Throughout his time the caped crusader has captured the public imagination. Sometimes as a cartoon while others as a bloody street vigilante, his persona is unmistakable: to battle crime and make the streets safe. With a plethora of arch-enemies and a gallop of allies stretching over many decades one may say that there is great possibility for Bruce Wayne’s alter ego; one would be true: there is great chance to grow the franchise in a meaningful manner as evidenced by the video game Arkham City.
Set several months after the events of Arkham Asylum we find that in the middle of Gotham there has been built a “super prison” to house all of the city’s “super criminals”. Bruce Wayne, in making a public appearance against this incarceration monstrosity, however, is arrested by the prison’s eccentric warden Hugo Strange.
In fighting his way to the bottom of the creation of the prison along Mr. Batman also reels to discover the purpose of Mr. Strange’s seemingly nefarious goals. Along the way, of course, the player is treated to a wide assortment of villains and side-quests. In all the gamer will encounter the Joker, Catwoman, Bane, Two-Face, Raz Gol, the Mad Hatter, the Penquin… just to name a few. To say that this is the prime video game incarnation of Batman would not be an understatement.
Indeed, everything which was good about Arkham Asylum has been improved. While sometimes these improvements seem dubious (such as with the Riddler’s challenges) and the amount of foes one encounters in any given scenario, most of the time the experience is swell. While the final quarter of gameplay is a bit much if playing on Normal, over all the game feels very balanced.
The only significant downside is the ending. In short let’s just say it feels forced. There is not much in the way of exposition and culminates on a pathetically brief cut scene. Obviously such an ending exists only to set up the forthcoming game in the trilogy. While I maintain that it wasn’t terrible (as far as endings in general go) it was neither decent.
Yet I enjoyed my time in Arkham City. However brief it may have been (the campaign checks out at around 8 hours, pending on your difficulty and playing speed) I felt satisfied with the experience. Any fan of Batman would do well to secure themselves a copy as soon as humanly possible for it is something which I promise they will not regret.