Posted: June 3
Batman Arkham City is, obviously, the sequel to Arkham Asylum. I already said that Asylum was one of my best games of all time. However, Arkham City improves in every single aspect of the Arkham games. It has more content that is still of high quality, better mechanics, a better story that actually has a couple of twists in it (They will not be spoiled here) and some of the best downloadable content on the market.
I'll begin by discussing the improved combat system. It makes the one is Asylum seem extremely outdated even though this was released only two years after Asylum. There are much more combat moves, a bigger enemy variety that includes armored enemies that can only be hit with the new Beatdown move and enemies holding doors which can only be avoided by maneuvering away from them or by pulling off the aerial attack move. Even the titan combat has been improved with two moves you can pull of on them. This makes the game harder, but not by much. Taking away the counter icons will give you a much tougher experience. The system will take a bit of getting used to, especially with the tougher moves like the Blade Dodge Takedown.
The stealth has also been improved. There is a much bigger variety of takedowns that Batman can perform such as the Ledge Takedown, Takedowns through glass and walls and Double Takedowns which are very rewarding when you can pull one off. Again, the stealth has also been made harder. You will have to deal with armored enemies that can only be taken down with exotic methods and enemies that will be able to see you on vantage points if you don't have the right upgrade.
Most of Batman's gadgets that were in Arkham Asylum have returned for City with a few new editions such as the Line Launcher (Which I believe is the most useful gadget it any game ever) and the Freeze Grenade. All of the gadgets are very helpful in stealth. Most of them are useful in combat and they help keep the variety in your combos.
The game now contains not only Riddler Trophies as collectables, but it also has some challenges that are completed by Gliding for a certain length of time or using a certain gadget in a combo for example. Destroyable items are back too.
There are also a lot of side missions in this game that each focus on a specific character. You can begin them at random points throughout the game or simply through discovery. Some of them can be completely missed out. They all have a lot of variety and some of them hint at things that could happen in Arkham Knight.
Challenge Maps are back as well. The base game had 6 combat and 6 predator challenges with extreme varients. The extreme predator maps have been improved since Asylum. It is quite rare for you to ever be in a situation where the map has the vantage points with proximity mines on them which I think was just a cheap way to increase the difficulty. The maps are not too hard, even if you are aiming for all three medals. The predator ones may require a bit of trial and error for some of the objectives. I don't really see this as a problem as it reminds me of what Batman is: A detective. There are also a set of 12 campaigns which are a series of three maps which you must complete with modifiers that make some maps harder, but you are also given some helpful modifiers. A series of three extreme maps will test your skills to the limits.
The port itself had problems and the abysmal GFWL integrated into it at launch. Now those problems are pretty much nonexistant. There are a couple of bugs with the A.I. and combat but these issues don't come up that often.The game runs pretty well after some configuration and it also includes all of the DLC. It wouldn't be a GOTY edition without all of the DLC, am I right?
The extra content you are getting for Arkham City is all brilliant. There are a ton of skins that Batman can use from different storylines. Catwoman is playable with 4 extra story missions and two additional skiins. Her ability set is quite limited compared to Batman and she is intented for the more experienced players. Robin and Nightwing are both playable in the challenge maps. They come with some gadgets you will already be familiar with and new gadgets that will give you more unique ways to dispatch your foes. Extra challenge maps are also provided that try to do things differently. There are two survival maps and a sidescroller for example. The Batcave is also a predator map. Finally, there is the Two Hour Story Campaign, Harley Quinn's Revenge. It doesn't do much new, but you are getting more arkham city and extra playtime with Robin. What more could you ask for?
You are going to get well over 100 hours completing everything this game has to offer (I played this on the PS3 so I rushed through both of my story playthroughs). If you liked Arkham Asylum, you probably already have this. If you haven't played a Batman Game before, wait for a sale and pick it up. You won't be disappointed as this is an unforgettable experience. The amount of detail put into the world is astounding and the mechanics have been polished even further than before. It is one of the greatest video games ever created. 10/10.