We make no bones about it, Batman is easily the PlayEject favourite when it comes down to comic book heroes. So when the sequel to Arkham Asylum was released we were excited beyond belief. Being the Dark Knight in a free roam environment with the promise of gadgets and comic book villains galore, Batman: Arkham City steps from the shadows and swoops into action!
Batman Arkham City game review PlayEject
The Joker was left for dead on a rooftop after his last encounter with Batman which made way for top criminal bosses to try their hand at taking over Gotham’s Arkham City. After officals decide enough is enough they cut Arkham City off from the rest of civilisation leaving anyone inside trapped within their own mess.

Along comes the Penguin and Harvey ‘Two Face’ Dent along with their own bands of thugs who are willing to do their bidding. Fears from outside Arkham City are that if things are left as they are there will be nothing left to rescue if it continues so in steps the Batman to mop up the baddies and save the day.

Things take a sharp turn for the worse when The Joker is revealed alive but in bad shape. Poisoning Batman with the same toxic substance that is killing the Joker, Batman must find a cure while stopping almost every known enemy he has come across in his past from Mr Freeze to Zsaz.

Start up Batman Arkham City and you will be immersed immediately into the storyline with the introduction of Catwoman helping Batman in their quest to rid Arkham City of the scum. The first thing we noticed about Catwoman’s character is how gracefully she moves and fights in comparison to Batman. Catwoman dances in her combat in comparison to Batman who uses brute force and a few jumps and somersault rolls. Also Catwoman scales tall buildings by using her whip and a jump-climb rather than Batman’s zip lines and Batrope.

The combat hasn’t changed much since – the thugs will attack using fists, knives and guns and you can still build up combo’s, counter attack and use special attacks after reaching a certain combo hit level. The combat was fine in the first game and consequently hasn’t been tweaked for Batman. It still feels great to take down a large group of thugs with attack and counter-attack moves and hit that final crushing blow in slow-motion without having taken a hit yourself.

Batman Arkham City game review PlayEject

Detective Mode will be your new best friend in Batman Arkham City

Batman has had a few extra and improved gadgets – mostly due to the characters he meets. The Explosive Gel and Batarang’s are there but there’s also the new freeze-grenades and handy Smoke pellets for when there’s overwhelming gun fire and you need a quick getaway in true Michael Keaton-Batman style.

The biggest difference in Arkham City over Asylum is the open world environment. You can explore the entire city from the get-go (bar a few locked areas that open up as the story progresses) and take part in the various sub-missions that appear as you explore. Each sub mission helps you move closer to another famous villain from Zsaz’s telephone tracing (where you must get from one ringing phone to another and then trace the call in a time limit) to stumbling upon a recently shot body and work out the trajectory of the bullet to find clues about the shooter and track them down. You can’t just plod on with 1 mini mission until you have completed it either – you will only unlock further clues by playing the rest of the game which is great way of holding things back and providing a bit of longevity.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Batman game without the cryptic and strangely addictive Riddler trophies which are dotted around Arkham City for both Batman and Catwoman to find – each only able to collect their own types which again encourages longevity. As well as the little green or pink trophies there’s the return of the environment clues which need to be solved by working out what Riddler is on about and using the Detective Mode’s Scan function to register what you’ve seen. Solving these clues not only helps you level up to unlock better gadgets and suit powerups but also unlocks Riddler’s own side missions and Challenge Mode missions.
Batman Arkham City game review PlayEject
These Challenges are in the same format as last time – either full on combat where you take down the goons with as decent a combo as possible or the Predator challenges where you must stay hidden in the shadows to score Takedowns on unsuspecting thugs, earning Bat tokens for your troubles. Catwoman has her own levels for this and so does Robin if you purchase the Robin pack.

All in all, Batman Arkham City has more than lived up to the great expectations left from the previous game. The superb story, plethora of famous enemies and excellent detail in everything from scenery to background information on people you encounter (for comic book fans) as well as one of the best games we have played in a long, long time and worthy of the PlayEject ‘MUST PLAY GAME’ award.

Batman Arkham City – Launch Trailer:

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