Batman: Arkham City (Xbox 360) Reviews

AuthorReview
Chris8875
467,613 (257,987)
Chris8875
TA Score for this game: 1,183
Posted on 19 October 11 at 21:37, Edited on 20 October 11 at 21:24
This review has 83 positive votes and 7 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Ever since word that a sequel to the acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum was in the works, fans of Batman - and the original game - have wondered exactly how Rocksteady Studios might be able to top the success, level of detail, playability and sheer brilliance of the original game.

Well, now we know.

Batman: Arkham City is a worthy Game of the Year candidate and is one of the best games ever released on the Xbox 360.

The storyline is relatively simple, and carries on from the first game (though you don't have to have played the first game to be able to easily pick things up).

Quincy Sharp, Gotham City's new mayor, has used the events of the first game to convince the public that a high-security mega-prison in the centre of Gotham is a good idea.

To that end he walls off a section of the city to create Arkham City, and he puts mysterious, and seemingly sinister, Dr Hugo Strange in charge.

Very quickly it becomes clear that Dr Strange is more than happy to run the prison as a quasi-gulag, imprisoning all sorts of people, including those who could oppose him.

In fact, there is only one rule - don't try to escape. And whatever happens inside Arkham City, goes, including violent gang warfare led by a rogue's gallery of villians, and brutal punishments for those who transgress or get on Dr Strange's wrong side.

The goings-on attract the attention of Bruce Wayne, Batman's alter ego, who, in a memorable opening sequence, speaks out publicly against Arkham City before his press conference is raided by storm-troopers and he himself is taken away to be interrogated by Dr Strange.

Dr Strange, knowing that Wayne is Batman, and knowing that Wayne/Batman is/are the only people with the power and ability to stop some secret plans he has in place, decides to lock him away in Arkham City as well.

However, in a continuation of that opening sequence, Wayne breaks free, taking vengeance on his oppressors and donning on his Batsuit in order to get to the bottom of what is happening inside Arkham City.

And there is plenty happening - as well as Dr Strange's secret plans, there are gangs led by everyone from the Penguin to Two-Face, as well as independent characters like Mr Freeze who pose further threats to Batman.

Add to that the fact the Caped Crusader's arch-nemesis The Joker remains alive and unwell (after the conclusion to Arkham Asylum) inside the City's walls, the Riddler has been up to his old puzzle-based tricks and that Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) is prowling around, and you have a full board of characters to enjoy.

And there's plenty of space in which to enjoy them.

Gameplay/environment:

Rocksteady have done a tremendous job on Arkham City's environs.

Many times bigger than the original Asylum, Gotham has been lovingingly recreated in its full, gritty, grotty, grimy brilliance.

Standing atop the Ace Chemicals building after escaping in the opening sequence, it is just a sheer joy to gaze across the environment, watching the light snow fall and the blinking neon lights.

Taking to the air and simply gliding around only adds to this joy.

Truly this is a beautiful, beautiful game.

For those familiar with Arkham Asylum, the game play and fighting mechanics remain pretty much unaltered. One positive is that Batman has his "toys" - Batclaw, Batgel, Batarangs, etc - from the start, meaning they can be used in fights pretty much straight away, as well as in helping you get around Arkham City.

The ability to glide from a high point (and there are plenty of high points in Arkham City - this game is much more "vertical" than its predecessor), grapple to another building and launch into the air again is wonderful, with mechanics as smooth as silk.

The game rewards, in equal parts, combat/brawling ability, detective work (as you would expect with Batman) and the Caped Crusader's legendary silent predator ability.

All will be called on throughout the game, and there are few things more satisfying than taking down enemies in a spectacularly sneaky way while hanging upside down from a vantage point or by simply belting the crud out of them in a brawl.

The Freeflow fighting was perhaps one of the great highlights of Arkham Asylum, and it is back even better than ever in Arkham City. I found myself purposely seeking out groups of enemy thugs just so I could bash the suitcase out of them, stringing move after move together and literally flowing from one thug to the next.

Oh, you can almost feel the thuds as the punches and kicks land, and you can almost see Batman crack his knuckles in satisfaction once the fight is done and as he stands, surveying the battered and bruised bodies of his foes.

The beautiful fighting mechanic also serves as a great way to earn XP, rank up and gain extra skills, abilities and "toys".

The storylines are multiple and massive. You have your main missions, as well as all manner of side missions starring a huge number of Batman's enemies. In one side mission you might be forced to work in uneasy alliance with the massive Bane, in another you might be set tasks by the tragic Mr Freeze.

