Thursday, October 27, 2011

Review: Batman Arkham City

Played on PS3

So, I'm really glad I didn't let anyone spoil the ending for me. I know it got leaked early and tons of people already knew what was going on, but I didn't, and I'm not telling you! Anyways, in this sequel to the previously released, and awesome Batman Arkham Asylum (read my review here) we get a new Batman. This isn't the Adam West Batman you may have grown up with. He's not PC nor PG in anyway. This game really gave us a Batman in line with the current comics: he's dark, he's angry, he's brutal, but he's just. The game also gave little nods towards some of the newer comics in regards to certain costumes or buildings.

Now, that I've shown my comic-nerd-y-ness, on to the game. This game is set in Arkham City. Arkham City is essentially a prison colony. Think of the early penal colonies except replace the debtors with organized crime thugs and super villains. Batman ends up inside Arkham City and has contracted a very quick and deadly disease. He must then work with and through many of our favorite super villains in order to obtain a cure and save himself and Gotham.

There are also plenty of cameos from our femme fatales. Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Talia al Ghul all make an appearance. (And without getting all worked up over the sexism debate out there, these ladies are very in line with the newer comics. Just check out Gotham City Sirens.)

Visuals: This game is really dark visually as well as plot-wise. The world of Arkham City is very detailed, but the darkness of it all makes much of the landscape blend together. However, they did an amazing job with the character design. Each thug is dressed differently depending upon which boss he follows. Each of the super villains are impeccably done. They were able to combine some traditional elements of each villain (such as Joker being tall and lanky) while also incorporating some of the newer comic elements (the Mad Hatter is absolutely amazingly done). The variations of Batman as well as wonderful. Also, I love how they make Catwoman move, especially when she licks her "paws" while waiting.

Audio: They did a good job here of making sure you can hear what's being said. The local surveillance lets you hear what's being said by the thugs who may be many feet away, but this adds to the storyline little bits at a time. The way they did the Riddler's recordings was also really neat. Every now and then, it just breaks up a little bit, and has a really cool sound to it. My one annoyance was that there was this thunder sound every time Batman took out a thug. In the bigger fights, this got a little bothersome, but that's pretty minor.

Involvement: Similar to the last Batman game, the Riddler's riddles can provide a great way to get involved in the game without having to handle a controller. Also, there's quite a bit of strategy involved in this game, which I don't recall being as important in the first. This means that you can get involved by helping to plan how to reach certain points without being seen, or how to use certain game mechanics to your advantage.

Overall: Seriously, I loved this game. I had to force myself to go work while Philip played, because I would have sat on the couch the whole time and just watched it. I loved the characters and how they were portrayed. I love how they made them move within the world in such a way as it seemed like that's how they would really move. The game was fluid and fast paced, yet gave sufficient time for such a story to develop that it really was well-rounded. The cameo appearances and little side-world battles were well done and allowed the game to flush out some well-known, and not-so-well-known villains. Overall, it was great. My only complaint was that there wasn't enough Poison Ivy.

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