19th August 2010 - Rocksteady seemingly did the impossible last year, releasing Batman: Arkham Asylum to an unsuspecting public, flying in the face of so many average games before it. With a clever mix of beat-em-up puzzle solving and context sensitive tools, not to mention beefed up graphics and some excellent voice actors, can Bruce Wayne do it again? Batman: ArkhamCity has its work cut out for it, in more ways than one but recent news from GameInformer is looking hopeful.
Just in case you missed it, here's a run down of all the latest information for the next instalment, this time next year. It's going to be a dark night in Arkham City....
- Since we last saw things it's been one year and the original Asylum, shut down. So much so that Quincey Sharp is now actually the mayor and he's taken the slums and converted them into a 'city'. The only rule: Don't try and escape. The inmates (and all those bad guys and arch enemies) are free to roam and exist to the best of their abilities...
- It's been one year but the Joker is looking fully sick. It is still unknown if this is the cause of prior experiments on himself from the last game, although given the time frame further details seem to point to something else. Also The Joker is not the main man, pulling the strings this time although he certainly gets in the middle of things. Said clown is largely unable to get around the city and has Harley Quinn doing his dirty work, but only so Bats can't get too close...
- In a curious twist Harley Quinn is seemingly out to keep Batman away from the Joker so that he can't investigate this illness further. This is exampled when we see the Joker holed up in a bell tower with sniper rounds and goons to keep Batman back.
- Hugo Strange is the puppet master, brought in by the Mayor to 'control' and sedate the city inmates. Whatever he is working on it may just be affecting the Joker... perhaps some sort of reverse engineered virus or antibody/mind control.
- Big heavies to content with are Harvey Jones aka Two Face and The Riddle once more. Both have loyal followers in the city and its been made clear the gang factions will play a big part and even possibly 2 gangs facing off with Bats using them against each other.
- Two face has just been admitted to the prison city and surprise, surprise he’s out to recruit newbs through respect...by killing Catwoman aka Salina Kyle …. In acid!
- Catwoman is looking as womanly as ever, and may be a hot contender for a female cat fight against Harley Quinn (we can only hope). We know that she is the reason Bruce Wayne actually went into the city, after watching it for so many months and that he somehow feels responsible (red: sexual tension) for her being in there. Also she has a whip and can do many things Batman can.
- The Riddle is still otherwise invisible, although he does have a stronger storyline with goons or random npc around the city offering missions to complete for hidden? s. He also seems to be building some machines...
- To further flesh out this crazy town, random payphones will offer more random side quests for the one and only Victor Zzar, from the first game, which begs the question....will the sandman/scarecrow, also reappear.
- It's going to be another long night for Batman, with no sign of the sun on the horizon.
- The main place or local mentioned is the court house of one Harvey Dent. Half Marble palace and half burnt to the ground, we love a good barrel of acid with a cleavage clad vixen dangling over it...
- Basically, Rocksteady have made a city....but also just a bunch of 'locations' like in the first game; just instead of random islands there is a more integrated sense of streets and people.
- Rocksteady want it to be a tightly controlled and managed environment not too sprawling and each area very detailed. Again, given the first game we are expecting some big indoor locals connected by small streets on the outside in a rather linear but fun method.
- Clowning around in the carnival. This appeared the first teaser trailer.
- Screens show a Casino in almost every shot.
- As well as the Monarch Theatre.
- Lounge and/or nightclub.
- A sewer/aqueduct or body of water.
- And a central tower (looking more like a fair ground ride.) Oh and a big? On the moon...
- In a big way, not a lot has changed here; rather Rocksteady is just adding and fleshing out what was already good.
- In a big city, more emphasis on using that handy zip-line and scooting between buildings from the start.
- Can use tools almost whenever, for e.g., gliding and grappling.
- Wall climbing shenanigans ala Just Cause 2.
- More control over the gliding.