You'll answer ringing phones all around Arkham City to try and catch a psychopath, and of course there are the hundreds of question marks laid out by the Riddler - each its own challenge and each unlocking experience and challenge rooms for players to enjoy outside the main game itself.

Of course you'll come face to face with famous enemies like Two-Face, the Penguin, Harley Quinn ("Hi there B-Man"!) and his great arch-nemesis, the Joker. And in the background stands the brutal and sinister Dr Strange and his plans.

Seriously, there is enough packed into Arkham City to fill 3 or 4 games. Everywhere you turn there is something to do or something to see. And sometimes the truly unexpected does occur - who is that character following Batman around, watching him, measuring his efforts and leaving strange symbols atop buildings?

The good thing is that the in-game map, menu system and "Bat Computer" are well laid out, clear and hugely helpful in tracking your XP, abilities, challenges, missions and whatever else you might be doing.

Finally, voice acting in the game is again great - Mark Hamill's increasingly manky-looking Joker remains a highlight and Kevin Conroy is great as Batman.

Special mentions to Maurice LaMarche as the beautifully tragic Mr Freeze, Corey Burton as the menacing Hugo Strange, Wally Wingert as the Riddler and Nolan North as The Penguin.


Extras:

It would be remiss not to mention the extras this game features.

The challenge rooms are back, unlockable by solving Riddler riddles and are bigger, better and badder than ever before.

Predator challenge rooms see you test your stealth ability as Batman or Catwoman (more on her in a second), knocking out enemies quietly and without being detected.

Combat challenge rooms are like a Fight Club on steroids. Successive waves and rounds of enemies attack Batman or Catwoman and you deal with them (and despatch them) by stringing together chains of moves. Your score multiplies the longer your chain goes - and if you complete rounds flawlessly, another bonus awaits.

These rooms are wonderful diversions to the main game, as well as a great way to swot up on your fighting and sneaking abilities.

Catwoman is a playable character (with DLC) who has her own small storyline in game, and can be used on these maps. She plays differently to Batman, hitting more lightly but being more agile and having a large whip at her disposal.

Again, great fun.


Achievements:

This isn't a quick 1000. Very simply you're looking at multiple playthroughs here.

One great addition in Arkham City is Game+, where, after your first playthrough, you play through the storyline again with all your weapons and abilities intact against a tougher batch of enemies.

A number of achievements will come in the course of main and side missions. Others are going to take time.

The Riddler challenges (and hostage rescues) will take a lot of time to complete, while there is one achievement linked to The Calendar Man which involves either playing the game on certain dates across a whole year or manipulating your console off-line to alter the date.

Then of course there's the challenge rooms and the medal requirements they have for players to earn achievements.

People will definitely have to earn their 1000 (or more, depending on DLC) points here.


Summing Up:

Arkham City is bigger, better and more beautiful than Arkham Asylum, and Rocksteady should be congratulated on the work they have done to improve on the original.

My suggestion - after you've done the first couple of missions, take some time to travel to Park Row and Crime Alley (just below the words "Restricted Area" on the map, and slightly north-west of the restricted area itself).

Look down on the alley and you'll see two chalk outlines, a single rose and a package.

Descend and walk over to the rose - you will be prompted to pay your respects, as of course this is where Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered many years ago.

Kneel and pay your respects - not only as Batman/Wayne to his parents, but to Rocksteady for such a beautiful game. (And as a bonus, you'll get the Pay Your Respects achievement after you kneel, in silence, for a minute).

Then, listen to the tape nearby from Dr Strange and revel in its simple, menacing, lyrical beauty.
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Vinchucca
174,078 (91,305)
Vinchucca
TA Score for this game: 2,434
Posted on 09 November 11 at 15:52, Edited on 10 November 11 at 09:10
This review has 13 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Batman Arkham Asylum was, by all standards, a great game. For me personally it was the best game of 2009 and I was eagerly anticipating its successor Batman Arkham City. As you can imagine the word 'City' in the title implies the game is much larger than 'Asylum'. Batman is spreading his wings, so to speak. But is it a glorious flight or a nosedive into the pavement?

I guess it was inevitable: Batman moves from the relatively linear Asylum into sandbox-territory with Arkham City. Still, as sandboxes go, this is definatly one of the smaller ones. If you're expecting Just Cause 2 with Batman, you're going to be sorely disappointed. But the smaller scope of the city is not necessarily a bad thing. The rather confined city means there's always plenty of stuff to do. It also keeps the commutes from one mission or objective to the next short and sweet. There are no vehicles in Arkham City, no Batmobile or Batwing, so Batman is restricted to using his grappling hook and cape to launch himself into the air and glide to his next objective. It's a bit clumsy at first, but with a little practice and a grapplehook upgrade that comes early on, you'll be gliding elegantly through the rooftops and it becomes an effective way of getting around.

