BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY Here’s the new and definitely improved successor of the Batman game series that almost defines perfection. SHARAN M.
Rocksteady Studios’ 2009 smash-hit “Batman: Arkham Asylum” set some pretty high standards. And by “high” I mean sweeping tons of Game of the Year awards. Faced with overwhelming expectations, the developers certainly had a task at hand to deliver on all fronts on their next title, “Batman: Arkham City”. Well Bat-fans, rest assured because with the sequel they haven’t only met expectations, they’ve actually gone on to raise their game up a notch. Make that even a couple of notches.
“Batman: Arkham City” is the perfect example of how a developer should improve upon a tried and tested formula and deliver an end-product that will please all. The minor chinks in the previous game’s armour make an appearance here too but they are so overshadowed by the positives that you’d have to be unimaginably cruel to point and pick.
The game drops the Caped Crusader into Arkham City, a sprawling prison set right in the heart of Gotham and challenges him to put super-villains like The Joker, Hugo Strange, The Penguin, Mr.Freeze et al in their place. And if that wasn’t enough, Batman must also subdue the various street thugs who follow their respective super-villain, solve complex challenges thrown at him by the Riddler, rescue political prisoners trapped inside, contend with an assassin, a psychopath and numerous SOS-like situations. All in a night’s work for the Dark Knight.
Stepping out of the restrictive environment of Arkham Asylum, this one puts you in a huge open world that will let you swing, glide and have you moving every bit like the World’s Greatest Detective. And to add to a fan’s joy, there are various missions that let one play as Catwoman. It is a master-stroke and transformed the sceptic in me into a true believer. Rocksteady did not break that timeless rule — “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Combat has been largely retained from the original title — a single button for countering incoming blows and another button to dish out some trademark Batman punishment. While new moves and sleek animations have been added to Batman’s already impressive roster, veterans will find themselves right at home. The only minor irritant during combat is the camera that sadly never finds that perfect angle.
The developers did the most obvious thing by retaining the voices of Mark Hamil and Kevin Conroy. And if news reports are to be believed, this will be Hamil’s last performance as the Clown Prince of Crime and boy, will he be missed. The other characters have been voiced brilliantly too with the Penguin and his British accent a joy to listen to. The background score and the overall ambience hit the right spots just like the last title.
While I could go on and on about the game’s brilliance, the only negative that seemed to stick out was that sometimes, you feel overwhelmed at the amount of campaign-quests, side-quests and random acts the game throws at you. It certainly doesn’t break the game but a little tuning could have gone a long way. Also, there is that feeling that the developers could have done a bit more with the mouth watering villain-roster they had access to. For fans of Batman and the action/adventure genre alike, “Arkham City” is only a few millimetres away from the pinnacle of perfection. Buy the game now and get ready to experience a night you’ll never forget. The game is out for all major platforms.
Sharan is a III Year B.E student at RMK College of Engineering and Technology.
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