- Combat evolved: Batman can now use multiple take downs i.e. - 2 at once and further to that he can use his tools during combat; spraying enemy with det gel then exploding them in a middle of the crowd.
- Batman can now summon...bats, apparently to further stun and confuse enemies. Oh and smoke pellets!
- Enemy come in more flavours and variety and tougher now. Batman will have to use his new fast and furious combo to do multiple damage and hits to them if he wants to win.
- Some gang members are now “friendly” e.g. - Jokers goons. If you see Two Faces men wailing on him, rescue him to receive a side mission.
- That handy batman vision of blue will now have different colours for different gangs e.g.- Riddlers men are now green.
- Armour and other items will appear as yellow when fighting goons in this vision mode.
- Better disarms and again, combining them with tools and takedowns.
- That grappling gun can now actually grapple things...from a distance... like Riddler puzzles and clues.
- The boy wonder Robin and his family, may have made an appearance in the city at some time.
- Still no word on co-op or multi although Salina (cat) woman will definitely be a bigger part in the story. (Possible character swaps during single to explore from different angles?)
- Alfred is on the comms this time as Oracle has gone missing...
- Lots of side missions or side stories. Rocksteady has said that these are separate and not necessary to the main plot or to complete which again lends itself to a more linear single story with lots of extra content to fill in the sides like the last game.
- There is also a promise that The Riddle will be fully fleshed out and offering just as many riddles although with their own stories attached to each one that leads to a bigger exposition of the characters.
- Batman also has greater flexibility to the environment like walking or sitting on wires and poles, and nabbing goons from the darkness in a variety of ways rather than just dropping upside down on them....detailed maps and sonographs/radio also appear.
A NEW FACE OF EVIL:
- Lets just put it out there, like the artwork from last year, Two Face is looking pretty buff, as do all the characters in the game and the Cat woman, well lets just say she has epic cleavage and a rather nice cat suite complete with Red goggles (not yellow)
- It still seems very likely that we will actually jump into the boobs, I mean boots of Salina sometime in the story to break up the Batman parts. As much as we miss Robin, Salina has those nifty goggles and `cracking whip!
- Two Face has a face, well much like the recent movie... more realistic and less purple mess, he's got brown hair though and no word on the voice actor yet.
- Batman looks as Batman does : rippling muscle tone.
- There are images of Harvey wearing a hat and trench coat, so he may just be self admitted to the city rather than arrested.
- Harley Quinn has a lovely little costume with red/black pants and a white tank top, now with added Joker tattoo on the hip. Also her face makeup is considerably less...same voice actor.
- The Joker, poor thing is looking worse for wear with boils and rather large scars down the face (not the mention the hair loss). The scars in particular perhaps hint toward something other than poison from last time.
- There are 'vote for Dent' posters around the city...so he's been busy (also they ripped off the recent movie which ripped off...oh never mind)
- Much more variety of clown goons and others including really weird clown masks with big red rubber noses...
- There is a small amount of speculation here, like the ability to actually control cat Woman, although with so munch information already, the rumours are pretty healthy.
- Clearly, Rocksteady has already shown off one demo, and now it's only a matter of time until we get to play it as well.
All in all, it does appear the next game is more of the same, but literally- more, in all directions and with extra layers of evil genius. The mix of Harvey Dents' crime fighting, the Jokers self indulgent bat-crazy thinking and Hugo Stranges' puppet mastery not to mention The Riddles double crossing, is sure to push Batman to the limit and create a melting pot of circumstance.
One of the main plot points from last year was the epic boss battles or at least some returning characters that made very cool looking bosses. Rocksteady has this information wrapped up tight....for now but I for one can’t wait to see who else weighs on the Catwoman's trial by acid. I can imagine Killer Croc making a return although Ivy, got a pretty hefty `beating last time and it would be cool to see someone else like the Penguin and Mister Freeze, play havoc with the environment... …. ….
Did we mention that as the demo starts, a light snow is falling …? …
Article By Ian Crane