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Batman Arkham City Review - Best Game Of All Time

Updated on September 12, 2014

Best Game - Ever

Batman Arkham City is my favourite game of all time.

When I say that, I'm including any genre and on any platform.

It really is that good.

I have played this game to death, over and over again.

It's one of the few games that I have played all the way through, from beginning to end, on different difficulty levels, and through multiple playthroughs.

It's also one of the few where I have played through nearly all the 'extras', challenge levels and what have you, and grabbed almost all the collectibles.

I like Batman a lot, and although I wouldn't say I'm a raving fan of the character, Arkham City (AC) keeps me coming back for more ..and more.

Read on to find out why.

Batman Highmark Signal


Back To The Asylum

The original game in this series was Batman Arkham Asylum and what a game it was.

The first one to introduce the freeflow combat system, it's still great fun.

Excellent story and voice acting make this worth a go, if you haven't played any of the new generation of Batman games, or even if you have.

Batman: Arkham Asylum [Game of the Year Edition] (Platinum Hits)
Batman: Arkham Asylum [Game of the Year Edition] (Platinum Hits)

If I was going on story alone, then I would say that Arkham Asylum is the best one in the series.

There are plenty of intriguing twists and turns in this one.

It's available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.


Opening Things Up

Arkham City follows on from the superheroes' first outing, Arkham Asylum (my previous best game of all time...) and opens everything up, from the world itself to Batman's arsenal.

I've never been any good at stealth games, but Arkham Asylum introduced mechanics that even a ham-fisted stealther like me could get to grips with.

Similarly, Asylum brought in a completely new and innovative combat system called "freeflow", which I just couldn't get enough of.

Well, just when I thought the first game couldn't be topped, Arkham City came along and made all these things even better.

There is more of an open world concept this time round, but with enough cramped interior spaces to keep you interested.

You can be gliding from one side of the city to the other one minute, then seamlessly drop in on some thugs to knock seven bells out of them the next.

Then you might follow that up by walking nonchalantly around the corner and doing a bit of detective work at a nearby crime scene.

The story in Arkham Asylum was hard to beat, but City somehow manages to top it.

In fact, you encounter so many different faces from the Batman universe that it is surprising it manages to stay coherent - and it does so to the extent that the ending will both shock and move you.

There are plenty of opportunities for stealth, combat and detective work, sometimes all three in one go.

In short, as I have said elsewhere, Batman Arkham City is a bona fide Batman simulator.

I've never come across another game which so completely put me in the shoes of the main character in the way that this one does.

A building in AC's industrial area
A building in AC's industrial area | Source

Let Battle Commence

The one thing I love above all else in Batman AC is the combat.

I like the other elements, sure, but there's something about the way the freeflow combat mechanic just works and feels so right for Batman.

If you've not played it or its predecessor before, the idea is simple.

Instead of having to learn complicated combinations of button presses to get Batman's moves on (like many 'traditional' games), you have 3 buttons:

One button attacks, one button defends and the other button uses Batman's cape to stun opponents.

Oh, and you can use another button to jump over the heads of your enemies and attack them from behind.

Sorry, that's 4 buttons.

Well, actually there are one or two others, to do with gadgets and so on, but you get the idea.

This may sound strange or boring but it's sheer genius and a lot deeper than it sounds.

Did I mention that this is the best game ever?

Batman Speeds Up

Batman will start off slow and gradually speed up, the more hits or counters that you manage to string together (in what the game calls a "combo count").

As the combo meter builds, he'll eventually be able to jump easily from one thug to another on different sides of the screen, with joyful abandonment.

The animations change up accordingly.

Starting with a few simple punches, Batman slowly warms up, gradually moving on up to kicks, locks, throws, and bone crunching manoeuvres, which would make your eyes water if you had any time to think about it.

As you flow from one move to the next, you can also work Batman's famous gadgets into the fight.

You could throw a baterang (his well-known bat shaped throwing "stars"), grab a thug from a distance and pull them over with a grappling rope.

Maybe you'd like to pop some explosive gel into the middle of a crowd, or numerous other options?

No problem!

After a reaching certain numbers in the combo count, you can even pull off special moves such as a one-hit knockout or disabling an enemy's weapon.

One of the larger enemies - It'll all end in tears, I know it
One of the larger enemies - It'll all end in tears, I know it | Source

Keep The Flow

As long as you keep the flow going, you're good.

