Batman: Arkham City is a 2011 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios and released by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 video game consoles, and Microsoft Windows. Based on the DC Comics superhero Batman, it is the sequel to the 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum and the second installment in the Batman: Arkham series. It was released worldwide for consoles, beginning in North America on October 18, 2011, with a Microsoft Windows version following on November 22.
Written by veteran Batman writer Paul Dini with Paul Crocker and Sefton Hill, Arkham City is based on the franchise’s long-running comic book mythos. In the game’s main storyline, Batman is incarcerated in Arkham City, a huge new super-prison enclosing the decaying urban slums of fictional Gotham City. He must uncover the secret behind the sinister scheme, “Protocol 10”, orchestrated by the facility’s warden, Hugo Strange. The game’s leading characters are predominantly voiced by actors from the DC Animated Universe, with Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprising their roles as Batman and the Joker, respectively. The game is presented from the third-person perspective with a primary focus on Batman’s combat and stealth abilities, detective skills, and gadgets that can be used in both combat and exploration. Arkham City expands Batman’s arsenal of gadgets and combat attacks and offers a more open world structure, allowing the player to complete side missions away from the primary storyline.
The game received critical acclaim, particularly for its narrative, character and world designs, soundtrack, and Batman’s combat and navigation abilities. It was tied for the highest-rated video game of 2011 according to review aggregator Metacritic, and was the recipient of several awards including: Game of the Year, Best Action Game, Best Action Adventure Game, Best Adventure Game, and Best Original Score from various media outlets, and it is considered one of the best games ever made. Arkham City was followed by several additional releases: a spin-off mobile game, Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, on December 7, 2011; a Game of the Year edition containing all of the game’s downloadable content on May 29, 2012; and Wii U and OS X versions in November and December 2012, respectively. A remastered version was released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in October 2016. A successor, Batman: Arkham Origins, was released in October 2013, and a narrative sequel, Batman: Arkham Knight, was released in June 2015.
Batman: Arkham City is an open-world action-adventure game that incorporates tactics from stealth games. It is presented from the third-person perspective, showing the playable character on screen and allowing the camera to be freely rotated around it. The game is set within Arkham City, which is open to the player from the beginning of the game, allowing them to travel freely anywhere within its boundaries.The player can move silently throughout the game, using a combination of gadgets and stealth moves to sneak up on enemies and incapacitate them. Batman can use his cape to glide around the city, diving downwards and swooping upwards to extend his flight, and he can use the grapnel gun’s retracting rope to attach to out-of-reach ledges. As Batman, the player is able to use “Detective Vision”, a visual mode that highlights elements of interest on-screen, such as character status, collectables, and clues; the mode is also used to perform forensic activities such as tracking the source of a sniper rifle round. The player has access to an in-game criminal database which includes forensic puzzles, as well as a network for hacking communication frequencies.
Using an improved version of the “Freeflow” combat system from Arkham Asylum, the player can now counter multiple blows simultaneously, catch hurled projectiles, attack aerially, and administer a succession of consecutive strikes. Many of Batman’s gadgets can now be used in combat. Enemies are armed with varying levels of armor and weapons; attacks from basic weapons like baseball bats and lead pipes inflict minor damage and can be countered, while guns inflict significant damage. Certain enemies must be disarmed in specific ways before they can be neutralized in combat: enemies with stun batons can only be attacked from behind; enemies with shields require aerial attacks to disarm; and enemies wearing body armor must be stunned with rapid successive strikes before they can be harmed. Larger enemies must be tackled with stuns and combo attacks, and can be manipulated to take out their allies.Disputes between gangs allied to rival villains often spark turf wars, which complicate the player’s ability to move about Arkham City. Combat, among other actions, rewards the player with experience points that allow the player to periodically level Batman up and purchase upgrades to his Batsuit, gadgets, and combat and stealth skills. Each category contains approximately 15 different upgrades. For instance, an upgraded grapnel gun can be used to remotely disarm enemies, while a combat upgrade makes it easier to activate special attacks
Some gadgets obtained in Batman: Arkham Asylum are present at the start of Arkham City, while others become available during play. Most of these have improved or new capabilities; for example, the Cryptographic Sequencer, used for hacking security consoles, can also monitor shortwave radio channels, and the line launcher can now be deployed as a tightrope or alter direction during flight. Other items returning from the first game include these: a remote-controlled batarang; Explosive Gel that can now be detonated to knock down enemies in combat; and the grapnel gun, which can now be used while gliding to facilitate transportation. New items in Batman’s arsenal include: smoke bombs that disorient opponents and assist with stealth tactics; a Remote Electric Charge (REC) gun that can stun enemies and temporarily power motors; Freeze Blast grenades that encase targets in ice and can be thrown into water to create makeshift platforms; and the Disruptor, which can remotely disable guns and explosive mines.
The game has approximately 40 hours of gameplay, with the main campaign lasting 25 hours and side missions lasting 15 hours. The side missions, which can be attempted at any time, feature prominent characters from the Batman universe. One such character, the Riddler, provides 440 optional “Riddler challenges to solve. Most of these challenges consist of collecting trophies hidden in the city through the use of gadgets to disable traps and barriers. The player can mark Riddler trophies on the in-game map once found if they do not initially have the necessary equipment to complete the puzzle. The player can also reveal the locations of Riddler trophies on the map by identifying the Riddler’s henchmen with “Detective Vision” and interrogating them, which requires the player to save the henchmen for last when engaging in combat with a wave of enemies. There are also environmental challenges which require the player to solve riddles by locating a specific item or location (which are rewarded with stories relating to the answer), and to locate question marks painted around the city, some of which After completing a select number of challenges, Batman must rescue a civilian hostage held in one of the Riddler’s death traps.
After completing the story mode on “normal” or “hard” difficulties, a “New Game Plus” mode is unlocked, enabling the player to replay the game with all of the gadgets, experience, and abilities that they have attained; enemies are tougher and the on-screen icon that warns players of imminent attacks is disabled. Arkham City features a series of challenge maps separate from the game’s story mode. The maps focus on the completion of specific goals, such as eliminating successive waves of enemies in combat, subduing patrolling enemies while employing stealth, or traveling to a specific location as efficiently as possible. The methods and variety of abilities used to achieve these goals earn an overall performance score that is ranked online against other players.
Catwoman is another playable character available via the Catwoman campaign, which was initially downloadable content (DLC) on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles but was later included with the PC version and Game of the Year editions. Catwoman’s campaign features her own heist-focused storyline that intersects with the main story at specific points in the game. Her combat emphasizes agility and allows for the use of unique weapons such as clawed gauntlets, bolas, and her iconic whip. A portion of the Riddler challenges are specific to Catwoman and can only be completed by her. Batman’s allies Robin and Nightwing are also playable via optional DLC and feature their own combat abilities and gadgets. Both characters are available in the challenge maps; Robin has his own main story narrative.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Arkham City include a stereoscopic 3D (S3D) mode for 3D HDTVs and for 2D HDTVs via Inficolor 3D glasses, while the PC version supports Nvidia 3D Vision on compatible monitors. It uses TriOviz for Games Technology, which is integrated with Unreal Engine 3. The Wii U version uses the Wii U’s touch screen controller to let the player manage Batman’s equipment and upgrades, selectively detonate Explosive Gel placements, and view a map of the city. The Wii U version adds a Sonar mode which highlights points of interest nearby, and the Battle Armored Tech Mode (BAT Mode) that allows Batman to accrue energy during combat and, when activated, inflict increased damage
by simon schofield