Batman’s back and as ever there’s a whole lot of trouble going down in Gotham City. The premise of Arkham City is simple: the authorities have decided that the best way to deal with Gotham’s oversupply of crims and super villains is to confine them in a giant, walled prison city like the one in Escape from New York. What could go wrong?
Well this being Gotham, just about everything and soon the place is a warzone and the Joker is plotting the world’s biggest jailbreak. Naturally it’s down to Batman to clean up this crime-infested slum with his usual mix of creeping around rooftops, hand-to-hand combat and hi-tech gadgets. It’s the same cocktail that made Arkham Asylum everything a Batman game should be, and one Arkham City doesn’t mess with.
There’s stunning combat powered by combos that are simple and satisfying to execute backed by so much visual variety that every fight feels exciting. Then there’s Arkham City’s sneaky side, where you get to use a utility belt’s worth of gadgets to terrify thugs and pick them off one by one without being seen. Not to mention the simple joys of gliding through the city skies using with the aid of your cloak and batrope.
The city is the big difference. Where Arkham Asylum kept things confined, Arkham City opens the world up. It might not be Grand Theft Auto in scale but it is large enough to provide freedom without the game losing focus even though it’s packed with side missions.
You also get to play Catwoman in a few missions that while short are good enough to make us hope that the game’s creators will one day give the sultry thief a game of her own. Arkham City lacks Arkham Asylum’s wow factor, but it’s the better game and that alone is enough to make it one of the best games of this console generation.