Joker and Professor Strange. Other favorites like Mr Freeze, Catwoman, Bane, Croc and Robin all make an appearance as well as tons of your other much-loved heroes and villains. Some of these characters have cameo roles in the main story while others are integral parts of the secondary missions of the game: for example – Bane is in Arkham City to destroy the remaining tanks of TITAN and needs your help with it and the Riddler is back and again has an overly abundant amount of trophies planted around the place for you to find. This outing sees a total of 400 Riddler Trophies to collect in all, some of them being pink and needing to be collected as Catwoman (the initial purchase DLC code in new copies of the game allow you to play as Catwoman). Once you collect a certain amount of these trophies you are then tasked with saving a prisoner that The Riddler has taken captive.
The side quests of the game are where the majority of the content of the game lies. You will spend much, much more time figuring out the Riddler puzzles than the puzzles in the main game. You will spend more time running around Arkham City doing the challenges set by the characters in the side quests than you will spend running around in the entire main game! The secondary missions also add more variety to the game, each segment of a side quest being different to that which you do in the main game.
New Game+ is becoming a staple of action and adventure games. Batman is no different. Arkham City boasts a New Game + mode where you keep your level, all of your skills and upgrades as well as not having to find the Riddler trophies you have already found in your previous game. You will need to have all of your previous skills and experience though as this time round the enemies are tougher, faster and smarter. It’s a challenge for the hardcore fans of the game.
You will spend quite a bit of time in the slightly tweaked detective mode. This time you are presented with more information than before – as well as where each person is and if they are armed or not and the locations of destrucatable walls and swingable gargoyles – but you now have no navigational information while in detective mode. This is because the developers realized that in Arkham Asylum a large amount of players were playing the entire game in Detective Mode! Only leaving detective mode when forced to by the story or video scenes.
This game is a year after the events of the first game, Quincy Sharp – Former Arkham Asylum Warden – is now mayor of Gotham and has fenced in a large area of the Gotham Slums and created Arkham City, a place for the criminals of Gotham City to fend for themselves out-of-the-way of the rest of the public.
The story begins with Bruce Wayne speaking at a conference condemning Arkham City. You are arrested and promptly dumped in Arkham City.
While still playing as Bruce you get your first taste of combat, hands still shackled. You then proceed to escape and have your costume, and gadgets airdropped in. Once you have your costume on free roam mode is active. You can go almost anywhere on the map and find any of the numerous Riddler trophies or side quests at the beginning of the game (most side quests don’t become available until you collect a certain amount of trophies or perform certain acts throughout the main story). Your first challenge as Batman is to rescue Catwoman from Two Face. Shortly after rescuing Catwoman you are tricked and captured by the Joker. He knocks you out and inserts a drip into your arm containing his blood. This infects you with the TITAN poison that is killing him. He then informs you that he has been shipping contaminated packs of blood all around Gotham for weeks and that if a cure is not developed quickly you will all end up dead. On top of that you must also stop the mysterious “Protocol 10″ from launching. You don’t know what it is but you know it won’t be good.
Joker tells you that he had Mr Freeze working on the cure but has since been unable to contact him. You need to find Freeze. He has been taken hostage by another criminal: The Penguin. You toil through hoops to save Mr Freeze, only for him to tell you that the cure cannot be created. For it to sustain in the blood long enough to cure the host it would need an enzyme to keep it alive and to be bonded to human DNA so it wouldn’t reject – and that would take decades… Batman knew someone who had lived for 600 years due to an enzyme that he was using. It was already bonded to his DNA. Batman needed to find this person and get some of his blood. The man who had lived for 600 years, Ra’s al Goul, was the head of the Assassins guild, finding him wouldn’t be easy. A tracker was planted on one of the guards of the guild. That leads Batman right to Ra’s al Goul. He refuses to provide the blood willingly and a fight occurs but Batman succeeds and gets the blood.
With the blood Mr Freeze creates a cure to TITAN. He places 1 vial in the safe and goes to hand the remaining vial to you when he crushes it. You then need to fight Freeze. He tells you that his wife, Nora was taken by Joker and that you will save her. Upon beating him you discover that the vial of cure in the safe has been taken by Harley Quinn for the Joker. You must then track down the remaining cure and take it before TITAN kills you.
You get to the Joker, fight him and recover the cure, but your still not done. You still need to stop Strange and Protocol 10. Protocol 10 is the plan to wipe out every single person in Arkham City cleaning up the Gotham of crime completely. In Strange’s eyes that would make him the hero and not Batman.
All of the gadgets are pretty much available from the beginning of the game with upgrades being unlocked for leveling up and completing certain story missions.
Old gadgets have had some improvements, the remote Batarang can now brake and accelerate. You can now disable weapons from a distance undetected the same way you unlock doors. The line launcher not only allows you to walk the line like a tightrope you can now fire a second shot while mid slide and then slide off in a second direction allowing you to take corners with it.
Climbing, gliding and grappling (LB) are the main ways of moving throughout Arkham City. Keeping to the rooftops helps prevent you being seen. Movement is achieved using the normal left analogue stick to move, right for the camera system. Running, rolling and general dodge techniques are performed with “A”. Combat is performed using a combination of attack (X), dodge (A) and counter (Y), adding better combos and improved finishing moves as you gain levels and experience. You can also use your gadgets during fights with a simple 2 button press system including explosive gel, batmarangs, ice bombs and electricity all seamlessly integrated with your attacks – keeping your combo meter growing.
The basic enemy design from the first game has changed little. All enemies are either unarmed, armed with a knife/cattle prod or armed with a gun. A few of the enemies have body armor and a few have riot shields. There are a relatively large number of skins for the basic enemy but you can rarely notice the difference because the pace of the fights are high and you are jumping about all over the place. The only time you really get to see them is during the slow-mo scene when you take-down the last enemy. Armed enemies can be armed with a few different guns: Assault Rifle, Rocket Launcher or Sniper Rifle. Enemies with body armor of riot shields must be attacked in a certain way to take them out of the fight. The AI of the enemies amounts to attack Batman as soon as possible or look for Batman and not much else. The AI of the mini-bosses of the game is not much better, their move set being very easy to learn and exploit. The main bosses of the game, while still being able to learn their move set quickly, are a little more challenging. They are major characters of the Batman franchise, like Penguin and Freeze. They have more health, take and do more damage and they must always be defeated with a combination of the correct attacks at the exact right time.
Overall Score: 73%
Although the main game-play is good the enemy AI lets it down a lot. The story is not much better, exploring no character background at all unless you see various side quests to the very end, leaving lots of gaps for people who are not familiar with the comic, films or the previous game. Had I not played Arkham Asylum I would have felt like I was just toiling through the motions of the game without really knowing why or what I was doing. The combat is easy and does not require you to be inventive at all with your attack chains. Simply hitting “X” and countering when needed suffices (on New Game + that changes). The stealth portion of this game is its saving grace. Although being repetitive as hell – swinging around the gargoyles at the top of rooms and slowly picking off enemies one at a time keept me playing well past bedtime and right up until the sun started to rise. The main story is short, easily finishable in a night, well I finished it in one sitting.
Overall the game is worth playing if you have played the previous game but I would steer away if you have not. This game is a RENTAL TITLE and nothing more, even if I planned on collecting all the trophies and completing the game 100% (that includes New Game Plus) it wouldn’t take me more than say a week, week and a bit.
- Batman: Arkham Asylum Errors (DAMAGED DOWNLOADABLE CONTENT) (xbox.pattonwebz.com)