Batman: Arkham City Guide
Unofficial Batman: Arkham City Guide by CM Boots-Faubert for SuperCheats.com
Greetings and Salutations... Or perhaps Bat-Greetings and Bat-Salutations! Hmm, no, it seemed like a good idea but it ended up sounding cheesy no matter what word I emphasize! But I still want to wish you a Bat-welcome to the Unofficial SuperCheats guide for the video game Batman: Arkham City.
Words fail me in expressing how pleased that I am to be writing this Guide! Words also fail me in finding a way to communicate how seriously necessary this guide will be for most gamers playing this game -- especially if it is their first exposure to the series.
Batman: Arkham City is an incredibly huge and complex game with a game world that feels like it is about 50 times the size of the game world in Arkham Asylum, but realistically it is probably only around five-times the size of the first game. The thing is that, in addition to the huge game world, the extra content, side-missions, the collectable items in the game are naturally also increased in number and complexity, which is again a good reason why you will need this guide and, naturally, why I am taking care to cover the areas that need to be covered and in detail.
If you did play Arkham Asylum prior to playing Arkham City, much of the game play elements will be familiar to you, and in particular the controls and combat system, though there are some differences as well, most notably the shift from a sound-based defensive posture to a sight-based one. In B:AA listening for the beginning of an attack prior to countering was far more effective than simply watching for the visual signs, but in B:AC it is, as I noted, just the opposite, so for most of the melee battles you will want to use the sight-based signs for countering -- the exception to this is the boss battles and when you are facing enemies who perform a rushing attack. No worries though, mates... This will very quickly become automatic and second-nature to you as you gain experience and you develop muscle memory for the attacks and defensive moves.
As I was saying, I am very pleased to be writing this guide -- and those feelings of pleasure are, I suspect, mostly a sensible measure of the pleasure that I feel for the familiarity of the character that I got to know so well before so that taking up the Dark Knight's costume and gadgets is rather like coming home in a way; but more significantly it provides me with a level of insight that I might otherwise not have had...
A Helicopter Tour of the Central Districts of Arkham City
We all know that whenever a studio creates a smash hit game that is naturally going to be part of a series, the following sequel is almost always twice as hard to pull-off because they not only need to make a good game, but it also must compare and contrast well to the previous game to which it is a sequel -- and make no mistake about it, Arkham City is every bit the sequel that we were hoping that it would be. They manage to once again create the experience of being the Caped Crusader without falling prey to the pitfalls that invariably lay in wait when you are creating a video game representation of the super hero experience.
When I wrote the guide for Batman: Arkham Asylum I pointed out in it that it was probably the best video game implementation of the character of Batman in the history of gaming -- and I honestly believed that when I wrote it and I still believe it today! There have been plenty of attempts at creating the experience of being the Batman in video games but none have come as close as the blokes over at Rocksteady Studios have come in these two games.
In Asylum you played the game as the Dark Knight himself -- and when I say that I am actually making a distinction between Batman as he has been portrayed by countless actors in a variety of TV shows and movies, and the character that matured and was made famous all over again in the graphic novels of the past two decades that have basically served to redefine him, transforming him from the easily liked and self-effacing "Caped Crusader" into the brooding and mysterious Dark Knight.
The Batman of the video games is not the wimpy Batman played by Adam West, but rather he is a seriously buffed-up and darker Batman who is created as a mixture of Christian Bale and the 1990's and 2000's comic book versions of Batman; macho, dangerous, and with a profound attitude that marks him as having been deeply shaped and defined by the tragedy that his life has endured.
When Asylum was nearing release and the spokesmen for the development team at Rocksteady Studios were giving interviews they said that the Batman in the game was actually intended to be a sort of amalgamation of all of the movie/cartoon/comic book Batman characters who each served to shape the character by donating their best parts to it -- but I suspected then (and I still do today) that they were just trying not to hurt the feelings of George Clooney and Val Kilmer, both of whom have gone on the record as believing that they contributed something to the character by playing their roles in their respective movies.
In my assessments of the characters that I believe did not contribute to the personality of the Batman in the Arkham series, I did not include Michael Keaton, largely because I strongly feel that Rocksteady not only incorporated his attitude into the character of the Batman in the games, but I have come to believe that they actually started with Michael Keaton's Batman as the very foundation and then began piling on the best of the other sourced characters from there, arriving at the Batman we now have in the games.
If we must create a label in order to define this process -- if there must be an identification -- than let us call him a Keatonesque-Bale mixture, as that is much more accurate an assessment in my considered opinion...
Many of the finer points of game play in Arkham City are inherited from Arkham Asylum, including the combat system -- so if you are having trouble mastering it, or if you did not play the previous game, be aware of something important -- there is a mixture present in this sequel that was not present in the previous title. In B:AA attempting to strike your blows based on visual reactions almost guaranteed you failure half of the time, but this is no longer true with B:AC.
Visual triggers in melee combat may be the standard in most games, but you will quickly find that in the Arkham games when you are fighting the boss mobs or the type that have a rushing attack, you should be carefully listening for the start of the attack, and striking as soon as you hear them – because despite the attempts that were made to streamline the combat system, this is a game that utilizes all of the senses of the player as the Dark Knight, and one that rewards the player for allowing themselves to become fully immersed in the world in which they are playing!
The is especially true when you are completing mixture moves -- like dodging and attacking, or moves in the combo system for dodging and defending -- and just this one tip for adjusting your approach in combat will becomes very valuable later on, so embrace it! You may be eager to jump right in to the story mode and begin chipping away at the campaign, and if so well, good on ya mates! But just the same if you have not played the previous game, or sufficient time has passed so that you are even a little bit rusty at it, there is much to be gained through seeking out as many mixed-mode battles as you can early on in the game, in order to rediscover your previous skills or build new ones. Seriously...
In my conclusion to the Introduction in the previous guide I pointed out that it was a game in which you got to BE The Batman -- and I even went so far as to mention that in all of the previous games combined they mostly let you "sort of be Batman" only as much as the programmers let you be him. That may sound a bit confusing since, after all, this is a video game, so no matter what the good intentions were for the people who coded it, at the end of the day you still only get to be the Batman to the extent that they programed the experience. So let us just say that this is the best -- and the closest -- that any game has come to coding that experience definitively.
In Arkham City -- as in Arkham Asylum -- you get all of the gadgets, all of the skills, and all of the moves of Batman, and they are here for you to use or not, as you choose! The very essence of what you were presented with in both games -- of what you ARE presented with here -- is the most complete Batman experience you are ever going to get. Hopefully you took my advice in Asylum -- and I urge you to do that again now, in Arkham City -- and take your time playing through the campaign, being certain that you squeeze every last ounce of joy that can be had here, in this experience -- because it is so worth it and such a rare game -- because they just got it right... Again!
So welcome to Gotham City. Welcome to an even better -- and doubtlessly darker -- opportunity to play at being the Batman. This is one of those experiences in life where you will receive from it way more than you put into it. Because that is how it is designed.
Welcome too, to this guide, and know that I created it for you, and it is my most sincere and fondest desire that it serve to aid you in the process of playing this game. I apologize in advance if any of the sections of this guide spoil your discovery of the game and its story, as I tried very hard not to be too much of a kill-joy in that regard, but there is only so much I could do even taking conscious care in the doing of it.