Batman: Arkham City has managed to top every aspect of its predecessor, Arkham Asylum. Packing in a massive, vibrant world, excellent exploration and stealth, and a ton of characters, Batman: Arkham City also puts your thumbs to the test with its expanded Freeflow Combat system.
The Combat Challenge rooms are back, and if they're anything like Asylum's, they're hard as hell. Here are five tips to besting your top scores and taking home all three Riddler medals associated with each Combat Challenge room.
1) Use Freeflow Focus
While Batman has even more gadgets, takedown manuevers, and brutality at his fingertips, he's also got a ton of new enemies to deal with. Flying around the room without a care in the world, smashing faces as you go, will ruin your combo score, easily the biggest factor in nabbing a high score. To compensate, Batman can now enter Freeflow Focus mode after achieving a combo of 12 or more without using a takedown maneuver.
Freeflow Focus will slow down time and enemies as well as enhance your attack speed. This will give you a ton of room to react to different enemy types, counter markers, and other hazards. With Freeflow Focus, you'll also ensure an ever-growing string of hits thanks to the comfortable space between counter markers. Don't forget to toss in a couple of gadgets while in Freeflow Focus to vary your combo up.
2) Know Which Gadget and When Best to Use Them
There are five separate quick-use gadgets at Batman's disposal in Freeflow Combat. The batarang and freeze blast are matched with shoulder buttons while the stun gun, grappling hook, and explosive gel require a combination of a shoulder button and a face button. Gadgets have specific uses and can make or break your combo.
Only use the explosive gel when surrounded by baddies and in need of a quick get away. Use batarangs or the grappling hook when foes are too far away. The stun gun is best reserved for bigger enemies, especially those with something they can swing to hit other enemies. Finally, the freeze blast is best for removing a baddie from a specific combat engagement. Don't forget that deploying a gadget doesn't necessarily mean you have to capitalize on it right away. Freezing an enemy will give you time to assess threats while close-lining an enemy after using the grappling hook should be the least of your worries if another baddie is closing in with an attack.
3) Counter, Evade, Counter
Double-tapping the run button will let Batman flip over an enemy and continue his combo on another. Even though you might feel compelled to mash on the Y button (or Triangle) when you see a counter marker over an enemy's head, feel free to leap out of the area instead. You won't be punished with a break in your combo and you can thin the horde of thugs with a little of your own space.
4) When In Doubt, Stun
If you've got a group of three enemies in front of you, each a different type, it's probably a better idea to stun them with B (or Circle) first. Enemies can overlap in the game's engine, making it confusing when Batman is winding up for a strike. Stunning the three enemies will buy you time, create space between each, and allow you to make the proper move. Remember that enemies wielding stun sticks can only be hit from behind, enemies with car doors or shields can only be hit from above, and enemies with armor have to be stunned before you can beat them to a pulp.
5) Critical Strikes Are Critical
Seriously, quit mashing that attack button. Don't jam on the counter. Every button push should be methodical, rhythmic. Do you think the Dark Knight panics and freaks the fuck out any time an enemy comes near him? Hell, no! You shouldn't either. Be patient, be methodical, be the night. Critical Strikes will make short work of enemies and make even shorter work of the space between you and the high score medal you need.
There's a wide margin for error in Critical Strikes anyway, so even if you're a little off, you'll still nab yourself the Critical Strike bonus giving you the opportunity to enter Freeflow Focus or complete a Takedown Maneuver in half the time.
Stay tuned for tips on Batman: Arkham City's Predator Challenge Rooms next!