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Batman Arkham City PS3 Review - -
Batman Arkham City
Reviewed by
Edwin Millheim
Batman Arkham City PS3 Review. Go Impulse Gamers be The Bat, Or The Cat….Batman Arkham City a game of epic adventure.

Gameplay 10
Graphics 9.5
Sound 10
Value 10
Publisher: Warner Bros
Review Date:
Oct 2011
Edwin Millheim


Batman Arkham City

Thank you to the folks at Warner Bros. Games and Rock Steady for all the cool peaks and press information leading up to this games release. Batman Arkham City has arrived. With this game raising the bar as it has, what can we hope for in another Batman game? We know one thing for sure; Rocksteady is going to have a heck of a time topping this one.

Interestingly enough if you played the heck out of Batman Arkham Asylum and found Warden Quincy Sharp’s secret room, there are actually blue prints of Quincy Sharps proposal for Arkham City. This secret room was so well hidden many people never even knew it was there. Rocksteady announced it in a game of the year pod cast months later. Just goes to show how meticulous the folks at Rocksteady are when it comes to the characters back stories.

Now here we are with Batman Arkham City. This is the direct sequel to the superb first chapter in the franchise Batman Arkham Asylum. The game seems to have darker tones in the story line and that is just fine by me. It makes it feel even more like I am part of The Dark knight stories we as a player want to be a part of. Fans will be happy to know there is even more bat play here with a longer single-player experience, even more leaderboard challenge missions and a mind numbing amount of Riddler’s clues and tricks. This adventure takes place a year after the events at Arkham Asylum, and maybe not so surprisingly our then Warden Quincy Sharp has spun the press and has taken full credit for reigning in the prisoners and stopping The Joker.

Now Sharp has become the mayor of Gotham and brought about a hair-brained scheme to create a whole walled area of Gotham to serve as a prison. This part of the city is surrounded by private contractors to patrol the parameter to keep the prisoners in. Prisoners are brought in and given freedom to roam within this city as long as they do not try to escape. The mayor has hired a psychiatrist, Hugo Strange to oversee things. Anyone else think this whole city thing as a prison was a really bad idea? Our hero of course, as he keeps watch over things just waiting for it to get out of hand and of course with so many demented personalities within the city sized prison, things go from bad to worse in no time with the super villains carving out their own areas like a medieval fiefdom.

We start out refreshingly enough not in cape and cowl, but as Bruce Wayne. Wayne Uses his high profile billionaire playboy fame to protest the creation of Arkham City. This does not sit well with Hugo Strange who first appeared in Detective Comics #36, Strange does not take kindly to Wayne and within moments of Wayne starting his protest speech, he is abducted by some of Hugo Strange’s private military and dragged into Arkham City. Eventually Wayne of course manages to get to a point where he can get his gear delivered and suit up, now the Batman is on the prowl to find out what is really going on.

Amidst of the hell that is breaking loose Catwoman decides to go on her one Cat robbing spree, Catwoman crosses paths with Two-Face, which of course lands her in hot water, and the split opinioned villain is one with the idea of executing our lady feline in public just to gain some villain points with the underworld. Of course our hero who has a bit of a past with the curvy cat can’t let that stand. The situation goes from worse to nuclear as Batman goes in to stop the death of Catwoman.

Much like the first game, Arkham City is wide open to explore, while you cannot go into every single building, the maps are rather huge. Roaming about feels like you’re getting around a city, and for those buildings that the players do get to explore, there is the tried and true Batman opening the door cut scene while the new area loads. While this is a superb game, just for some reason some times the graphics feel slightly off. Making its predecessor Arkham Asylum in some ways looks more polished in the graphics department, though Arkham city does grow on you. Being outside a lot, there are some pretty nifty weather effects, and you do feel like you’re traversing a city, a very dark dangerous city, which matches the tone of the story.

Back once again are the choices to take on the direct approach and beat bad guys to a pulp, or use the stealth and detective mode to glean out information and do your take downs to strike fear into the cowardly criminals. Free flow combat is back with a few more twists and very cool new moves. Want Batman to slam a couple of bad guys heads together rendering them unconscious? Well your Bat fantasy comes true here my fellow Impulse Gamers.

The free flowing combat styles are back and look better than ever with a few more special attacks and take downs. Double take downs are pretty awesome, grabbing two enemies and slamming their heads together is pretty darn satisfying. There are a few other nifty things as well I won’t talk about them here because I am a firm believer in not spilling all the beans in a game. The fun of discovering new moves and counters is part of the thrill of the game and of being Batman.

