Gamer’s Review: Batman: Arkham City

After “Batman: Arkham Asylum” became a critical and commercial success, Rocksteady recruited Paul Dini to write a sequel as a cross between Batman and John Carpenter’s “Escape from New York” involving The Caped Crusader in a bigger installment known as “Batman: Arkham City.”

Batman: Arkham City was released in 2011 (same year Skyrim came out) on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It received critical acclaim from critics, fans and gamers alike. A remastered edition was later released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A known as, “Batman: Arkham Origins” came out in 2013. The final installment, “Batman: Arkham Knight” concluded the series in 2015.

There’s a variety of reasons why I’m sharing my thoughts on Arkham City. First, Michael Keaton will reprise his role as Batman in “The Flash” set in the DC Extended Universe or DCEU for short. Second, Bruce Timm & J.J. Abrams are working on an animated Batman series intended to stream on HBO Max. Third, Robert Pattinson’s Batman is getting a sequel. Fourth, Rocksteady is developing a spin-off titled, “Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.” Fifth, another game, “Gotham Knights” will be released on October 25th, 2022. However, it’s not linked to the Arkham series.

This review contains no crucial SPOILERS whatsoever. Keep in mind, I’m only reviewing the “Return to Arkham” edition containing all DLC. I prefer a complete package in one.

Healthy & Unhealthy Aspects

Healthy: Kevin Conroy & Mark Hamill reprise their roles. They all did an excellent job for their respective voiceover performances.

Other Cast Members such as Grey DeLisle, Tara Strong, Maurice LaMarche, Troy Baker, Nolan North, Dee Bradley Baker, Khary Payton, Steve Blum & Tom Kane all did a great job for their respective voiceover performances.

Set after the events of Arkham Asylum, Bruce Wayne is imprisoned in Hugo Strange’s prison. After a narrow escape, Bruce dons the batsuit to find out what Strange’s Protocol 10 is all about while he encounters his enemies. Meanwhile, Joker has a personal medical condition as a result of the first game’s climatic battle.

Longtime DC writer Paul Dini wrote the script.

Graphics are breathtaking. Exploring Arkham City gives you an immersive experience as The Caped Crusader.

Gameplay greatly improves the first game’s mechanics. Here are the changes.

Improvements

  • Explore in an open-world environment within the titular prison set in the slums of Gotham City.
  • Freeflow Combat is slightly augmented fists and gadgets. Special Attacks definitely come in handy.
  • Detective Mode gives more options to silently takedown armed baddies.
  • Riddler’s challenges adds more variety. Use your gadgets by overcoming his thought-provoking puzzles. Grand total to beat Riddler’s games are 440. Sometimes you gotta think outside the box when it comes to a difficult path blocking your way.
  • New enemy types like armored thugs, non-titan induced strongmen,
  • Obtain unique gadgets including a weapons disruptor, a remote electric charge and a freeze grenade.
  • Catwoman is playable. She’s connected to the plot. After you beat the main story, you can switch between two characters. Her skills and abilities are different from Batman.
  • Side Missions contain a variety of fun things like tracking down Batman’s rouge gallery.
  • Post-Main Story known as “Harley Quinn’s Revenge” lets you play as Tim Drake/Robin.
  • Robin & Dick Grayson/Nightwing are playable in Challenge Maps.

My favorite gadget from the first game is the cryptographic sequencer. I’m happy it makes a return. Besides encrypting codes, it can also trace broadcast signals.

The Tone is a cross between Bruce Timm’s cartoon and Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight Trilogy.”

You gain experience taking out baddies, solve Riddler’s puzzles, defeat supervillains from the Main Story/Side Missions.

Additional DLC contains costumes for Batman, most notably Terry McGinnis’ batsuit from “Batman Beyond.” Catwoman, Robin & Nightwing also have alternate costumes only available on Challenge Maps.

Nearly every villain in Batman’s rouge gallery are part of the Main Story/Side Missions. In the words of Norman Stansfield from “Leon: The Professional.” “Bring me everyone.” “EVERYONE!”

Soundtrack reminds of Hans Zimmer’s music from Mr. Nolan’s films.

If you’re a Batman aficionado, there’s a ton of Easter Eggs.

Protocol 10 serves as a plot point within the main story.

The game is filled with twists and turns.

After you beat the main story, you can replay on New Game Plus adding more replay value. Think you can beat it on higher difficulty?

Unhealthy: I couldn’t find nothing wrong. I’m giving Rocksteady an Extra Point for making a flawless game as possible.

The Final Verdict: A, FOR APEX!

Batman: Arkham City is the best (if not the best) Batman related video game of all time. Basically “The Dark Knight” of superhero games. If you’re getting ready for Gotham Knights or Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, I strongly recommend four games in the Arkham series. What’s your all-time favorite superhero game? Please leave a comment.

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