8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Not just the best Batman game, but the best superhero game too,
This review is from: Batman: Arkham City - Game of the Year Edition, PS3 (Video Game)
Rocksteady's first entry into the Batman series with Arkham Asylum was a admirable one, and like many first efforts it showed with some unpolished edges and overall limited scope with the game design. Arkham City from its very outset is the Batman game most fans really wanted. It's got a nice big prison built in old Arkham to explore, plenty of challenges to keep you entertained, and a revamped and accessible fighting system. In short, Batman Arkham City is not just the best Batman game, but the best Superhero game to date.
The story takes place within the walls of Arkham City, as you could probably guess. Arkham City is an old part of Gotham City that has been repurposed into a open prison, with the inmmates free to run around and do as they please. This means that the main villains like Two-Face, Penguin, Mr. Freeze, The Joker and many others are all waging war with each other over territory when the game begins. This is all occurring under the watchful eye of Dr. Hugo Strange, orchestrating events within the Prison that Batman is tasked with uncovering. The story begins with Bruce Wayne being thrown into Arkham City as a prisoner by Hugo Strange, knowing full-well that he is Batman. Don't want to say much more than that since playing through the game is the best part. Beyond the main story there are several side-missions to play through involving various Batman villains, and I've found them all to be worth the time to play through.
The game does an admirable job about making you feel as powerful as Batman with a very easily accessible fighting system. Even if you've never played games that involved physical combat, you can pick up how to play Arkham City within a few minutes, and work on becoming an accomplished fighter over the course of the game. The game also does an excellent job keeping the game continuously challenging by ramping things up smoothly in difficulty and variety. It's not often that I can say that about a game, and it made the game very entertaining to keep playing without frustration. There are plenty of gadgets to use as well, from the trusty grappling hook to more elaborate weapons like the freeze grenade. There is a seamless integration between the open world exploration and the missions themselves, which makes the whole game feel like a continuous experience. There's also some elements of detective work, though it's not one of the core experiences unfortunately. Hunting down your enemies from the dark and terrifying your enemies has never been more satisfying.
The graphics of this game are well done, and a notable step up in terms of some of the textures compared to Arkham Asylum. I think the game looks very good, especially considering the continuously smooth framerate throughout. The use of darker colors everywhere though does help mask some of the less pretty sights, but hey Arkham City is meant to look run-down which it absolutely does. The real winner is the sound-design, always finding such powerful tracks to play when you have to take down the enemies in a room or are tasked with just a difficult fight or mission. It just fits so perfectly and gets you pumped up when you're playing through those scenes. I actually am considering buying several pieces from the game soundtrack because of how well-done they were.
You get to play as Catwoman for part of the campaign and for certain side-missions, and thankfully her missions are entertaining and she genuinely does play differently than Batman. Batman hits very hard and has many gadgets whereas Catwoman is much swifter and more agile with her whip and bolas to keep enemies down. If you're a big Batman fan like I am you will find plenty of extras like riddler trophies and puzzles to solve to keep you very entertained for quite a while. I had a lot of fun trying to solve puzzles related to characters and events I recall from watching Batman: The Animated Series as a kid. It took me a decent amount of time to finish up everything in the main story and there is game-plus mode for those who want a real challenge since it removes the warning signs for incoming attacks and lets enemies hit harder. There's also the challenge missions where you can play as Nightwing or Robin trying to get a higher score.
All in all, if you're a Batman fan or just someone that wants to know what it feels like to be Batman - Arkham City is the game for you. I know Arkham Origins is coming out later this year, but since it is being made by a different studio than the one that made Arkham City I'm a bit cautious about how it'll turn out. Whether it turns out to be good or bad, I can tell you right now that Arkham City is great and worth playing on its own merits.