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Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios. It is the sequel to the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum, based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The game was released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. The game was officially announced during the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards and was released worldwide for consoles, beginning in North America on October 18, 2011, with the Microsoft Windows version following on November 22, 2011. A Wii U version is set to release in 2012. An iOS game, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, was developed by NetherRealm Studios and released on December 7, 201

  • Atmospheric, fascinating world rich with details and secrets  
  • Satisfying, varied, hard-hitting combat  
  • Grappling and soaring around the city is thrilling  
  • Great assortment of involving side quests  
  • Makes terrific use of a host of Batman characters
Batman: Arkham City
Developer(s) Rocksteady Studios
NetherRealm Studios (iOS ver.)
Publisher(s) Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Square Enix (Japan)
Director(s) Sefton Hill
Writer(s) Paul Dini
Engine Unreal Engine 3
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows, Wii U, Xbox 360
Release date(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
  • AUS October 19, 2011
  • NA October 18, 2011
  • EU October 21, 2011
  • JP November 23, 2011
Microsoft Windows
  • NA November 22, 2011
  • EU November 25, 2011
Wii U
December 7, 2011
Genre(s) Action-adventure, beat 'em up, stealth
Mode(s) Single-player
  • ACB: M
  • BBFC: 15
  • ESRB: T
  • PEGI: 16
  • USK: 16+
Media/distribution Optical disc, download

Arkham City is an open world action video game that incorporates elements of stealth and predator tactics. All of the gadgets previously obtained in the first game are present at the start of Arkham City (with the exception of the Line Launcher and the Ultra Batclaw, which is replaced with the regular Batclaw and Remote Batarangs). Most of them have improved or boast new capabilities; for example, the Cryptographic Sequencer can also track signals, the line launcher now can be deployed as a tightrope and has a feature that allows Batman to flip over and launch another zipline, switching directions. The remote control Batarang now has a built in brake and boost, and the grappling gun can now be used while gliding to boost Batman further up into the air. Four additional gadgets have been revealed: smoke pellets to confuse armed enemies when spotted by them, the Remote Electrical Charge which is a sniper-like taser gun used to power generators and shock enemies, ice grenades used to freeze enemies and make pathways through water, and a balled rope for tying up enemies. The game incorporates more puzzle elements; the use of Batman's "Detective Mode", which highlights elements such as enemy skeletons and clues on-screen, is used to perform forensic activities such as tracing the origin of a sniper round.

 Gotham City. This crime-infested metropolis has been famously imagined and reimagined in comic books, cartoons, and films. Now, we have a new vision of Gotham, and it stands not just as one of the most unforgettable incarnations ever of the city that Batman is devoted to protecting, but as one of the most richly detailed and exciting environments ever seen in a game. Building on 2009's outstanding Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City sets you free in the intoxicating neighborhood of North Gotham, now a sealed-off superprison for the city's worst criminals. As the Caped Crusader, you struggle to bring some semblance of order to the chaotic streets, foiling the plots of supervillains and protecting the victims of those who prey on the innocent. With its atmospheric setting, thrilling movement, immensely satisfying combat, and tremendous assortment of secrets to discover, side quests to complete, and other attractions, Arkham City is a fantastic adventure game.

The player also has access to a criminal database that tracks several investigations across the city and the forensic puzzles much like the first game, as well as an extensive communications interception and tracing network. However, Rocksteady's art director David Hego described the new detective mode as an "augmented reality mode", and game director Sefton Hill has also stated that although enemies and evidence can be seen more clearly, the navigational part is toned down as they found that some players completed Arkham Asylum using detective mode almost throughout the entire game. Optional challenges from the Riddler to collect hidden trophies placed around the city are also present, but require additional effort to locate, such as interrogation of men loyal to the Riddler, and the use of nearly all of Batman's gadgets to disable "traps" and barriers placed around them. After a certain number of trophies are found, Batman must go rescue a hostage that the Riddler has captured, which requires him to disable death traps set by the Riddler.

As you win battles, you earn experience points and periodically level up, which lets you upgrade your suit, gadgets, and combat skills. These upgrades have a real impact on gameplay and create a rewarding sense of growth as you advance through the game. Purchasing the batclaw disarm move, for instance, lets you yank weapons from enemies' hands, while the critical strikes upgrade rewards precise timing in battle with more powerful attacks that let you build up to special combo moves more rapidly. There are an impressive number of upgrade options to choose from, and you'll probably still be leveling up and unlocking upgrades well after finishing the main story.

In addition to his trophies, the Riddler has a new set of environmental riddles for you to solve. Some of these take the form of questions or statements, such as "Do you have Strange thoughts? Maybe you should seek help?" and "I am an actor who can transform a film with the final cut. Who am I?" Answering these requires you to locate the sign, storefront, or other environmental detail that contains the answer. The richness of the world already makes exploring it a pleasure; tracking down these solutions makes doing so even more engaging. Each of these that you solve unlocks an Arkham City story, which offers some textual background on the people associated with that particular riddle, deepening the neighborhood's sense of history. The Riddler's perspective puzzles also make a comeback. These are question marks painted in the environment that need to be viewed from just the right place to appear correctly. Working out the proper vantage point from which to solve these puzzles is as enjoyable as ever.

The player controls Batman, making their way around Arkham City to complete mission objectives. In addition to the primary mission, the game introduces secondary missions featuring a number of key characters and their stories. The player can opt to move silently, avoiding inmates and other enemies using a combination of gadgets to sneak up on enemies to incapacitate them. Batman's gliding ability has also been upgraded, allowing players to dive downward and pull themselves back up, making it much faster to move through the air.

Catwoman is also a playable character with her own heist-focused storyline at specific points in the game. Her combat is more acrobatics-oriented and features her claws, whip, and bolas. She has her own version of Detective Mode called "Thief Vision" to locate items for stealing. Dax Ginn recently revealed at Gamescom that the game has about 40 hours of gameplay with the main campaign lasting 25 hours and 15 hours for the side missions. The game also contains 436 Riddler challenges, which make up one of the multiple side missions that players can embark on at any given point in the game. Rather than rely on maps, the player can mark Riddler puzzles as they are found, if the player does not have the necessary equipment to complete them. A portion of the puzzles are also specific to Catwoman, and can only be completed by her.

Batman's assortment of gadgets plays a bigger role in combat than it did before. In Arkham Asylum, you could throw batarangs and keep your combo going; here, you can quickly fire off many of your wonderful toys in the heat of battle. A blast from your remote electric charge device can make an enemy involuntarily swing his hammer at surrounding thugs, and a quick placement and detonation of explosive gel can knock nearby foes off their feet. The variety of "quickfire" gadget options and other special moves that Batman has at his disposal can actually be overwhelming, and you may occasionally find yourself pressing the button combination for one gadget when you want to use another. But the game does an excellent job of easing you into the finer points of the combat system, displaying button prompts when you have a good opportunity to use a particular technique. And if you don't quite grasp a move the first time, you can go into your upgrade menu and re-enable its tutorial for a refresher. The addition of quickfire gadgets gives you a number of new options, and skilled players can benefit a great deal from the smart use of these techniques, but you never need to rely on these abilities. If you prefer to keep things simple, you can certainly get by relying primarily on your fists.

The game's boss fights look dangerous and spectacular, but they're disappointingly easy, and on occasion, context-sensitive actions may thwart your efforts. You might intend to evade an enemy attack, for instance, but instead your button press makes Batman slowly disable some device as bullets are shredding your health. But these criticisms are nitpicks in a game that does so much so well.

Watch Batman: Arkham City trailer.


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