FORUM: ‘Batman: Arkham City’

 Of late, my nightmares are narrated by Hugo Strange.

If you read this site regularly there’s a good chance you too have been playing through Batman: Arkham City, the Paul Dini scripted sequel to Arkham Asylum, the title that redefined the superhero game genre. But now the cage has expanded beyond the foundation of old Amadeus Arkham’s storied facility, and a whole corner of Gotham has been transformed into a walled ghetto for maddened criminals and political prisoners alike. Lording over the pit is the nefarious Hugo Strange and his assembly of shock troops. As with the “No Man’s Land” storyline from the comics, Arkham City has been carved up into districts by the likes of Two-Face, the Penguin and Poison Ivy. And though Batman has limited support from Alfred and a host of gadgets, he’s one man against entire neighborhoods of the rogues who despise him most. That is, unless you’ve got the DLC code to include Catwoman in all the fun.

The level of immersion in Arkham City is such that last night I wandered a cemetery looking for the graves of my murdered socialite parents, desperate to vow vengeance. On the way home I’d spy an awning on a cafe two blocks ahead and extend my arm to target my grapple gun. I spot a man in a clown costume outside a party store, raise my watch to my mouth and apprise Alfred of my findings. It’s a sickness, but I don’t so much mind it. My PS3 is happy to be running some games for a change, likely fed up with streaming my Murder, She Wrote reruns from Netflix. That’s to say I’m by no means a hardcore gamer and my gaming mouth is far bigger than my stomach. I’ve spent several hours already refining my stealthy takedowns in Detective Mode, swooping down behind armed enforcers to drop them with a sleeper hold. And as engrossing as the story’s been so far–I’m enthralled–sometimes it’s enough to simply navigate the rooftops, grappling and gliding and diving through the peaks and valleys of a ruined urban environment lovingly created for just such purposes. There’s finally a compelling match to the experience of web-slinging around polygon skyscrapers as Peter Parker in the Spider-Man games.

Suffice to say, I’m having a lot of fun with the game, its mechanics and its cinematic narrative. I’m far from completing the story, but I thought we should have a dedicated space on the site to talk about the experience. Since the game has been out for a week, I won’t say spoilers are entirely off limits, but be mindful of anyone still enjoying the twists and turns of the story. Be vague about reveals beyond the first few challenges if you can.

I’ll start. My name is Paul. And…I am the night.


  1. I keep checking payphones trying to catch Zsasz.

    This game is freakin’ awesome! Blows Arkham Aslyum out of the water, and that was a fantastic game. I’ve never felt so much like I’m really Batman…

  2. This is definitely one of the best video games made in the last couple of years. Not just a Batman video game, but a regular game in general.

    There is so much to love about this game. The improve fighting mechanics, the improved story, the insanely gorgeous graphics, and so many little touches throughout the whole thing. I couldn’t believe that put REDACTED in the game, let alone it be the most recent with REDACTED. The game was never frustrating, even towards the end were it did get harder with Tyger forces.

    I’m really interested in what people thought about the ending of the game. I won’t spoil it for you guys but I was really shocked that they actually did what they did. But the hints throughout the game about the next sequel and the plot for it really makes me think they can do a great Batman game without reusing the same characters over and over again.

    Also: Mark Hamill doing a Clint Eastwood by singing in the end credits was really funny.

  3. I played this game for two hours the other day and i didn’t touch a single mission, i got distract by the virtual flight challengs and while it took me 2 hours to complete one, I had so much fun trying it over and over again. This sums up my feelings on the game as a whole, the game mechanics are so fun that you can fail over and over but you know you can succeed if you keep trying. The main missions is LOADS of fun but i endlessly get distracted by side missions and riddler trophies that take me an alternate paths. I end up playing for huge lengths of time with very little story progression to show for it, the side stuff is just too fun. I love being in the game world, playing as an accurate representation of Batman.

    • I’m with ya on the side missions Mike. You can be on the campaign path and then get into a side mission that takes you all the way across the city, which is no small feat, then back again to try to catch up to the story point you were at to start with. And with all of this going on, I still love this game. It’s open ended and epic.

  4. It’s the Batman game we didn’t deserve but the Batman game we needed.

  5. I’m still working my way through it. Not far in currently. But the game so far is amazing. One of the best melee combat systems ever created. More games need to use this combat. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything comes together.

    So far, my favourite thing about the game, other than the combat, is the voice-acting. I love that they went with this voice-cast.

  6. The one thing I don’t like about it is how many Riddler challenges there are. I’m never ever going to devote the time to getting 400-odd of them. I did take the time in the 1st game.

    Zsasz was making me crazy with the payphones. I’d do one, then go back to do the main mission, and as I’m walking in, the phone rings.

  7. I’m enjoying it, but it is also serving as a painful reminder of how poor my reflexes have become in my old age. There was a day when I would’ve flown through this, but that day is long past.

  8. This is the most fun I have ever had playing a video game. Completed it within 12 hours of buying it, then playing it through twice more since then; I have no faults with this whatsoever – the best Batman movie never made!!