All the while, more bad guys are jumping into the fray and sometimes you'll face enemies with special abilities who can only be dealt with by a specific method.

If Batman is interrupted by getting hit, or missing a move, then the count starts again and it's back to the drawing board.

Since the amount of experience you get (or points, if you are playing one of the many extra "challenge levels") is tied to how high a combo you achieve, it gives you a real incentive for playing it just like Batman would.

There's lots to keep your eye on, but when they call it "freeflow", they mean it - it really does flow.

This moves things away from older games where the challenge was often just to stay alive, and into a situation where you try to defeat as many thugs as possible, as stylishly as you can.

And there are a lot of them. Thugs, I mean.

Batman is often surrounded by more enemies than a very over the top action movie.

However, the first time you manage to clear a whole room of them without taking a single hit, I guarantee you will be smiling all over your face!

So there you have it.

Arkham City is officially the best game ever (in my, ever so humble, opinion).

Or at least, it will be until the next one comes out...?

Batman: Arkham Origins - Xbox 360
Batman: Arkham Origins - Xbox 360

Of course, you can now get Batman Arkham Origins too, a prequel set in Batman's second year.

I'm several hours into Origins now - and loving it.

Correction: I have finished the game ...and am starting a new one.

You can read my review below.

It's also available for PS3 and PC.

Batman: Arkham Knight - Xbox One
Batman: Arkham Knight - Xbox One

The last entry in the series will sadly (for me) only be available on Next Gen consoles, such as the Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Correction: originally scheduled to be released in October, it has been pushed back to 2015.

That is fine by me, as I'm sure Rocksteady will be careful to fine tune all the new goodies.

It looks like I may have to upgrade my 360 before then...


What do you think about Batman Arkham City?

See results

© 2013 Tim Bader


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    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 3 years ago from Surrey, UK

      Thanks @Brite-Ideas, I'm pleased with it.

      I'm hoping to add a whole lot more video game stuff to add to the ones I did on Squidoo.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Tim, congrats, the page looks great here at Hub! video reviews are sure something my boys are into

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 3 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @SusanDeppner: Thanks Susan!

      Thanks for reading.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 3 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I'm not a gamer, but I know a good review when I see one. Nice job!

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 3 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @Lorelei Cohen: Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head.

      I think the Dark Knight trilogy by Christopher Nolan have added a lot to that sense of reality too.

      Thanks for reading.

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      Batman being a regular kind of guy who gets drawn into the crime world through tragedy really does make him a very popular superhero. He's real or as close to real as they come. Love him.

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @KarenHC: Sounds good to me ...although I think once you've played it for a short time, you'll want your own copy anyway!

      Thanks for reading.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      This is a game that I think my younger son (in his mid-20s) would love. Hmmm....Christmas present ideas. Come to think of it, I'd probably enjoy the game to. Maybe he'd let me play his if I buy it for him.

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @boneworld: Thanks for reading and thanks for the encouragement :)

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @AntonioM23: Thanks! Glad you liked it.

    • AntonioM23 profile image

      AntonioM23 4 years ago

      I love Batman,great review.

    • boneworld profile image

      Jackson Thom 4 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

      Wow, some review. I think I learned a bit about a few different things here. You kind of sold me, and I wasn't even buying. Great review!

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @Erebos411: Glad you liked my review, despite not being into the subject!

      Thanks for reading.

    • Diaper Bag Blog profile image

      Stanley Green 4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Batman was one of my heroes in my childhood... now I have so little time to play games... pity...

    • Erebos411 profile image

      Erebos411 4 years ago

      Great review. I'm not into video games but I can appreciate why you might like this one.

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @Diaper Bag Blog: Ah yes, I know how you feel!

      I only get to grab an hour or two here and there these days.

      Thanks for dropping by.

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 4 years ago

      Batman is one of my favorite comic book characters and this would make a great gift for a video game player.

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @SheGetsCreative: Yes! I know some people who only play e.g. first person perspective games, but IMO I think they are missing out.

      Thanks for reading.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I don't play this type of video game but I may need to rethink that now! Great review.

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      @silla lm: Yep, Batman sure is a cool dude!

      Thanks for reading.

    • silla lm profile image

      silla lm 4 years ago

      I was never really interested in stealth games either, and then my friend got one of the Batman games for his Xbox - I'm not sure which one - and I watched him play, and it looked so cool that I wanted to play too!