Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Batman: Arkham City Hands-On First Impressions

OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD...Chris goes hands-on into Arkham City, and lives to tell the tale.

Tuesday morning was like reliving the Christmas when I got a Nintendo 64 from Santa. Only this time, instead of a jolly obese man in red pajamas, a thin, over tanned UPS man brought me my haul.  With a quick, thunderous rap on my door, he dropped the box holding Batman: Arkham City, and scampered off to his giant brown truck full of things he should steal and sell on eBay. Dummy.


I squealed with delight and ran to the door, quickly calculating in my head how much time I would need to shower and get dressesd in the most efficient manner, allowing me as much gaming time as I could queeze out before heading off to my job.  After ripping open the cellophane, and installing the Catowman DLC pass, I managed about an hour of gameplay before work.  After getting back home, I put roughly another 4 hours of Bat-justice in, bringing me 5 hours of pure bliss.

Arkham City starts off with what is quite possibly the best intro sequence I've seen in a game since Metal Gear Solid 2.  And that's not even counting the cold open, in which you aren't even playing as Batman.  I was afraid I'd lost the grasp of the control scheme since Arkham Asylum, but on screen tutorials, and relaxed enemy types get you back into form rather quiclkly.  Although, I will admit to dying a handful of times so far, mainly due to my lack of finesse in group combat scenarios, and missing a few jumps.

Arkham City is massive, as this screen from Gamespot shows.

The scope of Arkham City is enormous, and the nighttime setting makes the game world seem even more dark and forboding.  The world of Arkham City is very reminescent of the Tim Burton Batman films, with snow falling on neon-lit alleyways, and old CRT televisions playing scratchy recordings of the game's many antagonists.  Thugs patrol the streets, forcing Batman to stick to the rooftops, and police helicopters roam the skies, so as to not allow Batman to just go all Spider-Man over Arkham City.

Like I said, I'm only roughly 4 to 5 hours into the game, and I've already come across almost every major enemy Batman faced in Arkham Asylum.  I can't imagine who else is waiting for me in the vast expanse of Arkham City.  The Riddler challenges are plentiful, and optional side missions bring you even more backstory and secondary characters.  I hope to have the game ready for review by this weekend, although I will presumably only be able to speak to the main campaign, as the story seems massive, and I will followup with the secondary missions of future podcasts.  I'm sure the other guys on the site will be playing Arkham City shortly, so expect lots of Batman talk in days to come.

Do I look like a cop?! Christopher Linendoll can be reached via Twitter, or found in the hummus section of your local grocery store.

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