Batman: Arkham City Review

Batman: Arkham City - Dark Knight's Asylum

Batman has been lucky in recent years: he had a successful reboot of the Justice League comic book universe, a highly profitable film trilogy, and an excellent video game, Arkham Asylum. To perfectly conclude this seven-year run, the Dark Knight only needs to pass another computer test and not disappoint with his final film. While Batman and Bane still have their last mission ahead of them, we can already familiarize ourselves with the sequel to the wonderful 2009 game.

Once again, the Caped Crusader found himself trapped in a closed jar with spiders. For the sake of games involving the mentally unstable heroes and villains of Gotham, an entire district of the city was designated as the battleground. Obviously, as a sign of respect for the intricate mental world of this colorful company, the city center itself became the chosen location. Well, at least that’s what we were told, without considering that it is actually some kind of edge, bordering none other than the Arctic Ocean. The purpose of all this fun was initially unclear. It’s not just for the sake of it.The oily doctor OilStrange Doctor Strange – attention: he knows who is hiding behind the mask! – has gathered such a rich collection of patients – Joker, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, Penguin, and all-all-all (many of our gamers may not even know: for example, who is Deadshot and what is he famous for?), in order to simply kill them all. But then – really, why?

In general, many moments in Batman: Arkham City are oriented towards avid comic book fans, and therefore most likely will fly past the main mass of players from the former CIS. Which, ironically, will be unpleasant primarily for connoisseurs. How is it possible that Vasya has no idea who is calling from telephone booths, but still enjoys playing? What kind of audacity is this? In turn, we can only be glad that for an exciting game in B:AC it is not necessary to know the whole-very rich Batman mythology.

Anyway, the mess that has brewed needs to be cleaned up, and surviving as Batman on the streets of Arkham City is easier than surviving as playboy Wayne, and then – we call the butler Alfred and ask him to send a package with a working suit by express mail. Well, and all the necessary tools.

Batman's Dark Presence

Jack of all trades

The arsenal of our flying detective is impressive, especially considering the emergency conditions of delivery and equipping of bat-gadgets. Some things are expected to be revealed not immediately, but the starting gentleman’s set is quite good. Gamers are immediately introduced to a hook for urban travel, a clever computer for hacking and eavesdropping on everything that can and cannot be hacked and listened to, as well as traditional explosive bat-grenades. It is surprising how Bruce Wayne manages to faithfully follow the commandment “do not kill” with such a deadly set.

Yes, Batman fundamentally does not kill people because he swore, took a vow, or something like that. This, of course, is known to all fans of DC comics, but how many of them are there in the CIS, these hardcore fans? Even in Nolan’s reboot films, the only character that Batman somehow, but still kills, is de facto immortal, just very annoying after each visit to the other side. So when Batman simply ties up another villain instead of dissolving him in acid, know that he is true to his word and not ashamed because children are watching. The authors have already included a humanist in Wayne because children are watching. There is a world of difference.

With such a cool arsenal, Batman will be able to play the greatest detective of the entire DC Comics universe, as well as the stealthy night hunter and the invincible promilu. The first point, however, is more for atmosphere – all villainous puzzles are elementary, and rare clues are found only by themselves. No challenge, but the overall picture of the game from such short, simple but entertaining, quiet-calm (especially compared to the rest of the turmoil) episodes becomes even brighter. Batman doesn’t have to beat faces all the time, really.

But when it comes to fighting, our ward fights selflessly – the advertised fistfights are really good. At first, however, they are too chaotic and, in terms of purely tactile sensations, resemble more of a rhythmic game like Dance Dance Revolution or even Guitar Hero than the anticipated Berserk (strangely enough, but this short mini-masterpiece with Dreamcast is the only beat-em up besides the unsuitable Streets of Rage that I managed to remember), but once you adapt to the rules of local fistfights, everything will be just wonderful. Batman has learned to fight beautifully. He hit the first criminal in the face twice, dodged a blow from behind and immediately kicked the attacker from the leg, jumped over the third, pulled the fourth towards him with a hook and powerfully hit him in flight, and then again, and then again… What’s even better, all these fights don’t get boring even after dozens of hours spent in Arkham City.

Most of the credit for this, however, should be given to the variety of superhero leisure activities. The closed city of Arkham is not that big in size, but it is simply packed with content. Big and small entertainments come under the wings literally every couple of meters. Boss battles, side quests, collections of landmarks like “blow up a hundred Joker’s air balloons hanging who knows where”, over four hundred tasks of varying degrees of difficulty to open chests with candies from the Riddler, separate plot branches, and so on and so forth – imagine that Skyrim tried to be compressed to the size of that spider jar, and you will get an approximate picture.

