Batman: Arkham City is one of those games that I never would have played unless someone had handed it to me, but I am definitely glad someone (in this case, my boyfriend) did.
On some level, everyone knows Batman. Whether through a movie, a cartoon, a comic, or a video game, he’s iconic, and so are the villains that surround him. One of my favorite things about Arkham City is that it features a huge cast of Batman villains, and they all factor into the plot beautifully. That plot is also tightly woven, making this much more than an average action platformer. Arkham City isn’t just a good game, it’s one of the best games you’ll ever play.
Gotham City is in trouble. Hugo Strange has created Arkham City from a dilapidated section of Gotham and populated it with every criminal mastermind and basic lowlife he can find. Bruce Wayne, usually content to stay out of the spotlight, has stepped up and started a political campaign to shut down Arkham City before it opens, believing it to be a danger to the people of Gotham. When he is kidnapped by Strange’s guards and brought into Arkham City, Strange reveals his ace in the hole. He knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and he’s going to do everything he can to get rid of him. Suddenly, Batman is alone and surrounded by enemies, but as expected, he suits up and does what he can to thwart Strange’s plans and bring the villains of Arkham City to justice.
Arkham City is primarily an action platformer. Players will have to use all of Batman’s skills and gadgets to get through the challenges found in this massive city turned prison, and believe me, there are a lot of them. The game mainly follows a plot-based trajectory, but there are plenty of sidequests to be had as well, including the massive Riddler sidequest, which involves finding hundreds of trophies and completing other various challenges before you can bring the villain down. These sidequests can be completed at any time, even after the main story is complete, which is great, because some of them are pretty involved. The plot itself only takes about 8-10 hours to get through, so the sidequests greatly extend the time you can spend playing the game.
The combat in the game is great, and it gets more dynamic as the game goes on. Players gain experience as they complete quests and beat up bad guys, and can use the experience to spend on new moves, combos, and gadget abilities for Batman. New gadgets are found throughout the game, and players can use these gadgets in battle to supplement Batman’s usual moves. The gadgets also have practical uses, and are often necessary to pass obstacles present in the game. Collecting Batman’s whole arsenal takes the entire game, but it’s definitely worth it.
This game also has a lot of extra features that keep the fun going even after the plot is over. Besides the multiple sidequests to be completed, players can re-start the game with all of the upgrades they’ve collected for Batman and play through the plot again. The difficulty is increased for this second playthrough, but it’s fun to be able to play the game again without having to start over at the beginning in terms of skill. The game also has challenge maps that can be completed – players have to achieve a certain high score or complete a series of challenges to earn medals. All of these features combined means that you won’t be putting down Arkham City anytime soon, even after you finish the plot.
This is a game that nobody should miss. The only complaint I have about it is that finding all the Riddler stuff gets a little tedious – 400 trophies may have been a bit much. Still, that’s hardly a reason not to play this game. It stands up in every way, and everyone should give it a try.