Arkham City's nothing short of a masterpiece.
When Arkham Aslyum was released just a bit over two years ago, I didn't know what to expect. The road for Batman games, hell, the road for any kind of licensed games were pretty terrible. But Rocksteady did the unthinkable, they created the best licensed video game ever made, until now.
Arkham City is to video games what The Dark Knight is to films. It was started off on solid ground, and then takes a jackhammer to that solid ground and pounds through it, grabbing you and never letting go. Everything Rocksteady proved with in their last game, they just do five fold here. Let's just start off by pointing out the obvious here though: Arkham City is the most polished game I've played this year. In the ten hour campaign, I never once saw any signs of graphical flaws and or chugging, and I never once saw any kind of screen tearing (which is honestly a huge surprise cause literally every game has it at some capacity these days), but this isn't just about a ten hour campaign. Yes, some will thumb their noise that the shortness of the single-player will turn them off, but there's just so much insane content packaged into this game, I'm going to be shocked if Rocksteady can do this a third time. All of the Riddler's challenges have been compiled into almost what I would call a second campaign, however there's more to collecting those damn little trophies this time. They not only just unlock the challenge maps, but they also unlock hostages that you have to save. There are six total.
But let's talk about this story, because damn, it's so good. Hugo Strange has taken control of a section of Gotham that he has manipulated everyone into letting him be in charge of this. The new section of Gotham has been sealed off as "Arkham City", where the criminals are running free. Two-Face, Penguin, and Joker are all fighting to see which gang can claim this city as their own. After a completely badass and shocking introduction, you are inside this new city, searching for answers, and trying to stop Strange from releasing something called "Protocol 10". During the course of the campaign, you'll find yourself up against Two-Face (albeit with him it is just too brief), Penguin (dude, Nolan North blew my mind as the voice of him), Joker, Harley Quinn, and just about every other villain you wanted to see in the previous game but didn't'.
Most of the boss battles aren't as awesome as I would have wanted them to be, but however there is one in particular that utilizes at least three of your gadgets, and that boss battle is extremely well done. And I can't go without mentioned the Catwoman missions here. If you buy the game brand new, you'll have a download code for Catwoman's missions. I can't stress enough that you enter this code in before you start the game, as these are missions that are integrated into the campaign story, and they make more sense being played this way. Catwoman herself is an enjoyable distraction from playing as Batman, and she controls just about the same. But dude, you want to play as Batman, so I always felt that every time these missions came up, while they make sense chronologically, I found myself rushing through them just so I could play as Batman again. The combat has been improved, allowing various new tools for Batman to use, and hell, we all love the freeflow combat system, it defined this game, and it's only even more redefined here.
Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to get a code to play as Robin yet, as that is one aspect I wanted to try out before I reviewed this game, however I didn't get that chance.
In it's final conclusion, Arkham City literally blew my mind with it's shocking finale. It is quite shocking, and I'm still floored by it.
I can't stress enough that if you are a Batman fan at any capacity, Arkham City is a must play for you. Even if you are a causal fan, don't let this game pass you up. With only Skyrim remaining as my biggest anticipated title of the year to come out now, it's going to be hard not to call Arkham City the game of the year.