Batman, known to be the World’s Greatest Detective and the Dark Knight has completely enthralled me. While I really haven’t played the earlier installments of the game, this one had me hooked like no other game yet. When the game starts with Bruce Wayne talking about shutting Arkham City down to make Gotham a safer place, you are left to wonder when Batman will make an actual appearance. Bruce gets captured by Hugo Strange and left in a cell, but he manages to escape by using his well-trained skills. After killing a few penguin thugs (so that you get used to the controls) and finally escaping to the roof, you don the costume of Batman and you know then, you mean serious business.
SOUNDS – 5 / 5
The slight "whoosh!" of your cape when you glide through the air, the "pow" and "wham" that you might remember from the Batman TV series that you might have watched when you were a kid, all come back to you in an even better way. The background score also was great and came up at the most appropriate times.
One of the best parts about the game was that if you were having a dialogue with someone, and if you kept changing your line of sight in the game, the sounds would also shift, which I have seen to be implemented in very few games. The final knockout punch that gets delivered is also given an appropriate sound, and you keep looking forward to the sound to make sure that the guy is really knocked out.
GRAPHICS – 4.5 / 5
Arkham City was deadly and dangerous to look at and gliding/running/fighting through it was amazing. It has been given a very dark and desolate look that goes well with the theme of the game. Again, since the game setting is at night, the colours come out very well and look great.
Each section of the city, be it the Amusement Mile or the Industrial Area has been carefully crafted to give it that feel. Joker’s den had a bunch of gigs and the subway had broken rails and trains that seemed to be going nowhere. Another specialty of the subway was that it winded up really well in terms of a labyrinth and there have been times when I have had to use the detective mode, just to try and figure which way I came in and which way is out.
The characters could have had a little more work, though. When I play a game, my main focus is the character and I just felt that were a few places where, on the highest graphic setting, it shouldn’t have faltered. The cape kept floating within the character and the dynamics of the cape were a little stiff. Both aren’t too noticeable, but hey, the fun is in the details.
GAMEPLAY – 4 / 5
This is where the game had me realize what it means to be the World’s Greatest Detective. With an array of gadgets as my arsenal (a couple of them that I have to yet unlock), those puny villains on the ground barely have a chance against me as the Dark Knight. The Detective Mode that I spoke of earlier, gives a clear view of the environment around you and lets you know what items can be used and what are just show pieces, so to speak. It also helps in tagging Riddler trophies that may be currently out of reach for you because you don’t have the necessary gadgets or skills.
The array of gadgets ranges from the quite favourite Batarang (remote controlled variation also available), to the very required grappling hook to the advanced cryptographic decryptor. Once you get hold of them, you are left wondering how you played the rest of the game without them. The combo attacks are pretty amazing and the WayneTech upgrades give you a whole new set of moves that you can unleash on the villains prowling through the mean streets of Arkham City.
There are a variety of side missions for you to complete and they are suprisingly, not the boring kinds. Some of them get partly completed in the regular course of the game itself. The character bios and their villainy has been appropriately depicted. You can almost feel it when they talk or when you see them.
The only place where it lacks is the automatic use of the appropriate gadget when I am near a hurdle. I wish the game were intelligent enough to start using the Cryptographic Decyptor when I had to hack a terminal or use the Remote Electrical Discharge when I aimed at a transformer and switch back to the last used gadget as soon as I was done with them. If that had been done, this would have been the most compelling game that I had played.
OVERALL – 4.5 / 5
This is one brilliant game, even with the very few flaws that it has. It has to be said, that the game has a quality of actually hooking you to it and making sure that you keep playing it almost endlessly. The only times I have actually managed to get up from the chair was when I had to leave for work(sigh!) or sleep (I’ve even had my dinner right next to the computer). Play this one to become the Dark Knight and have a fabulous time "pow"-wing and "whack"-ing the thugs.