Friday, October 28, 2011

Arkham City: More of a digital comic than a video game (Game Review)

In Arkham City you become the Dark Knight in every sense of the word, with the occasional disguise as Bruce Wayne.

The game's visuals are stunning and the environmental detail is amazing. As an appreciator of art and a fan of Batman, I was floored. The environments that one can explore are enhanced with a great soundtrack and a neat feature that's introduced at the beginning of the game: eavesdropping on the conversations of Arkham City's prisoner population. Everything about the game gives the impression that your partaking in something great, with one exception, the game-play.

Arkham City immerses the player in a universe that is subtly menacing. Criminals wax nostalgic about cutting people in half and assaulting powerless women, while at the same time fantasizing about rising to power via torturing Batman. It provides one with a solid rational as to why the Dark Knight is so dark and angry. At times you'll catch yourself in the middle of performing a morally questionable action, but any sense of repulsion is discarded once you remember what your goal is and who it is that's in the way of achieving that said goal. Like the Dark Knight, you'll be forced to examine your actions and even sometimes wonder what your own true motives are.

You'll break bones, cripple, and become the reason that criminals are afraid of the dark. You'll also go toe-to-toe with almost all of Gotham's most notable criminals - no matter how obscure they happen to be. On a personal note, Arkham City served a dual purpose: 1) Catch me up with the goings-on of the Batman world, and 2) allow me to re-visit what I had already known about the series (you can actually explore the alleyway where Bruce Wayne's parents were killed).

Arkham City is a massive game with what seems to be too much to do. It's main story is magnificent and has great voice actors lending their superb talent to the project. The one area that the game falls short in is combat and clumsy action controls. There were times that I meant to punch someone and ended up pushing a button that I was next to, resulting in me/Batman getting shredded with bullets from assault rifles. At other times I was making a hasty dash across roof-tops and instead of climbing a fence parkour style, I ended up rolling off of the roof. 

In game, the Bats seems to dole out punishment randomly with some criminals going down at the flick of wrist (Is Batman really that strong?) and others requiring about ~30 fist slams (Is Batman really that weak?). I'd pull away assault rifles from would be assailants with a grappling gun only to have them pull another gun out of thin air to continue firing at me. I'd try and stealthily take out watchmen one at a time only to have another watchmen instantly know that his comrade was down without even being close to the point of my attack. All these things added up and really made the Dark Knight seem like a clumsy baby on the battlefield. That being said though, combat was still relatively easy. Maybe too easy. I found myself many times foregoing the use of the many gadgets in Batman's arsenal (probably because of the clumsy controls and game-play), and just going fist first into a group of 12 henchman without a worry. Sure I'd get hit every now and then, but when I accidentally unlocked an achievement for racking up a 40 hit combo, I started to scratch my head (Aren't achievements supposed to be somewhat difficult to unlock?).

For all of these reasons I would claim that Arkham City feels more like an interactive comic than a video game. It's a story that you just so happen to be pacing with your play-style.

I give Arkham City 4 Sickles out of 5.

It's a game that pleases despite it's control issues.


  1. 19 Year Old VirginOctober 28, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    I just creamed my pants

  2. 45 year old virginOctober 28, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Me too. More posts like this please!

  3. I remember when Batman was first released. Can't wait to play this game!