Friday, 30 March 2012

Completed: Batman Arkham City

Batman Arkham City was a lot of fun to play, mechanically it is an expanded more open version of Batman Arkham Asylum, a selection of gadgets from the first title reappear along with a fair number of new entries in the the Batarmory.

Instead of having the game split into several areas with connecting paths, Arkham City is mostly open and can be traversed by Batman in a few minutes once the player is used to the movement controls. Similarly there is more happening in Arkham City than the main plotline, there are other forces with their own agendas operating meaning that Batman can detour from the main story to complete a range of sidequests.

I found that the combat was as satisfying as ever with a few new twists here and there in the form of new gadgets and enemy equipment.

There are three combat types you encounter in Arkham City, there is your general brawl, where most if not all enemies have hand weapons and you as Batman demonstrate that you are ridiculously badass and can prevail in a street fight against 20 guys. I found myself using the various quickfire gadgets a lot, mostly explosives, Batman can quickly spray a small area of the ground with an explosive and then detonate it later, making whatever sucker was walking over it drop their weapon/shield and just generally temporarily disabling them.

The second type is my favourite, this is the predator combat. Here you have a series of enemies all armed with guns, patrolling an area. If you reveal yourself you have a very short window to get away without being blown to bits. Batman is tough, but he is not immune to bullets. This mode is all about staying out of sight and silently taking down enemies when they are out of sight of the rest. This makes you really feel like Batman as your enemies begin to panic as their numbers are slowly whittled down by an unseen, unknowable foe. This is made clearer with the detective vision mode, where you can see their heart beat climb as their fear grows. Unfortunately I neglected to take any screenshots whilst fighting.

The final combat types are the boss battles, each boss battle is unique with each boss having a unique twist on the mechanics, they all have a pretty clear weakness to take advantage of but they are pretty cool. The best I feel is Mr. Freeze, to beat him you need to think of 5 different ways of attacking him as he will not fall for the same trick twice.

The plot is hokey, I mean who the hell would actually agree to create a superprison which is next to the city proper? At the B plot mostly overshadows the A plot, but the voice cast put in a great performance all around.

Another riddle solved
I am not normally a completionist, but in Arkham Ayslum I found all of the riddler trophies and I expect at some point to come back to Arkham City and do the same. I will find you riddler!

There are two major problems I encountered with this game, they are Securom and the depiction of women.

As noted in a previous post my copy of Batman would occasionally forget that it had previously been activated and need to go through this process. In theory, The version of Securom is meant to uniquely identify my computer and has two different activation types, a unique PC activation, of which you get 5, and a normal activation of which you get 10. Every time I had to reactivate, a unique PC activation was used up. Securom's support says that their system shows that I had used what they would consider 4 different machines. I did not make any hardware changes post installation.

The Arkham series has not been particularly... classy when it has come to the ladies. All of the major female characters are a little underdressed, especially given that the conversations you overhead on the streets (when they aren't about which of the ladies they want to sleep with) often centre around how cold it is and it even snows during the game. The women still are wearing clothes like this:
Surely they could bundle up a bit given the weather?

But I have to admit, I did laugh out loud when I saw that one of Catwoman's take down moves was this:

Overall, I really enjoyed my time with Arkham City. I would suggest to be wary of the Securom in the PC version though.

Games list status: 388 unfinished titles
               Net change: 1 title finished, 5 added

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