Thursday, October 20, 2011

NN REVIEW: Batman: Arkham City

Batman. He has always been my favorite super hero. He is so incredible to me mostly because he actually has no super powers. Just billions of dollars and a hate for evil. In Arkham City you become the caped crusader plunged into a society of thugs and psycho villains. The Joker is sick and in an attempt to get the cure, he infects you as well. This sends you on a wild goose hunt through Arkham City in which you encounter almost every notable Batman villain imaginable as they all seek to control Gotham.

Now I just finished the campaign and I haven't done too many of the side quests so far so this review is based solely on the main story line within the game. Let's start with the most obvious...the graphics. Arkham City is truly breathtaking. It's dark, dank, filthy, grimy, gritty and gorgeous to look at. There were countless times when I was on my way somewhere for a mission but found myself aimlessly gliding over the rooftops simply being badass. Occasionally I'd stumble across a group of thugs and swoop down from the shadows to teach them a lesson. The story line also provides you with some truly breathtaking sequences looking over the scope of Gotham and Arkham City. As the story progresses, Batman's suit becomes tattered and torn and there is a constant sense of Bruce being stretched to both his physical and moral limits purely based on how he looks. If for some reason you can't find the combat, story, voice acting or anything else'll love how this game looks.

In addition to looking pretty, Arkham City is a hell of a lot of fun to play. The combat is at times fast paced as you'll find yourself stuck in the middle of about 20 thugs but at other times it is the epitome of stealth. It is possibly the most fun I've ever had in a game, sitting high above a room watching my enemies aimlessly patrol. As soon as one of them splits from the pack I glide down from the darkness, land silently behind him and take him out. Before the others even find his unconscious body I'm back in the rafters planning my next attack. The way this game truly makes you feel like Batman is something that I think we all wish more video games could do these days. You get a real sense that these thugs struggle with following orders from a villain they obviously fear when they know they will likely have to face you at some point. It's awesome hearing them talk confidently about taking you out until they find a fallen comrade and their heart rate spikes while their mood changes from calm to nervous to terrified.

The score of the game is also brilliant. At times just dull tones much like in The Dark Knight which is perfect for when you decide to lurk in the darkness and strike fear into the heart of your enemies. But once the combat gets going the music picks up and it almost feels like you're playing a movie. Along with brilliant voice acting across the board, it's nearly impossible to not get caught up in the story of Arkham City.

The campaign moves along briskly and you always get the sense of moving on to the next step. There are plenty of villain appearances and I think one of the complaints that people might give is that some bad guys show up for almost too short of a time. Batman has such a plethora of brilliant baddies at his disposal that I was actually happy they decided to go with less of more rather than more of less. It was awesome getting to see so many familiar faces as they all revealed their motives for trying to take over Arkham City. I'm not sure how many hours exactly it took me to beat the campaign but I've basically been playing it non-stop since the evening of its release day. At a rough guess I would say the campaign should take you around 10 hours. It alternates between you playing as Batman and Catwoman but thankfully the Catwoman segments are short and few. This is not to say that Catwoman isn't fun to play because she definitely is. But she's just not Batman.

There is so much more I could say about this game that makes it incredible but I don't think I need to. Every review that I've seen has been almost perfect and everyone I know who has bought the game so far can't put it down. The story is intriguing, the visuals breathtaking, the action both subtle and harried, the voice acting sharp, the soundtrack dark and the overall experience is...for lack of a better word...Batman.

My Rating: 10/10

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