Batman: Arkham City
Even Batman himself would be proud of the gameplay of Arkham City
- Good gameplay
- Great level design
- Catwoman brings more variety
- Navigation is too hard
- ...and the bosses are too easy
It’s like Arkham Asylum on steroids. Fans of the previous game will lap this up, and fans of Batman in general won't be disappointed.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
I once thought I’d never live to see the release of a truly great modern Batman game. A bit pessimistic perhaps, but I just didn’t think anybody could do the Dark Knight justice. Sure, it's possible to make a game that looks good, but can it be done without completely bastardising the original Batman mythology?
Then 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum came on the scene, leaving fans awestruck and frothing from the mouth for more. A sequel was a no-brainer and Batman: Arkham City was set into motion. But how could the developers possibly improve on the formula?
The obvious answer, it would appear, was to add a touch of Catwoman. Yes, the news that Catwoman was to be a playable character in Arkham City definitely had me clawing at the walls in anticipation. But having played the game, I am happy to report Batman: Arkham City is so much more than just a playground for Catwoman. Nay, it is yet another high-quality release in the Batman series that not only avoids being overshadowed by its much-loved prequel but can also stand strong on its own.
In this sequel, we finally get to see Bruce Wayne in the [CGI-rendered] flesh. No masks, just the flirty playboy himself. He breezes into Arkahm City for a press conference, lobbying for the closure of the open-air prison which is essentially a sanctuary for baddies in Gotham. Then Wayne promptly gets knocked out and kidnapped by Hugo Strange, who runs the joint. Bruce escapes and transforms into na na na na na na na na… BATMAN! (I’ve always wanted to do that). With his wit along with a convenient array of skills and tools he takes flight into the night, to stop the evil which threatens to spill out and engulf the rest of Gotham City.
As the name would suggest, Arkham City takes place in a much bigger game than Arkham Asylum, both location- and gameplay-wise. The developers have ensured that moments of Batman gliding from one side of the city to another without having something to do are rare.
Side quests are littered across the place, along with challenges in the form of mini-games dished out by Batman’s foes. In that respect, it is easy to compare Arkham City to GTA 4, sans the carjacking and rampage.
I particularly liked a telephone game where Batman has to locate a ringing payphone within a time limit, otherwise baddie Zsasz will kill a bunch of people. The player then has to answer the phone and listen to Zsasz whine and moan about his personal issues while tracing the call. It’s a great example of a well-executed minigame with multiple layers to it to keep things interesting.
Gliding, which wasn’t a very sophisticated move in Arkham Asylum, gets used a lot in Arkham City. In fact, you’ll find most of the time you travel from one place to another will involve a lot of gliding and grappling — which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Soaring like a bird is rather tranquil but there’s less of the parkour free-climbing action of Arkham Asylum.
Being stealthy, especially when Batman is ridiculously outnumbered, is a key part of the game. Arkham City is more about being patient and taking advantage of good hiding spots than doing a Rambo. Though how the enemies miss a lumbering dude swooping around in a giant cape I’ll never know… there's a bit of cinematic licence at play.
Navigation has always been my fatal weakness (both in game and in real life), so I was happy to find Arkham City's compass, which helps players navigate through the vast expanse of cityscape.
However, I still found it very hard to find my way around the place. Dark rooftops look like dark rooftops, and while there are various landmarks to help get your bearings, I went for the map button more often than a competitive gamer reloads in Counter-Strike.
In terms of gameplay, Arkham City has been given an all-round upgrade. You start the game with many of the combat moves and gadgets you would have ended up with when you finished Arkham Asylum. While the combat system doesn’t go quite as far as Bayonetta, which had a ridiculous amount of button combos, there are plenty of dodge and takedown moves to use as Batman unleashes his proverbial can of freeflow martial arts whoopass on enemies.
Then there are there the gadgets — and Batman has a lot of those. Alfred even jokes in-game about how Batman fits all his gadgets on his utility belt; It’s amazing the Dark Knight doesn’t drop like lead in water when he’s gliding about with all the stuff he carries around. Even Detective Mode, which is used for gather clues and plotting strategies to quietly take out opponents, has been given a few upgrades.
The good news is the game gives you a chance to use everything more than once. There is a nice mix of enemies and situations which requires you to vary your tactics. Being equipped with so much gives you a few more options to tackle the problem.
Are you sick of me talking about Batman yet? Because if you are, I will now proceed to gush about Catwoman. Batman’s on-and-off love interest and nemesis is a welcome addition to the series, available as a downloadable game add-on through either Xbox LIVE or PSN.
The Catwoman sections comprise of four ‘episodes’, gradually unlocked by playing the main storyline. Completing the bite-sized episodes is not crucial to the main plot, and they are all short and sweet, though players have the option to free-roam with Catwoman to collect Riddler Trophies and other achievements.
I would have preferred more Catwoman in Arkham City, especially given her combat and movement style is actually really fun. It is similar to Batman's, but different enough to keep things fresh.
As much as I enjoyed Batman: Arkham City, there is one thing I have to criticise – The boss fights were kind of a let down. While I love picking off the goons in the game, boss battles are often too easy and repetitive, leaving me with an anti-climax and an “awww, that’s it?” reaction. Take the fight with Mr. Freeze: WARNING! SPOILER ALERT! There are a number of ways to subdue him, but rather than letting players test different methods the game gives all his weaknesses away a minute into the battle.
Often the mechanics of the fights are repetitive, which can be overlooked but does bring about a twang of frustration. Even the final fight was a bit disappointing. Even so, I found the ending strangely satisfying. It might not please everybody, but it fits in well with the Batman story.
On the surface, Batman: Arkham City looks like a great game. But if you take in the intuitive combat system, the excellent voice acting, the cheese-free script and all the finer details, it is easy to see what makes Arkham City an amazing game. Even Batman himself would be proud.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Acer Swift 7
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
Google Daydream VR headset
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Star Citizen dumps DirectX 12 plans to focus on Vulkan-powered graphics
- Dungeons and Dragons ditches pen and paper with D&D Beyond
- Exclusive no more: PlayStation 4 games are coming to the PC via PlayStation Now
- Adding video apps like Netflix to the Nintendo Switch is a waste of Nintendo's energy
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- First look at the Formula 1 2017 pit lane in Melbourne, Australia
- LG 2017 OLED and Super LED UHD 4K TVs: Hands-on review
- Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTMid Level PHP DeveloperNSW
- CCBusiness Implementation Manager - Change - Financial ServicesNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - General InsuranceNSW
- FTImplementation Consultant - SMSF SoftwareNSW
- CCApplication Support Specialist- Bathurst or Port MacquarieNSW
- TPAutomation Test AnalystsQLD
- FTSenior Microsoft EngineerVIC
- FTMS Dynamics DevelopersNSW
- TPProgram ArchitectQLD
- FTArcFM/Gis Lead DeveloperNSW
- FTCyber Security - Technical SpecialistACT
- TPPerformance Test Analyst - Perth BasedQLD
- CCBenefits/Business AnalystNSW
- TPTest AnalystQLD
- CCSenior Business Analyst (BPMN or UML & Agile)QLD
- FTSolution Architect (e-Health)NSW
- FTSenior Performance AnalystQLD
- CCICT ManagerNSW
- FTCloud Infrastructure Specialist - Azure/AWSNSW
- FTData Storage Support Consultant (EMC)QLD
- FTJunior Applications SupportVIC
- FTKey Account ManagerVIC
- FTSeeking all Java Developers!VIC
- FTSenior Lead Developer/Architect - TelcoVIC