Batman: Arkham City (2011)

Return to Arkham Edition (Xbox One)

Release Date: October 18, 2011

Genre: Action-Adventure

Rating: 8.5/10

Dr. Hugo Strange is a mad psychologist who has set up Arkham City to house prisoners. Also, he knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, whom he immediately locks up in said city. The city itself is split into four factions, each ruled by a different Gotham City super criminal: Joker, Two-Face, Penguin, and Ra’s Al Ghul are all playing for keeps with only Batman, with some help from Catwoman, able to stop all of them.

I feel they took everything that worked from the first game and added to it to make this game one amazing experience from start to finish. The brawling sections flow a lot better and there’s a lot more gadgets and the like to make these parts a lot more fluid and fun to play. The predator sections are the same in that Batman’s arsenal has been greatly improved to allow for even more non-lethal ways to take your enemies down unnoticed.

Truthfully, had I done nothing but play through the story and reviewed from there I would probably have called this a perfect game with nothing wrong with it and nothing totally pointless. Unfortunately, that’s not how I play games and that’s not how I review them either. For Batman games in particular I play through on the hardest difficulty and try to do 100% of everything, though I’m liable to give up if it doesn’t feel worth it to me. A good example is those super bosses at the end of Final Fantasy 7, Diamond and Ruby Weapon, true, I probably could max out my characters and beat them and get some pretty cool stuff doing so, but what then? The answer is: nothing at all! And I just don’t see a point in doing such a thing outside of getting to say you did so (or the Achievement/Trophy, if you care about such things).

For Arkham City, the only parts I didn’t do are the second half of the Predator Challenges because they went from being fun to being frustratingly difficult. I did all the Brawling Challenges (or whatever they’re called) just fine, maybe needed multiple retries on a few, but still I got all three medals on all 12 of them with all four characters and had fun doing it. I find this at least slightly ironic considering I felt the exact opposite way for Arkham Asylum, that the later Brawling Challenges were too hard and frustrating and the Predator Challenges much easier and more fun. Ah well, maybe they’ll get these right next time.

Also, I felt that many of the sidequests were just pointless. The ones that worked, like the Bane one where you’re hunting down Titan Containers to blow up, go along quite well with the main mission and you can do it as you go, essentially, or, like Mad Hatter’s sidequest, the story of it plays into the main mission or what’s going on. I mean, the Deadshot one (if you can even get these to trigger while doing the story) is just too against the grain with everything else. The main storyline has a ticking clock motif where you have to get things done before people die while also taking time to track a serial killer who’s off doing his own thing? What?

SCORING:

Playability: 3.2 of 4: Though everything is a lot smoother there’s one area where everything is kind of broken: stairs. This games does not like fighting on stairs, or doing silent takedowns on them, as it’s always kind of iffy whether it will let you land a punch or not. Also, I’m still not sure if this is my fault or not, but it’s always about 50/50 whether a blade dodge will actually register or if the knifed guy is just going to cut you

Fun Factor: 2.4 of 3: It’s great, aside from some really frustrating challenges for those of us who want to 100% everything with every character. Also, gets a bit boring after you beat the game and are just trying to finish up getting all the Riddler stuff and some pretty tedious side missions

Story: 1 of 1: It’s pretty great, well written all around and I was honestly surprised at more than a few parts

Replay Value: 1 of 1: There is a lot to do once the game is over, like play through again on the even harder New Game+

Graphics and Sound: 0.9 of 1: It bugs me that there’s no music once the games over and you’re only running around collecting stuff, makes these tedious parts feel even more tedious

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