Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009's Arkham Asylum, but now features a fully-functioning city that now serves as a larger-scale version of Arkham Asylum before Batman exposed it's dark origins, and fought the Joker. Now a year later since the events of the first game, Batman is abruptly captured while masquerading as Bruce Wayne as he protested against the existence of the new prison being situated bang in the middle of Gotham City. His captors are led by Hugo Strange, who also maintains the new prison. He has his reasons for taking Wayne hostage, as he knows of Wayne's true identity as Batman and releases him into the prison, to keep him busy as Strange makes plans for the city. Batman begins to go after former allies, and adversaries to discover what Strange has planned for the city, and it's people.
While Arkham Asylum was open-world, you were still restricted to the asylum and so the feel of having total freedom of a city-sized prison with city buildings to scale and explore, is a very big change to the franchise. There are side missions and objectives scattered around the city, that you can complete and undertake at any time you wish as you complete the main mission of the game.
Combat has been improved on and enhanced, since Arkham Asylum with smoother controls and using your abilities do not feel as cumbersome as they did in the first game. Gliding from buildings is easy, and enjoyable as you can attack enemies from above and complete side missions.
You can also deploy your detective abilities, to uncover and solve the Joker's crimes, and the Riddler's riddles that are scattered around the city. Completing side missions, and activities unlock new abilities and upgrade your gadgets that give you the upper hand against stronger, more powerful enemies.
- A return to the dark world and theme of Arkham Asylum, but with a larger scale world to explore.
- Story is dark, and has many appearances of Batman's many foes, and allies including Two Face and Catwoman.
- Visuals and graphics are improved on, and enhanced since Arkham Asylum especially with it's far more open environment to explore, and glide around.
- Controls and gameplay mechanics are improved on, combat is smoother and balanced especially in terms of controls.
- Side missions and activities afford you new abilities, gadgets and skills that you will need later in the game when you face foes like Bane.
- Only issue I've come across is without preparing for encounters with enemies, you can find yourself ill-equipped without necessary gadgets and abilities unlocked.
Batman: Arkham City is a worthy sequel to immensely enjoyable Arkham Asylum, but everything about it is improved on and enhanced, and is worth buying for fans of the franchise and those who just love an open-world adventure.