The lunatics will take over the asylum in a big way in Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to the widely (and wildly) acclaimed 2009 video game Batman: Arkham Asylum and one of the biggest releases of the year for gamers. The plot of the dark adventure: Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane has been shut down but Gotham needs someplace to put its villains, gangsters and thugs, so Mayor Quincy Sharp carves out an entire district and declares it a maximum-security prison zone.
In a sort of DC Universe version of “Escape From New York,” the game (which arrives Oct. 18 for PS3 and Xbox 360 and in November for PC), heavily armed helicopters are used to patrol the skies above the city blocks that have been given over to felons and freaks, which in this case include Two Face, Penguin and Mr. Freeze.
With Arkham City, developer Rocksteady Studios has created a world five times larger than the one in Arkham Asylum. What does this mean for gameplay? According to game director Sefton Hill, the larger landscape brings with it two major changes: Batman’s ability to traverse the environment has been upgraded and side missions involving key characters are now part of the mix.
Players now have complete control over Batman’s gliding, including the ability to dive down, build up momentum and then pull back up to glide over longer distances as well as the ability to grapple boost, meaning Batman can now use his grapple gun to boost himself off the top of buildings.
“With the new game set within a city, we have a lot more verticality than we ever did on Arkham Island from the first game,” Hill said. “By combining gliding, diving and boosting, you can move across the entire city without ever touching the ground. It feels really empowering. As you get better at it, you’ll be amazed at the kind of acrobatics you’ll be able to pull off.”
As for the side missions, Hill says his teams have included hours’ worth of side stories that have been crafted with the same amount of care and attention as the main story. In one of those split-off missions, the Riddler has trapped hostages inside elaborate death-trap puzzles, and in another the knife-wielding serial killer Mr. Zsasz must be hunted down.
“What happens when you put somebody like Zsasz in a place like this, what he’s doing is totally different from what the Joker or Penguin are doing,” Hill said. “And the only person standing in all of their way is you, the player.”
— Mike Winder
RECENT AND RELATED