Saturday, October 29, 2011

Video Game Review: Arkham City

I've never done a video game review before (mostly because I really don't play many video games) so I thought it would be a good time to do my first one for the game Batman: Arkham City.

Batman: Arkham City was released on October 18, 2011. It was developed by Rocksteady Studios, whose other products include Batman: Arkham Asylum and Urban Chaos: Riot Response. The storyline was written by Paul Dini who has written for television programs such as He-Man, Transformers, Batman Beyond, as well as for several comic books, including DCs Detective Comics. He also wrote the storyline for Batman: Arkham Asylum.

Arkham City, of course, is a sequel to 2009's Arkham Asylum and like its predecessor is an open world concept, which basically describes a game where the player can roam around the environment freely.

So let me give you some background on the game for those that don't know much about it.

Arkham Asylum takes place in, surprise, Arkham Asylum, and chronicles Batman's search for The Joker, who has escaped custody...again. At the beginning of this game, Batman is delivering Joker to the guards at Arkham during which a rescue is made by an unknown villain, presumably Harley Quinn. Throughout the game, Batman is trying to track Joker down so he can get him back into custody, while at the same time trying to solve the mystery of the Titan formula, which Joker has apparently stolen during his escape with the help of other criminals such as Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy and Bane, among others. At the same time all of this is going on, Batman is forced to deal with many of The Riddler's little games. All in all, it is a great game. Good graphics, good fighting sequences, good storyline, just all around a great game.

That is where Arkham City comes into play. It has been a year (game-time) since the events of Arkham Asylum have occurred and former Arkham warden Quincy Sharp has been elected mayor of Gotham City. One of his first acts is to section off a portion of old Gotham City and turn it into a maximum security prison (due to the fact that both Arkham Asylum and Blackgate Prison were virtually destroyed during the events of Arkham Asylum). In this prison-city, criminals are allowed to roam free as long as they do not try to escape. Mayor Sharp gives control of this prison-city to psychologist and arch-villain Hugo Strange. In the game, Bruce Wayne is giving a speech and is kidnapped and transported inside the gates of Arkham City.

During the game, aside from the main mission, which is to try and essentially take down Arkham City once and for all, there are several different side missions which pit Batman against quite a few villains that are not part of the main storyline.

As great a game as Arkham Asylum was, Arkham City actually puts it to shame. The graphics are better, the combat is better, the storyline is better (and more mysterious), the villains are better (and more plentiful). The developers really outdid themselves when they put this game out.

I bought it at Best Buy which includes a downloadable pack that allows you to play the challenge maps (basically training sessions) as Robin/Red Robin. Also, during the game, you switch back and forth between playing as Batman and playing as Catwoman (if you remembered to download the Catwoman pack when you first got the game). On November 1, there will be another download pack made available that allows you to play as Nightwing.

This game is really cool and I suggest anyone that is a Batman fan or a video game fan go out and buy this one if you haven't already.

By the way, Paul Dini wrote a graphic novel that chronicles the time between Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, simply titled Arkham City.

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