In this week's Power Up! blog, Glen Ferris waxes lyrical about Batman: Arkham City, the latest game in the canon of the Caped Crusader.
In the run-up to Christmas, some very big titles are coming our way. Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, Halo: Anniversary, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Battlefield 3, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3… We’re talking highly anticipated games here. And they’re all gonna have to do some serious work to wrestle back gamers’ hearts and minds after they’ve got their hands on the utterly incredible Batman: Arkham City.
Regular readers of this here blog will know that we’ve been squealing with excitement about Batman’s return for ages, so to say expectations were high is like saying the Joker has a few minor psychological problems.
Having blown away expectation with their excellent previous title, Arkham Asylum, British game developers Rocksteady have outdone themselves again with a sequel that is cowl and shoulders above every superhero game. Ever.
The story takes place a few months after the events of Arkham Asylum. After the Joker’s grand plan was quashed by the Dark Knight, the powers that be have turned a large section of the city into a maximum security prison to house Arkham’s former inmates. Fighting for supremacy in this gothic dystopia are various factions led by Batman’s deadliest rogues and overseeing the Escape From New York-style situation is the mysterious Hugo Strange, a character who seems to know a thing or two about our caped hero. It’s a fairly nightmarish situation, so it’s no surprise that the world’s greatest detective is keeping a close eye on what’s going on behind the walls.
In terms of storyline, gameplay, design, imagination, creativity and, hell, just about everything, Arkham City is incredible. The sheer scale of the city alone is jaw-dropping and the huge number of sandbox challenges will ensure that you’ll want to explore every dark corner of it.
Rocksteady have improved upon their previous title in every conceivable way with familiar elements such as fighting, clue-tracking and problem solving subtly tweaked to be far more fluid, intuitive and challenging. Making a welcome untouched return is the very clever Detective Vision, which allows you to spot and target enemies. Bat’s favourite gadgets are also back but he’s now got some brand-new toys to play with – most notably, remote-controlled batarangs, smoke pellets, a handy electrical charge thing and an enhanced grappling hook that launches you into a rooftop glide, very handy for getting from A to B in no time flat.
You’re gonna need every advantage available if you’ve got a fledermaus’ chance in hell of taking down the bad guys. And what a lot there are; among them Two-Face, Penguin, Solomon Grundy, Bane, Joker and The Riddler, who returns with a brilliant series of Saw-like challenges to test Batman’s quandary-solving abilities. Not that Bruce Wayne’s alter ego is alone on the wrong side of the tracks though, as he’s equally helped and hindered with his on/off friend/enemy Catwoman on a few missions.
The main game is a sprawling epic with enough to keep you busy for many hours, while the side missions – mostly revolving around The Riddler’s nefarious enigmas – will have you aiming for that glorious 100 per cent completion.
It may be a little too early to crown Arkham City the game of the year, but it’s going to be very tough to beat, rarely have we seen a game that offers such depth, breadth and value for money. He’s got some big contenders on the horizon, but we’ve got a feeling that Batman will emerge victorious.
The Art of Flight Game wins web award
Not that we’re the kind of people who pat themselves on the back or anything, but we feel it only right to mention that Red Bull's The Art of Flight online game has been praised by web watchers Design Licks.
The game, a tie-in with the hugely-successful The Art of Flight film, gives online gamers the chance to pull grabs, grinds and spins, before competing for points with tricks, speed and epic air in some of the world's most remote places.
If by some strange coincidence, you, like us, always wished there was a version of Ask Jeeves hosted by Batman’s butler, then prepare for your desires to be fulfilled.
The ever trusty Alfred Pennyworth is currently taking a break from waxing the Batmobile to launch his own search engine as part of the promotional campaign for the launch of Batman: Arkham City.
If you’ve got a question that only Alfred can answer, head to www.alfredatyourservice.co.uk, where the ever-dependable gentleman’s gentleman will be on hand. What’s more, specific search terms will return exclusive pieces of content including screenshots, audio files and even the chance to own win a limited edition Xbox 360 console.
- More on Batman: Arkham City
- Play The Art Of Flight game
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