A few weeks ago, I finished up my runthrough of Batman: Arkham City. I was torn about it and so it took me a while to finally get around to reviewing it.
Arkham City is a direct sequel to Arkham Asylum and lifts most of its design and play from its predecessor. The developers have managed to tighten things up a bit, this time around–combos ear easier to pull off and are smoother, for instance. Rather than being a relatively linear game like its predecessor, though, Arkham City went with a sandbox design. At first, this seems like an obvious path for a game about a superhero fighting crime. Unfortunately, though, Arkham City manages to feel very small in comparison to its predecessor.
Though there are many things to explore, the main plot–finding out the secrets of the asylum/prison/post-apocalyptic-hellscape that is the game’s namesake–feels short. Worse yet, the side missions dealing with other characters feel more like the “collect the token” games from the Nintendo 64 era rather than anything deep or richly connected to the rest of the experience. Compounding it further, some of the side quests don’t even get real conclusions. The worst offender ends up with a villain walking out of the city and Batman saying that he’d “deal with him tomorrow”.
What there was of Arkham City, I mostly enjoyed, even with its flaws. Nevertheless, I don’t think that I can recommend the game. It just leaves you wanting more in a way that a game of its pedigree shouldn’t.
Batman: Arkham City: 0