Arkham City: Review
I'm going to open this up with one simple statement. This is the greatest super hero game of all time...by far.
To start, the gameplay remains fantastic as always. It's the easy to be good at, difficult to master style from the first game, but with more animations and more capabilities. There are few things in the combat more satisfying than catching a kerosene tank that was thrown at you and tossing it into a group, taking out all of the mat once. Or being attacked by three at the same time and taking all three out simultaneously with a specific counter animation. The sound of every hit and the feeling in the controller really makes you feel like you're Batman.
The stealth gameplay is fantastic as ever, even if sometimes you'll feel like the game isn't fair (eight guys with machine guns and thermal goggles?!), you must adapt as Batman would to survive. Hide under grates or attack through a weak wall.
The bosses this time around are lightyears ahead of the previous game's. Last time around, they didn't feel great and seemed almost chore-like, for the most part, and I don't believe I'm the only one who felt that way. In Arkham City, the bosses are far more fun to play against, while simultaneously being a bit harder. You'll need to think outside the box with a lot of them, even if the final boss is probably the easiest in the game.
The voice-acting remains stellar. However, while in the last game you heard the majority of the villains through the tape recorders, this time you get to go toe-to-toe with them, and experience the acting even more. Forgive the light spoiler here, but I can say this has arguably the best voice-acting in any game I have played. That spoiler comes in here(If you don't want to know who's in the game, scroll down!): Zsasz, Mad Hatter, Harley Quinn, the Al Ghuls, Mr. Freeze, Two-Face, Hugo Strange and Penguin were all spot on and sounded exactly how I believe they should sound.
Something that surprised me was that the voice-actor for Harley was not in fact the same woman from the original, who also did The Animated Series. For someone to follow up that role and do it perfectly, speaks volumes...literally. Both Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill turned in fantastic, possibly award-winning roles in Batman and The Joker respectively, once again.
Although, one somewhat controversial voice in the game was Nolan North's portrayal of The Penguin. Many fans have gotten kind of tired of hearing him in games, but I can say with a doubt, that this should get him nominated for a voice-acting award. He sounded so different from how he normally sounds in games (i.e. Drake from Uncharted) that I wouldn't have known it was him if I hadn't read up on the game previously. Possibly the role he has done best, I'm beginning to enjoy him being in almost every major game.
If you wanted me to, I could say there is some negative. A failed attempt to capture the power of the hallucinating scenes from the first game with only one exception being a boss fight (any of them, scary or emotional), a frustrating lack of help as far as showing you where you need to go to progress in a mission (you will spend more time looking on different levels of a building for objectives than you ever should), and sometimes harshly jumped difficulty.
However, those are simply nitpicking through what should finish in the top four of every gaming website and magazines Game of the Year voting. From the stellar acting and story to the spot-on melee system, this is arguably the year's most complete game yet.
If you own a PS3, you owe it to yourself to get this game. Whether you have read up on the source material or not, this is a fantastic story that you can enjoy. Of course, you will probably miss out on all of the intricate little things that us comic book nerds would get. But don't let that stop you!