So I’ve finally gotten around to playing Batman: Arkham Asylum lately. Yeah, I know, I’m way behind the curve. It got to be one of those games that kept be swept to the bottom of the pile. Shouldn’t have, but did.
And of course I’m learning that the game does indeed rock every bit as much as the years of hype have suggested. I first played a bit of the game’s opening back at E3 2009 and was extra impressed with the fluidity of the controls, the dynamic combat and environment interactivity, and the stunningly sharp graphics. Yes, Arkham Asylum is all that and more. (And I’ll have it conquered soon.)
Anyway, since most of the world has moved on from Asylum, we’re all now eagerly licking our chops at every screenshot and video to emerge about the sequel, Batman: Arkham City. After the events of the first game, the Asylum has been closed after being deemed inadequate, and an entire section of Gotham City has been walled off, and all of the inmates from Arkham deposited inside. When a hostage situation breaks out inside its walls, there’s only one hero who can save the day.
Arkham City reprises a lot of the villains from the first film while introducing plenty more, including Two-Face, Hugo Strange, and the Penguin. The morally ambiguous Catwoman will also appear in the film, weaving in and out of Batman’s story as she takes advantage of his presence toward her own ends, and will even be a playable character for about 10% of the game.
E3 — where the game nabbed numerous “game of show” awards — dropped most of these details on us, as well as several other goodies, such as the new glide boost mode, which will allow you to do more than just glide to the ground now. Instead, you can pitch up and down, and use your grappling hook to gain a boost of speed and height when needed. There are some cool new capabilities for Detective Mode, Batman has plenty of new fight moves, and the environment of Akrham City is a huge, open playground for you to explore that’s much bigger than the island of the first game. There are also side missions, not involving the super villain boss battles, which will add a lot to the experience with new and different modes of play, but which are completely optional.
Check out the fantastic E3 demo video above, from Gamespot, and some of the latest screens below. Batman: Arkham City can’t arrive soon enough — but you’ll have to wait until late October to get your hands on it. It’s gonna be a long wait.