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Batman Arkham City back to reviews
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Casebook example of how a sequel should be made.
Except for a few nagging elements here and there, this is a casebook example of how a sequel should be made.

Unlike other games which make the hero lose everything at the start of the next game, this one more or less picks up where the last one left off as Batman starts with several of the upgrades he had to find or earn in the previous game. While this poses a problem to anyone brand new to the series (such as knowing how to detonate individual explosives) it makes those who played the first game slide back into the mantel in a way that is beautiful.

More importantly, this is one of those rare games that has easy-to-learn basic concepts that are truly rewarding to master, allowing a first-timer to blunder through but allowing experienced players to look and feel like an invincible super-hero. Even rarer still is the fact that the first game did the same, and this one somehow improves upon it.

It is not flawless however. All the scenes should be skippable (but aren't), the lack of manual save is an irritation, and Catwoman was a poorly implemented character, feeling more like a handicapped version of a player character over her own entity. She's clumsy and less precise, and her take-downs are slower, making her a chore to play in comparison with the freedom, precision and versatility of Batman. Being a less moral character, allowing the player to play 'dirtier' or faster would have given her play style more depth. The fact that Batman can't blow up enemy weapon caches and prevent future foes from arming themselves makes it more like a game and less like Batman as well.

The plot — for those who care — is so stupid that even the inmates make fun of it, and there's no way to turn off the ability to listen into conversations which get redundant. The villains are so focused on out-eviling each other that it's comical at best and eye-roll inducing at worst (one or two notable exceptions). I think having the character mimicking the more moderate (and better written) Animated Series incarnations would have suited the generally bloodless tone better — but even this is handled better than the first game.

If you played the first game, it's everything you loved dialed up a notch. If you haven't played the first game, then this is one of the few that live up to their hype.
Just wanted to say that cutscenes are skippable, just tap B/Circle repeatedly on consoles while on PC I have no idea. Good review.
comment #15610 darkforce392 31st Jul 12
With the PC you just click the mouse a lot until it lets you skip.
comment #15611 JackAlsworth 31st Jul 12
Addressing your first point, its easier to do that in the Batman series because your protagonist is established as being well into his career. He's almost always written that way so there's plenty of inspiration to draw on in making veteran Batman appealing. Since the identity of the first game is in part built on Batman already having skills and tools its easier to do that in a sequel without losing the appeal or identity of the game.

Contrast that with many video games where the franchise introduces a new young protagonist and you watch them grow. Part of the appeal of that first game is growing them into the role of hero. If you start from that final point in the sequel, you have to figure out what your appeal is all over again which either means sort of hitting the reset button on skills and equipment, which can be frustrating, not letting the character grow anymore, which can also be frustrating, or letting the character continue their growth from the first game in which case the stakes have to escalate and you have to shift the setting to give the hero a new more difficult set of challenges to grow into, which will eventually max out.
comment #21817 gibberingtroper 30th Oct 13
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