|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Pub: Warner Bros.|
|Release: October 18, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Alcohol References, Mild Language, Blood, Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco, Violence|
Unlike the last two Spider-Man games, with their lack of true web-swinging, Arkham City allows the players to feel that they are actually traveling the way that Batman really would: through the rooftops, gliding from peaks, and grappling the side of a building at the last minute. There was not a single moment in which I felt I was not Batman in this game.
Since we're already on the subject of traveling through the city, I do have to bring up my personal annoyance with Catwoman. While it is acceptable for Batman to use his grappling hooks at great lengths, Catwoman's whip is much shorter; she should not be reach the same things with her whip that Batman can with his grappling hooks. I know this might seem completely petty, but it's one detail that pulled me out of the world that Rocksteady has so painstakingly created for this game. In fact, not even Catwoman's thief vision distracted me this much. With Catwoman's inclusion in the gameplay, however, Rocksteady captures another element that is usually missing from Batman games: the Batman of the comics doesn't usually work alone. But all of this does make me wonder how things will play out once Robin and Nightwing are added into the mission-based gameplay.
A simple list of the voice actors is enough to convince anyone with even the slightest bit of pop culture knowledge that Arkham City is a treat for the ears: Kevin Conroy returns as Batman, Mark Hamill returns as the Joker, and Tara Strong replaces Arleen Sorkin as Harley. But while all of these performances are stellar and unmatched, I have to give credit to some of the new additions to the cast. Corey Burton voices Hugo Strange, Troy Baker doubles as Two-Face, Stana Katic as Talia al Ghul, and probably the most surprising of them all is Nolan North as the Penguin. (I dare anyone to truthfully say they knew it was him without being told.) Mix all of this great voice talent in with the fantastic score, which combines elements from every incarnation of Batman from the 60s television show to the more recent Christopher Nolan universe, and you have an almost surreal amalgamation of the best of Batman audio to set the tone and pacing for Arkham City.
Admittedly, when I first heard of Arkham City I wanted to sit back and be that cynical comic book guy who refuses to believe in it. I wanted to watch it hit the shelves and then crash and burn. It wasn't because I wished ill of the sequel, it was just that comic book fans have been burned way too many times. But I'm so thankful to be wrong. Batman: Arkham City takes the formula we loved in Arkham Asylum and advances it to a level I would have not thought possible in this medium. In Arkham Asylum, I felt as if I was playing a Batman tale; in Arkham City, every takedown I preform makes me want to scream "I am Batman!" Come on, you can scream it too. You owe it to yourself.