You start the story off as the Playboy billionaire Bruce Wayne at a press conference in front of Arkham City, whilst in the middle of your speech, TYGER Guards roll in in their high class, tech savvy armoured to the brick you know what house trucks with only one mission. Capture Bruce Wayne. After this we now find ourselves locked in a chair with non other then Professor Hugo Strange babbling in our faces about this that and the other. after he leaves you attempt a short lived escape only to be thrown into the general population. Once a physical altercation with Penguin and his crew is finished, you walk away without a scratch and call up your faithful butler, Alfred, who sends the batwing out containing your Batsuit. Yay now we get to don the suit and its time to let the fun stuff begin. Once here its a good idea to familiarise yourself with the controls as it may have been a while since your last Bat-venture in Arkham Asylum and may find your skills have become slightly rusty.
Armed with all the gadgets you left with in Arkham Asylum, you are faced with almost limitless possibilities and an amped up gameplay experience. Arkham City may seem like a free roaming map but I tended to think of it more as a hub that could be traveled to different missions with an outstanding amount of things to do in-between. I found it hard to stay focused on the main mission at hand for as I traveled to the objective, I would notice the distinct colour of a Riddler Trophy, Hear the blood chilling sound of a payphone ringing or the thunderous BANG from a distant sniper rifle which would immediately stray my attention and the next thing I know, hours have passed and I'm no further through the story line but I have a headache from the 10 Riddler Trophies I just collected!
Your main storyline is mostly set around The Joker and his connection to Prof. Strange but the game also sees alot of other villains in the mix. Such villains include Two-Face, Mr. Freeze, The Penguin, The Riddler, The Mad Hatter, Clay Face, Victor Zsazz and Deadshot just to name a few. Whilst battling the villains and their goons you gain experience points which contribute to you gaining levels and unlocking things such as Combat Takedowns, Gadget Upgrades, Batman Upgrades and Catwoman Upgrades. Yep that's right, I said Catwoman Upgrades. Now while the game doesn't initially include Catwoman into the disc, she is available either by the one time use code that comes with the game when purchased or through the Xbox Marketplace as DLC content. She brings in her own storyline available at the main menu but if you install the it before you start your game, she becomes available to play throughout the campaign giving you a completely different gameplay style to that of Batman along the lines of movement and combat and also explaining many things that are happening off camera so to speak.
Another great feature to the game is the New Game Plus gamemode which can be acquired upon completion of the main story line on either Normal or Hard difficulty. This new feature unlike most others allows you to keep your level, gadgets and unlocked combat moves. But the main thing that catches my attention is it starts you back at the beginning of the game with all this and throws in a curve ball. All the enemies have been amped up, including bosses. And by this I mean that the old enemies you are use to fighting now have new dirty tactics and move around differently making it harder to achieve a silent takedown, along with this you will also notice the counter signal is now turned off making you susceptible too all forms of unknown harm from any angle forcing you to focus on the fight at hand and bringing you even further into the mindset of the legendary Dark Knight.
Along with all these great new features that launches this game into my personal top 5 for the year it brings with it the old school stuff. Things like the DLC of the 1970's Batsuit and The Dark Knight Returns Suit. You also get the Riddlers Revenge gamemode which plants you into some complex situations as either the Batman or Catwoman. In this mode you can choose between Ranked Challenges and Campaigns taking you through similar objectives that we saw in Batman: Arkham Asylum with the Stealth and Fight missions and some that get mixed in the process. It also has the Leaderboards ranking system so you can not only compare your times and challenge your friends to beat them, but for the more hardcore gamer you can even attempt to take on some of the worlds best times in an all out brawl for the Top 3. Totalling 78 Ranked medals and 108 Campaign medals it's guaranteed to keep you occupied and overly amused for hours on end.
My over-all thoughts on this game cannot be contained into meer text and as any hardcore fan of DC Universe would agree on, It's the Batman game of our wettest, stickiest fanboy dreams. I am literally finding it insanely difficult to express to my reading audience just how must awesome can be contained into one game. I played Arkham Asylum and finished it numerous times and almost achieved all the achievements I could get, this sequel shall be no different. Now if you guys will excuse me, I've got 306 Riddler trophies to collect and a campaign to utterly destroy at a bare minimum of 5 more times.
I'll let you guess what my rating is on this.