By: Rachael Ward
Back in 2009, Rocksteady Studios blew away both game and comic fans with the release of Batman Arkham Asylum. Unlike the movie tie-in games of the past, Arkham Asylum captured the dark yet compelling storyline that has made Batman into a legend amongst comic book heroes. For the first time, players were able to take down criminals as the Dark Knight, fighting thugs from the shadows and bringing down even the toughest super villains with seamless fighting controls. After receiving stellar reviews such as a 9.5/10 from Game Informer and winning the 2009 Game of the Year award, it stood to reason that a sequel would be on its way. After two years, the wait is almost over, and expectations could not be higher.
Nearly a year has passed since the events that occurred in the first game. However, the warden for Arkham Asylum, Quincy Sharp, took the credit for Batman’s deeds and used it to catapult himself into the mayor’s chair. Now with a lot more power, he decrees that both the ruined Arkham Asylum and Black Gate Prison are unfit to house criminals. Thus, he begins a project to move criminals from both areas to a closed off section of the city, now called Arkham City.
Behind the guarded walls of this much larger mad-house, criminals and maniacs alike have been given free reign to do whatever they please, provided they do not attempt to escape. Because of this, gang wars erupt at every corner of the city, with the major super villains such as Two-face and the Joker carving out their own territory. This plays into Sharp’s hope that the criminals will all kill each other without doing any damage to Gotham. He also hires Dr. Hugo Strange to be in charge of this project, but little to nothing is known about this man, and those who ask mysteriously vanish. Batman has kept a close vigil on the outskirts of the city, believing that sooner or later things will get out of hand.
He is given motivation to infiltrate Arkham City when he finds out that Catwoman has been taken hostage by Two-Face and is going to be publicly executed. Armed with new gadgets and his detective smarts, The Dark Knight must get to the bottom of what really is going on in Arkham City along with keeping Catwoman alive in the process.
Apart from getting a look at the new gadgets, such as smoke bombs and revamped tools from Arkham Asylum, Batman’s controls seem to be pretty much the same. This is not a bad thing and the developers have been promising new ways to take down enemies while remaining undetected. The biggest announcement during the demo at E3 however, was that Catwoman will be a playable character with her own storyline. Using her whip and claws to get around the environment, along with her great agility, Catwoman’s contrast to Batman will be an interesting extra to the gameplay.
Considering the size of Arkham City, tons of villains will be making appearances. Returning villains such as the Joker, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Mr. Zsasz, along with new faces such as the Penguin, Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, the Riddler, Hugo Strange, Talia al Ghul, and even Solomon Grundy. With this much opposition, it will certainly be a long night for Batman.
All in all, the game looks very impressive and could blow the original out of the water, though it is a mystery as to what else the studio had added to the gameplay to make it more interesting. Check it out when Batman Arkham City hits shelves on October 18.
By: Rachael Ward