Batman: Arkham City Review (PS3)

BatmanArkhamCity

Batman:  Arkham City to me is a one of a kind, kind of game.  I have invested hundreds of hours into this beautifully crafted masterpiece and as much as I try to play other games, including Assassins Creed, I always somehow revert back to playing a bit of Arkham City.  It just hits the spot so damn nicely.

Batman:  AC was developed by Rocksteady Studios. Funnily enough this studio has released only three games.  The first game they brought out was Urban Chaos:  Riot Response which came out in 2006.  The second was obviously Batman:  Arkham Asylum. All three games have had exceptionally positive reviews and excellent feed back from the community.  For only three titles under their belt, Rocksteady sure know how to create engrossing entertainment.  Besides having an excellent studio to truly capture the awesomeness that is Batman, they also had three skilled writers at their disposal.  One of which was Paul Dini who wrote the scripts for Batman:  The Animated Series and Batman beyond as well as comic books, graphic novels and even some shows you forgot about like Freakazoid and Tiny Toon adventures.  The guy is a master at his craft and he nails it completely in Arkham City.

Joker_BAA2tWhat completes this game even more is the fact that Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprise their roles as Batman and Joker.  Mark Hamill is still absolutely perfect, capturing the Jokers essence and insane mind while Kevin Conroy still has this voice of authority.  Whenever I read Batman comics I’m always imagining Kevin Conroy’s voice.  These two know the characters inside and out and without them I don’t think this game would have been as great as it is.  A nice little bonus for me though is that Nolan North voices The Penguin.  For those of you who don’t know Nolan North has voiced Desmond Miles from the Assassins Creed series, Nathan Drake from Uncharted and Deadpool from well,Deadpool and a crap load of other games.batman-arkham-city-skyline-1

                               

Batman:  Arkham City kicks off one year after the events that happened in Arkham Asylum.

Ex-warden director Quincy Sharp has taken credit for stopping Jokers plan at Arkham Asylum.  Using this power he becomes mayor of Gotham City and declares that Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Penitentiary are no longer capable of housing all the crazies and criminals.  He purchases the nastiest place in Gotham City (the slums) and converts it into a new prison holding facility called Arkham City.  He places the operation completely under the control of Hugo Strange, a brilliant psychiatrist who loves the criminal mind like no other and has a tendency to use people as his own personal puppets.  Hugo also has his own personal military force called Tyger Security who assists him in obtaining his goals and too spy on certain individuals.  The Rules of Arkham City are quite simple.  All criminals can do whatever the hell they want provided they don’t try and escape.  While Hugo’s plot is unfolding Jokers health is deteriorating thanks to the Titan formula he consumed in Arkham Asylum.  At the start of the game you see Bruce Wayne desperately trying to convince the good people of Gotham that Arkham City is not the way to deal with the criminal underworld.  As this speech goes on a group of Tyger security guards rush through, capture Bruce and throw him in a holding cell.  During Bruce’s time in the holding cell you hear Hugo Strange admitting that he knows that Bruce and Batman are one and the same.  You break out, climb to the roof of a nearby building, get your bat-suit and all your other cool thingy-me-bobs (thanks to Alfred) and so, let the adventure begin.

The game plays out as a traditional 3rd person action adventure and the game eases you into everything quite smoothly so you won’t even realize that you’ve mastered the Bad-Assery class.  You have plenty of optional objectives to do and because they are all so closely in twined you never get distracted from the main overall story.  You can spend hours doing side quests which are entertaining and never get stale.  The stories in the side quests are just as interesting and engrossing as the main plot.  You can search for trophies and solve riddles thanks to Mr. E. Nigma.  You can also play as Catwoman which offers its own little story but don’t think you’re going to invest a few hours into her because her missions are relatively short.   If you feel like taking a break from the main plot line quit the game and try your hand at the challenge maps that are offered in the menu.(Trust me, I have spent hours on challenge maps).  If you have the Game of the Year edition you can download the Nightwing, Robin and Catwoman challenge packs as well as alternate costumes for all characters and the last installment of the game “Harley Quinn’s Revenge” free of charge.  The ending to this game is shocking and epic (probably more so to Batman fans) and is one of the best endings I have ever seen in a video game.

The visuals in this game are excellently detailed adding a gritty, dark tone and at times it’s hard to remember that you are not really there and the city is just awesome to glide around in.  You could get lost for hours just exploring.  There is so much detail in this game and Rocksteady has been so faithful to the franchise, throwing in Easter eggs about other characters from Arkham Asylum as well as from the comics.

But where this game truly shines is in the free flow combat system.  Allowing you to counter multiple opponents at once, and dart from enemy to enemy in one single flowing motion.  Arkham Asylum had this system for sure but it’s been so finely tuned that it’s nearly impossible to fault.  If you have played the challenge maps or more specific Jokers Carnival you will have noticed a few problems with the battle system such as the camera specifically on the PS3.  For me it’s just a bit to slow and there are no options to increase the sensitivity but not at all a game breaking thing.  That is just something I’ve noticed due to the long hours on the challenge maps.  There are times as well where I might be aiming for one guy and miss and then hit another guy instead.  (You probably won’t even notice these problems in the game itself.  I didn’t until recently)

All in all this is a near perfect game and should be enjoyed by everyone.  I honestly cannot find a truly negative thing to say about it.  It is in fact a master piece and it should be the official bar by how superhero games are judged in future.

One final thing to add is that at the 2012 Spike Video Game Awards Batman:  Arkham City won four awards for:

  1.      Best Xbox 360 Game
  2.      Best Action Adventure Game
  3.      Best Adapted Video Game
  4.      Character Of The Year (Joker)

 

And was nominated for:

  1.      Best Original Score
  2.      Best Graphics
  3.      Best Performance By A Human Female   (Tara Strong)
  4.      Best Performance By A Human Male      (Mark Hamill)
  5.      Trailer Of The Year                                 (Hugo Strange Reveal Trailer)
  6.      Best Studio                                           (Rocksteady)
  7.      Game Of The Year

In the character of the year acceptance speech you see Joker holding a script for a conveniently titled Arkham World.  It left the internet a buzz and rumours were spreading left and right about Arkham World being the third installment to the Arkham series however Rocksteady squashed the rumors by saying that it was just a gag that Joker was holding that script and it was just meant as a joke.  Rocksteady’s latest announcement though was that they were planning to make a prequel batman game using the cast of the Justice League and having it set in the “silver age of comics”

How that will work out nobody knows but I have complete faith that Rocksteady will do it justice.

PC Requirements:

Minimum System Requirements

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7
  • CPU: Dual-Core CPU 2.4 Ghz
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA 8800 or ATI 3800 with 512MB of VRAM
  • Sound: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible sound card (100 per cent DirectX 9.0c-compatible)
  • DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
  • Hard Drive: 17.5GB free disk space
  • Input Devices: 100 per cent Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible mouse and keyboard
  • Recommended System Requirements

Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7

  • CPU: Dual-Core CPU 2.5 GHz
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 6850 with 768MB+ of VRAM (DirectX 11 compatible)
  • Sound: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible sound card (100 per cent DirectX 9.0c-compatible)
  • DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
  • Hard Drive: 17.5 GB free disk space
  • Input Devices: 100 per cent Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible mouse and keyboard or Xbox 360 Controller for Windows
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7 comments on “Batman: Arkham City Review (PS3)

    • I’m surprised you haven’t got this game already. I’ve got the standard edition for PS3 if you would like to borrow it. But highly suggest that you get the GOTY Edition for the complete experience.

      Really is worth every penny

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