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Guide or Collectible?
on November 7, 2011
For a guide, this product is satisfying in paperback for the cheaper price. As a collectible, I suppose it's worth the extra money.
I only had one use for this guide, really; completing all of Riddler's Side Mission. There's an entire section in the back devoted entirely to the side missions, and most of my review will focus on this section. The main gameplay section is perfectly adequate for a guide, and doesn't leave much to be desired.
The collectible features, if you're into them, are worth the extra money, and the hardcover is nice, although it would be better if you could choose which cover you get. I thought the game was BATMAN: Arkham City, not CATWOMAN, so I was a bit disappointed that my guide had the Catwoman cover. The poster has Harley and Catwoman on two different sides, but the Harley side is just a blown-up version of the lenticular card it includes. It was also impossible for me to remove the poster without tearing it slightly, one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to guides.
Each map appears exactly as it does in the game, and herein lies the problem. While the guide in the Riddler's Riddles section divides each section of the map as the game does, it would be nice to have one map that shows everything and then subdivides by city areas.
While the map is adequate, the locations of riddles, trophies, and breakable objects leaves much to be desired. If I wanted the vague locations I'd use the map guides given by Riddler informants. The guide simply breaks the informed map up so that you can see where just riddles, or breakable objects are. While it tells you where to go in great detail for the trophies, it leaves it to you to figure out what breakable object is around, and whether it's on the top corner of a building or down on its side, or even inside the building.
I spent around 20 minutes trying to find one Joker Teeth breakable that the guide and game said I should be right on top of in the subway. I could hear the thing laughing and chattering around, but couldn't see it no matter where I searched. When I went up the stairs I found it hidden in the side directly above where I was, but it would have been nice if the guide told me where it was so that I could go up a level instead of simply looking around where I was thinking I was right. It also fails to mention that the "Demon Seals" in Wonder City are not conventional breakable objects that you can break with your Batarang, but are oddly-shaped heads you can only destroy using the Batclaw. When I finally figured out what the breakable objects were that the game map specified and the guide identified as these seals, I tried to destroy them as you destroy any other object in the entire game. It would have been nice for the guide to point out that there's a special way to destroy these objects.
This also falls short when it comes to finding riddles. If I can't find a riddle when the game provides it, telling me to go to that spot and look at something you don't know doesn't help much. If you don't know something is there, it'd be nice to know what direction you're supposed to face, what level of the city you have to be on, and whether or not you should be zoomed in or not.
All-in-all, the guide is detailed enough to make it worth using again and again, but I'm sure quite a few people would be able to write their own in much better detail online.
If you want the collectibles, then get this item. If you want the basic gameplay, this is great. If you want the riddles, look for those annoying online walkthrough videos.