Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Now Playing: Arkham City

Arkham Asylum was excellent, and Arkham City is even better. It’s exactly what a sequel should be. It builds upon everything the first game did right and then gives us even more.

But there are a couple of things I think Asylum did better. One: Pacing. Asylum had a near perfect pace to the progression of the story and the unlocking of tools and features. Two: Plot. The plot of Asylum was a lot tighter and more focused. But Asylum was a lot more linear compared to City, so that’s not exactly surprising. While I love the large, open arena of Arkham City, which is absolutely packed with content, it does mean the main plot becomes a little overwhelmed by all of the additional content.

With so many distractions between plot locations, the story does suffer as you get caught up for hours hunting for collectibles, solving riddles, completing challenges or finding bonus missions and you sometimes stop and think ‘hang on, wasn’t there somewhere I was supposed to be?’

The story is good though, although I’d probably rate Asylum’s just a little higher as City’s seems to meander around a little too much in the middle. But like I said, this ‘negative’ if you can even call it that, is largely due to the content rich playground providing so much entertainment between mission objectives.

With more enemy types, an expanded range of quick fire gadgets, interactive environments and new combo moves, the combat system is as fluid and enjoyable as it was in Asylum, but much more tactical than before. But that’s not all. In Arkham City you can also play as Catwoman at certain points throughout the story, with her own enjoyable style of traversing the environment, her own combat style and even gadgets and stealth moves. It gives the gameplay even more variety, as if it didn’t have enough already.

And not only does City improve and add depth to the combat system, but it also gives us much better boss fights, which were the only real weak area of the original game. Music is great, VA is excellent, graphics are another notch up from Asylum. Even once the main story is complete there’s plenty of content to keep you busy, tracking down missing collectibles or playing challenge maps, even a New Game Plus mode. I couldn’t recommend City highly enough. It’s one of those few games that really deserves all those high scores it was lauded with in the gaming press.


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