I'm Batman

Believe the hype, kids; Batman: Arkham City is the superhero game to beat, putting you in the cape and cowl of The World's Greatest Detective with unmatched aplomb.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: October 26, 2011
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I've said this to friends for a while now, but this is the best year we've ever seen in gaming. Others might trump out years in generations past that had a stellar lineup of games, and I wouldn't ever think to downplay their impact, but taken as a whole, across multiple genres and under the sheer weight of the execution of the games in 2011, there's simply no beating, and Batman: Arkham City is front and center as to why.


This review is a bit late, a byproduct of getting the game a little too close to the release date for comfort and an unshakable desire to just. Play. More. The way the game worms into your brain, consuming all rational thought until you're scrambling to find the controller and just play one more challenge room, find one more Riddler trophy or just see how the story ends must be approaching that of crack. It's a physiological response -- a kind of subconscious desire that bubbles its way to the surface where before you know it you've already pressed the necessary buttons to get to the booming, moody title screen before you know it.

The time it's taken to get this review up has been an interesting one. Plenty called pre-release reviews hyperbolic yarns stitched together by overzealous editors, but now that the game is out, now that people have had a chance to dive (sometimes literally) into Arkham City and to experience it in its entirety, I doubt you'll find many that would refute the claim that this is easily the greatest superhero game yet created. There's simply no way to downplay the accomplishment of developer Rocksteady in making a game that in every proper way makes you feel like you're Batman. You get to think like him, you get to act like him, and in the end, you'll have to make the same heavy choices he does.

So there's the review. Batman: Arkham City is an absolute must-have, and needs -- nay, deserves -- to be in every single library out there -- hell, there isn't even any blood, so squeamish moms and dads that wouldn't bat an eye at letting their kid play a modern military shooter would do well to let them experience something that's far more mature than the rating on those boxes. Go buy the game. Me? I'm going to be playing more.

What's that? I didn't actually explain why the game is so good? Right, well, I suppose I should earn that paycheck, then.

The story (penned just as Arkham Asylum was by long-time Batman scribe Paul Dini) tells the tale of the year and chance since both Arkham Island and Blackwater prisons were shut down by mayor Quincy Sharp. In that time, Gotham itself has been turned into a prison, with its dockworks and dilapidated shipping areas walled off to form Arkham City. Staffed by a private security company and headed up by Hugo Strange, Arkham City is aptly named, a chunk of Gotham that has been forgotten and left to the inmates, who quickly take up arms around some of the most dangerous villains Batman has ever put away. And he's put away a lot of crazy, dangerous people.
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