When I started playing the game based on reviews (which were mainly positive), it had a distinct feel of freedom as the game never tries to cage you in on a specific mission and focus on one aspect to achieve the goal. The freedom of maneuvering across Gotham and bashing thugs to upgrade your stats was very satisfying. So much so that I found myself working hard to gain the XP points to upgrade all the gears and arsenal and then I proceeded with the main story.
The Cat woman part was immensely boring and could definitely have been avoided. All in all the game play isn't very long unless you count those useless Riddler puzzles which never seem to end.
The best part of the game lies in the fact that not only most of the major Batman characters merge in the game in main and side missions, but you get the feeling that you are up against time to stop this tragedy from happening. A lot of button mashing ensues but its really satisfactory.
Stealth game play is also fun especially flying from gargoyles and doing the inverted take down and all. Various gadgets make way, but the most fun part remains in hand to hand combat. Batman Arkham city is a nice continuation to the series and truly is beautiful. Once you get engrossed in Gotham, you are pulled in to the adventure which is a great thrill from start to finish.
My only complaint is that they should have expanded the main story line a bit more than those long lists of side quest. I only completed some of those. Another pro of Batman AC is that the boss fights are truy smart and innovative. Some require hardcore button mashing, whereas those with Mr. Freeze require you to take a different approach at every hit. In all, a great game that is surely going to be a thorough entertainer.