When Arkham Asylum came out, I can’t even remember why I played it. I thought it just another licensed video game with a mediocre plot, worse dialog and better graphics than game play. For some reason though, I gave it a try. Those of you that played it could probably gauge my reaction. I fell in love. Batman was always my favorite superhero (because his superpower was craziness) and this was the most I had loved a batman game since Batman was released for Game Boy in 1989.
Now Arkham City is following that tradition, establishing a sequel to Asylum. In this game, Professor Hugo Strange has expanded the original Arkham Asylum into Arkham City. The game starts with Strange taking Bruce Wayne captive, admitting he knows Wayne’s secret identity and wanting to get Batman out of the way for “Protocol Ten.”
The game does not attempt to improve upon Arkham Asylum but rather add to it. Additional characters become playable (if purchased as a pre-order or purchased separately) and in the upgraded version, the game’s first fight is actually as Catwoman. Players have more weapons, more moves and double the villains of Arkham Asylum.
What I liked…
I am, by tradition, a button masher. I find that in most fighting games, simply pressing buttons as quickly as possible usually gets the same result as intricate combinations. Batman has acrobatic moves in this game, and the fighting makes even button mashers (or mouse clickers) feel like they know what they are doing. I press the left mouse button quickly and the right one a few times and onscreen, Batman is jumping and spinning and cracking skulls. It makes me feel special.
The cinematic features are fantastic. Like Asylum, Arkham City wants to wrap players into a movie AND a video game, rather than just a video game with a sprinkle of movie added. It’s one of the first games that I did not press ESCAPE to get past all the films and get to the game play.
More than anything, I loved lurking in this game. There’s plenty of fighting, but so much of it can be done with Batman hiding in the shadows, sneaking up behind characters and cracking their skulls together, only to disappear again. Arkham Asylum also featured this, but City built on it, expanding the movies and possibilities. For those familiar with the Batman mythology, the character was a lurker and not a brawler.
What I did not like…
Uh, nothing. Like Bioshock, Fallout 3, Total Annihilation, and Diablo 2, Arkham City goes on my Holy PC Games list.