Before we begin the Walkthrough-Guide properly there are some issues that need to be addressed, the first of which is spoilers. No matter how much I want to be able to write a guide that is spoiler-free, it is simply not practical. For one thing the whole point behind the guide is that you are using it when you get stuck - so of course it is going to deal with matter that easily qualifies as a spoiler.
Having pointed that out, what I did do was make an effort not to write about more than you needed to know to actually get past the areas that you get stuck in -- meaning that I do not "write ahead" in this guide, or discuss content that will appear in later chapters. That way you can use it as needed, or you can follow along with it as you play -- the choice is yours!
Batman: Arkham City is an incredibly huge and complicated game. This really needs to be emphasized because it really is. And while I often joke about game play tactics and my observations in the process of playing through each chapter and level in a fashion that is similar to how I wrote the first guide for B:AA this sequel provides us with game play that is on a whole new level!
If you suspect from the enthusiasm I am expressing in my writing that I am excited about and even approve of this new direction that the game has taken, well then there you are right. But like a lot of gamers who are loyal to the superhero genre, I experienced the way that the story begins in this as something of a disturbing experience. I would even go so far as to say that it made me sad. but only briefly...
Arriving at the Press Conference
--== Side Missions and Collections==--
If you read and used my guide to Arkham Asylum you will no doubt be aware that I handled a lot of the side-missions as part of normal play in that guide. That system worked really well in the last game and guide, and it will work well here but it is actually more than simply a matter of convenience! You see when they created Arkham City they made the story-mode (campaign) dependent upon some of the side-missions and the collections! Let me repeat that: as you play through the story mode some of the side-missions and the collectable items are integrally linked to it -- meaning that completing them and collecting them is an absolute requirement!
That being the case it was necessary to find a compromise -- a middle ground if you will -- so that we could obtain all of the items we need to, complete all of the optional stuff (some of which clearly is not so optional) and get the job done. There is always the temptation to simply interrupt the flow of the story and concentrate on the side-stuff, but I have made an effort not to do that too much here, because doing that risks turning play into something that feels almost like work!
You do have the option of holding off on most of the side-stuff until you have completed the story mode and have started your second play-through on the Game Play (hereinafter written as GP ) Mode -- if you are not aware when you begin the GP you can go back and do any of the side-missions you did not do, and you start the GP with all of the Gadgets and moves and kit that you had when you finished your first play...
Coming up with the solution to this was complicated because the guide needs to be very complete and comprehensive, so what I ended up doing was treating the collection items as a get-it-where-and-when-you-find-it sort of deal -- and that is what I am suggesting that you do! Whenever you come across a collection item (what the game calls Riddler Secrets) you should collect it, and I encourage you to use the ticklists that I have provided towards the end of the guide to keep track of what you have obtained even though technically you do not have to do that since you can review the ones you have completed in the game since they are marked on the relevant screens. It is your call whether you do that or not, but I will say that I did and it helped me a lot.
--== A WORD ABOUT RIDDLES ==--
While we are on the subject of the Collectable Items, I treat the Riddles as separate items in the game, and I actually have dedicated sections in the guide (mostly in Part 9) where I deal with the Riddles in a uniform and organized way, so if you are following this guide you may want to do the same by either intentionally NOT solving the Riddles until those sections, or at the very least printing out the ticklist and marking the ones you do solve early off on it.
-- The Engineer Conundrum and Other Collections --
The only side-mission that really seriously links to the Riddler's Secrets in the game is the Enigma Conundrum one. Progress in it is linked directly to the number of Secrets (trophies, breakables and riddles) that you have acquired -- and to actually complete it fully you will have to obtain all of the collectable items (there are over 400).
Obviously it is best to get an early start on that but before your mind starts swimming in collectable items, we really need to discuss strategy and why I did NOT include the collectable items as part of the main story in the walk-through. You read that correctly -- you are NOT going to see me say things like, "as you turn the corner there is a Trophy inside the wall, break it down and grab the Trophy" or similar instructions.
The reason for that is a simple one: This guide is already HUGE. If I had included all of the secrets as you encounter them it would have been at least a third-again bigger, and that just will not do!
--== HOW WE HANDLE THE COLLECTABLE ITEMS ==--
The reason that this sub-heading is all in caps is because I really wanted to be sure you read this part, because it is important.
In the previous game there were maps you had to find in order to reveal the locations of the collection items in the game. That is not how they did it in this game. In place of the maps there will be a thug in most of the groups who is highlighted in green -- and who I call Greenies when I write about them in the guide. The reason that they are highlighted is so that you do NOT incap them during the fights. You want them to be the last thug standing at the end of each fight so that you can approack them and hit 'Y' to Interrogate them!
Each Greenie is actually one of the Riddler's agents -- regardless of which of the villains he is working for, he is secretly reporting back to The Riddler. That is significant because he also knows the locations for the various types of collection items, and more important he will willingly tell you those and mark them on your map for you. The information you get from interrogating Greenies is critical to our strategy for the collectables in the game -- I cannot emphasize that enough!
