Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham City is the 2011 sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum. It was released for Mac, Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and an Armored Edition for Wii U. A remastered version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One was released in October 2016 along with its predecessor.
Six months after Batman defeated the Joker, a new form of prison is built by the mayor called Arkham City, where the criminals and lunatics have free reign. The prison is run by Doctor Hugo Strange. When Bruce Wayne is thrown in when he protests against Arkham City, he becomes Batman to restore peace, save the innocent, and find out Hugo Strange's secrets. This is made difficult when Batman must face numerous thugs, his greatest enemies, and the fact that Hugo knows that Batman and Bruce Wayne are one and the same.
Why It Rocks
- The Freeflow combat system has been improved, allowing Batman to perform more combos, more efficiently use gadgets in combat, and the flow is much faster.
- This game adds several new gadgets as well as improving on old ones.
- Batclaw: It can now be used in combat more effectively letting Batman preform the Batclaw Slam. It inflicts twice as much damage as a normal strike, but it is slow and leaves Batman vulnerable to attack. Therefore, it is a good idea to move far away enough from the crowd of thugs before executing it, or to use one of the special combo moves to stun the surrounding crowd temporarily for an execution window.
- Disruptor: It can be used to override normal weapons, turrets, and mines. However, it has limited use and must be used accordingly.
- Explosive Gel: Functions exactly the same as in the previous game, but now a Quickfire feature is introduced, which allows Batman to apply it quickly on the ground.
- Freeze Blast: It can be used to freeze pipes, but also used to incapacitate enemies for a period of time. You have unlimited Freeze Blasts, however, the catch is that only one can be active at a time, unless with an upgrade. If you throw one on a watery surface and try to throw another while you're standing on the raft made of it, Batman will say that a second Freeze Blast will destabilize the raft. Otherwise, throwing a second Freeze Blast will make the first one disappear.
- Freeze Cluster Grenade: It generally works the same way as the Freeze Blast, but contrary to the latter, the player couldn't initiate a "Quickfire Freeze Cluster Grenade" and can incapacitate multiple enemies.
- Remote Control Batarang: This batarang can now accelerate, brake, and do a U-turn. When upgraded you can use the Reverse Batarang. Once thrown, it will travel around an enemy, hit them from behind, confuse them, and make them turn their backs to Batman, allowing for Silent Takedowns.
- Remote Electrical Charge: It is capable of stunning thugs and disorienting them for a brief moment. However, the REC is more useful on armored enemies as they'll be knocked down when the REC connects to them, or on enemies with stun batons as they swung their batons and stunned other thugs around them. This is also used for puzzles and getting past doors with shutters closed.
- Amazing voice acting with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman and The Joker.
- Amazing graphics for the early 2010s that still hold up.
- While Arkham Asylum only had the Riddler challenges for the side quest, Arkham City provides several more. One includes finding Victor Zsasz's hideout before he kills hostages, one requires Batman to find leftover Titan containers, and the another has Batman save hostages that were taken by the Riddler.
- Speaking of Riddler, the Riddles have been improved upon and now many require critical thinking, puzzle-solving, and skills to obtain. The rewards for solving these Riddles are also much better.
- There is now a grid for Riddler secrets that when a row is completed will unlock things like concept art and interview tapes.
- Solving riddles will unlock Arkham stories that can explain certain aspects that happened before the events of the game like what happened to the mental patients, how Hugo manipulated Sharp, ect.
- An alternate character you can play as is Catwoman, who seeks to find a fortune hidden in Arkham City. The Riddler has provided trophies for her to obtain as well.
- Hugo Strange is a pretty compelling villain.
- This game improves on the boss fights from the previous game which was mostly dodging out of the way and throwing a batarang by giving more variety.
- Mr. Freeze, who unlike any boss fight in the game by forcing the player to think creatively about their attack and stretch their Predator skills as he nullifies every method of attack after it's used on him once. Beating him requires that you utilize every stealth-based attack you have used making him the best boss fight in the game.
- Ra's al Ghul. Thanks to getting a taste of the Blood of the Demon, Batman fights Ra's in a giant hallucinatory desert city where Ra's himself summons a giant monster of sand and assaults him with hundreds of ninjas. It has some of the best (and most outlandish) visuals in the game (which is saying something), a tense atmosphere, and gives Batman the opportunity to counter attacks from over 20 opponents at the same time (He's normally capable of a mere three counters at the same time).
- Solomon Grundy, who becomes a electrical zombie Hulk inside a dungeon basement of fire and lightning. You eventually finish him by ripping his electrified heart out.
- Clayface. You wield a freaking scimitar against him while dodging his insane attacks and slicing up his Mooks while near a Lazarus Pit, culminating in an awesome finishing move against this boss.
- The enemies during Predator Mode are much smarter and even use heat seeking thermometers to hunt for Batman atop gargoyles.
- Great story with one of the most shocking endings of all time.
- Lots of new challenges even ones for other characters like Robin, Nightwing, and Catwoman.
- Amazing soundtrack, especially in the Predator sections!
- Some the enemy conversations can be pretty amusing.
- Lots of references including a poster of the Flying Graysons.
- Unlike some games where certain console ports are gimped or unstable, the Xbox 360 version and the PlayStation 3 version look and feel identical.
- The Harley Quinn's Revenge DLC shows how Harley planned to get revenge on Batman for supposedly killing the Joker. You even get to play as Robin, who is suppose to be looking for Batman after he goes missing for two days.
- There is now New Game+, which makes the game more challenging for these reasons.
- Counter Icons are removed, so the player is no longer given hints when an enemy is about to attack.
- Enemies are faster, can take more hits, and deal more damage.
- Enemy layouts are changed, meaning that early-game enemy encounters might have end-game enemies/weapons on them.
- Everything gained on one mode is carried over to the other one. This means that any gadgets collected on the first playthrough are instantly usable on New Game Plus. This affects Gadgets, Waynetech upgrades and Riddler Trophies/Enigma Datapacks.
- The Return to Arkham PS4 version has been updated to support the PS5 which will make the game look and run better and can go up to 4K.
- Despite being part of the main story, Catwoman's story missions are locked behind a paywall and the physical copies come with a voucher code to unlock them for free. If you buy the game used, you're not guaranteed to be able to use those vouchers as they probably were already used and you otherwise have to pay for the story missions. This was averted in the GOTY editions, the Wii U port, and the Return To Arkham bundle as those come with Catwoman's story missions for free.
- The remastered version has some technical problems that weren't in the original including drift when gliding or controlling a batarang.
- It is also buggy when you use the extra costumes (such as the animated Batman).
- There is no 100% reward (unless you count a secret 100% mission where Two-Face's thugs break into the church to get revenge on Quincy Sharp, which isn't worth it.)
- Much like its predecessor, the game isn't all that challenging, except with New Game+.
- The GOTY version has one of the worst game covers.
- The entire game is spent building up Protocol Ten, and in the endgame Batman finally takes on TYGER and infiltrates Strange's lair, the Wonder Tower. However, the TYGER personnel fight the same as the thugs you fight on the street, just a few of them have stun sticks now and need to be attacked from behind, otherwise you can beat them up just fine with the same tactics you've used all game. As for the Wonder Tower, infiltrating it amounts to two predator sequences and a fight with a group of guards, and the last predator sequence before Strange is just six guards, child's play for a properly upgraded Batman.
Batman: Arkham City received the Game of the Year award and all ports of the game have a rating of over 4 out of 5 on GameFAQs.