Gotham's Dark Protector

About the convenience and adaptability of control to ergonomic gamepads. News of the hour: gamepads don’t save. None. Games are increasingly hitting the wall of limited gamepad functionality. Batman can do a thousand different things at once, but gamers controlling him, unfortunately, will only be able to “unlock the potential” of the same combat system after a couple of months of diligent finger acrobatics and a dozen or so playthroughs of the story campaign. Which won’t happen. Unfortunately, a good half of the combat choreography will go to waste. With a bunch of detective technological gadgets, it’s easier – at the right moment, you can calmly stop, remember which five buttons on the pad need to be pressed simultaneously to select that scanner or that explosive, and calmly deal with the pressing problems of the world’s best detective from comics. The best option tried and tested is a keyboard plus a mouse with six functional keys and reconfigured controls. Was it worth it, though, that’s the question.

Meanwhile, our hero is not invincible at all. Especially when shot at point-blank range with a sawed-off shotgun. Ramming through with a Tiger tank won’t always work – unlike our righteous hero, five thugs with automatic weapons won’t hesitate to quickly shoot our bat out of the sky and quickly drag the corpse to the boss, so that he has time to say a couple of kind words before game over and loading the last save. Bad fighters, by the way, risk getting punched in simple fist fights, especially at a high difficulty level. So the game still throws some challenges, which, compared to Rage and other Battlefield 3 (of course, talking about the single-player of the new “battle”), can’t help but please.

While some are upgrading implants and others are believing in (artifacts) the Emperor, Batman is upgrading his suit. Honestly, you start to get tired of this widespread upgrading, but in this case, everything is decent: frills from leveling up won’t teach Wayne to throw batarangs with his eyes closed and take down eight enemies with one strike, but they will allow for more spectacular and, with the proper level of controller mastery, effective combat if desired. WayneTech gadgets and quickfire gadgets are available, but there aren’t many of them, which can’t help but please gamers who love substantial gameplay.

Artistic Rendition in Arkham City

The circus is in the city

The atmosphere is becoming more complicated. On one hand, we have a cool Batman, a gloomy Gotham, and crazy villains – everything as it should be, but on the other hand, there are too many psychos gathered in our small corner. It’s like a parade mixed with a meteor shower. Sometimes it’s not enough for everyone and even for the whole city, and here they have somehow gathered in one small corner, clearly wanting to show off in front of the camera. If we don’t focus our attention on this overall construction (which is quite difficult with such a kaleidoscope), then Batman’s claustrophobic world has turned out to be excellent for the second time in a row. The blocked criminal district is living a lively life – embittered ordinary thugs roam the streets, trying to find something to live off (the burning question is whether to hunt for the wealthy Bruce Wayne or for food?), and talking about their difficult and gloomy weekdays, higher-ranking gangsters carry out their affairs, and all this gloomy circus is being watched from the side by the police.

Well, yes, there is beautiful three-dimensional urban gothic all around, sleepless nights, and cold. And the disturbing, disturbing music, which is not really necessary to set the right mood, but still nicely complements the overall dark and pompous picture.

About Catwoman. It is worth giving credit to the developers: they seamlessly integrated the DLC character into the game, almost painlessly for those who decided to stick with the main protagonist. However, they constantly tease them. The adventures of the flying detective and the acrobatic thief Selina, who jumps on walls and ceilings, have almost nothing to do with each other, which sometimes looks silly. But Catwoman, under our careful guidance, managed to break through a horde of Poison Ivy’s poisoned bandits to… well, get captured by her personally in a cutscene. A great episode. Substantial.

Batman's Heroic Stance

The gaming extravaganza that fell upon us in November… well, I don’t really have the right words. Such a carpet bombing of excellent projects hasn’t happened in a long time. Just an outstanding game (see Saints Row the Third) could easily get lost among such stars as Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Call of Duty, and our wonderful Arkham City. The game has practically no flaws, no matter how you look at it. We have everything – graphics, gameplay, story, tons of content, gifts for fans, accessibility for newcomers to the world of Batman, and everything else that a lover of computer games could wish for. The only valid excuse for those who haven’t played B:AC is a simple lack of time, combined with a general indifference towards the iconic DC character. In that case, we graciously allow you to postpone the game until the Christmas holidays.

Batman: Arkham City
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Action, Adventure
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Rocksteady Studios
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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