When it comes to superheroes and video games, it seems like the phrase “hit or miss” attaches to it like Pinkeye. Some of the heroes can’t make a good game to save their fair city, like Superman. Some have flashes of greatness followed by games that would make their uncle cry, like Spiderman 2 for the Playstation 2.
But when it comes to the good-to-bad ratio, the undisputable king of superhero games is Batman. You look at the caped crusader’s catalogue, and you see great games like Batman for the , the underrated Adventures of Batman and Robin for the Super Nintendo, and the 2009 critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum.
So what happens when a game is successful these days? Like most successful movies, you make a sequel. Thus, we get Batman: Arkham City. I picked it up for the ps3, but is also available for the Xbox 360, and will be available to the PC sometime soon. The question is, can this game hold up to my barrage of battarangs?
But first, full disclosure; I loved the first game. Arkham Asylum was crowned my favourite game of that year. The story, the gameplay, the graphics, the music, the voice acting, the gadgets, everything. It was fun, exponential. So, my expectations are pretty damn high going into it, but I am also walking into it, thinking that the game will be awesome.
The first game’s story was that our hero was trapped inside the walls of the ill-famed Arkham Asylum, the infamous retirement home of pretty much everyone that went head-to-head with the Batman, and failed to bring him down. This time, he’s stuck behind the walls of a section of Gotham City that’s been quarantined and reserved for the same group of evil-doers. Reminds me of the movie Escape from New York in the way. What doesn’t help is that there is a plot to destroy the city, gang wars among the villains, and the Joker is up to his deranged ways. So, it’s up to Batman to do what he does best in this situation: Beat the ever-loving crap out of them.
The big red flag of this game, is that I bought this game on Tuesday, played it on Wednesday, and beat it on Thursday! If you only do the main story, it only takes 10 hours to beat the game. When paying $60 plus taxes for a game of this magnitude, you don’t expect to beat the game that quickly. That being said, what you get in that ten hours is probably on of the best storylines about Batman you will ever get. It’s gripping, it’s emotional, it’s better than expected. It’s hard to tell any part of it without spoilers, but it does involve a lot of the villains left out of the first game, and still has the wildly popular Joker running the best parts of it.
The problem with having a phenomenal main objectives, is that it affects the side quests. The game doesn’t give you a lot of motivation to deviate from the main linear story arc to do these side quests. One of them involves pilotwings-style flying through rings, that get really frustrating at times. Others include investigating and item locations.
But what essentially becomes half the game, is the Riddler’s trophy hunt. This existed in the first game, but there was about 100 trophies to find. This game has four hundred of these bloody things to find. That’s insane. And in order to finish the Riddler’s other side quest, you need to find all of them. It’s mind boggling. It almost feel like filler, like searching for needles in a haystack sometimes, but it makes it easier when there are ways to add them to the map.
When it comes to the graphics, sound, controls, and gameplay, it’s the exact same game as the first game. There really is no change, expect for a couple of new gadgets and such. And you know what, I am fine with that. It was fun then, and it was fun now. After beating the game, I am still playing it. It also offers a “New Game Plus” mode to increase difficulty, and a lot of challenge modes, so there is also more to do with the game.
Catwoman is an available DLC, that comes free with a new copy purchase. It’s different gameplay then Batman, but he added story is smaller by comparison. It’s not needed, but it’s still pretty cool so play with.
So, with the biggest issue of the game being length, and just some minor irks that existed in the first game still loom, can I still recommend it? Well, I can say that I still am playing it with much enjoyment, but like I said earlier, I expected as much. So I set up this quick quiz to determine if this game is right for you. Question 1: Did you like the first game? If you said yes, then it has been determined through scientific process that this game is right for you. Please proceed to the nearest game store to pick up a copy.
But remember, after every successful battle, you have to look directly at your defeated opponent and shout out with your raspiest voice possible; “I’m Batman!”.
Tune in next time: Same Bat Time … Yada yada yada.