Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Welcome back Dark Knight.

Yesterday I was tempted to write a partial write up about the game I've been playing since monday. Last night I ended up finishing the campaign and I'll just write the real deal review. Spoilers ahead if you haven't finished the game...but its been out for over three weeks now so the people who were stoking boners over it will have finished it before me.

I was impressed by this game. From the opening moments of playing as Bruce Wayne post arrest and interrogation from Dr.Hugo Strange within Arkham City's walls to the final moments dealing with Strange in the midst of Protocol 10 to the rather dark and shocking ending to the game. I was impressed.

I have nitpicks as well. I still hate the combat in this series. I hated combat in Arkham Asylum (non-stop button mashing with alleged "skill" somewhere there) and now its here and they throw more enemies at you. Blah. I also found the game to have a much slower pacing that Asylum. Mostly I feel that its due to the size and scope of the playground you are now in versus being on a smaller island and staying mostly inside buildings. It just felt slow at times....this changes after Protocol 10 is active. Then its breakneck and very tense. Still not a deal breaker.

My one major nitpick is just what the hell is Rocksteady games going to do for the third game? What do you mean Phil? Well did you not pay attention to the body count in this game? Joker: dead. Ra's Al Ghul: dead. Talia Al Ghul: dead. Clayface: dissolved in lava. Hugo Strange: dead. Solomon Grundy: Batman pulled what I would assume was his heart out of his chest so probably dead again. As I said for a Batman story the rogues gallery got thinned out a bit and the MAJOR villain in his life is gone. Mark Hamill also noted this was the last time he'll voice Joker in a videogame and I know why now.

Granted Two-Face, Penguin, Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze and Bane are still around. Some are still roaming around in Arkham City but with Two Face and Penguin I don't remember what happened to them after I encountered them. I also don't know what's going to happen to Riddler as I haven't collected enough of those freaking 400 icons/challenges to unlock more than three of the hostage situations out of the six available. I have completed over 220 of those collection/riddle answer/challenges and have only unlocked three hostages to save. FFFFFUUUUUUUUU.....

But I'm an achievement whore so I'll continue on. I also haven't played the Catwoman stages as I'm borrowing the game from a friend and its available as a DLC or unlock code with the game. He did it so I don't know how her adventure fleshes out the story. I don't think not having access to Catwoman has diminished my experience though. I'm here to play as the Goddamn Batman!

Graphic are excellent. Rocksteady is using the Unreal 3 engine as that is the choice of developers this console cycle. And I can't fault them. It looks great. Sound is also well done. Voice acting is superb. Having Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill back as Batman and Joker is bliss to me. And the rest of the cast is also great. I loved Penguin's british accent. I thought Victor Fries (Mr.  Freeze to you) sounded like I would expect him to sound like. So all good on the voice front.

Replayability is medium. After about two solid plays of the campaign I feel you would have seen everything in the story mode. The Riddler additional ranked and campaign missions are there for more skill based challenges if you so desire. I want more story missions. Hopefully Rocksteady will have some other tricks up their sleeves on that front later and not more challenge missions with Robin and Nightwing.

So I do say play this game. If you want to play the best videogame based on a comic book franchise Batman Arkham City is the game. And the former title holder was Batman Arkham Asylum. Hell I'm even considering buying this game so I can play it some more down the road. Its that good people.

Its Bat-tastic. Its Bat-crazy awesome. Its The Goddamn Batman in a story that rivals even The Dark Knight feature film. Play it and enjoy.