Video game review: Batman Arkham City

By Ed Zhao

Superhero games are usually fairly terrible. Rocksteady Studios likely created one of the greats with 2009’s Batman Arkham Asylum, and now the sequel, Arkham City, has arrived.

Once more, Rocksteady perfectly captures the essence of feeling like a superhero. This Batman has more tools and tricks than the Christopher Nolan version, as players begin the game with a loaded utility belt, they only add on from there. Sometimes, by the middle stages of the game, the many options can cause players to become a bit confused.

Dr. Hugo Strange, a fairly obscure villain for the mainstream crowd, is the chief antagonist throughout the game. He manages to gain control of Arkham, but there are a plethora of more prominent evildoers throughout the course of Batman’s adventures.

They pop up regularly and Batman will meet familiar faces like Dr. Freeze, the Penguin and, of course, the Joker. Gamers will also have the option to slink into the boots of a playable Catwoman. She offers a distinct style of fighting apart from the Bat as she relies on a deadly blend of speed and sharp weapons.

It’s a fun change of pace that adds to the overall experience.

The combat system is ostensibly simple at first, with a single button for attacks. But add in counters, tools like smoke bombs and the need for special tactics against certain enemies, and it quickly becomes challenging. Sadly, though, the AI isn’t stellar—Batman can quickly swoop into the nearby shadows and the hair-brained minions won’t be able to deduce the player’s location.

In terms of longevity, there’s quite a bit of to do in Arkham City. The Riddler is back from the first game, but this time he’s dropped 400 trophies throughout the area and finding these collectibles will unlock dangerous challenge rooms.

There are also a number of side quests that should satisfy diligent gamers, such as saving hostages or expertly controlling Batman through various locations.

Finally, the Challenge Rooms also return, and these task gamers with clearing out roomfuls of baddies. Be warned though, these are by far the hardest sections of the game.

Batman Arkham City is another wonderful game in the series. It’s a fun action adventure that empowers the player and emulates the best aspects of being Batman.