Batman has had his fair share of battles dealing with lousy video games adaptations. Thankfully Rocksteady and Warner Brothers have aided the Caped Crusader in his past two outings both of which have been phenomenal. Now I”m not saying this because Batman is my favorite superhero, or because I’ve been collecting comic books since I was 8 years old. I tried to battle through Dark Tomorrow, and that was terrible, and I have no problem saying how flawed and God awful that game was. I say it because Arkham Asylum and Arkham City hit the nail on the head. This review however is for the Dark Knight’s current incarnation for your console, Batman: Arkham City, the Xbox 360 version.
Arkham City is set a few months after the events that unfold in Arkham Asylum. Bruce Wayne is leading a campaign to shut down the new Arkham City that rests in Gotham City, and that is when fists and bullets start flying. I don’t want to give any of the story away since it’s so compelling, but things do start off with a bang!
Rocksteady really put their hearts into creating the world of Gotham, the streets look dingy and unkempt, the sky is gloomy and the sun never shines. It’s a place you definitely wouldn’t want to visit, much less fight crime in. The character builds are also gorgeous, Batman, Catwoman, Joker, Harley, Two-Face, all look amazing. It’s like you fell into your favorite comic book and are the lead character, saving the day.
Nolan North of course makes an appearance in this game, along with all the other game published last year, and he does a great job as the Penguin. In fact the entire cast really knocks it out of the park. Mark Hamill of course returns as the Joker, and convinced me once again that only he should voice The Clown Prince of Crime. Of course Kevin Conroy returns as Batman, and the chemistry between him and Hamill hasn’t declined at all since they first started as this duo in the ’90’s.
The gameplay is also fantastic, switching from grapple to Batarang has never been smoother, and makes it so much easier for taking down the degenerates. Detective mode is still used and makes taking out snipers all the more satisfying, since you get to sneak up on them and do a silent takedown. Basically if you’ve played the first game and remembered the control scheme you are good to go. The fighting is fluid and just as brutal as the first game, but also just an enjoyable.
And finally I come to the heart of the game, the story. Paul Dini once again crafts a great intertwining story that shows off a good percentage of Batman’s Rogues Gallery without cheapening their appearance. He also weaves a web of twists and turns that have you on the edge of your seat, wondering who is the mastermind and will Batman succeed? I will not spoil the ending for you, but this is the first time in a long time, that I genuinely had chills at the end of a video game, and it left me speechless, thank you Rocksteady for that experience.