Batman Arkham City Review, DX11 Explored

15 thumbs up
AC's virtual world is roughly 5x larger than the environments of Arkham Asylum, but much smaller than a full-scale implementation of Gotham would've been. Focusing on a smaller area gave the developers more time to personalize and craft it while maintaining the sense of an enclosed prison. Arkham City may be huge compared to Arkham Asylum, but this doesn't feel like a "free-roaming" world. Batman, like the other prisoners, can only run so far before hitting a wall, guard post, or the uncaring, icy waters of Gotham Harbor.


. Gotham feels much more distinctive than a simple collection of high buildings and generic city architectures

The Joker, Two-Face, and the Penguin have all staked out zones of control and have sizeable gangs, while villains like Mr. Freeze and Killer Croc have remained focused on their own goals or gone more-or-less to earth. The Riddler makes no direct appearance, but puzzles, traps, and trophies positively litter Arkham City. The puzzles themselves are far more sophisticated this time around and often require the use of multiple gadgets or abilities.


Killer Croc drops by for a discussion on the meaning of life

Arkham City's story is driven by Batman's search for a cure to a Joker-caused disease and his primary investigation of Hugo Strange and the mysterious "Protocol 10." The plot is decent and the game moves along at a good clip, but the Hugo Strange plot relies on characters and relationships that newcomers to the Batman mythos may not be aware of.

The Joker remains the strongest cast member of Team Evil, even if he shares star billing this time around. One of the charges leveled against Batman in Arkham City is that his presence has created a crucible where the strongest criminals come to test themselves while his refusal to kill has allowed the evil he battles to fester and ultimately return to kill again. The Joker puts a personal face on this charge in Arkham City; the game makes it clear that the Clown Prince has a point when he sees himself and Batman as inextricably connected--even if Batman doesn't want to admit it.


Boss fights are varied and require strategy. Clayface made a cameo in Arkham Asylum; he's back for blood in Arkham City

In addition to the main quest there are a number of entirely optional side quests involving lesser-known villains. As a result, Arkham City is shorter than AA if one plays strictly through the main quests and ignores the optionals. Toss in the side quests and the game is at least as long, particularly if you're a completionist who needs to hunt down every trophy and solve all the riddles.

PC gamers also take control of Catwoman for a few missions, and while they're not vital to the overall storyline, she's quite a bit of fun to play. While she lacks Batman's array of gadgets, she's much faster in melee. Catwoman is also a playable option in the game's challenge maps, as is Robin.

Gameplay

Arkham City uses almost exactly the same controls as Arkham Asylum, but with a few notable improvements. Combat has been streamlined and now allows for double/triple counters, catching objects thrown at you, and the ability to use all gadgets in combat. Double-tapping the key for a particular gadget will quickfire it. There's a much wider assortment of toys this time around, including electrical guns, smoke pellets, freeze bombs, and weapon disrupters.


Mighty foot engaged.

The wide variety of gadgets underscores the need for strategy and the fact that Batman, while in peak physical condition, is still human. Attempting to take on a group of thugs with shotguns, even in a fully-upgraded Batsuit, is a quick ticket to a reload. The same group of enemies that'll trash you every time in a face-to-face confrontation can be taken out without a scratch by a combination of stealth takedowns, aerial attacks, batarangs, and your boot.

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Such an awesome game

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I still have an issue where the sound goes out of sync and I have to exit the game to fix it. Well, I had it two weeks ago, Ive been too busy to actually play.

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Dx11 seems to be a big problem with a number of games these days. Still a sweet game though. 

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This looks like an amazing game, if the creators can get it working properly we may see a revival of the super hero oriented games.

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This game is amazing.. seriously..

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I honestly don't know why game developers continue to use DX11 when they don't use it in a beneficial way; I mean the only game I've seen that uses DX11 well is the Unigine Heaven Benchmark and Crysis 2, even if it was done in a half-assed way; I mean those games make good usage of the tessellation and the computational shaders available to them. I don't know why more game's can't take more advantage of DX11, even Deus Ex Human Revolution is bad in terms of DX11 usage where the only benefits you get from DX11 is tessellation (most of which is unnoticable unless used in the right situations), better DOF (if the game uses alot of it) and better shadows.

Arkham City does look interesting but it doesn't feel like my cup of tea, I am glad to know that they did fix some of the problems of Arkham Asylum and I'm also interested to know that they did make it harder, so yeah... I'll be willing to give it a try someday.

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Taylor,

You said: "the only benefits you get from DX11 is tessellation, better blurring and better shadows..." 

Those *are* three of the biggest benefits of DX11 over DX9. I'm not suggesting that it couldn't be used better; Arkham City's implementation is downright terrible. Still, it's not an enormous game-changer. Even well-implemented, the difference between DX9 and DX11 is always going to be incremental -- until developers start natively targeting systems with more video RAM and available bandwidth. That's not going to happen until the next gveneration of consoles.

 

 

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played the game loved the game there are still some major issues that i suffer from visually still but otherwise this game is definetly a worthy addition to the series

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I bought this game but I'm terrified of playing it due to the deleted save bug.  On their official forums though it sounds like they're zeroing in on the problem, so it's potentially just one patch away from being a perfect game for me.

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I played straight through and had no problems with deleted saves. 

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