Wow, apparently I'm batman
They did an excellent job at porting this game, graphically speaking. For starters, there is DX 11, DX Tesselation, Anti-aliasing up to 32XCSAA, Dynamic Shadows, Motion Blur, Distortion, Lens Flares, Light shafts, Reflections, Ambient Occlusion, as well as Hardware Accelerated Phys X.
The last one pretty much humiliated my GTX 480 since I at most could get 30 FPS on very rare occasions. For the most part, I could get around 10-19 FPS. This game recommends GTX 570, thank you very much. So if you want lots of FPS, disable particle accelerated physx and tone down AA.
The controls are sharp even though you still cannot adjust the mouse sensitivity as I hoped but the camera speed is fast enough. There is still some sloppiness and slight delay when it comes to moving around. For instance just like in the first game, there are preset points where your grappling hook works - you can't pick your spots. Initially, there are too many HUD oriented hints, and even though you can turn off some, you cannot turn them all off. The game itself doesn't have that much hud especially in-doors which is a good thing in my opinion because it helps the immersion.
The city map is small. REALLY small by today's standards at least. It's at best 30 square blocks. But the good thing is that eventually you get access to restricted areas such as houses, mansions, sewers, etc. So you will be doing a lot of backtracking just like in the first game, only this time, you have an open map and not a series of large closed off areas to navigate in. Plus there is always something happening in the city and you will see the city change as you play. Barely anything is static.
The gameplay (battle-wise). I feel like it changed slightly for worst in some areas. The first game would literally force you to watch your enemies and anticipate their movies so you could counter-attack. This time it's different. This time you will see several lightening bolts flash above enemies that are about to attack you. This warning throws me off because it decreases the challenge and realism. However, if you want to play the second time on hardest mode then these warnings disappear which is neat. On the other hand, the fighting is at the same time easier than in the first game because you can actually counter-several enemies who are about to punch you at the same time - something you couldn't do in the first game.
More so, what's tedious is that this time you will be battling sometimes about a dozen of enemies at a time. You will rarely be able to finish off your enemies while they are on the ground because you will be overwhelmed for the most part. While playing the PS3 version, my thumb frequently got tired at the time of battling. But that problem when away because of simply mouse clicks which do not require as much energy as tapping a button, evidently. So I actually did not die as many times as I did while playing the PS3 version.
Also, this time if you want to counter-attack CONSTANTLY and never get hit (Except for when they try to throw a trash can at you) is to simply tap right the right mouse button (NO TIMING REQUIRED this time). In the first game if you pressed the counter-attack button a lot earlier before the preceding attack, then you would get hit, even IF you pressed the same button right after. The first game really forced you to monitor your enemies closely and work out the algorithm of the fight you were in. But at least now you can counter-attack two enemies attacking you at the same time.
But eventually you get introduced to bigger and badder high-tech enemies that force you to employ different tactics (reminiscent of the last splinter cell game).
Another minus is that there is no blood in the game, again. (but yes I know that this is Batman Universe, the villains never die, they simply escape over and over and over again....)
Also, those annoying unrealistic bats that fly around you are still there. There's still no way to turn them off.
Also, this time around, there are even more unlockables to unlock. There are still Joker teeth, but now there are Penguin's penguin dolls, air balloons and other miscellaneous interactive items that need to be destroyed upon sight.
The story is engaging and ties itself well with the first game somewhat. Some villains as well as their demise gets mentioned so it's kind of cool to wonder what happened. The boss fights are okaish but the one that I didn't like was with that immortal dude. I mean the whole stage with him and the subsequent fight was just an excuse for Batman to fight some more (even though he was dreaming). Same applies tot he Mad Hatter stage of the game, it's just more fighting, albeit it is disturbing fighting. I think they could use more creativity with these stages. One of the best boss fights without a doubt is with Mr. Freeze, it can last for up to 20 minutes and you do have to use your brains. Sadly, that was the most developed boss battle in the entire game.
Also, barely ANY dialogue gets repeated, ever, except for sometimes. I'm surprised how much effort went into dialogue here, it's like watching a movie, a good Batman movie that is, ahem ahem.
The loading screen sometimes takes 11 seconds.
I also appreciate the remix of the Hans Zimmer soundtracks from the last two Batman movies. Nice touch. There's some inception there too.
The bosses and the characters are all so versatile and flamboyant. You get fully immersed in their personalities and you don't really want the villains dead you may want them hurt but you don't want them GONE because then you know that the fun is over. So the game makes you care even about the villains because aside from Batman that's what the Batman Universe if famous for. However, you do not really get to see too much of the villains. You only see the Two-Face a couple of times and you do not even see Killer Croc.
The amount of the Riddler riddles and tricks is insane. I'm not sure if that many were needed. I mean, they are supposed to be concealed better; they are supposed to take time to find and unlock like in the first game. Here you get a large portion of them practically for free, but as you progress you realize that Batman has a whopping 400 riddler secrets to unlock and the cat woman has 100. A small portion of them (like 5-10%) is extremely hard to solve, some require blind luck which is annoying.
The game is extremely well refined. Ever step and area is thought out, every engagement can still be approached differently so the gameplay will never get you bored. The artistic value of this game cannot be understated. The gangs and the bandits all have different allegiances to different villains, so it is a nice touch to see that not all villains team up with each other, they all have different missions and ideologies.
The amount of upgrades here is about 3-4 times than the amount in the first game and you retain most if not all of your abilities from the first game.
One of the downsides of this game being an open-worlded game is that quite often you will lose your sense of direction. You might weight out your priorities as to where it is you want to go. There's main mission and there are side missions and there are Riddler missions and there are miscellaneous missions. You might go into one direction only to realize that it's best if you went another direction. The first game didn't have that problem if you can call it that. Still, the world is not too big for you to get lost and it is not too small to be called a sand-box.
One of the downsides of the PS3 version was slow texture loading. I haven't experienced anything like that on PC. AND, the loading time between deaths is about twice as short as on the PS3, go figure.
Lastly, it's the same unreal engine from the last game; the water looks slightly better rendered on the PC, but it is not that great looking either.