PS3 Recap: Batman Arkham City

by: Oliver Layco

Batman has long been my favorite superhero. Maybe it was when I was first introduced to him through Michael Keaton or when I heard him through the voice of Kevin Conroy. Needless to say, he never had a proper video game done for him. Superhero games in general have normally been a failure with the exception of the Spiderman games that came out with the movies. My long lost brother J.D. Cook first introduced me to Arkham Asylum when we were living together in college. From when I first played it I was hooked from the start. The environments that RockSteady have created in this world captured the feel of the Batman universe perfectly. Then the combat system itself was exceptionally fun. I didn’t even want to bother with stealth missions because I always wanted to beat up these guys. This is probably why I was better at combat maps while Mr. Cook was better at stealth missions. Anyway, I played through that at least two times when I was at school with him and by the time I went home for the summer I bought my own copy. The amount of villains they included fit their story perfectly. Then there were those pesky riddler trophies that I had to collect. This game was probably the first one that had me obsessed with trying to collect everything. It was a nice challenge to try and figure out how to use my skills as Batman to get it. Then the fact that Mark Hammil was voicing The Joker was the icing on the cake. With the way this story ended, I was looking forward to how they would improve upon it for the sequel. As Arkham City was announced I was curious how they would fare expanding it to a more open world design. My first introduction to this game actually came by the way of New York Comic Con! After leaving that demo that I played I was optimistic they wouldn’t disappoint. Now, since I was living with someone who also had a copy for his system it took a steady rotation of both of us so that we could both play it. They refined the combat so it was even more precise and somehow became more enjoyable. This time around my biggest kicker would be how they would keep players interested yet not lose the aspects that made the first entry so successful. They did this through their open world, refined combat, and brining in even more material from the Batman universe. Now this could have went the wrong way where some villains or ideas felt rushed, but even the little easter eggs felt thought out.  Arkham City is definitely my favorite entry in the series. This brings us to this year’s Arkham Origins. Initially I wasn’t stoked about this one because RockSteady wasn’t going to be the developer. They passed the tools and engine down to WB Montreal. However, as more footage and information came out I succumbed and preordered it. Two other notable departures from the series were Kevin Conroy and Mark Hammil. The new voices for Batman and the Joker would be Roger Craig Smith and Troy Baker. I had no problems with the voices, and at times they did sound like their predecessor’s. As for other aspects, I really liked the bigger world they gave us to soar around in. However one gripe I did have came to my beloved combat; the biggest issue for me would have to be the counter window. It feels like I have a little less time to react to enemies’ attacks; and then if I’m mid punch on someone else and press counter for another attack, it doesn’t work anymore. That’s my biggest peeve that I’m still getting used to even after beating the game. The riddler collectibles this time also provided cool background on different characters, but as for the final showdown with him, there was none; so that was a giant letdown. Everything else felt fine really; story was good enough to still keep me interested and there was one moment that had me holding my breath. Overall though, I will have to put this entry at the bottom of my list. It was still an enjoyable game but when compared to the other two there are some continuity issues I keep thinking about. However, I still love the game enough and I may be crazy enough to try I Am the Night mode!

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