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Note: If you are to ask what is this blog post's purpose, this was the original version of what I had set for the wiki's Best Games of 2011 review. Since it was longer, I was to have this version posted in a separate blog, so that it won't go to waste, and also to show you what I had to say about the game.
Anyway, here it is.
A Criminal's Haven. A Hero's Nightmare. A Gamer's Paradise.
A young man witnesses two of the most important people in his life gunned down by a petty criminal. Dedicating his life to ridding his home of the criminal scum that took his family, Bruce Wayne trained himself to physical and mental peak, and has donned the cape and cowl that would later earn him the status of a legend:
Life as the caped crusader had Bruce Wayne meeting some of the most demented and colorful criminals the world has ever known, ranging from reptilian brutes and living puppets to psychotic scientists and former district attorneys. All of these individuals were admitted to what became Gotham City's most infamous hellhole:
"A Serious House on a Serious Earth"
Batman's most recent exploits had him at the heart of the madhouse, when it was under the control of his arch-nemesis, The Joker. Quelling the insurrection, Batman has saved Gotham from what would have been a catastrophic incident, and had Joker in chains once again.
But after a year, the Asylum's Warden, Quincy Sharp, became Mayor of Gotham City by taking credit for Batman's heroics in the Asylum. As Gotham's most powerful individual, Quincy Sharp has commissioned perhaps the most dangerous project ever made:
A sprawling labyrinth that was formerly a part of Gotham, Arkham City was under the guidance of Professor Hugo Strange, who is as devious and dangerous as the rest of the Dark Knight's enemies. Now the home of every living criminal the Batman has ever known, Arkham City is a ticking time bomb, just about to explode into chaos at any given moment. Determined to destroy the evil roots that stemmed the living hellhole masquerading as a prison, Batman has taken the fight to his enemies at Arkham City.
Without further delay, here's an in-depth review of one of 2011's most critically acclaimed games.
- "Arkham City. Another name for Hell."
- ―Random goon.
No other place quite like Arkham City. You can see the urban decay all around you, the air seething with the thick atmosphere of death, hate, and chaos. You can really feel the tension around you as you walk, glide, and observe Arkham City. This place isn't technically the paradise Batman thought the criminals live in. No, it's obvious from their dialogue that their just as much scared to be in the city as anyone else would be. So don't fret: You're all living in the same cesspool of misery.
That being said, this cesspool of misery is realized quite beautifully; the graphics have improved tenfold. Batman's mug no longer looks like it was from a bum, for one. And also, there is beauty to behold in the ruins you walk on; buildings have been done in great detail, and your enemies never looked better. Your adversaries look visceral and grimacing, their visage haunting your eyes with both their beautiful appearance and twisted rendition.
Voice acting is superb in this one. Son of the Sith Lord Darth Vader, Mark Hamill reprises his role as the greatest clown who ever lived; dear old Joker is portrayed as the psychotic murderer that I've always loved and worshiped, done with such brilliance and embellishment. Kevin Conroy has done his work as Batman equally well; you'll feel that the Dark Knight has become a lot more intimidating thanks to his work. In effect, the two actors work amazingly as a tandem; as they have in Arkham Asylum, as well as the previous Batman cartoons.
Our dear Assassin voice actor Nolan North was at the scene too, and has done a very great job as the iconic mob boss, the Penguin. You won't even think "Desmond Miles" when you hear Cobblepot's voice; instead, you'd think "dangerous and demented criminal who haunts kids at night," from his voice alone.
As for the other actors, they've done their part very well, if not the same quality as the lead actors. You'll feel the emotion of the characters conveyed clearly and convincingly, immersing you in the scenario.
Consensus - 10/10
Amazingly done. You could not ask for more in this category, most especially with the voice acting.
- Batman: "It was all a lie. There's nothing wrong with you."
- Joker: "Nice of you to say. But you, of all people, should know that there's plenty wrong with me."
- ―A conversation.
During a press conference held by Bruce Wayne for his opposition to Arkham City, the billionaire playboy was arrested by the military company known as TYGER, and had him brought to the Nutty Professor himself, Hugo Strange. One of the few of Batman's enemies who know his true identity, Strange had Wayne locked up and threatened him with revealing his darkest secret if he was to interfere. With no other choice, Wayne is thrown into Gotham's very own Inferno.
After a brief run-in with the Penguin, Bruce dons the cape and cowl once again, and prepares to strike at the heart of criminality, from the heart itself. But what lay in wait for him was far beyond anything he, or anyone else, could have imagined.
The concept of nearly every major criminal pooled up in one place is intimidating for story writers, especially since you'll have a hard time on who and what to focus it on (not to mention, how to focus it). But in the case of Arkham City, that's hardly a problem. The transition between Batman's confrontation with one villain from another is amazingly well done; from one villain, you get a problem, subsequently giving you the solution. But in the midst of the solution, you have another problem. And just when you think that all problems are dealt with, the dung hits the fan, and hits you in the face with no remorse.
