Gaming

Batman: Arkham City- What you need to know before it hits stores

Batman: Arkham City- What you need to know before it hits stores

As September comes to a close, we are coming up on one of the highly anticipated releases of the fall, Batman: Arkham City, the follow up to the smash hit Batman: Arkham Asylum. With all the hype surrounding this game, it’s hard to keep up with all the info that’s out there. So, without further ado, catch up on what’s to come below:

The Story:
Batman: Arkham City takes  the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, and raises the stakes as it sends players head first into Arkham City,  the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds.  It’s five times larger than Arkham Asylum, but no less dangerous.  In Batman: Arkham Asylum, the Joker was running the show, but this time around it’s every man (or woman) for themselves in a city where each supervillan is carving out their own slice of the action. Set inside the heavily fortified walls of a vast district in the heart of Gotham City, Mayor Sharp has only one rule: Don’t try to escape.

There is a brand-new story linking together an all-star cast of classic characters and murderous villains from the Batman universe, as well as a vast range of new and enhanced gameplay features to deliver your ultimate experience as the Dark Knight.

Who’s In:

Kevin Conroy will once again lend his voice to Batman as will Mark Hamill for the Joker. Also joining the cast this time around is Stana Katic (Castle) as the voice of Talia Al-Ghul. Not much is known of her role in the game, but my advice is simply to be prepared, and expect the unexpected. In addition, Harley Quinn returns as the Joker’s right hand girl, and the Riddler is back as well, with even more brain teasers to solve and trophies to find. He also has a beefed up role in the game, and has a bone to pick with Batman. (If you were like me and just had to solve EVERY riddle, you’ll know why.) Along the way, you will encounter numerous characters from the Batman universe including: Two-Face, Penguin, Hugo Strange, Victor Zsasz, Calendar Man, Mr. Freeze, Deadshot and other iconic characters that have yet to be revealed.

What’s New?

New Gadgets:
Batman has access to new gadgets such as the Cryptographic Sequencer V2 and Smoke Pellets, as well as new functionality for existing gadgets which expand the range of Batman’s abilities, without adding extra weight to his Utility Belt. I always wondered how he never seemed to run out of batarangs, while still managing to beat the crap out of people.

New Combat Styles:
Batman faces highly coordinated, simultaneous attacks from every direction as Arkham’s gangs bring heavy weapons and all-new AI to the fight. Whatever they come at him with, Batman has an answer for. He steps it up with twice the number of combat animations and double the range of attacks, counters and takedowns.

New Game Plus Mode:
How cool are the developers at Rocksteady for this awesomeness? If you beat Batman: Arkham City, on Normal or Hard mode, you will have unlocked the Game Plus Mode for Batman: Arkham City. Regardless of whether you finish the game on normal or hard, game plus will be its own difficulty. This mode enables you to start a new Batman: Arkham City game with ALL of your gadgets and their unlocked upgrades, and ALL of your XP from the end of your first play through.  However, along with all this newfound power comes great reason for dishing out some serious beatdowns on your opponents: There are no counter icons on thugs, and they are tougher from the start of the game. Even the Bosses will be even more cunning. If you are wondering whether this Game Plus Mode is simply Hard Mode, it’s not.  The main difference between Hard Mode and Game Plus Mode is that with Game Plus, you will have ALL of your gadgets and XP, so even though the enemies may be tougher you will have the technical upper hand. Hard Mode does not start you with that, and is similar to the hard.

New Playable Characters:
Catwoman- In a world this big, its hard not to imagine Bats’ having a little help from someone while saving the day. His help comes in the form of a bullwhip, steel claws, and a tight black cat-suit. Im speaking of course about none other than Batman’s sometime enemy, sometime ally, and sometime lover, Catwoman. You never quite know where her loyalty truly lies, (other than to herself) but you can count on the fact that she can hold her own. Catwoman is a fully playable character, with her own moves, specialties and gadgets. (Rest assured, she was not programmed as Batman in a “Catwoman” skin.)  Complete with her own storyline in the main game,  seamlessly interwoven with Batman’s story arc, Catwoman is a welcome addition to Batman: Arkham City, so let’s welcome her properly, and see how this all plays out.

Robin– Robin has been confirmed as Best Buy exclusive, and he will more than likely become a downloadable character once the “Buy From Me!” dust has settled amongst retailers. He too will have his own special moves, and gadgets…but he’s only for the challenge maps, so  he’s not stealing any of Batman’s thunder!

And speaking of retailer exclusives:
Game Stop is offering an exclusive Joker’s Carnival Challenge Map when you pre-order Batman: Arkham City on either the PS3 or XB 360. The code will be provided at time of purchase on the printed receipt. Walmart is including Batman: Arkham Asylum GOTY Edition for free with the purchase of Batman: Arkham City from their stores. At this time, it’s still unclear whether it will be a downloadable edition or disc.
In addition, Batman: Arkham City will be available as a regular edition and a Collector’s Edition. Available wherever games are sold on both PS3 & Xbox 360, the collector’s edition boasts a bevy of extras. If you are a huge fan, I’d suggest you pre-order this some where because here’s what comes with it:

  • Custom Batman statue produced by Kotobukiya
  • Collectible art book
  • Early access to the Iceberg Lounge Challenge Map and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns skin
  • Batman Arkham City album from WaterTower Music including original songs by hit artists, available via digital redemption
  • Bonus DC Universe animated original movie, Batman: Gotham Knight
  • Four collectible cards

Overall:
I am extremely excited for this game. Its sure to be one of the best, if not the best game of the year…Rocksteady really knows what they are doing when it comes to Batman. I know where I’ll be when Batman: Arkham City hits stores on October 18th…where will you be?