Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PCWii U

Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a sprawling district in the heart of Gotham City.

Review Verdict Read Review
10Out of 10
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Batman: Arkham City screenshot
Batman: Arkham City screenshot

Batman: Arkham Asylum's success hinged on the fact it would have been an outstanding game even without the undeniable force of its iconic source material. Instead of wheeling out the Dark Knight to distract from ropey construction and weary mechanics, as is so often the case, developer Rocksteady used the character to enhance and intensify the core experience.

For follow-up sequel Batman: Arkham City, however, tactful and intelligent use of the stoic hero is now expectation rather than pleasant surprise. But Rocksteady manages to unexpectedly delight once again by using a wider sample of the Batman universe and adding layers to its swelling chunk of Gotham city. If that's not enough to put a Joker-size grin on your face, it also lets you punch hapless goons really hard.

The sturdy foundations laid by the excellent Arkham Asylum haven't been reinvented, but every corner of the game somehow finds itself broadened and yet more focused, ensuring it can bear the weight of a loftier and more developed structure. Batman is now swifter and more dangerous, the villains more noteworthy and numerous, and the intricate world is more playful, varied and detailed.

Arkham City's first hour re-introduces the environment Rocksteady has both created and inherited, yet its familiar core now feels like a whole new world; the gothic interiors of the asylum have found themselves inverted into a neon sprawl of gaudy lights, dilapidated buildings, and steel fencing. Arkham City develops and juggles open space as beautifully as it does crevices and corridors, creating a lengthy single-player campaign that manages, after delivering a striking and unexpected opening, to toy with your expectations throughout.

Unafraid of employing some classic dramatic techniques, the oversized penitentiary is introduced by (almost literally) pulling up the stage curtain in a stunning vignette. Arkham City is a state-sanctioned prison, run by little-known villain Hugo Strange, which incarcerates political refugee and thug alike. Built on the decaying foundations of an unwanted chunk of Gotham city, it's a boxed-in no man's land peppered with a good chunk of Batman's most notable foes - including Two-Face, the Riddler and the Joker, the latter's psychotic coos and giggles still voiced pitch-perfectly by Mark Hamill.

It's a joy in motion. The major change is one of scale, and while the city's scope is tiny compared to some of its contemporaries it manages to remain a lean and taut adventure throughout. Traversal is divine, requiring you to mix gliding and grappling while weaving across the air for extra momentum - though you do look a teeny-tiny bit like you're hang gliding while smashed. The potential for physics-defying movements is quickly established, but it's not for a couple of hours of practice that the extent of your airborne freedom is actually realised.

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User Comments

Gollum_85's Avatar

Gollum_85@ MrHEWBO

Second that. Far too much cash is needing spent now!
Posted 21:07 on 03 January 2012
MrHEWBO's Avatar

MrHEWBO

hnnnnnnnng sooo many games i want to buy!!! This looks amazing
Posted 07:42 on 17 October 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ reynoldio

'tis the season... for declaring bankruptcy!
Posted 13:24 on 16 October 2011
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio

How am I supposed to stick to my £20 max purchase price for a game when games are this good?!

*goestolookforagreatpre-orderprice*
Posted 12:19 on 16 October 2011
Get2DaChoppa's Avatar

Get2DaChoppa

Holy great review Batman! I never doubted Rocksteadys ability to create another fantastic game, will definitely be picking it up.
Posted 11:29 on 16 October 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Batman Arkham City pre-ordered, Robin Edition it is. I wonder if it will come with a different boxart?
Posted 17:09 on 15 October 2011
Peake-a-boo's Avatar

Peake-a-boo

Hmmmm was gonna get Bad Company 3, Uncharted 3 and Skyrim before christmas and leave Dark Souls and Arkham City till the new year. Might well have to rethink my plans!
Posted 18:45 on 14 October 2011
Notorious_HIG's Avatar

Notorious_HIG

I will be buying this game no matter what the PRICE ;)
Posted 15:45 on 14 October 2011
ReadySteadyGo's Avatar

ReadySteadyGo@ Wido

Well I thought it was "eggcellent"

Click for Image
Posted 15:28 on 14 October 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Woffls

Nice to see I hit the nail on the head. :D
Posted 15:24 on 14 October 2011
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ Wido

Click for Image
Posted 15:20 on 14 October 2011
Wido's Avatar

Wido

The Joker will be joking right now. (Fail?)
Posted 15:02 on 14 October 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman

You are Robin this thread of its sanity.
Posted 14:57 on 14 October 2011
ReadySteadyGo's Avatar

ReadySteadyGo

I prefer Black (Mask) humour myself ;)
Posted 14:53 on 14 October 2011
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ pblive

Your jokes are the Bane of this forum.
Posted 14:51 on 14 October 2011

Game Stats

Batman: Arkham City
10
Out of 10
Batman: Arkham City
  • Combat
  • Batman!
  • Stealth
  • Batman!!
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 21/10/2011
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , Wii U
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros.
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 567 11
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