I’m Batman! Again!
Any nerd worth his/her weight in gadgets, games, and screen fatigue will tell you that it takes some doin’ to produce a video game or movie, based on a longstanding comic icon and totally nail it. Just ask the pile of unopened superhero games on store shelves right now that are destined to be packed with a holiday system bundle this upcoming shopping season and even they will agree. Now, not only did Rocksteady land an excellent imagining once before with Batman: Arkham Asylum, but they returned for yet another go at the Dark Knight in newly released Batman: Arkham City and I must say; they did not disappoint.
Fans of the first game will quickly feel at home with the controls and setup of the second entry. That is not to say that everything is the same, but the mechanics and skeleton of the first game are all there with a few added bones to the mix. Contrary to my initial thoughts, Batman: Arkham City is not a Farmville-esque retreat to the building and maintaining of Bruce Wayne’s old stomping grounds (I would still play that game). It is, in fact, another beat ’em up brawler with strategy elements that keep you busting crime in the face with your Thwack-Zipp-Counter-Blamo fury over and over again. Under normal circumstances, repetitiveness would be a concern but the action and variances of foes helps keep the experience fun and engaging.
Given the topic of outlandish villains and a guy that dresses up in a cape and outfit to fight said villains, the opportunities are abound to derail this story into an insipid, cardboard character reality but it never manages to do so. The characters are given motives and twisting story lines that pack a wallop and easily seduce you to keep playing in order to see what happens next. With all the unlockables, side missions, and a fartload of Riddler Trophies to find, this is the first game in a long while that has me playing for a couple of hours each sitting without regard to my normal, non-hero schedule. There have been several great games released over the past month and a half but this one takes the single player cake and had me constantly wanting to complete the next mission. I almost felt proud, I truly did.
Batman has always been one of my favorite, if not the favorite, comic hero and it makes me all smiley inside every moment I play this game. From the stellar voice acting to the tone and respect that is given to the history and lore of this character; this game is a real life comic book! I grinned when I got to fight alongside Bane. I smirked when I encountered the twisted Mad Hatter. I went to the bathroom after I confronted my small bladder. All things that have made for some great gaming moments and I would encourage you to pick up a copy because, in a shopping cart full of online multiplayer hoo-ha, this Batman is an experience unto itself. A nod and tip of the mask to all comic nerds out there. Now, back to trying to get all of these Riddler trophies so I can move on with my life. What did you think of the game?
Recommend: People who have sweat glands and own a pair of Batman boxers.
Do Not Recommend: People who like murdering things and liked Superman 64. Wait. No. S64 fans. You need this.