So many nerd chills went down my spine when playing Arkham Asylum. It is one of the best games I have ever played. I did not expect it to be as good as it was. The thing is I expected Arkham City to be good.
Asylum vs. City
Arkham City features many of the same elements that made Arkham Asylum great. In fact it features all of them, so the game does not feel the need to go over them again. You are given a lot of your accessories from the get go, and this felt like a little bit of a letdown, because in the first game you were eased into being Batman. Still it is not that big of a deal, it just feels different.
The combat system is as great as it was in Arkham Asylum, since it is the same basically. The game responds quickly to your commands, and the counter ability is not frustrating, as it could have been if the game forced you to finish overly long combat animations. There are combos and you can use Batman’s gadgets mid-fight.
In Arkham City there are segments in which you play as Catwoman. She controls very well. I cannot praise this game enough for how good it feels when you are running around, climbing buildings and fighting.
The game starts with Bruce Wayne giving a speech about shutting down Arkham City, a prison in the middle of Gotham that is home to some of the most vicious criminals in the world. He is swiftly arrested and imprisoned there. This seemed a little bit excessive, completely illegal and artificial, but that’s how it all begins. Pretty soon you have to fight for your life as Penguin has his goons trying to kill you. After you rip them to shreds you call Alfred, he sends in the Batship and you get your suit and your gadgets. The problem I have with this is that it feels rushed. Like I said before, in the first game you were introduced slowly to the action, you had some time to acclimatize to the environment.
The entire game feels like the developers said: “Come on, you know what we’re talking about here, you’ve done this before. What’s wrong with you?” It feels like it brings nothing new to the table. Yeah, it is a sequel, but that does not mean it shouldn’t try. The first game was so good because it had a clear sense of pacing, and the Asylum was a truly uncomfortable place. Arkham City is big, it has streets, each criminal has his head-quarters, and you go through them at a dizzying pace.
But it is pretty cool in the sense that there is this tiny society filled with criminals, all living together. I think the game could have gone a little deeper into the interaction that exists in this city. It still does a good job. Each villain has his unique head-quarters and an army of minions, there are a lot of side missions, challenges, Riddler’s riddles and other things to do.
Arkham Asylum made a surprisingly amount of sense for a game based on a comic book universe. The enemies were described from a psychological point of view very well. The Scarecrow sequences were the best moments in any video game so far, as you would get to see Batman’s psychology through the terror-inducing hallucinations he was experiencing. Like for example using the Bat-Light Beam (I don’t know how it’s called) to kill Scarecrow, which represents using the symbol that is Batman to make up for the limitations of Bruce Wayne, more exactly his fear of the humongous hallucinated Scarecrow. At least that’s what I got out of it. And now they’re gone! If they’ve put everything that was in Arkham Asylum into Arkham City, why would they leave this out, the best part of the first game?
Oh well, Arkham City is still a very good game despite it not being what I want it to be and what it could have been. It’s not better than the first game. I can see how people would give this game the Game of the Year award, but I wouldn’t.
This is not a very original game, but the series as a whole is. It revolutionized the way we look at and the way that games based on comic books are made.
The great flowing gameplay makes it very easy to like the game and to play it for hours.
This game has everything it needs to be popular. It is part of the Batman universe and it is a very good game.
Fluent combat and travel, lots of gadgets, great storyline and setting.
GOTY awards won: 38