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Staff Blog: My Hopes For Arkham City

As a few of the regulars here know, I'm a little bit of a comic book fan; and over the years, I've liked Batman on and off, based on where the comic books currently were. Over the past few years, I've found myself enjoying the comic books more and more; enjoying the stories, the art-work and the characters more than I ever have. And thanks to Rocksteady, I've even begun enjoying Bats in video-game form.

Arkham Asylum is far and away my favourite game of 2009. I've completed it once on the Playstation 3, once on the Xbox 360 and twice on the PC (one on the normal edition, and another time on the GOTY edition). Quite frankly, I would have loved it to be a one-off and was kind of annoyed when Arkham City was announced, especially given how quickly it was announced.

batman

Still, here are some of the things I hope comes from the sequel, keeping in mind I've purposefully ignored everything about it to this point - the most I've seen is the teaser trailer that was first released, and a picture that still makes me rage that Harley doesn't look like she should.
Small confined areas

This was one of the things I loved most about AA, the atmosphere. Arkham Island may have been a free-roaming sort of a place, but once you went into a building, the atmosphere hit you like a brick. Playing on PC you were treated to stacks of discarded paper floating uselessly around the environment, thick layers of fog around your feet and banners swaying around. I fear if Arkham City is properly open ended, it could lose a lot of this. So first off, I'd like the areas to be individual entities, not one big open area, and if it needs to be completely open, then I hope Rocksteady have managed to keep the atmosphere intact, if not improved it.
Realistic depictions

Now, as I mentioned, I'm not the biggest fan of what they've done to Harley Quinn, one of my favourite characters, but I love the look of the other villains in Arkham Asylum - managing to retain their comic book 'charm' and character, but look plausible enough that they'd fit in the next Nolan movie. I know the baddie count has been upped, so here's hoping for a continuation of that kind of design.
Better detective mode

Since we're playing as Batman here, the world's greatest detective, I'd expect his detecting skills to be a bit more complex than to switch on glorified heat vision and follow a glowing trail. I would like to see more complex investigations, and if possible relegating the cowl's detective vision to just those detective areas. It made Arkham Asylum WAY too easy and since it was readily available, it was hard to appreciate the games world properly when I was walking around with a stupid blue tint over everything. My own fault for always using it, I know, but I'd prefer it restricted none-the-less - clearly I have no self control!
Better boss battles

harley

The biggest gripe I had with Arkham was the bosses. I was expecting a monumental fight against Croc, and while the chase we got instead was tense, it wasn't a battle. Fighting Poison Ivy was pathetic, and Bane was just downright frustrating sometimes when the random goons swamped you. Don't even get me started on the Harley 'battle.' So for Arkham City I'd like to see the same amount of thought that went into everything else going into the actual boss encounters. I don't know who the bosses are going to be, but I'd like the battles to be worthy of Bats and his enemies, not just a random battle against goons while they watch, or repeatedly throwing Batarangs until you win.

So that's it; I have more hopes for it, but that will do for now. It's not too long until we'll get our hands on it, and rest assured I will be hammering that game for all it's worth on release day. Arkham Asylum was brilliant, I was sceptical of Arkham City with such a rushed announcement, but after replaying AA recently again, I have faith Rocksteady will treat the license with respect.

Dead Alive | 18th August, 2011

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