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Batman: Arkham City - Final Preview

Posted on Friday, September 30 @ 16:37:54 PST by

Through the entire lead-up to the upcoming release of the very much anticipated Batman: Arkham City, I have not yet had any chance to see the game. Not at GDC. Not at E3. Not anywhere. Okay, I'm lying a bit. Being a ninja myself, it's just not within the code of conduct to see Batman, despite his choice of costume, unless it's completely necessary. Luckily, this time, it was.

It's difficult to say anything about Batman: Arkham City that hasn't already been said from my fellow GR comrades. Perhaps the only thing I can do is shed some clarity. While Arkham City is an open-world game, which in itself is a tremendous feat worthy of the Batman name, this isn't about exploring the entirety of Gotham City but merely a particularly large section of the city that has been turned into a large complex to hold all the inmates. Batman has the heart not to kill any of them, but none of the inmates really have any, so they just break out and start causing a huge ruckus. Actually, I think Batman allows this to happen just to clean up the mess. It's his daily exercise.

The situation soon spirals out of control and Batman swoops into solve the problem, and by that I mean pulverize muscled guys like human punching bags. It's the natural consequence that happens when you give inmates way too much whey protein powder and weight equipment and deprive them of even the sight of another woman. They get all mad and start wearing clown makeup and think they actually stand a chance against Batman. As usual, he can take on a group of overconfident thugs with just a few punches, kicks, and counterattacks; if they've got guns, he can just use the many ledges installed just for him that allow him to grapple his hook and slip behind them like a true ninja.

Just to give them a fighting chance, the Rocksteady developers have given enemies grenades, night-vision goggles, and some gadgets that jam Batman's detective mode, not that he really needs it in combat. To address complaints of the first game, they have disabled certain navigational aids in detective mode so that players will actually want to come out of it. That said, Batman also has new weapons of his own, including one makeshift electrical taser gun that can be used to stun enemies, short-circuit some computer systems, and attract and repel metallic objects. His fighting moveset has also nearly doubled in size and the animations have been made noticeably more fluid.

But you probably knew all that already, so I'm just going to talk about how to glide and swoop around the city like you've always wanted to do. Standing atop any high structure, Batman can launch himself into the air and glide almost silently almost anywhere in his surrounding. From midair, he can then dive and relaunch himself high into the air, or grapple-hook onto another ledge to propel himself even farther. So don't be surprised to find YouTube videos showing off how long some player with a whole lot of spare time can stay in the air before touching the ground.

Of course, as you fling yourself from one side of the island to the other, you will come across plenty of side quests for extra experience points as well as Riddler's Trophies. Given that the size of the island is estimated to be about six times as large as the setting of Arkham Asylum, that's a lot of time waiting to be spent on exploring. Some of the trophies are even highlighted pink, which means they can only be picked up by Catwoman, who can swap in for Batman once you finish her introductory story sequence.

There aren't many sure bets when it comes to video games, but Batman: Arkham City looks to be one of them. Look for it to swoop into our hands October 18th.

(P.S. I'm not going to spoil what happens, even though I'm allowed to report on it. I just don't think it's necessary and you're going to buy the game anyway, right? RIGHT??!!!)

Related Games:   Batman: Arkham City

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