Batman: Arkham City

We're more than four weeks into 2020, and I'm still not a cyborg, and things aren't more neon than they used to be. (That possible future has been delayed.) I don't follow the Batman universes too closely; is he a cyborg at some point? He has the money, and a corporation behind him, so it follows that it's possible.

"Screenshot of Batman: Arkham City."

Batman: Arkham City is functionally Arkham Asylum with a bigger game world and more toys. Since this is just more of that, I'm only going to cover the most salient points I thought of. Unlike most sequels, you start with most of the tools you picked up in the last game. There are some new ones that are handy in certain situations, but at some point, carrying around a dozen single purpose items becomes tedious. At least the level designs cue you into the use of some tools, but I always seem to use the line launcher last.

While the Batmobile hung around Arkham Asylum, you couldn't drive it. Now that you're out in the larger city, the Batmobile has disappeared! There's plenty of streets and tall buildings here, but half the city got flooded for some reason. Even if you were to cruise the streets, they are littered with criminals who are out to get Batman.

"Screenshot of Batman and Catwoman."

For some reason, Catwoman appears at a few points. You play as her for a few missions, and seems as capable a fighter as Batman. Batman has that retracting grappling hook to get to the roofs of buildings, but Catwoman has a whip. You aim for the top of a building, but she only manages to get halfway up, and has to manually scurry the rest of the way. This is an annoying mobility handicap.

The story and villians are just what you expect from a comic book. I still wonder why the Macguffin in the ending wasn't handed off to the Joker earlier. There's a point where Batman almost dies, and that's the only appearance of his parents, and it's only for a few seconds. The ending of the last game didn't factor into the main story at all, but there's a side mission that wraps it up. Riddler trophies also make a return, but I didn't pay much attention to them. There are separate Batman and Catwoman tropies, which is good and bad thing.

The fighting is still very good, but there doesn't seem to be as many cool moves involving the environment. I guess there's not many tables outside, but there are plenty of cars, but bashing someone against a car isn't as imaginative. There are vents, but they are far less prominent, and are more sensibly placed. but there are drainage grates almost everywhere. Batman also has a 'dive' move while in flight, but I only needed to use it during one story mission, and nowhere else. (I didn't find it all that useful.)

Overall, this is just as good as the last game. I expect the other two games in the series to be as good, but I've heard that Arkham City is the best one from many people.