The Long Road of Riddle Solving
Bearing in mind that like in the previous game, you will encounter items that you cannot pick up even if you can see them -- because getting them will require a Gadget you do not have. The good news is that save for the ones that are protected by TYGER Consoles, we will have all the Gadgets that we need about midway through the game to get most of the collectable items! Just accept that the ones that require the TYGER decryption code are going to be the last ones that we get in the game, and proceed from there!
In addition to the collection items that were placed in the game for Batman (the glow green during regular vision, orange in Detective Vision) there are also a small number (relatively speaking) of collectable items placed in the game for Catwoman -- they are pink in regular vision.
Only Catwoman can collect these! If you try to, Riddler will trigger a remote shock charge and you will get hurt a little, so don't try.
With the game structured the way that it is, you will not be picking up most of the ones with Catwoman until the Third Session she plays in the main game, which takes place following the Boss Battle you have with The Joker, and as that is pretty deep into the game story-wise, I suggest that you put the pink Trophies out of your mind, and let that happen when it happens!
So, to recap: pick up any collectable you can lay your hands on as you encounter them but avoid solving the Riddles until we get to Section 9 when we do that systematically. As you Level-Up be sure to concentrate on Gadgets, Moves, and then Stats in that order for your upgrades. That pretty much covers everything that we need to cover about the collections save for one small issue...
While many of the Trophies are out in the open, and easy to get, a large number of them are part of little puzzles that you have to solve in order to obtain them -- jsut like in the previous game. Some of these puzzles will appear to be insanely difficult or even impossible to complete when you first encounter them, and that may have the effect of depressing you or even frustrating you. Do NOT let it. Trust me when I say this: those puzzles may look hard, impossible, or even crazy NOW, but later when you have the kit you need to do them and the experience in using it, some of the most insane appearing ones will actually be the easiest in the game!
--== Catwoman Again ==--
First we need to touch upon the Catwoman Campaign: If/When you purchase a retail copy of the game you will receive a code for the Catwoman DLC in it. The reason that I have included the Catwoman Levels in this WTG is because contrary to the scuttlebutt that you may encounter online on the chat boards, Catwoman is not overly weak, she is not bugged, and she is not easily killed. The reason that a lot of those people are saying all that is that they are button-mashers for the most part and do not understand that Catwoman's combat capabilities are very different than those of Batman.
In very simple terms, you will need to master her moves in order to be effective as her, but once you do, whoa Molly! She is hell-on-wheels -- or maybe Hell-On-Claws? Whatever, the point is that once you learn how to battle as her, and you have her moves down, you will find that she is a very capable and fun to play character!
I included her levels in the guide because I assume you will add the DLC to your game and that you will want to play it, because it is fun. It also makes the main game easier for Batman thanks in part to some of the information you will obtain by playing her levels. That is all that I am going to say about that for now, because if I say anymore I will quickly be swerving into the realm of spoilers...
If you did NOT purchase your copy new -- meaning you rented the game or borrowed it -- you have a choice to make here... You can simply ignore those sections of the guide if you like, though to be honest I do not recommend that because playing her levels really does add to the fun in the game... And I don't include her levels as a separate section of the guide either so there is another reason to play her! Basically if you did not get the game new you will need to go onto Xbox LIVE and purchase the Catwoman DLC, download it, and install it.
I strongly recommend that you do this, and not simply because it adds some extra Gamer Score and Achievements to the game -- which it does -- but rather because you will be depriving yourself of some awesome game play if you do not. And more important, you will not be getting some information in the game as you play that really adds to the depth of the story.
That is as far as we can go on details -- but please take my advice and and install the Catwoman DLC now.
--== Start Screen 1 and Proper Saves ==--
Before ending each session you should be backing out to the very first screen -- the Start Screen -- but when you are resuming play you will notice that you the Start Screen 1 is the Select Saved Game screen and, when you select the saved game you want to resume, you get a screen with the following selections on it:
-- Continue Story
-- Riddler's Revenge (Locked until you solve some Riddles)
-- Character Trophies
-- Game Mode (Locked until you complete a play-through on Normal of Hard)
-- Catwoman Episode Replay (There are 4 in total)
-- Story Synopsis
-- Concept Art (Unlocked by solving Riddles in game)
These are mostly self-explanatory but some are more useful than others... You cannot replay the different levels as Batman but you can replay Catwoman's levels, and of course the Riddler's Revenge, Concept Art, and Character Trophies options allow you to keep track of the Collectable Items you have unlocked, which is useful if you want to be sure that you get all of them.
The most useful single item on this screen would be the Statistics Option, which in addition to telling you how much of the game Story Mode you have completed in percentage, also tells you your side-mission status, Upgrades and Collectibles status, Catwoman status, Riddler's Revenge Status, and Riddler's Revenge DLC status -- all of which are useful to know.
Now that we have covered all of that it is time to begin playing the game at the very start of the story mode (campaign), which funnily enough begins with the first Catwoman Level! So without further delay, let's get to it bub! Start a new game and get this show on the road!