The ultimate & total Batman experience
At first, I really wanted to give this game a lower score than 9.0. I honestly did. Right at the start of the game, I had no idea what was going on, and that was a big No-no for me. Arkham Asylum made it very clear what was going on, and now....Bruce Wayne is arrested? Definitely a "WTF" moment. Then...I was made a shame of, when the game told me what happened later. That wasn't my only reason though. Nothing was different, and the physical layout of the city seemed small and pointless. Oh my....how wrong I was!
The STORY itself must have been expertly planned out, or at least done with some clever writing. I would go as far to say that 'Arkham City' could stand as the very last Batman story ever told. It really does that much for the franchise. You think "The Dark Knight" was the best Batman movie, well, this game might be the equivalent. It includes every major Batman villain in some form. Whether they are villains directly or indirectly, the game is very expansive for one-disc. Plus, it breaks the rules of the superhero genre. I won't tell you who, but somebody will die. You will think that you know who I'm talking about when you play the game, but there's more. More than one death. It's not what you expect. You will know what I mean: 'Arkham City' brings a finality to the Batman mythos that is not to be reckoned with. I guess what I'm trying to say is....this isn't another white-bread superhero tale where the bad guys just cackle and say, "Ohh, I'll get you one day!". Nope. If somebody dies, they die for real. Remember Scarecrow, from the first game? He got eaten by Killer Croc. Yeah. He may or may not come back. It's serious stuff.
Oh, and you do get to keep playing after the credits!!!
The GAMEPLAY is the same however, and I cannot say that it has improved much. Rather, it has been added onto. The enemies are tougher, and Batman is given much to do. Apart from the combat though, the exploration is to die for. If you ever wondered what it would be like to be Batman for real, this is your game. It brings a whole new meaning to the term, "Open World". Albeit Arkham City appears to be a small map compared to games like Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood or Mass Effect, Arkham City has much more to offer than most games aspire to offer. That being said, the closed quarters mentality of "Asylum" gave the game a 'survival horror' feel. "Arkham City" does away with the scares for the most part, with the exception being at a particular water-based level including a huge-behind creature that will not be named.
SOUND is a great part of this game. Punches land like bombs, Batarangs clang against the wall with a spark, and Batman's cape whips like Indiana Jones on a good day. The music is good as well. I remember during the final level of the game that the music was exceptionally noticeable. Like "Tron" or "Mass Effect", the soundtrack to 'Arkham City' is awesome.
Now for the negative things, which I must point out.
-Snipers. 'Nuff said. Although this could be seen as a challenge. Are you a half-full or half-empty kind of player?
-Why are vents big enough for a man to fit inside conveniently placed in the floors of the city? They aren't even connected to anything!
-Supposedly, Batman can't be seen very well when he's hiding in the dark. Unfortunately, the "hiding places" *cough cough* aren't very dark. Even on a decent television set, the dark areas aren't very dark. The AI, while very good at kicking your butt when you leave yourself open, is very dumb. I could see Batman if I was missing an eye and my neck was broken. The thugs of Arkham City will lose track of you if you simply run away. Tisk tisk. Maybe that's why they're locked up.
All in all, Arkham City is a fantastic game. I just hope they give Batman a bigger playground the next go-around, and some new enemies. I'm not sure that the ones you rough up in this game could ever fully recover from the epic beatdown they get for crossing Bruce Wayne this time.