The second iteration in the critically acclaimed Arkham series takes Arkham Asylum from an island to a major portion of North Gotham, controlled by Doctor Hugo Strange and TYGER Security forces. Strange plans to terminate the entire city’s population with Protocol 10, a lethal toxin. Batman and The Joker are both sick, so it’s a race to find the cure for Protocol 10 before it’s too late.
Now that Arkham Knight is out, I decided to play the games I haven’t played in the series. I played Arkham Asylum when it first released. Great game. Arkham City and Origins have been in my backlog pile since their releases. Instead of waiting for the rumored Arkham Remastered collection to hit PS4, I decided to finally play Arkham City, the sequel to Arkham Asylum.
Arkham City is a massive open-world game, with a several large interior locations. I assume that since the game is so large, it took away from the story length, because I blew through this game. It only took me about a week or so to complete the main story. For the next few weeks, I tackled all 440 Riddler challenges, side-missions, and the Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC.
The Riddler challenges obviously took the most amount of time. The Riddler has kidnapped some GCPD officers. As long as you keep collecting more Riddler challenges, the Riddler will give you a riddle to solve, with clues to each officer’s location. Each officer has been given a six digit code to remember, which when entered into Batman’s cryptographic synographer tells the location for the next hostage. There are 400 challenges for Batman, and 40 for Catwoman. These challenges, very much like the first game, can be riddles, trophies, balloons, security cameras, joker teeth, and demon heads. I’d say it took me two weeks just collecting all 440.
A mysterious watcher appears in certain areas within Arkham City. After scanning the symbols left by the watcher Batman realizes each meeting point comes out to a symbol on the map. The final symbol is where Batman encounters the watcher, revealing himself to be Azrael. If I’m remembering this correctly, Azrael put on the cape & cowl after Batman had his back broken by Bane in the Knightfall saga.
Periodically, payphones will ring in Arkham City. On the other end of the line is the phonebooth killer. Batman has to get to specific payphones before the time runs out, or the killer executes a hostage. After Batman reaches each phone, the killer talks for a bit, giving Batman time to trace the killer’s call. Once the trace is 100%, Batman can go after the killer (who turns out to be none other than Victor Zsasz), and rescue the hostages.
A very talented sniper is taking out political targets in Arkham City. Batman does some detective work and finds out that the sniper couldn’t have been anyone else but Deadshot; a skilled marksman and member of the Suicide Squad. It’s said that the only person to ever make Deadshot miss his mark was Batman. When Quincy Sharp, Bruce Wayne, and Batman himself show up as the next targets on Deadshot’s list, it’s a race to put an end to his fun.
Gruesome murders are being reported by GCPD all over the city. The killer is deemed the name of “The Identity Thief”, as he is cutting off his victims faces, taking on their personas. The Identity Thief turns out to be…Bruce Wayne? Could it really be? Nah; of course not. As it turns out, the Identity Thief has collected and killed to finally complete his masterpiece, which results in the killer’s face looking identical to Wayne’s. Who is this mysterious identity killer? Thomas Elliot, Bruce’s childhood friend. In reality, Bruce and Thomas are dark reflections of eachother. Thomas Elliot attempted to kill his own parents in order to receive all of their assets. Thomas Wayne’s medical advancements saved their lives. Ever since then, Thomas resented the Waynes. This started a very dark path for Elliot, ultimately creating his alter-ego, Hush.
Harley Quinn’s Revenge takes place after the events of Arkham City, as Harley kidnaps a group of cops as retaliation of The Joker’s death. Half of the game is played as Batman, and half is played as Tim Drake’s Robin. Batman gets shot by Harley and is imprisoned. Oracle sends Robin in to rescue him. This was a short and sweet little story that added on to the post-game fun.
As you can see, there’s a lot one can do to keep busy in Arkham City; at least for a little while. I loved leaving these side missions for the end of the game. It kept things going after an otherwise short story experience. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the story; it was just short given the size of the game. I think I spent more time with the side missions and the DLC than the main story itself. It felt that way, at least. Arkham City is absolutely a powerful sequel, filled with numerous character appearances, tons of unlockable extras, all amidst an excellent story. I wasn’t expecting The Joker to be killed off. I don’t think anyone was expecting that. It was quite a shocker. It’s only happened a few times in the history of the character. It’s definitely a risky move, because he’s so iconic. I think I enjoyed Arkham Asylum more overall though. To me, there was just something about that first experience. Asylum was more linear, more closed in, more grounded, and I felt that it had the better story overall. However, Arkham City definitely perfected the combat mechanics from the previous game (among other things), and I absolutely loved playing as Catwoman. I can’t wait to play Arkham Origins and Arkham Knight!
Rocket League is next!