Recently, I got the chance to get some more hands-on time with Batman: Arkham City, coming to the Xbox 360 and PS3 this October.
Now, that the game is fully developed, it was a chance to play through a fully-loaded, polished session of Arkham City. And, more importantly, face off against the Riddler. Playing through the session made me wish that Christopher Nolan went with The Riddler as a lead villain in The Dark Knight Rises, instead of Catwoman. I digress.
But, speaking of Catwoman, the game began with just that — fighting as Catwoman. Since I played the original Batman: Arkham Asylum, I quickly noticed how different it was to play as Catwoman instead of the Dark Knight. Batman’s attacks are more brutal and bone crunching. There’s also a healthy weight you feel behind each punch. Catwoman’s moves are more acrobatic and deft. Her movements are as seductive as they are deadly. After facing off against about ten thugs, the story begins with Catwoman robbing Two Face with a sexy smirk.
Shifting over to Batman, you get the feel of how massive Gotham city is. The game shows off several comic book and Bat-fiction locales, including the Monarch Theatre. Batman has the ability to glide through the air when he jumps off of a building and land with a thunk on a street goon.
In order to start the first part of the Riddler adventure, gamers must first interrogate an informant for information. The informant ans several thugs will try to attack you. Although it’s easy to get caught up in counterattacks and awesome maneuvers, you will want to jump over and dodge the informant whenever he attacks you. He’s glowing, so he’s easy to spot. Once you take down all the miscellaneous street goons, you can question the informant on the Riddler’s whereabouts.
The first Riddler mission forces you to use the Double Line Launcher. It allows you shoot out a zipline and zip through the streets of Gotham quickly. However, the real treat is switching directions in the mid zip. In the middle of coasting on the zip line, you can shift to bullet time and pick a second target. Then you will shoot your Double Line Launcher in that direction and launch yourself perpendicularly to your original target. The second line launch is instantaneous and awesome.
It’s important to practice this maneuver before facing off against the first Riddler challenge. Once I got to the challenge, I was in a building that the Riddler had booby trapped with electric tiles and moving spikes. It’s easy to get freaked out, but the key is to not. The Riddler is toying with you so not everything is as it appears, but it’s still dangerous if you freak out. You’ll soon find that the spikes are just as deadly as they look.
Once you hack into the security system, you’ll be able to slowly work your way through the maze of traps the Riddler has set for you. Why are you doing all of this? To save a hostage who is hanging over head. Needless to say, the Riddler doesn’t make it easy for you to rescue him. You’ll have to duck the moving spikes that coast by overhead and select the right tiles to move on (they’re highlighted in orange once you hack the system). You will also have to use your batarangs to trigger certain levers to move ahead. In one section, you will need to employ the remote control batarang (make sure you’re inversion is setup correctly for this).
The mission culminates with a double line launch to rescue the captive. You only have one chance to do it. But when you do, it’s an exhilarating experience.
Batman: Arkham City launches on Xbox 360 and PS3 in North America on Oct 18.