As I said before, there's definatly plenty to do in Arkham City. From (obviously) missions and side-missions, to riddler trophies to find and collect. The side-missions deserve a special mention because they're exceptionally well executed. They feel just as fleshed-out as the story missions and skipping them would be a shame, you'd be missing out on a lot of great content and back-story.

That's not say the transition from linear to open world went entirely without consequences. The biggest of which is the game lost focus. This becomes especially awkward as the story constantly tries to instill a sense of urgency. Let me give an example [consider this a minor spoiler warning]. At a certain point early in the game Batman gets infected by a Titan-mutated virus. Pretty much the rest of the game involves a 'chase' for the cure. Since your condition is deteriorating during the missions, Alfred and Oracle both tell you to hurry up and find a cure. Your time is running out and without it's superhero Gotham is pretty much doomed. Yet, despite them sounding like they care, this point is mute, since whenever a story mission is done, you'll be dropped back into the open world and you know you'll have as much time as you like to goof about, do side missions, find riddles, whatever! The story itself however isn't half bad. It won't win any Oscars but it's entertaining, well-written, with some great voice-work and genuinely good acting. Besides it serves as a great vehicle to set-up some cool face-offs against thugs and bosses alike. There just isn't much impact to it and the feeble attempts to make you feel anxious about Batman's condition are a bit laughable. This wouldn't have happened, had they stuck to the more linear approach of Arkham Asylum.

Luckily though both the stealth and the combat return from Asylum and they're as great as ever. Batman even has some new combo's and gadgets to work with, my favorite being the ice-grenade that freezes enemies in place, leaving them vulnerable for a quick and nasty take-down. The controls are still very precise and very intuitive. The amount of new gadgets and combo's can be somewhat overwhelming at first, but with a little practice you'll beat enemies down with power, efficiency and elegance suitable for the big bat. Also the boss battles are much improved. They're more creative and generally more fun. Even involving some minor brain-work instead of the lame boss-battles from the previous game, which seldom included any more strategy than side-step, mash attack-button, rinse, repeat.

As far as play-time is concerned it's hard to put a number on it. I'd say around 10 hours on your first playthrough. But it all depends on how much of the side-missions you decide to do or how many riddles you care to solve. If you're really going for a 100% completion, including getting all the achievements (and assuming you're not using a strategy guide), is going to take you many, many, many more hours and several playthroughs. Still, since the game is so well-made, I'm confident it's not going to feel like a chore.

Last but not least if you bought the game brand-new you'll find a code included to download the Catwoman-DLC. This makes Catwoman playable in the challenges, but, perhaps more importantly, also adds 4 missions to the campaign and her own riddler-throphies to collect. Her missions are good additions to the story (essentially it's a prolog, 2 intermediate missions and an epilog). She also comes with her own fighting-style, gadgets and means of getting around the city (using her whip in a pretty cool way). However, at 800msp I'd be a bit hesitant to recommend the download should you've bought a used copy. If you plan on repeated playthroughs and getting 100% I'd surely consider it. But if you're only renting this game or only planning on one playthrough just for the story alone, you might consider giving it a miss.

In conclusion I can't really help but being amazed at Rocksteady. In spite of me having tremendously steep expectations about this game, they managed to meet all of them and even surpass a few. The story might have suffered a bit in the transition to open-world gameplay, all the other area’s of the game remain excellent throughout and with my first playthrough complete I'm dying to start over again. This game comes highly recommended to every gamer out there whom enjoys a good game, even if you're only marginally invested in the Batman universe. Go buy this, you won't regret it.
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ThatKruegerKid
108,437 (63,377)
ThatKruegerKid
TA Score for this game: 3,322
Posted on 19 March 12 at 16:21
This review has 10 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Alright, so this is my first review for a game on here, and I would like to be cautionary in saying my descriptions of the game are bad. But, here it is, a review of Batman: Arkham City.

First off, I would like to point out that I am not the biggest Batman fan, and that I am more of a fan of Marvel comics than DC by far. But no game, Marvel or DC, has done what Rocksteady has done for Batman: AC, nor probably ever will since most video games based on superheroes tend to falter. Right off the top of my head, only Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Spiderman for the PS1 were the only decent Marvel games. This game annihilates all barriers.

