His face is bloodied and bruised. Deep gashes cover his chest, bits of shrapnel are embedded into his thigh, and his cape is torn to shreds. He sucks in a deep breath. A light snow is falling as a winter storm approaches. To his back lies theGothamCityskyline complete with towering giants, bright spotlights, and draped in yellow hues. Police sirens shriek in the distance, but they will be of no help where he is at.
He is alone; waging an all-out war against a never ending tide of murderers, psychotics, and lunatics. There is no law here. It’s everybody for themselves; anarchy at its finest. A maniacal laugh causes his head to flinch. The time for rest is over. Batman and the player controlling him take to the skies once more knowing that even a moment’s hesitation can mean the difference between life and death.
Welcome to ArkhamCity. A walled-off section of Gotham transformed into a massive prison. It is within these walls that one of the greatest Batman stories ever told transpires and is executed to near perfection.
It manages to integrate polished gameplay with a blockbuster script and the results are staggering. From the moody atmosphere littered with detail, to the adrenaline laced combat, colorful characters, and an engrossing narrative that will stick with you long after the credits roll; Arkham City stands as a staple of how richly awarding interactive storytelling can be when you get it right.
This is not just the best licensed game ever crafted. ArkhamCity is an instant classic; a new benchmark by which other games must now ascribe to achieve.
Kevin Conroy (Batman) and Mark Hamill (Joker), along with a stellar cast of voice actors, deliver powerful performances. The musical score is solid throughout and never feels out of place. One thing that really hit me was hearing a person crying out for help. You race atop rooftops as the screams grow louder, pinpoint the mugging taking place in a nearby alley, and swoop down upon the unsuspecting foe, rendering him unconscious with a well-placed elbow to his face.
You are Batman. They have managed to capture the essence of the character so well that it is mind blowing. It is more than just beating down gangs and rescuing innocent bystanders from would-be assailants. ArkhamCity digs deep into the psychology of what makes the man tick. It succeeds making that connection between game and player that every novel attempts to spark between reader and characters.
There are the rare hiccups in framerate and the occasional camera glitch. However, these annoyances are few and far between. With a main story that’ll last you between 10-15 hours, dozens of engaging side missions, hundreds of collectables, incredible replay value, and challenge maps nailed down to an art-form; Arkham City manages to surpass its predecessor (Arkham Asylum; itself a critical darling) in every conceivable way.
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Style: 1 Player, 3rd Person Action
ESRB: T (mild language, violence)
by D.L. Timmerman