  9. Great game. People do not understand just how difficult it is. There is no simple dropping down on the bad guys and punching them to pieces. The game requires thought and planning because they can overwhelm you very fast especially if they have firearms.

    The Mr. Freeze battle has been my favorite so far.

  10. Game of the Year. Nuff said.

  11. Rocksteady have done it again and made another superhero game that doesn’t suck can’t wait for the sequel

  12. I like it. However I typically hate stealth games, so it is quite jarring to not be able to run up and just kill everyone. Even on normal if there are two guys with guns I am in a world of trouble.

  13. Game of the year for sure. I’m not a big 3D-at-the-movies guy, but the stuff they are doing with games lately is really cool. I was lucky enough to pick up a 60″ 3DTV last month, and I have to say that cruising around Arkham City in fully rendered active-shutter 3D is FREAKING AMAZING!! I spent the first while just zipping around shouting “I am Batman” at whoever was in my living room, then had a laugh when I got the first trophy and saw the title. Sweet validation.

  14. I haven’t bought a platform game in a while and heard so many great reviews. Started to watch some YouTube video walk throughs to get an idea of the game, and watching it alone, I couldn’t stop. Looking forward to picking up this game soon!

  15. I have to go home now and find that graveyard.

  16. Finished it about three days ago, it’s not like I’m a super-gamer though, I just got the game early because I live in Australia.

  17. This game is amazing. The world is so huge, and there is so much to do. Love all the side missions. I get stressed out every time I hear a phone ring! And the use of villains has been great. I’m only halfway through the story line. But every time a new villain pops up or is mentioned, I smile. The mechanics and game play is first notch and what makes the game. But having Dini and other comic book people involved truly makes the game for us hard core fans. They get just about everything right.

    Question, does anyone know what the Arkham City Stories are, and how you find them?

    • Arkham City Stories are a subsection of the Batcomputer (the two tabs next to the dossiers). They’re a few paragraphs each about some of the story surrounding Arkham City, including things about characters that don’t actually appear in the game. You earn them by collecting Riddler trophies, completing Riddler challenges, and solving riddles. And such.

    • Hmm. That’s weird. I’m about halfway through the game and have found a decent amount of Riddler stuff, but haven’t a single one of the Arkham City Stories. I’m guessing it comes later?

    • They’re pretty evenly scattered throughout, I think: mostly riddles, though, rather than trophies. So if you haven’t been solving riddles so much as grabbing trophies that might explain it.

  18. I’m completed the main story and now I’m going for the side missions. I’ll have to wait a while for the Robin and Nightwing DLC so I can platinum the game.

  19. My only problem with the game was that the campaign itself, minus tracking down all the riddler trophies, is only about 6-8 hours.

    • I guess it comes down to how you play it. If you’re hardcore and go for the story nonstop, I can see 8 hours. But I’ve played at least that long and am only halfway. There is tons of side mission stuff to get you sidetracked if you let it.

    • Absolute rubbish. |You’d have to be some sort of gaming God to finish it in that time! 😉 A 10 hour main story with another 10 for sidequests easy. Plenty of bang for your buck here.

  20. Anyone else have a problem with the dialogue? Every single female is called a bitch constantly. Harley’s dialogue is atrocious. She’s reduced to calling people dumbasses over and over. Took me out of the game a little.

    The game play itself was a blast. I’m at 70%, just looking for those Riddler Trophies.

  21. It’s the Batman simulator I have always wanted.

  22. Hate going into the Bowery with the massive armed force in front of the Museum. And I keep having to go deep into it for the payphone killings. And the Titan I have to explode still. And I still haven’t gotten the serial killer call. But I got the TNC’s REDACTED mission immediately, and it was awesome.

  23. For me, there is no reason not to try and adapt this and Arkham Asylum into a movie or TV show.

    Everything works from the massive story, to the use of characters, to the pacing of each segment of each game. Maybe it’s all a pipe dream but put this on a HBO as a mini-series and it would totally work.

  24. The side missions add about another 2 hours to the game. You can do them all in one sitting after beating the game. Don’t get me wrong with all the riddfler trophies and the riddler challenges there is a lot to do in the game, but the campagin itself is fairly short.

    • I would disagree. I think you’re just a super hard-core gamer. For the average person, the story is perfectly lengthy.

  25. there are so many charectors in this game that I wouldn’t have ever thought could be in a game. i’m not going to say any of them for spoiler reasons but it’s intensly fun. i just have the identity theft and riddler missions left. the only thing I have to say about how many geeky references there are in this game is that the robot dinosaur from the batcave makes a cameo!!!!!

  26. Also:

    Seeing the Batman: Animated Series costume in the game and how it seamlessly fit while beating the crap out of bad guys in the challenge maps is now one of the joys of life.

  27. Great game. I will be playing this forever.

  28. Just bought this last night; pretty sure it’ll destroy my life for the next month or so.

  29. I’m going to pretend like i had something to do with the fact that you guys did this. =D This game is phenominal!

  30. Geez…4.6 Million units sold in one week. We’re just the IP beta testers who get to pay for the privilege…

    can’t wait to get a copy of this game. Seems awesome.