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?
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.