As I’m sure you’re aware, last weekend, I was with Robin down at MCM Expo in London, spending the majority of our time playing demos and newly released games. One of these was one of the most anticipated games of the year and goes by the name of Batman: Arkham City. Now, we got kicked out of the booth after about 5 minutes, so I can only show my first impressions on the game. Please bear in mind that I didn’t play the first game and don’t have a huge amount of Batman knowledge anyway, so don’t get angry if I get something wrong!
In the very beginning, the developers tease us with the glimpse of the vast city of Gotham. The streets are crowded with tall, looming skyscrapers, bright lights creating an eerie yet beautiful effect, crowds of people staring straight at you. And then there’s nothing. You wake up in a near pitch-black room with Doctor Strange towering over you. After listening to him drone on about how great he is and how you’re screwed, you break the bonds of your chains and do some badass moves to get out of there. Fighting your way through inmates, you emerge into the night, only to knock the Penguin clean out, climb to the roof and call your trustworthy butler to deliver your crime-fighting goods.
Although we never got to the point of flying around the city, the rest of the controls worked seamlessly and so I can only presume that it’s a welcome addition to the game. The combat could cause a divide between gamers; however, I’m most certainly a fan. You don’t have to hold a button down to lock on to your enemies as the game does it automatically, allowing you to use all your brain power on producing combos and fancy movements. Now I realise that some people may see this as a cheap button bashing moment, though I feel it lets you become more immersed in the game, showing the true power of Bruce/Batman. It really depends on what games you’re used to and the difficulty you’re expecting to be playing at. Climbing and moving doesn’t usually cause a problem, although sometimes the camera is a huge letdown. It takes a while to spin around and you’re often jumping off the set of platforms you’ve just leaped onto. Once you get used to it, I’m sure it wouldn’t affect the gameplay a great deal, I assume it’s because I’d only just stepped into the world of the superhero.
As you climb out of the prison, the area starts to get less and less grimy. You start in a disgusting, undesirable place and slowly climb out into a haunting yet gorgeous city. The villains and inmates eyes almost bore into your soul; it really is something to be experienced. The colours all seem to be black and grey, but rather than being an annoyance, it’s very effective, you feel the need to fight for your city, to make it welcoming once more. It really pushes the idea of videogames as an art form.
I didn’t really hear much audio, seeing as it was a room packed with thousands of people but even if it’s terrible, I don’t think it could bring the game down at all, it’s very much a visual experience, what with the vastness of the city and amount of exploration that is available later on. After just 5 minutes of drooling, the game has gone straight onto my Christmas list and I highly advise you to do the same, even if you’re not a Batman fan. Definitely my game of the year. Holy smoke Batman! You earned a 9/10!