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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
Batman: Arkham City

GAME DETAILS
Released
21 October 2011
Format
PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Developer

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Batman: Arkham City


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Batman: Arkham City  (2011)
Review
Batman: Arkham Asylum was not only one of the best games of 2009 but also the best comic-to-game conversion of all time. Perfectly capturing DC’s Dark Knight, Asylum was a taut, action-packed adventure that blended stealth, investigation and fluid fisticuffs as Batman made his way through the institution, battling the Joker and his various henchmen. Swinging into action one year after the bombastic events of Arkham Asylum, Arkham City propels former warden, Quincy Sharp, to the top of the food chain in Gotham as its Mayor. With neither Arkham Asylum nor Blackgate Prison in any shape to house the rowdies, Quincy has jettisoned the four-wall and steel bars mantra and gobbled up huge chunks of Gotham’s slums in a bid to create Arkham City, a walled-in penitentiary overflowing with Gotham’s criminally insane.

Aside from an incredibly enhanced roster of villains and allies including a playable Catwoman – taking up around 10 percent of the actual campaign – as well as The Joker, The Penguin, Deadshot, Mr. Freeze and countless others, the most apparent alteration to the iron-clad formula established in the original is the monumental shift to open-world gameplay. After being confined to the asylum’s gloomy corridors, Gotham truly is your playground and despite the obvious absence of the Batmobile as a mode of transport, traversal of this gothic jungle gym has been enhanced by refreshed grappling and gliding abilities.

Bats is now capable of soaring gracefully across the rooftops before plummeting towards groups of enemies and transitioning seamlessly into a bone-crunching combo attack. Throw grappling hooks, batarangs and all kinds of wonderful toys into the melee mix and you’re left with a superbly overhauled combat system that builds on the original’s simple yet endlessly pleasing mechanic. While almost everything in Arkham City is bigger and better, one element of Batman’s arsenal has been wisely trimmed down – Detective Mode. Still allowing an X-ray view of Batman’s perspective, the ability is now diluted by blurring his peripheral vision, removing the first game’s temptation to simply leave it turned on. It’s still an integral part of Batman’s puzzle-solving, but now a liability in the midst of a full-on bat brawl.

Alongside the whopping campaign and a utility belt full of side missions, the addictive Challenge Rooms make a return with plenty of combat, speed and stealth tasks for you to prove yourself in. And, much like every other title this Christmas, Arkham City comes fully-loaded with both stereoscopic 3D and, if you haven’t got the requisite gear, good old-fashioned anaglyph 3D. Frills aside, though, Arkham City still manages to stand as the pinnacle of Batman’s video game outings, which is no mean feat. Rocksteady Games has not only surpassed sequel expectations but crafted a follow-up worthy even of standing shoulder to shoulder with Christopher Nolan’s big screen sequel, The Dark Knight.


Reviewed by Sebastian Williamson

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Batman: Arkham City
Empire Star Rating

the mad house takes over the city

It's hard to follow up such a near perfect original, but that's exactly what rocksteady has done with Arkham City, they have taken what was so great about Arkham and have left it intact. This may not be as memorable as the first outing, or have as memorable of moments, but it's still one of the top gaming experience's you're likely to ever have. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jericho117 at 04:56, 29 September 2013 | Report This Post


Loving this game so far. The characters are top notch, gameplay is great and must say I love solving The Riddler's riddles. 5/5 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ref at 21:24, 24 October 2011 | Report This Post


City???

I'm pretty sure you meant "City" rather than "Asylum" in that last paragraph. Jus' sayin'. I have no comment on the game as yet, but I have to put a rating down so I'll just agree with you. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TomBowler at 07:28, 15 October 2011 | Report This Post



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