Thoughts on Arkham City

By Justin Schultz

Before I start the article, I just want to give a few disclaimers.  I will be talking about character appearances in Batman: Arkham City, so if you consider this information to be a spoiler, please read another article on this site.  Also, I am a HUGE Batman fan, so there may be some ridiculous geeking out, just a warning. 

 

For those of you who don’t know, Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to the hit game, Batman: Arkham Asylum.  The story picks up what seems to be a few months from the previous game, and during this time, a lot has changed in the troubled city of Gotham.  The former warden of Arkham Asylum, Quincy Sharpe, has been elected mayor of Gotham City, and with that power, he gave permission to portion off a section of Gotham City, renaming it Arkham City, a location where all of the inmate of Arkham are allowed to run free.  I know, not the brightest of bright ideas, but there is hope in sight! 

Bruce Wayne, the alter-ego of Batman, has started a crusade against Arkham City.  However, during a protest, Bruce Wayne is captured by the Arkham City security forces and locked into the city by Professor Hugo Strange, the head of Arkham City. 

Of course, since Batman is Batman, he has a plan, one that takes him across Arkham City, trying to stop the mysterious Protocol 10 before it is activated by Professor Hugo Strange.

After this introduction, the game really starts to shine.  The player is quickly introduced to some of Batman’s most distinctive rogues, Two-Face, Catwoman, and the Joker.  The introduction scene with Two-Face and Catwoman is wonderfully done, with both personalities of the characters shining through.  Also, this particular scene gives the player a better sense of the freeflow combat that makes these games so fun.  It isn’t uncommon to get twenty hit combos, with each strike being a single button press.  It’s one of the best combat systems I have ever used in a videogame, and I have played a lot of video games. 

 

The Joker is the perfect villain, like always.   Once again voiced by the legendary Mark Hamill, the Joker takes a majority of the spotlight that the villains in this game receive, and he deserves it.  The insanity is better than ever.  If you even remotely like the Joker, you’ll love this depiction of him.  I know I did.

The other villains I wanted to draw your attention to were the Riddler and Ra’s Al Ghul, both of whom were incredible characters in this game. 

The Riddler had a much more active role in this game than he did in Batman: Arkham Asylum, since the player is actually able to interact with this criminal mastermind, after a fashion.  You’ll know as soon as the Riddler is in the game, and you actually feel a drive to solve the riddles he gives you in this game, unlike Batman: Arkham Asylum.  I won’t go into too much detail about why, but it makes sense with the flow and story of the game. 

Now, time for my personal favorite rogue in Batman’s impressive gallery, Ra’s Al Ghul, a character that I didn’t even know was in this game.  As soon as Batman mentioned that he needed to see Ra’s Al Ghul (Again, don’t want to go too spoiler heavy here), I was nerding out.  For those of you who don’t know about Ra’s, all you really need to know is that he is a six-hundred year old criminal mastermind, one of the few who is legitimately able to outsmart Batman, an impressive feat.  His inclusion and appearance in the game changes everything, it makes the game go from an impressive free-roaming combat game, to a true Batman game. 

 

Opposite the many villains, are the few other heroes that inhabit the game, Catwoman, Robin, and Nightwing.  All three of these characters have their own exclusive DLC, with Catwoman’s being the only DLC with levels in it.  I was a little disappointed to hear that neither Robin or Nightwing had any other interactions with the game world besides a brief cameo on Robin’s part.  Hopefully, these two characters get the same treatment that Catwoman received.  I would love to go on missions with these two. 

The other interaction you get with these characters is in the challenge maps.  I personally have only played through these casually, but I was able to get a good grasp for each of the character’s styles.  Batman plays just like he does in the main game, nothing too exciting here, but it’s a great place to start.  Catwoman fights like she is dancing, I know, it sounds a little weird, but it’s the best way I can describe it.  Very flowing, and you attack your enemies at a lot of different angles, very fun.  Robin fights incredibly similar to Batman, except that he uses a collapsible staff, instead of his fists.  I like playing as Robin a lot.  The combat just seems more brutal to me.  The Nightwing style is both similar to Batman, and different at the same time.  The style is very hard to describe, but it fits with his character, especially his usage of electrified batons. 

I love this game, I just do.  I would love it even if it wasn’t a Batman game, but the Batman name guaranteed that I would give it a try.  Everything about this game is exactly what it should be, from the combat, to the characters, to the story, you name it, it’s got it. 

However, in the following and inevitable DLC, I would like to see one thing, more utilization of Robin and Nightwing.  There is a lot of potential in those two characters, and I would hate to see it go to waste.      

Now, time for some announcements.  You all have noticed that I haven’t been posting as much as I did over this summer.  This is because of school, and my sometimes ridiculous course load.  Please be patient, I will get articles up as soon as I can.  Also, during my rare amounts of free time, I will be starting to play DC Universe Online, join and start playing, it’s free!

Until next time everyone-

Justin

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