Batman Arkham City – A Game Review

Yes folks, another game review. And yes, another article about Batman. Well, you did all get pre-warning on the title page of my blog that this is basically the inside of my head, so what can I say? The inside of my head has a lot of games in it, and Batman is pretty much a permanent fixture in there. Which is probably one of the many reasons I’m such a happy person! Anyway, I digress…

Batman Arkham City is the next instalment in Rocksteady’s Arkham series, picking up several months after the first game. Now, you all know I don’t do spoilers, so filling you in on the basic plot without spoiling the first game will be moderately challenging. Lucky for you all, I love a challenge.

Arkham City takes place within an enormous fenced off section of Gotham. Imagine all of Gotham’s unsavoury types, including some very famous faces from Batman’s infamous rogue’s gallery, all locked in, enjoying their turf wars, ruling the streets and doing what they do best. Now imagine a lunatic politician is in charge of it all, being aided and advised by a mad scientist. Add some innocent civilians for good measure and you have the perfect storm of chaos and violence that can only be a job for Batman.

City is a much larger game than Arkham Asylum, covering a far greater area and telling a much longer story. Expect your playthrough of the main story to take roughly two to three times as long as Asylum. And notice I said “main story”? That’s because in addition to the core tale of the game, City introduces side missions, offering you the opportunity to interact with even more characters and villains and immerse yourself even more fully into being Batman.

Combat is very similar to the first game, with added tweaks that make your freeflow fighting even more fluid. There are more gadgets for you to enjoy and detective mode has seen a slight revamp. No, there is no batmobile in this game, sorry. But getting around the map is no problem. It may be large, but you never feel like you are aimlessly or endlessly heading towards your goal. Traversing the skyline is a breeze with added gadgets like the grapnel boost, which send you gliding through the air at speed, practically flying.

There is a lot to love in this game. Personally, my favourite feature that had me literally squeal with excitement is Catwoman being a playable character. Anyone that knows me knows I love her just as much as I adore Batman. And yes, I ship them. Hard. While Selina’s story is relatively minor compared to Batman’s, its fun and she is thoroughly enjoyable to play. I actually prefer her combat style to his. It’s more graceful and elegant and feels almost effortless. I’d love to see her get her own standalone Arkham game, with a cameo from Bruce, of course.

Arkham City is a worthy sequel to Asylum, and in many ways, a superior game. The graphics are slightly better and it takes the concept of Asylum, gloriously expanding on it to give us more to do, more to see and more to experience and enjoy. If you liked Asylum, you’ll love City.

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