|Batman: Arkham City|
Publisher: Warner Brothers Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: One
On this occasion I've decided to write this review in the first-person as I feel as though I have written this review before.
Back in 2009 I reviewed this game’s prequel, Arkham Asylum, on Gamecell, and loved it to pieces. Feel free to dig through the archives, have a read, then come back to this review. At the time it (and arguably still) soars above the majority of generic games with licensed character images plastered over them to sell by the million. With an excellent mix of fighting crowds of goons or stealthily picking off armed guards one by one, it felt like Batman.
The Arkham City story is a little incoherent. Bruce Wayne is arrested after protesting about the centre of Gotham City being converted into a colossal ultra-high security prison, gets in a fight, picks up his Bat-Stuff dropped off by Alfred, and off he goes to find out what's going on in an open-world version of the prequel... and here we come to one of the games comparative (but minor) weaknesses. The first game had Batman stuck in the enclosed claustrophobic environment of Arkham Asylum where you felt manipulated by the Joker and his cronies who had taken over the asylum. This added mood. Giving Batman free reign to swoop around the whole of Arkham City, takes away more in mood than it gives in freedom.
And to the final main aspect of the game, the predatory sections where Batman is out-matched in direct confrontation with well-armed enemies but is encouraged to sneakily pick them off one at a time. This aspect of the game continues to be very well executed. As Batman it's easy to feel very powerful with a plethora of gadgets to distract and disable heavily armed enemies, but the enjoyable tension in knowing that it's easy to make a mistake and get shot to bits.
To summarise the main game, it's great. Rocksteady have (for the most part) succeeded in improving upon all the things that made the first game so much fun, and I highly recommend it.
- The predator sections are still enormous fun.
- Fighting is still a lot of fun too.
- Clever “Challenge” levels.
- A less focused story.
- Maybe too much fighting.
- Some incidental character dialogue can get repetitive.
|Batman: Arkham City
The Bradygames Signature Series Guide
For the sake of full disclosure, I would like to state I've never been keen on guides. If you get stuck, the internet is a quick easy place to get enough of a hint of what to do next, or even spoil the whole game should you wish it. Why spend the cash on a glossy book?
As always with Bradygames guides the first couple of sections feel like an extended, detailed deluxe instruction manual, including general gameplay hints like how to maintain combos in fights or the effects of some of the gadgets. After playing through the game, the majority of these elements are either discovered through play or explicitly described during the game.
The next thirty pages or so are made up of glossy profiles of characters that feature in the game, so if you are still playing the game and would like to spoil surprise cameos of unexpected characters, this should be your first port of call.
The next section is a breakdown of all the challenge levels. For the most part, it is simply a list of all the challenge levels available to play with some hints on how to approach them.
The final and easily most useful section of the guide is the location of all the hidden trophies and how to access some of the Riddler's trickier collectable tokens. Markers on the in-game map that show the location of these tokens can be wrung out of intimidated goons during the game, but it is handy to have a comprehensive list of them all. Sadly, even here the format of the book is not conducive to study during play, as it can't lay flat and it's easy to lose your place with both hands on a controller without an awkwardly placed weight keeping the page open but flat enough to be visible.
To summarise, as well presented as the guide is, my opinion has not changed. If you're after something glossy with maps of all the hidden tokens, go for it.