This game season has seen a lot of new things, mostly in the form new first-person shooter games. This week I was able to squeeze in some time of my own on a game that I’ve been waiting on for a long time: “Batman: Arkham City.”
This is a sequel to “Batman: Arkham Asylum,” a game that has been called the greatest superhero game.
One of the major selling points of the first “Batman” game was its combat system. Instead of charging into a room full of enemies, where you would likely be gunned down, you could set up traps and lure unsuspecting people into them, or pounce on them from the shadows. This idea of stealth combat is nothing new, but it was done in such a way that made each fight fun. “Arkham City” continues on with this tradition, and even includes several new toys for you to use. My favorite by far was the freeze grenade: enemies are just so easy to take down when they can’t move.
Villains from the “Batman” series are as varied as they are numerous, and you get to see your fair share around the city, which is pretty neat from a nerdy point of view. The numerous villains all have their own subplots to fill out the story, and I’ve found that I’ve spent more time doing side missions than the main story. The story from the first game was superb, especially when dealing with characters like Scarecrow, and several of these ideas carried over to the new game with new villains.
Another great feature is the characters available for play. In the first game, you could play as the Joker if you preordered at the right locations, but this time, if you purchased the game at any location you could play as Catwoman, and Robin as well, if you pre-ordered. Nightwing also became available as of last Tuesday. The other characters come with their own mini levels to play, and you even get to play as Catwoman for a short time during the main story.
Every game has some downsides, though you may have to look a bit harder in this title than others. Some movement actions still feel a bit clunky, especially when dealing with obstacles while gliding around the city. Sometimes you can even get hung up on a very small antenna or pole.
These issues were few and far between, mainly because after some flight upgrades you can just avoid walking altogether. I found the flight mini games to be quite fun, and a few of them were rather difficult, which is something I really liked. I started the game on hard thinking I would be all right, but after eight attempts on the opening scene and spouting curse words, I backed down to easy in order to finish the game in a timely manner. Games have had the tendency to be entirely too easy in recent seasons. Sometimes you have to learn a new scene by dying a few times.
I love this game, and not just because I’m a comic book junkie. Batman is more than just a rubber suit and a gravelly voice; he is a man with morals and thoughts of his own and angry at himself for not being able to do enough. Hugo Strange sets out to break the Bat wholly and utterly, and it’s up to all of us to stop him.