Field Notes, Batman: Arkham City, Page 4

This is the fourth entry on my play through of Batman: Arkham City. Be ye warned that there will be spoilers for as far as I’ve played and please avoid spoilers for me if you have any comments concerning future segments of the game

Nine Lives

Catwoman’s portion of the game continues to be fun to play; the fact that the game lets you choose whether to help Batman or not was a nice touch.

Breaking into the vault was a nice set piece and I laughed when she destroyed Poison Ivy’s plant – I didn’t expect it, and score another point for Rocksteady when it comes to letting these character’s personalities shine through.

The Two-Face battle at the end took me longer then it should have since I didn’t realize the guards kept repopulating; it seems not matter how many games I play I usually miss the obvious.

Catwoman’s music also offers a nice change of page and I feel reflects her character’s playfulness. In Batman you’ve all the brooding you can take, so the light notes that play during her sequences remind you that there’s another way to look at the events unfolding around you.

catwoman

a different perspective, and fun to play

Story-Behind-The-Story

Joker’s speech in the TV – he talks again of hiding a secret, something right in front of the Dark Knight. What is it?

And why was Harley tied up? Is that the real Joker I’ve been after? Is he even sick, or all a part of his crazy plan? Is the “Chameleon Killer” I’m tracking a part of it?

The sequence with Joker and Talia al Ghul was a real surprise – how Batman is down and Joker is ready to end it, when she walks up and offers immortality as a trade for Bruce’s life. I loved how Joker didn’t believe any of it until Batman warned against it, lending credence to her story. Great moment.

I’m not sure what Joker’s story-behind-the-story is, but it’s a genuine gaming mystery and those are hard to find; a plot line where you’re truly at a loss as to where things could end up. Exciting!

talia_joker_trade

let’s make a deal

Tower Revelations

Protocol Ten was finally revealed and I was surprised and how impersonal it was. Hugo Strange knows your identity as Batman, is set up as a master strategist, and has gone to great lengths to not only create Arkham City but personally destroy the Dark Knight.

So to have Protocol Ten be “everyone dies!” was less ornate than I thought it would be. I think it works, I just imagined the buildup would lead to something more intricate.

The environment is amazing though – choppers streaking across the sky, the fires lit all over a city – a mini war-zone created by the man who built it, Hugo Strange.

The trip up the tower was as epic as it should be – taking out Strange’s thugs next to the very room you started the game in where he taunted Bruce Wayne with the knowledge that he knew his secret identity, the lighting and assent up the tower with the whole of Arkham City below you with black cape whipping in the wind, and the final elevator ride up to the top of Wonder Tower – all of it getting you psyched for whatever awaited you at the top. Well done.

batman-arkham-city-choppers

release the hounds

And Strange has a master? He first mentions this over the monitor while I’m taking out is last large wave of guards. Who is Strange working for?

Reminders of a Well-Built Set

As I near the grand finale of the game I’m reminded of all the world-building going on around me, the details that add to the atmosphere of the game:

  • Thugs that imitated Harley and Joker’s destructive relationship, even mimicking their voices. The game does such a good job of making every NPC believable
  • I knew Bane was going to betray me, so the fact that the game made Batman at least as smart as me made sense – not fighting him made both characters interact in a more interesting way by not having it come to blows
  • Finding the same nurse (Fiona Wilson) still hiding on your way back up Wonder Tower connected you immediately to earlier moments in the game
  • Looking out the glass window of the Mad Hatter’s place gave me one of my favorite (if depressing) moments of the game – the realization that in addition to the overall evil plan I have to stop, there was individual darkness, pain and hurt, behind every door in Arkham City. I nearly felt crushed in my role as hero

Nearly at the end – see you at the top of Wonder Tower!

 

 

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