Arkham City: Initial Thoughts

So in case you missed it, a little video game called Batman: Arkham City was released this past Tuesday (18 OCT 11).  Being a fan of the first game (appropriately titled Arkham Asylum) I pre ordered this game as soon as I was able.  And then I waited. We will be doing a full and in-depth review and rundown of this game shortly but we thought we’d give our initial thoughts first and save the detailed goodies for tomorrow.

A bit of a disclaimer first.  I only play video games 2-5 hours a week.  So this means that I don’t usually have the time to dive into every corner, nook and cranny the game has to offer.  So this little review may be light on some areas.  But, as this is intended as a first impressions type review, it will do.

Moving on, to start with this game is massive.  Through some unexpected free time, I’ve been able to play it for 10 or so hours since picking it up on Thursday.  And I’ve only got about 7% game complete.  Quite a bit of the game seems to be in the little side quests and such that you discover as you move through the main story arc.  (It deals with Joker again, no spoiler there (and others from the Batman series))

Picking up a short time after the first game, Arkham City sees Gotham turned into a giant prison.  Batman is thrust back into the action to find out what Hugo Strange has planned for the city, what Joker’s involvement is and to generally beat the crap out of the enemies he comes across.

Oh, and is the beating fun.  The combat is still the same combo/flowing style of the first game, and just as, if not more fun.  This is part of the fun of these games.  Walking into a situation where it’s you versus 10+ villains… And you’re taking them apart.

A few notes.  In the first game, you started out with minimal gadgets.  Here, you’re fully armed with the majority of the toys you had in the first game:  Bat-hook, batarang, explosive gel.  It’s like Christmas on a utility belt!  Also, leveling up is MUCH quicker.  One of my frustrations with the first is that it seemed to take forever to level up and unlock new weapons and abilities.

The city itself is more or less a sandbox.  It’s a huge map, and so far some missions have required going from one end to the other.  And here is something else I like.  With Batman’s awesome tech, you can pick up on crimes that lead to side missions.  I really like the structure of the side missions.  When you start one it gives you a taste of that particular mission, and then lets you go on your merry way leaving it to you to decide whether or not you want to do the main story or the side missions.

As with the first game, you can also collect Riddler trophies.  These unlock challenges and maps for even more fun game play!  There are a lot of them though.  On the stats screen it lists 400.  Oh my.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t find them all.

In closing, I love this game.  It’s even more fun than the first, and I credit the open world play for that.  You can swing and glide and beat down, all while using your detective skills to figure out what’s going on.  Whether a fan of Batman or fighting games, you’ll enjoy this game. Keep your eyes on the Noisecast for a full in-depth review and rundown of Arkham City tomorrow.

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