Author Topic: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham City GOTY (PC/Steam)  (Read 1310 times)

MiniVanMan

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[Video Game] Batman: Arkham City GOTY (PC/Steam)
« on: June 12, 2013, 10:43:01 PM »
This is the Game of the Year Edition, so it includes all of the downloadable content.

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I'm trying hard to come up with some metaphor or analogy to make this review sound intelligent, but I'm not having any luck.

Simply put, Arkham City is an excellent game, both as a Batman game AND a video game in general.

It should come as a huge surprise to absolutely no one that you play the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. Dr. Hugo Strange has convinced the Mayor of Gotham to allow him to cordon off a large portion of Gotham City, specifically the run down industrial area that tends to be the epicenter for most of the serious crime activity. This, in effect, is a giant prison where the criminal low lifes and evil masterminds can run free and live out their most diabolical fantasies.

Bruce Wayne does not view this as a long term solution to Gotham's crime issue, so he holds a press conference to encourage the city officials to rethink this strategy. During this conference, armed men grab Wayne and throw him in Arkham City - under the direction of Dr. Strange.

Now obviously Batman take it upon himself to figure out just what the truth is behind Strange's whole plot, but of course, knowing that Batman is trapped within the same walls as them, the super villain scum do everything they can to get a hold of the Bat.

I won't delve into any more story details, but rest assured that most of Batman's most famous enemies and allies make appearances here, and each encounter is unique. You really never know what to expect when you find yourself face to face with another famous character of the franchise. Sometimes things don't go the way you'd expect them to, and that is SUCH a welcome subversion to the obvious expectations.


Game Play
Game play wise... it's awesome. It took me a while to get hooked into the game. The beginning part has you feeling quite under powered and overwhelmed but I stuck with it and once I got the hang of controlling Batman and thinking LIKE Batman, I started to have a lot of fun.

Stealth is a big part of the experience here, and it's done quite well. Distractions, sneaking around, hiding, picking off enemies one by one (and intimidating thugs by making them aware of your presence, but not allowing them to see you) is all a lot of fun to do.

Also fun is the hand-to-hand combat. The sheer numbers of thugs you'll face at times is insane. I wasn't able to count, but I'm certain I went up against at least 20, maybe 30 thugs all at once, some with baseball bats, riot shields, stun rods, firearms, broken bottles, etc, all of which require specific tactics to surpass. For example, the riot shield thugs are only vulnerable to an attack from behind, so it requires stunning them, jumping over them and kicking them in the back (or punching, whatever) so they drop the shield. Then it's game on.

Enemies telegraph their attacks via a marker above their heads that appears just before they strike. This may seem cheap, but I assure you that you will rely on this feature to survive. I'm sure it's possible to gain the skill to be successful without it, but again, sometimes you're facing upwards of 10, 15 enemies at once.

And it feels DAMNED awesome to lay the smack down on a mob of bad guys using all manner of tricks, gadgets and pure brute force. That final slow-motion punch or kick that caps off a fight sequence is a very satisfying reward for a job well done.

There are many boss battles and while I never found them to be too difficult, they are PROPER boss battles in that they are effectively a Final Exam for the skills you've learned previously. There were times I found myself struggling to fight a particular boss, until I suddenly realized that I had forgotten something very simple that I had just learned not even 10 minutes ago. No big deal.

Also, if you get stuck for too long, a prompt comes on screen allowing you to connect to the Bat Computer, which will "analyze" the situation and offer some pretty direct advice on how to proceed. This is a nice touch. A lot of games are using the timed assistance feature (Uncharted will automatically display a hint if you get stuck on a puzzle for too long), but this is entirely optional AND it fits within the fiction. Well done.

Sound
Excellent. Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammil are both present lending incredible authenticity to the entire thing. At times I forgot I was playing a game, it often felt like a true, honest to god extension of The Animated Series, albeit with a PG rating and a lot darker, more adult themes at play. The other voice actors do fantastic work as well. The music is all VERY Batman and the sound effects are great.


Graphics
This is a gorgeous game. Arkham City and the Gotham skyline in the distance all look beautiful. Very surreal, almost in the vein of Tim Burton's vision but definitely more in line with The Animated Series. I particularly liked the persistent light snowfall, especially the way the snow flakes would stick to Batman's cape and cowl for a few moments.


Complaints
Sometimes it's not entirely clear where you need to go or what you're supposed to do. There are a lot of puzzles, but many of them require far too much trial and error and less deductive reasoning.

There's also a bit too much platforming for my taste. I hate platforming in a 3D game because it's not always clear what you can and cannot grab/land on. Thankfully, falling in water does NOT result in death, instead it results in Batman swimming and climbing back to the ledge from which you jumped.

Batman can be a bit clunky to control at times. In the heat of battle, sometimes you'll need to swat down a thug who just picked up a shotgun - and trying to direct your flurry of kicks and punches at him through a crowd of unarmed thugs can be difficult.


Everything about the game is top notch. Production values are off the charts, and you can tell that this was a labor of love. I'm not a comic book reader, but I did grow up watching Batman: The Animated Series, and while, like I said, this tends to be a bit more adult than the cartoon ever was, it still feels like a loving homage to that world and that feeling of being the World's Greatest Detective.

Definitely worth buying if you enjoy stealth/action games with TONS to do.

Oh, and the Catwoman sections are pretty fucking good, too.

10/10

Meatywand

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Re: [Video Game] Batman: Arkham City GOTY (PC/Steam)
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2013, 09:51:35 AM »
This game was also Mark Hamill's last performance as the Joker, so that's another more notable thing...because as far as I'm concerned his voice was THE Joker.
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