Over the past few weeks there have been several incredible titles being released on to the market included the epic that is Dead Space 3 which instantly jumped to the top of the UK charts and Crysis 3 which is set to be released in just over a week. Regardless to this I have decided that these games were not for me, I would rather replay a slightly older game in my collection and this is exactly what I have done. Over the next few weeks I will playing and reviewing older games in what I like to call my “Second Chance Series” I hope that this series will allow me to inspire people reading the series into picking up some of these old games if they missed them when they were first released. So here is my first review of the series, Batman: Arkham City.

I choose Batman: Arkham City as my first review for the series as I am a huge fan of anything Batman, only recently did I get the Dark Knight logo tattooed on to my wrist. I have been a huge fan for years watching the cartoon as a kid, reading the graphic novels and then watching the new films starring Christian Bale. Now when I heard that Arkham City was being released I was overly excited about the prospect of being able to swoop around Gotham City as the Dark Knight himself. Unfortunately at the time I could not afford the luxury of a copy of the game and as such I failed to play the game when it first came out. Thankfully a few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to borrow the game from one of my close friends and as such this led to what can only be called a nerd fest in which I played the game solidly until completion. It is also fitting to note that a sequel has just been announced for the series, the news was released during a Time Warning earning call in which John K. Martin mentioned the Dark Knight sequel, “And we also have a strong games release this year, which will include the next release in the Batman Arkham franchise, So all in all, we expect Warners to post another very strong year in 2013. And with a little luck, the year should be as good or maybe even a little bit better than 2012.” 

We all know that Batman is known for his huge muscles, fighting skills and his affinity of shiny new gadgets and Arkham City doesn’t fail to deliver. Throughout the game you acquire new gadgets in which to combat new enemies who are also kited out in order to protect themselves from the Dark Knight (lets just say it doesn’t go very well for them) Different missions require you to use these new gadgets in order to reach the end of the level or secret treasure throughout them. You are offered side missions in which will allow you to unlock even more gadgets or to simply upgrade them, giving you extra content in which to complete if you do not wish to rush straight to the end of the game. You are also offered experience throughout the game either acquired from fighting thugs or completing missions, much like any other game where you are offered experience and the chance to level up, you can buy new abilities, improvement and moves in which to increase your fighting arsenal to deliver even more kick butt to the dimwitted thugs that plague Arkham City. Much like the graphic novels and the films, Batman’s fighting capabilities are hard to rival, being as swift and sneaky as the bats in which he acquired his name. Much of the game consists of you pummeling the faces of thugs until you reach a goal or objective and as such you would expect the combat to be a solid part of the experience. I was certainly not disappointed with the combat aspects of the game, the combat is fast and flows almost seamlessly from one battle to the next, comboing counters and special moves into a flurry of unstoppable attacks that will quickly leave you with a group of roughly five thugs clutching their heads and crying for their mummy.

However the game isn’t all about the brawls on the streets with the local thugs, much of the game consists of a more stealthier much like that of the Assassin’s Creed series. There are several points in the game in which you have to sneak around and carefully take out one enemy at a time in order to avoid being discovered, this presents a whole new side of the combat system which I thoroughly enjoyed, after several hours of the game I had decided that I much preferred this form of approach instead of the standard beat ’em up. It was great fun to watch the thugs get more and more terrified and erratic as their fellow thugs were slowly disappearing or left knocked out on the floor. Try it for yourself and you’ll understand why I enjoyed this so much.

The sound of the game is also not to miss, with a soundtrack you can easily relate to the recent films starring Christian Bale, you are instantly immersed into the world of the Batman with slow tempo music for when you are moving from zone to zone, to intense battle themes when you engage in combat. The voice actors for the game are impeccable and fit their characters perfectly further immersing you into the idea that are in Arkham City with Batman. The best of these is the Joker who as sinister as ever hangs as the overarching antagonist of the game, but what do you expect, he is by far the most evil and well-known of the Batman villains (although I prefer Bane as the best villain after The Dark Knight Rises) However my favorite part of the sound of Arkham City is the  combat sound effects, the sound of the Batman’s fist connecting with a poor thugs face or the huge crashing noise as you take them to the ground for good. These sound effects made the combat all the better, I thoroughly enjoyed the noise of that pesky thug that managed to land a hit on you (well it had to happen one day) being smashed to the ground by the caped crusader. Turn the volume up loud to fully experience this delightful aspect of the game, trust me it will make the game all the more enjoyable to play.

The game has great replayability with loads of side missions to complete after you have finished the main story line offering you the chance to encounter other villains from the series including Bane and Hush. You can also do side missions to unlock all your abilities and  gadget enhancements to help in your fight against crime. There are also several downloadable content packs to add even more content to the game, including the chance to play as Catwoman in her own set of missions as well as searching for her own character specific trophies to fully complete the game.

Overall the game is a great addition to your games collection offering a great story line featuring some of the greatest villains from the series as well as amazing boss battles that require more than just your standard beat down approach. The graphics and sound are great quality which makes the immersible feel of the game even better. You can pick up a copy of the Game of the Year edition for around £15-£20 and is a great game for such a cheap price.

Hopefully you enjoyed the first of my Second Chance Series and I will be bringing you more reviews in the next few weeks.

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