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Batman: Arkham City Review

Batman: Arkham City Review

Video games related to comic book heroes don't have the best of reputations. It's quite strange, because the source material is all there – you've got rich lore and you're going to end up playing a super-charged character. Yet developers always found it hard to transition this into a functional game. Well, that was until Rocksteady got their hands on the Batman franchise. Arkham Asylum did what so many other super hero games had failed to do beforehand; it made being a super hero fun. Now Rocksteady are looking to do it again with Arkham City, a much more expansive tale that they hope can turn this into a successful franchise.

We reconvene with Batman months after the events in Arkham Asylum and unfortunately for the Dark Knight, things have gone from bad to worse - Mayor Sharp has condoned the creation of Arkham City. Hugo Strange has been appointed mayor of the city and holds control of all inhabitants as well as all police forces within the city. Most of Batman's previous enemies now reside in this area, but, of course, not in harmony. It's kind of setup like how Manhattan was in the 1950s with sections like Hell's Kitchen and Little Italy. Instead you have Poison Ivy's area which is decked out in vines of all shapes and sizes, Joker's fun house which is decorated in flamboyant carnival lights, Mr. Freeze's laboratory, and so on. Throughout the whole campaign, Batman plays damage control in all of these sections providing a well rounded experience with each of the villains.

The most prominent of these villains is none other than Joker, who steals the spotlight in more ways than one. Joker is not looking like himself this time around as he has contracted a fatal illness that's left a ton of scary red growths all over his face and body. Instead of dealing with his issues himself, he instead injects Batman with a bit of his infected blood and expects Batman to find a cure for them both in the short span of time they have before they both die. Batman's first obstacle is to find Mr. Freeze and you will quickly be sent on a path which leads from villain to villain. This might seem a little bit confusing, but Rocksteady did well to spotlight the Batman series' primary villains instead of those who would only be familiar to comic book fans only. They also kept out a lot of the villains who were in Arkham Asylum, paving the way for villains who didn't get a lot of screen time first time around.

It makes for a solid story throughout and one that has a rather interesting ending. There's even good pacing despite the constant side-quests that will take you away from your main calling.

Fighting is very similar to the previous game. There's the “fight” button that allows you to beat down all of your enemies and if you're a button masher, you will find that Batman tends to literally leap from enemy to enemy causing some unwanted confusion. There's also a “counter” button which, if you press it right when notice your enemy sprouting blue lightning bolts on their head, will allow Batman take care of anyone trying to throw a punch. Also, silent takedowns are back for those who prefer to take a more covert route when fighting.

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