Droves of enemies won’t wait in line though to take on Batman, so some strategic thinking may be in order especially since some of these goons somehow got hold of firearms, such as shotguns and machineguns. Playing the game with hints on, of course helps out as Batman thinks about what to do to take thugs out in certain difficult situations such as a hostage situation.

One of my favorites is being able to call a flock of Bats to cause mayhem on a group of enemies. There is one cool move that we have seen sort of used in the movies as well as some of the animated series where Batman makes a super dramatic entrance from a glide or dive from a high place, startling the bad guys and making them jump back, giving Batman a few seconds of a psychological edge on them. One of the new combat enhancement gadgets actually intensifies this move with a shock wave effect to knock enemies down. When I first saw this in just general game footage before playing it in the game and seeing and experiencing it game mechanic wise….I was apprehensive, and outright ready to be disappointed. Because it looked like a Superman move, very un-Batman like.

I am pleased as punch to say that this enhancement looks and plays great. Once again many of the moves and gadgets in the game are taken from some of the best of what the Batman franchise as a whole as generated over the years. From the comics, to film and animated series, Batman Arkham City brings the quintessential Dark Knight to gamers everywhere. It’s the ultimate game, an interactive movie experience amalgamation of different artforms from visual, to storytelling, to music.
Oh no he just used the term artform about a game. I know the dozens on dozens of folks that have a bunch of letters past their names in honor of their studies and hard worked and well deserved accomplishments will vomit out massive points of why they feel a video game is not an art form…. That’s fine and well for them…everyone has their opinions on that. I just know I do not need a third party telling me what I should and should not consider art. So for those that do not feel it can be considered art, that’s fine. It’s all good.

In Batman Arkham City Getting around from place to place has become even more exciting now. Gliding around seems to have been revamped, in mid glide if there is a target in range Batman can go from gliding to a fast grapple line to a roof top. Running and jumping and swooping from roof to roof is a blast. There is also an exhilarating move that can be used to lose altitude then soars back up again. It’s a kind of dive, Batman pulls his cape in and streaks in a dive towards the ground, then flipping his cape open again, up into the night he soars. The city has plenty of rooftops and vantage points for our hero to use to get the lay of the land. Using a page from one of the films, Batman can tune into radio frequencies and also listen in on conversations from afar, adding yet another layer to this awesome hero ride.

On top of the main games storyline, there are plenty of side missions such as saving some political prisoners from being killed by the denizens of Arkham City. I am very happy to report the Riddler is much more of a dangerous menace this time around. Not just a diabolical heckler. Sure the Riddler’s clues are back some 436 of them, I kid you not. But the villain now takes on a more dangerous tone, Kidnapping victims and taunting our hero to solve the riddles and find them before they are killed in some diabolical death trap. If that was not bad enough Victor Zsasz is back with some evil taunting side missions as well involving mad dashes to phone booths to catch the call before it stops ringing and then using some of Batman’s gadgets to try to triangulate where the calls are originating.

Speaking of some of the things Batman does in the game, there are new emphasis on Batman’s sleuthing abilities and gadgets to assist in crime scene analysis. This is in addition to the detective mode from the first game. Which is pretty awesome since there are so many new and different things in this game it breaks it up and makes it that much more interesting.

Ah yes, as mentioned at the beginning of this there is of course a curvy, very sexy cat in the mix too. Plus she is playable. Catwoman has some of her own story and gameplay which is a spectacular welcome change of pace. She has some of her own gadgets to play with, including her signature whip. A very hot chick in leather and a whip, what’s not to like? Catwoman also has Bolos and even caltrops in her arsenal. Her fighting style is very close if not bang on Capoeira. Very solid gameplay all around. Other DLC coming include Robin with three different skins, which you can play in challenge modes, Nightwing is also coming soon.

Oh yes, of course I cannot come to a close on my thoughts about Batman Arkham City without bringing up the voice acting. I contend to you, Kevin Conroy is Batman, and Mark Hamill IS The Joker. As always these two bring these characters to life like no other. Other voice actors in this production are just as solid bringing a breadth and depth to the characters they are portraying in this animated game adventure.

This review was done on the Batman Arkham City PS3 version; players with a different preference can pick up the game on PS3, Xbox 360 or PC. All of which support 3D gaming by the way.

Go Impulse Gamers be The Bat, Or The Cat….Batman Arkham City a game of epic adventure.

Have fun, play games.
Edwin Millheim United States Editor Impulse Gamer.


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