Every major villain of Batman known to man is portrayed with such an unforgiving and distrustful nature, that you won't know who to trust. Reluctant alliegances are formed, old hatreds are revived, and betrayal looms over every interaction you make. Indeed, immersion is as present as the sun at noon in this game (if you play it right, that is).
To give you respite from the ever-growing list of major priorities, Arkham City has several other side-missions for you to handle that has its own little stories. And to top it all off, there are several listed stories that give your enemies some of their own respectful backgrounds, and give you fragments of what happened before the game; fragments that you yourself will have to piece together one by one.
Consensus - 9.3/10
I'd give it a perfect score, were it not for my firsthand experience with the game. While they do give you a lot of freedom on which to prioritize, I felt that they just throw it at you; you'll see yourself trying to grasp it all, and before you know, it's all out of hand. You'll have a hard time deciding which to prioritize at some point, that I can almost guarantee.
That being said, the core story is superb; transition from one branch of the story of another is well done, and keeps getting darker and better with each step. The standalone stories of the side-mission are very good too, as well as the side-stories that can be gained through the Riddler challenges.
Overall, if you know what you want to do, you'll have no problems with the story. Excellently done in this category. And if you stick around and look hard enough, you might even encounter a Templar.
- "Do you have any idea how many bones you have left in your body for me to break?"
Part of the main reasons why Arkham Asylum was such a success was because of the innovative Freeflow Combat and the Invisible Predator mechanics introduced. Honestly, I didn't have any ideas how they could have improved it. In this one, they sure showed me.
Gameplay has improved tenfold; Tons of new additions and improvements have been implemented into the combat gameplay, as well as the stealth aspect of the game. How you approached them before will change in this one; abusing gargoyles will get you shot, slacking off in combat will get you hammered, and messing around with the last guy conscious can get you knocked out, if you're not careful. Twice as challenging, immersing, and more visceral than ever before.
Bruce Wayne has some new toys for you to use here. Double the amount of gadgets available in the first installment, Batman employs new and old equipment in his arsenal on all turns in Arkham City; in combat, in stealth, in finding trophies, nearly everything. Using them is essential to your success in this place, on all aspects. While the new gadgets offer new tactics for you to formulate, the originals have been improved to give you more functions to exploit. Indeed, Batman brought everything but the kitchen sink in this one.
As for our favorite game show host, the Riddler, he's doubled up on challenges since you guys last chatted. With nearly the whole city decorated with his iconic green question mark, you'd think that the Riddler had his challenges injected with Titan. Most definitely, his challenges will keep you busy long after you're done with the other missions.
Consensus - 9.7/10
It takes a bit of getting used to, but in a short while, you'll find yourself immersed in the gameplay, and before you know it, you'll start uttering the Dark Knight's badass phrases yourself. Very, very well done in this category. Brilliantly executed, enough to make Batman tantamount to Chuck Norris.
- "Explore! Find my challenges! And when you fail to solve them and lie blubbering like an ignorant child on the floor, you will know, that the Riddler is better than you!"
- ―Everyone's favorite game show host.
Are you gonna take that from him?! No! So get going and prove him wrong!
Consensus - 10/10
Without a doubt, there is a lot for you to do once you're done. Other than the Riddler Challenges, there are the many challenge rooms for you to clear, as well as the trophies/achievements for you to obtain. Not to mention the New Game +, the Catwoman spin-off campaign, and the Robin and Nightwing add-ons.
A wide array of collectibles and missions await you in Arkham City, so much that I myself haven't finished all of them. Renting won't be enough for you to obtain 100% in this game.
OverallConsensus - 10/10
Doubled up in all aspects, Batman: Arkham City is truly a worth successor to one of 2009's most acclaimed games. With a plethora of new additions to its core elements, as well as an amazing story and a very powerful cast, this game is critically acclaimed by professional critics with damn good reason.
2011's most spectacular game, and quite frankly the most amazing superhero game ever spawned. Your money is well spent with Arkham City.
Most Glorious Moment
Quite honestly, there were a lot of glorious and epic moments in the game, but perhaps the best was the confrontation with the Joker. I'm not about to spoil anything here, but I swear it's the most epic scenario once you get into it. Plus the ending is....I don't know, it was beyond words for me. My jaw literally dropped at the last few scenes.
Play the game and see for yourself. You won't regret it, I swear.
A vast improvement from the previous installment, inFamous 2 is an amazing game with lots to offer. Fans will not be disappointed, and newcomers won't be alienated in this new epic installment to the ever-growing inFamous franchise.
Dead Space 2 - 9.5/10
Finding himself left for dead at a recently infested infirmary, engineer Isaac Clarke is once again thrown into the chaotic fray of Necromorphs and Unitologists, while battling his own dementia.
Dead Space 2 is the sequel to perhaps 2008's most underrated game, this new installment doubles the terror, action, and awesomeness of the original. A must have for survival horror fans.
Written by War Clown, 18:41, December 30, 2011 (UTC)