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Batman: Arkham City: One of the Best Games Ever?

Posted on the 24 October 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost

Batman: Arkham City: One of the best games ever?

Gothic greatness. Photo credit: AmyTucker/WB http://flic.kr/p/9T4742

In 2009, Rocksteady Studios shocked critics and fans alike with Batman: Arkham Asylum – a video game finally worthy of the Dark Knight legend. However, with great success come great expectations, and fans have been quivering with excitement in the run-up to the release of Batman: Arkham City. Batman’s second outing in the series takes place in the newly formed Arkham City, a walled-off, isolated district of Gotham given over to house the city’s most insane and dangerous criminals and nutjobs. This means a game set in a much more expansive environment than the previous iteration, allowing space for all of Batman’s classic enemies, from the Joker to Penguin, Two-Face, and many more. Does the game collapse under the pressure of expectation, or thrive and push the series forward? The critics are in fairly unanimous agreement: Batman: Arkham City is brilliant.

A beautiful dystopian nightmare. Nick Cowen’s 5-star review for The Guardian declared the game a triumph for Rocksteady. The new game builds on the substantial foundations of the previous game, refusing to be a merely adequate sequel. The “fantastic” story, “delightfully gothic” scenery and great gameplay put Arkham City “head-and-shoulders above every other superhero game sequel in existence.”

Bigger, with more detail. Tom Hoggins of The Telegraph was wowed by the attention given to detail, considering the scale of the game: “The scope has considerably widened but the detail hasn’t suffered, with a remarkable amount of care lavished into the minutiae of every filthy street corner of Arkham City.” While the individual components of the game are “intricately crafted and beautifully polished”, the game’s finesse is achieved by the way these elements have been meshed “into a cohesive whole.”

Bloated? Criticisms of the game are few and far between, but Wired’s Chris Kohler felt that game was held back by “feature bloat”, and gave the game a miserly 9/10. Batman is given a huge range of gadgets and gizmos, and Kohler felt that there was a little too much packed in. However, “weighed down by bloat though it may be, Batman: Arkham City is still one of the year’s finest games”, Kohler concluded. Writing for OXM, Mike Channell complained that, relative to it’s predecessor, “the main storyline suffers a little from the larger environment… it feels flabby and less focused in comparison to Asylum’s tight plotting”, leaving it merely “adequate”.

“All gaming elements aside, it’s simply one of the best Batman interpretations we’ve seen to date. That’s including film, TV, even comics”, cooed Tom Pakinkis onCVG.

Best Batman Ever. Superlatives abound. “Batman: Arkham City isn’t just the best superhero game ever made, it’s also one of the best games of any genre you are likely to play this year”, squealed Dan Silver for The Mirror. Reviewers admired the “expertly crafted storyline” as well as the wealth of extras beyond the “lengthy” main story, which will keep gamers playing even after they cross the finish line.Tom Pakinkis couldn’t hold himself back, and labelled it “one of the best games ever”.


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