In 2009 Rocksteady Studios rescued the superhero genre from the depths of mediocrity and disappointment with Batman: Arkham Asylum. Making it safe for fans everywhere to thrust themselves into Bruce Wayne’s cape and cowl without hesitation.
While in development, the narrative surrounding Batman: Arkham City (BAC) evolved to whether or not it could surpass the lauded achievements of the original. Having spent considerable time with Arkham City we can lay to rest any and all reservations concerning Rocksteady’s second tour with the Dark Knight with a decisive yes.
Gotham City once again finds itself in the throes of despair.
With Arkham Asylum reduced to little more than a pile of smoldering rubble the powers that be have elected to transfer the entirety of Gotham City’s criminal population to an aggressively sequestered territory smack dab in the heart of downtown Gotham known as Arkham City which is more monitored than policed. As fate would have it this decision turns out to be an imprudent one spurring Gotham’s citizens to wonder if they’ll ever catch a break. Luckily they’ve the Dark Knight to intervene.
Within the towering walls of Arkham City various criminal factions engage in a violent turf war for control of their new surroundings. Inmates scramble to align themselves with one of the super criminals and before you know it pandemonium ensues. Joker’s thugs square off against Penguin’s flock, Two-Face’s gang and so and on and so forth.
Lording over this massive ant farm is Professor Hugo Strange who observes Arkham City’s transgressions with the detached disposition of a child pulling the wings off of a fly to watch it squirm. Leave it to a city like Gotham to put their faith in a man named Strange to look after the likes of Edward Nigma (E.Nigma A.K.A. the Riddler) and Victor Fries (Mr. Freeze).
Each of the major outfits have their own distinct look and slightly altered fighting style granting fantastic vitality to the city. Furthermore a wide array of situation relevant dialogue can be picked up as Batman approaches a roving band of mercenaries as word travels fast on the inside. Foiling Two-Face’s latest plan will result in an avalanche of gossip and second guessing on behalf of the throngs of punch-hungry underlings. The unique division of not only each gang but also of individuals within the ranks is executed beautifully by the Rocksteady team adding refreshing depth to every encounter.
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