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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Publisher/Co-Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive / Eidos Interactive
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Rated: T for Teen (Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence)
Release Date: October 18, 2011
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

December 7, 2011 - ďOMG itís finally here!Ē is the first thing I thought the moment I took the plastic shrink wrap off of my copy of Batman Arkham City by the folks over at Rocksteady. After hearing so many rumors and other leaks about what the game was going to be about, what was going to be in the game, I have just been excited and ready for months now. The inclusion of loads of villains in this game from the Joker, to Mr. freeze., the Penguin, Hugo Strange, the Riddler, Two-face, and many more makes you think how will they would pull this off without diluting the story. Let's face it; every one of the previous people I named could have had their own game built around them. However, to load them all up in one game it made me wonder if Rocksteady bit off more than they could chew.

Batman Arkham City picks up a few months after Batman Arkham Asylum with the mayor Quincy Sharpís resignation after he creates Arkham City in the heart of Gotham, which he made home for all the thugs from the Blackgate Prison and the Asylums inmates. This creates total chaos and whoís running the showÖ none other than Dr. Hugo Strange and itís up to Batman must find out whatís going on in Arkham City. If youíre not a fan of the comics and donít know the history of Dr. Hugo Strange and Batman, he [Hugo Strange] is one of the first recurring super villains to do battle with the Dark Knight as well as one of the first to figure out that Bruce Wayne is Batman. This factors into the opening of the game greatly. I wonít spoil that for you, but having that little bit of knowledge makes it that more enjoyable.

When youíre fighting your way through Arkham City, dealing with all the villains and the baddies, you will notice something right off the back. Rocksteady took the core gameplay from Arkham Asylum, tweaked it, and perfected the formula. There is one button to fight with, another button allows you to counter enemy attacks, and you can jump/leap whenever you want. With the use of the counter attack button, you can now take out a lot more enemies at once. You can also assign your gadgets with the inclusion of a hot key system, which makes using them a lot easier. The visual effects you see when batman is countering, fighting and or striking the final blow on the baddies are impressive. I found myself fighting more baddies head on then I could have taken out using stealth mode.

Taking on some of these baddies head on isnít as easy or as fun as it sounds in the beginning. Rocksteady diversifies the types of enemies you will meet. You have to think before you attack, as certain enemies require specific methods of being attacked. Batman being the constant detective would notice that right away and take down the threat without a blink of the eye. The stun rod guys make a return as well as armored foes. This is something that most people wonít pick up on that was included in the game but hardcore fans of Batman notice this right away and it makes them love the game even more.

With all the gadgets, your countering attacks and other maneuvers like manipulating your cape to dive bomb attack your enemies when you enter a room, you feel powerful. This game does a great job of making you feel like Batman and that is the true test of playing any protagonist in a video gameÖ Do you feel like you are the person youíre controlling? Rocksteady does a great job of this. Boss battles with the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, and Joker are great and expand upon the awesomeness that is Arkham Asylum.

The visuals in this game are improved upon that of Arkham Asylum. The facial technology that was used makes the people a lot more realistic. When you watch the cutscenes that show close-ups of everyoneís face you will forget that youíre playing a video game and you will think youíre watching a movie. Moreover, the city itself looks amazing; the buildings in certain sections are all destroyed and broken from various fights between different villains groups. For those with 3D compatible HDTVs, you are in for a treat as this game can also be played in 3D. Environments pack more depth and the characters are more pronounced onscreen. Whether you experience Arkham City on 3D or 2D, itís a solid visual treat to witness.

When I first heard of this game and the title, I was thinking this game would be more open world like a Grand Theft Auto game; however itís not that open as I expected. While you can go most places, you cannot go into every building and you canít go into certain areas to get the Riddler clues because you need certain gadgets to be able to gain access to them. Therefore, you have the choice of either doubling back once you get more gadgets or you can do a 2nd play through and snag them all without losing sight of the story missions. There are also tons of side missions that can be unlocked, some entail learning new abilities like gliding and dive-bombing, and other are helping out murder victims and other prisoners that are in need of aid.

The audio and sound design of this game is also top notch. The voice acting of Mark Hamill as the Joker, and Kevin Conroy as Batman set the stage as they do an excellent job. The many other voice actors in the game just make the whole game an experience. Nolan North does an excellent job as the Penguin. If you didnít know he was doing the voiceover work, you wouldnít be able to tell it was him. The music is brooding and ramps up in energy in certain moments of the game makes you feel the energy of being Batman and fighting for your life.

Once you beat this game once, Rocksteady offers up a new mode called ďNew Game PlusĒ where you can play the second time through with all your gadgets and items you unlocked the first time. This will make doing and getting those Ridddler Challenges a lot easier. In addition, this new feature doesnít overwrite or erase the first playthrough save game data. The first playthrough save game data still resides on a section of that save game data. Normally I have many games to play and review so I donít get a chance to play through a game more than once. However, this is one of those games when you get going that you donít want to stop so a 2nd playthrough was necessary that I had to do. Although I know the way the story will play out trying to grab everything I missed before drove me and I donít think because youíre leveled up it will be a cakewalk. Rocksteady ramped up the difficulty by diversifying the enemies from the beginning. Therefore, enemies you may not face until later in the game are in the beginning. They also turned off the reversal indicators, which are little blue lightning signs over your head that lets you know when to hit the counter button to counter an incoming attack. With this turned off you have to be on your ĎAí game and actually watch the motions of the bad guys as your fighting.

There are also challenge rooms to tackle once youíre done with the game. Combat challenge maps and invisible predator challenges that can be done and medals to earn. In the combat challenges, you will fight waves of enemies, whereas in invisible predator challenges you have to stealthily kill all the bad guys. However, Arkham City also has Riddler Challenges where you have combat and invisible predator challenges mixed together and to make it a bit more difficult they add in gameplay modifiers like low health, and time limits.

There is also the Catwoman DLC and much more DLC I am sure is coming our way. Everyone who purchases the game new will get a code for the Catwoman DLC in which you play as Catwoman for a few missions during your game as Batman. I installed this DLC before I first played the game so the beginning of the game is different than it would have been had I not had this DLC. Her missions show you whatís happening when Batman isnít around. This DLC also provides addition challenge maps and Riddler Trophies around Arkham City.

For Rocksteady second foray into the Batman universe there not stumbling, as most sequels tend to do. There keeping the stride and pace that they began in the first game and now improving upon all the aspects that they can. While this game isnít perfect because it included way too many villains and not enough story to go along with them being in the game; it is a great follow-up to Arkham Asylum. The little touches they added into the game here and there like the ability of Batmanís costume to degrade and breakdown as your fighting, the sprinkling of different types of enemies that require different ways of attacking. The ability to add gadgets to hotkey, throw a batarang or the grapple hook, and pull an enemy towards you in the middle of a combo. These are some of the improvements that Rocksteady made that make the gameplay a lot better. You feel like Batman and thatís the greatest accomplishment any game developer can accomplish is to make you feel like the character your playing. This game has an amazing game intro, amazing game conclusion. The ability to play the game multiple times, all the challenges and side missions and other DLC gives these game legs for weeks. If you have yet to play a Batman game this is the game to play, if you have played Arkham Asylum you need to play this game. This is a very welcome game to my collection and canít wait to see what Rocksteady whips up in the next installment of the Cape Crusader.


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