By Michael "Mr. Kebabs" Schaap on June 22, 2015

Batman: Arkham City is set approximately eighteen months after the events of Batman: Arkham Asylum. We meet up with the caped crusader as he (as his alter ego, Bruce Wayne) is giving a speech against the idea of Arkham City being turned into the world’s largest prison. He subsequently becomes imprisoned in Arkham City by Tyger soldiers. Here you will first encounter the Penguin (More bad guys are to cross your path later on in the game). After a ‘pleasant chat’ with this waddling weirdo, you find out that Catwoman has been captured by Two-Face. Being the hero you are, you make your way across the city to come to her rescue. After this daring rescue, you are suddenly shot at. By using your awesome detective vision you trace the trajectory of the bullet and pinpoint its point of origin. After making your way over there, all clues lead to the involvement of… yes, you’ve guessed it: The Joker.

The Joker appears to be seriously ill because he was poisoned by a serum named 'Titan'. Due to the evil schemes, set in motion by said Joker and his trusted sidekick Harley Quinn (yes, she’s also back in action!), Batman is now also infected and is now trying to find an antidote. Ultimately, he finds out that Victor Freeze can create the antidote both Batman and the Joker need. But wouldn’t you just know it, Freeze seems to have gotten himself captured by none other than the flippery fiend, the Penguin. After freeing Freeze, Batman learns that the current version of the antidote is not broken down quickly enough to be effective. He comes up with the idea to find someone who has been exposed to 'Lazarus', which could supplement the antidote. Batman discovers that the 'Lazarus' compound can be found in the blood of Ra's al Ghul.

Batman follows a member of the League of Assassins (Arrow viewers will know what I’m talking about…) of which Ra's al Ghul is the leader. Batman manages to take a blood sample, which he back to Freeze, who now finally is able to create a working version of the antidote and cures Batman. In the meantime, Harley Quinn manages to steal the only other sample of the antidote. Batman, now healed, is forced to return to the Joker’s hideout in order to retrieve the antidote. Although it might seem I’m revealing a lot of the story, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But still, that’s enough story for now, let’s move on to the game itself.

Of course, you start off as the caped crusader. Like Batman: Arkham Asylum, you can move swiftly and stealthily through the environment and take out your opponents without them even noticing you. When they do notice you however, there’s no reason whatsoever to engage in some good old-fashioned hand to hand combat. The free-flow combat system we used in Arkham Asylum has gotten an upgrade and is more fluent than ever. This enables you to engage larger groups of enemies without getting your butt handed to you. Another thing that has been overhauled in this second installment is the upgrade system. You still collect XP by defeating enemies and you can still spend this XP to upgrade your gear. This time around, however, there’s a lot more stuff that you can buy and upgrade, so this provides a bit more variety in tactics and gameplay. During your main quest you will regularly receive side quests, which extend the duration of the game significantly, without being boring or silly.

At certain points in the story, you switch to Catwoman. This is a refreshing approach to things, seeing as how you radically need to alter your style of playing at these times. But it’s something else, let me tell you that; Catwoman has her own fighting style and gadgets, which makes it fun to play with her… sorry, I meant as her. Although… it might be fun to play with h… never mind, my mind wandered a bit! As Catwoman, you’ll encounter a whole new selection of bad guys and girls, like: Poison Ivy, The Carpenter and Vicky Vale.

Next to playing a different character, Arkham City also features a number of expansions and DLC.

Harley Quinn's Revenge:
In this expansion, you return to Arkham City, but this time you’ll be playing as Robin, the boy wonder. Batman has gone missing and Robin has discovered that this is probably Harley Quinn’s doing. Your objective here is simple: Free Batman and defeat the bad guys.

Challenge Maps:
On these Challenge Maps, you can choose to play as Batman, Robin or Catwoman. One particular map could only be played when you purchased the Collector’s Edition of Arkham City; The Iceberg Lounge. There were also maps that you could, at first, only play if you pre-ordered the game. Luckily, they added these maps as DLC later on, so now everyone can play them.

Arkham City features various skins for both Batman and Robin. Some were previously only available as a DLC-pack. Others were available when pre-ordering the game. But if you now buy the Arkham City: Game of the Year edition, you will have access to all of them!

Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City are very much alike in many ways but size. Batman: Arkham City is huge, compared to its predecessor. I personally think that this increase in scale is a good thing, as well as the overhauled upgrading system and free-flow fighting system. It’s still Batman, but grander. And the addition of Catwoman (and Robin in additional missions) makes for a more varied game. The veritable smorgasbord of villains is also something not to be sneezed at. So after playing these two iconic games once again, I cannot but wonder if Batman: Arkham Knight will be as good as we are all hoping it will be. I can hear some of you think: “Wasn’t there another game in the Arkham series? And why aren’t you reviewing that one?!” Well, ladies and gentlemen, the answer to these questions is simple. Batman: Arkham Origins was not developed by Rocksteady, and did not follow the storyline as presented by the first two installments of the series. Batman: Arkham Knight will be set one year after the events of Arkham City and will be the one and only true successor to this awesome game.

available on:

Rocksteady Studios & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
October 18, 2011 (PS3 & XBox 360)
November 27, 2011 (Windows)
November 18, 2012 (Wii U)