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Arkam City improves on already solid series

October 28, 2011

A year has passed since Batman rescued the citizens of Gotham City from the rampage and chaos that was Arkham Asylum. The Joker was able to inject himself with the toxin known as “Titan” and Batman, of course, saved the day. However, things are about to change far more than even Batman could have anticipated. 

Arkham City is a whole new arena for common thugs and criminal masterminds to create havoc. The area in which Batman can travel is five times greater than that of Arkham Asylum, making room for more Riddler challenges, side missions and a longer story.

There are several components of the sequel that stand out. First, the graphics for Arkham City are stunning. The level of detail that the designers put into this game is on a higher level than any other game I have seen. The designers coded down to the very wrinkle and boil on Jokers face and down to the very last hair in Batman’s five o’clock shadow. The texture of the buildings and characters and small effects like snow landing on Batman’s cape as he glides through the sky are wonderful touches. The designers could have decided to call it quits early, but they went above and beyond to give gamers and fans the best.

The second component that caught my attention was the variety of new combat types that Batman was put in.

 You fight the common thug on the street using the fighting configuration that was created for Arkham Asylum. The combat becomes increasingly difficult as the story line progressed. Enemies start to wear body armor, defend themselves with riot shields and attack Batman by throwing objects and wielding weapons such as knives and guns.

Along with new combat types comes new combo moves and a variety of ways to knock the enemy unconscious. These are just some of the combat situations that Batman thrusts himself into. Pressing the right buttons insures a fluent stream of contact hits that will raise the combo score, allowing Batman to use special moves.

Batman uses various gadgets to temporarily stun Batman’s enemies. The combat can take some time to hone, but as Batman fights more and more, thumbs will move naturally to the cracking of skulls.

Riddle me this, what’s a video game without a story arc, especially a Batman video game? A terrible video game adaptation of Joel Schumacher’s film “Batman and Robin.” Who wants to go back to that? Arkham City plays like a motion picture. It has a top notch story line that keeps the player wanting more every time a boss is finished.

There are many iconic figures as well as twists that I did not expect to happen. It is mind boggling at how many noticeable Batman characters are in this game, both good and bad.

In speaking of riddles, there are obvious changes to the Riddler challenges and an amazing addition of side missions. Right off the bat I noticed Riddler trophies were now encased in cages that can only be opened by walking on question mark buttons in the right order or before time runs out. The riddles in this game are harder to solve and need a good amount of intuition.

There are also the same riddles as in Arkham Asylum that appears on the screen when Batman happens into various sections of Arkham City. Detective mode is again used to scan certain objects or scenes that are created by the designers. The Riddler himself shows up, however, only through recorded messages and videos that appear near certain riddles.

Side missions are a successful addition to the “Arkhamverse”. Besides the normal story game play and the villains found during it, Batman runs into seven more villains from his rogue’s gallery in the side missions. These foes are either out to kill him or need help from him in some way. This chops up the linear game play and makes the game last for a long, long time.

Arkham City connects the story from Arkham Asylum and is a successful sequel. It’s everything that fans and gamers want from a Batman video game. This game’s playability could be drawn out through many weeks.

Ultimately, Batman: Arkham City should be a contender for the 2011 game of the year.

Joe Florio
Photography Manager

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