Preview: ‘Batman: Arkham City’ Puts the Dark Knight in a Lawless, Urban Landscape

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Gamers and comic fans all agreed: Batman: Arkham Asylum was not only the best Batman game ever made; it was the best superhero game ever made. Many of the classic Bat-elements were there in the game’s detective sequences, hand-to-hand combat and glorious gadgets.

Still, one thing was missing: Gotham City itself. The sequel to B:AA aims to rectify that by letting the Dark Knight roam through a sprawling chunk of the city he protects. After the events of the previous game, former asylum warden Quincy Sharpe gets elected mayor, walls off a section of the city and throws Arkham’s inmates into it. The radical super-prison program is overseen by psychiatrist Hugo Strange and the only rule is don’t try to escape. But, Strange himself is unhinged and happens to know that Bruce Wayne is Batman. (Do Your Comics-Reading Homework Now for “Batman: Arkham City”)

The demo opens with Batman talking to Alfred through the cowl’s headset. The objective at hand is to save Catwoman from Two-Face, the newest of Arkham City’s residents. The lawless zone’s in a state of constant conflict and Harvey Dent’s captured Catwoman so he can kill her in a display of power that will hopefully recruit him some thugs for his personal army. To find out where Harvey’s holed up, Batman uses version 2.0 of the Cryptographic Sequencer gadget. In the first game, it hacked open electronic locks but, here, it’s been upgaded to access communication frequencies, which basically lets Batman find quests all over the city. One of those quests was to stop a mugging. The victim was investigative TV reporter Jack Ryder–also known as cackling superhero The Creeper–and bunch of thugs where whaling on him. The thugs were no challenge to Batman but the twist in the combat here was to refrain from knocking out a specific criminal. This miscreant was tagged as one of Riddler’s informants and, by using the new interrogation option, he reveals the location of a Riddler trophy. Grabbing these collectibles isn’t as easy as just finding them out in the world, though. This particular one was booby-trapped and Batman had to use the Batclaw to safely get it. (“Batman: Arkham City” Getting Tie-In Comics This May)

That done, Batman proceeded to Two-Face’s lair, an abandoned cathedral swarming with henchmen. To get there, Batman jumps off of a roof and flaps open his cape. You’ll be able to glide, go into a power dive and, when you open your cape while diving the momentum will carry you up and forward. It’s a great way to travel and very fun to watch, too. You’ll also be able hitch a ride on the helicopters patrolling the super-prison, too. Arriving at the cathedral, Batman scans the area with Detective Vision, which has been improved to show what weapons enemies will have. This particular scene showed 48 hostiles on screen, some with weapons and far too many for even Batman to take out solo. The goal here was to strategize, taking out the thugs patrolling the high ground with machine guns first and then mopping up the ones on the ground level.

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