First, let's start with the plot; WARNING: may contain spoilers
The plot itself is very intricate, elaborate and detailed (sometimes confusing, if not worded carefully). The events take place after the fallout of the scene in Arkham Asylum. Hugo Strange has managed to capture Bruce Wayne and imprison him in the new super-prison Arkham City, and begins to initiate an action known as 'Protocol Ten.' After escaping the clutches of Mr. Penguin, it is now up to Batman to stop Dr. Strange (not to be confused with the Marvel version). In the midst of his quest, Joker injects blood into Batman, sending his archrival out to retrieve a cure from Mr. Freeze for the both of them or they will both die. In addition to the battle between Batman, Joker, Dr. Strange and a budding Mr. Freeze, Batman also has several dilemmas of his own in the sidequests, such as trying to track down the 'Phone Booth Killer' a.k.a. Zsasz, and trying to save hostages from the Riddler. There are tons of sidequests, that even after 'beating' the game, will keep you occupied for hours, akin to what made Fallout and Elder Scrolls very successful for Bethesda. Also, the Riddler challenges, very similar to the challenges in Arkham Asylum, will keep you occupied. You can also do challenges with Robin and Nightwing, Batman's sidekicks.

Of course, there are gaps in the story that will leave you wondering how it happened. That's where the DLC comes into play -- the Catwoman DLC, available for $10.00 (800 MS points), allows you to play more 'episodes' with Miss Kyle than just 'saving' Batman. Catwoman has a small, but interesting plot in this game where she wants to escape Arkham City, but needs loot to do so. It also provides filler content for certain scenes that occur in the game, and a backdrop. To add to it, there is also a 'New Game Plus' feature when you beat the game to retry the game's story with all the gadgets you have earned, but with an extra kick in difficulty; no indicators for counters, and enemies are much tougher especially in the beginning.

To further the game's characters in the movie, all of the supervillains are portrayed as extensively insane and truly evil, and fittingly so considering the last title was Arkham Asylum. This is especially seen in the Joker, who is increasingly sick (literally and figuratively) in this game while Harley Quinn is brainwashed, and Penguin takes a darker turn in the game. The only sad part in this game is that there is no Scarecrow in this game, but he died, so why bring him back? laugh In contrast, Batman, in spite of many fears, doubts and dilemmas, tries to continuously represent justice and doing what is right, instead of seeking to 'end it all' with certain villains. Without a question, the acting in this game is up there as the best I've ever seen in a videogame.

The graphics in this game are astonishing, and I may be putting it lightly. The detail involved in the characters and scenery is incredible, especially in villains. Joker's physical scars around his face make him look more evil and sinister, and makes him come to life as an ailing, yet dangerous opponent. The cold, night sky makes it feel like you are observing Batman at work.

The gameplay in this game is very tight, yet flows well. It's shown in the combat system now, where long combos are much easier to do than in Arkham Asylum. Add a variety of moves in the game, such as the blade dodge/takedown, and then the super stun, and you have a plethora of weapons. There are also new gadgets to use, such as smoke pellets to escape unwanted fights, freeze blasts to freeze and takedown your adversaries, and even a disruptor that can jam guns and cause mines to detonate. It was clear that Rocksteady wanted you to be prepared for more varied situations in this game, and wanted you to experience the gadgetry in this.

The music in this game, to finish off this review, is also incredible. You only need to listen to the title screen music just to get pumped for playing as the Dark Knight. It also perfectly portrays the blend of struggle, vengeance and pride that the Batman is taking in trying to save himself, his rival Joker, and stopping Hugo Strange from initiating Protocol Ten in the ultra-corrupt and sinister Arkham City.

To summarize, this is far and away the best superhero game of all-time, and up there in terms of being Game of the Year, or perhaps one of the best games ever. It's like Skyrim and Batman: AA are 1 and 1A, and normally, I do not ever recommend buying single-player games. But this game will keep you occupied for days on end, all while being entertained by a plethora of characters and fulfilling your need for a detailed, intricate storyline.
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iPopboX
91,410 (62,624)
iPopboX
TA Score for this game: 1,040
Posted on 20 October 11 at 13:05
This review has 2 positive votes and 11 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
This game is packed with additional content; really improving from the last game and it's pretty safe to say that thisis a heavyweight hitter to the first title Arkham Asylum.

Arkham City takes place near gotham, the sole idea is that inmates were to be moved into the city instead that said Batman has to stop it. The game has alot to do, with even more challenging riddler trophies on both sides: Batman and Catwoman, or even something slight like Zzsaz phone calls.

All this in my opinon adds to the game, the game itself is ten-times bigger then Arkham city it is a huge detailed free roam game with plenty of stuff to do even after the game. The story wasn't afraid to take chances and left me going like "what the heck just happened"

Overall!
I give this game a 9.7/10

-Popbox/Amario

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