So this might be the last review of Batman: Arkham City you will ever read. It’s taken me quite a long time to get to a point where I felt comfortable reviewing the game–almost a year later! So what took so long?
The truth is that Arkham City is one of the best–if not the best–super hero video games I’ve ever played. But that said, there’s a lot of skill and patience required that makes the playing a little manic. A few of the missions where your running around Gotham City beating up prisoners are deceptively easy. But then some of the tasks, like carefully navigating the flight of a batarang to go through two separate windows or pick-pocketing security guards with Catwoman, are super challenging to the point where you give up on the game for a few weeks until you get the confidence to pick it up again.
The story of the game is pretty straightforward and ties into the last game (Arkham Asylum). Part of Gotham City has been turned into an isolated prison by evil psychologist Hugo Strange and his private army, with super villains and gang members running amok. It’s up to Batman to not only keep the prisoners and citizens stuck in the Arkham district safe while uncovering the nefarious origin of this prison colony. Meanwhile, he’s in a race to save himself, as he was infected with the blood of a terminally ill Joker. Just a typical day in the life of Batman, with him going up against pretty much every villain of note in his rogue’s gallery.
Like I said earlier, the game play has a very quick learning curve but manages to be extremely challenging at the same time. It’s really addictive and there is a sense of accomplishment when you complete the various challenges.
On the visual side, it’s amazing. There’s so much detail in the game that the setting and environment itself is just as fun to explore as the game is to play. There’s a nice feature in the game, as Batman’s uniform gets more distressed and dirty as the game progresses.
Only adding to how great this game is its connection to Batman: The Animated Series, as the show’s mastermind Paul Dini wrote the game, and Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill respectively resume their voice work for Batman and the Joker.
Once the game was beaten, I realized that was only the tip of the iceberg. Not only do you have the chance to go back and finish any side missions you passed on, but there is additional game stories and the ability to add Catwoman, Robin and Nightwing into the mix as downloadable content, it seems like I’ll be playing this game for another year.
This really was the gift that kept on giving!