The Score: Batman: Arkham City

Tuesday, Oct 25, 2011 1:45PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Buy Now
  • Batman: Arkham City
  • X-Box 360, Playstation 3
  • October 18, 2011
Game Informer 10/10
Pop Watch 5/5
New York Post 5/5
IGN 9.5/10
GamePro 10/10

As temperatures continue to drop with winter around the corner, the long-awaited Batman: Arkham City multi-console adventure is sure to keep players glued to their television sets.

Picking up where 2009's groundbreaking Batman: Arkham Asylum left off, players lock-in to the game's crime fighting protagonist for non-stop action.

Gotham City's skyline glows warmly, showing decades of progress and prosperity in each of its majestic towers. On this night, this impressive view is obstructed by the massive concrete walls of Arkham City, Gotham's new home for its lunatics and murderers. Behind these barriers, a section of the city has been transformed into a prison with no rules. The inmates govern themselves. Anarchy reigns in the streets as they vie for territory control. The city's historic landmarks are altered to bear the signature of the villains controlling them. The Penguin nests in the museum. (Game Informer)

This time around, Batman gets to try out his moves on a slew of new fan favorite villains including The Penguin and Two-Face.

The storyline takes off in a few different directions. You explore the city, and find that different zones have been taken over by beloved Bat-villains. The cityscape detail is relentlessly pleasing. Two-Face has redecorated the courthouse, so one side is pristine and the other side is burnt; the Joker has turned an entire neighborhood into the worlds' worst theme park ride. The story has a number of different levels that I don't really want to spoil -- it's simultaneously a race against time and a surprisingly intricate mystery. (Pop Watch)

Players looking for an added twist can look forward to the opportunity to switch protagonists.

It would be unfair to do a review of Arkham City without mentioning the secondary character in the game: Catwoman. Playing as Catwoman, you are presented with essentially the same mechanics as you are with Batman, but the feel of the character is entirely different. Catwoman is worthwhile and entertaining to play on her own. Her challenges and Predator challenges are also great additions. It is rare that we recommend the purchase of additional characters in a game, but the Catwoman DLC is worth it. We also have high expectations for what the upcoming Robin and Nightwing DLC's will offer. (New York Post)

One of the many highlights to the new PS3/X-Box 360/PC game is its overall visual improvements.

The rich experience of the first play through will satisfy all but the most obsessive gamers. The "challenge maps," back from Arkham Asylum, address this gap. These maps aren't for the faint of heart. A novice player should avoid them until they've completed the main storyline. Arkham City will be studied in game design classes for how well it integrates its cut scenes with the player controlled action. It is essentially a seamless transition each time, with the quality of the animation in the cut scenes indistinguishable from the rest of the game. Even games as polished as Mass Effect 2, Deus Ex, or Red Dead Redemption struggle with some aspect of cut scenes, making Arkham City really the pride of its class. (Huffington Post)

Although the game has been given near to perfect scores amongst most reviewers, critics have also shed light on the ills in Arkham City.

This feeling of empowerment carries over to bosses, which is weird at first but makes sense. No boss in Arkham City really gave me a challenge. In fact, they're all a bit easy. Mr. Freeze had me stumped for a while as once you use an attack on him you can't use it again, but then the Bat-computer just sent me a cheat sheet. (Although, disabling hints would've eliminated this moment.) That specific instance was no fun, but overall, the joy of Batman bosses is the journey to them and not the fight themselves. The Penguin will never challenge the World's Greatest Detective. (IGN)
One of the (small) complaints I can give is that Arkham City doesn't have the same eerie feeling surrounding it that inhabited the original. Arkham Asylum seemed to be pulsating with a dark and decrepit aura and due to the dark nature of its origin, it felt that the asylum was as much of a character in the game as any villain was. This feeling is not so pervasive in Arkham City, although that's not to say the same feeling of dread can't be found; it's just that the environment doesn't seem to be quite as focused as in the original. (Piki Geek)

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Check out some Batman: Arkham City gameplay below:

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