Batman Arkham City Thoughts

Over the weekend, I ran through Arkham City and smashed up the place.

It's Okay.

I guess you could say I was disapointed, but that really comes down to expectations. I'm definitely a fan of the first game, Arkham Aslyum. It was surprising, and fantastic, and felt like it came out of no where. Again... expectations.

Arkham Asylum

I'm not sure if anyone was expecting something great when they first tried out Arkham Asylum, but I always kept reality in check. There had never really been a Good game made from a comic book IP. At least, not a mainstream game. These type of games are usually just IP fodder. Some random company is contracted for a Batman game, or a Superman game, or a Spiderman game. They shit it out, and make money on the name recognition. Kids buy these games in droves!

But Arkham Asylum was totally different. It was a true to form modern Metroidvania style game. The world you explored was small, tight, and as you progressed through the game, the new abilities and techniques you acquired help you access areas you hadn't previously had access to. Though, power ups were unlocked through story progression, instead of exploration. There were many secrets that required some backtracking and using your new gadgets.

All the gadgets and weapons made sense for the character of Batman, and in the context of exploring and getting to new areas. It worked perfectly.

The story was kinda kooky, but made sense given the ridiculous nature of most comic book stories. It wasn't necessarily trying to be realistic.

The villains and their motivations were what brought everything together. What happens when you get all of your enemies together in one place? Some form an alliance, some are enemies to each other, some you stay away from, and some just pop when it's the most convenient for them. Arkham Asylum was incredibly consistent with how the villains would react to each other, and to Batman as he infiltrated the compound.

There were plenty of interesting set pieces as well. Like Scarecrow warping Batman's mind, or Joker capturing Batman is recreating the opening credits, but with the roles reversed.

My expectations were always reserved though, so whenever something amazing happened, I was surprised and delighted.

Arkham City

I think for Arkham City, I was waiting for something interesting to happen, and then nothing really did. It really is just more of the same.

The story is still okay. The gadgets are pretty much the same. Combat is more fluid and fun. There are 400 Riddler trophies now, instead of 100 in the first game.

The overworld is about 4 times the size of Arkham Asylum, but it feels really small. You can only enter just a hand full of buildings. And when you're in the city, you're usually just gliding from one building to the next. You aren't really doing anything interesting expect looking for Riddler trophies, or hunting down some random thing for a side quest. This basically makes Arkham City more like a GTA or Infamous, rather than Arkham Asylum which felt more like Metroid or Zelda.

There are more villains this time, but it follows the same scheme as the first game. The heavy hitters are vie for territory in the city, and act appropriately to each other. Sometimes you are randomly ambushed by those villains who prefer to work alone. And others form alliances, and blackmail each other. Not every villain is an actual villain though, which was a nice touch.

Overall, Arkham City is pretty good and it's fun, but... it's not really doing anything new.