Another Eurogamer exclusive for you guys! I was very lucky to have the patience and willpower to queue up for the necessary three days to play the demo of the game. Okay it wasn’t quite that bad, but still…
From what we know already, Batman Arkham City takes place about twelve months after the events of Arkham Asylum, and features a very different Gotham City to that which we have seen before. With Arjham Asylum and the Blackgate Prison destroyed, large areas of the city have been turned into temporary prisons. With the now city more penitentiary than an actual hospitable place to live (well, as hospitable as Gotham City can ever be, with it’s frequent crime-obsessive freak attacks) it has therefore fallen on Two-Face to try and balls things up even further. Her has decided he is going to assassinate Catwoman because he has an aversion to PVC or something, which is all part of an elaborate plan for him to become the biggest and baddest villain in Gotham, because the other 127 other villains are all off in St. Tropez sunning it up I guess.
Quelle surprise the silly bint gets captured, and soon we are back playing The Bat, en route to her planned execution site. What becomes very apparent is the greater sense of scope and openness this game has, as oppose to Arkham Asylum’s almost Resident Evil style maze of linear corridors with the occasional more explorable section tacked on. Batman pulls out his new Bat-Nav, or whatever it’s called, which shows him his next main story mission as well as a couple of other side missions he can go and resolve. Just to really stick it to Spiderman, Batman now glides and grappling hooks his way across the city with ease, so he might as well just spray his suit blue and red and tell Spidey to knock off for his retirement.
Control-wise, little is changed from Arkham Asylum, although combat feels a bit weightier, with fists and weapons still feeling incredibly visceral in the newer location. No more going to whack an enemy with something blunt only for it to get stuck on a wall or door frame. Controlling Catwoman, briefly, felt very smooth as well, and there is a definite shift in how the two playable characters feel. I was always worried that she would lumber around and look a little too “rugged”, as rugged as one can be in a leather all-in-one, but fortunately the demo put that worry to rest.
The Unreal Engine is still holding it’s own in this game, despite it’s age, but the demo was truly stunning with there being gloom and darkness, but still being visible to the naked eye without needing to adjust your television’s contrast settings. And apart from some purposefully altered dialogue in a pre-rendered cutscene (oh Rocksteady, you coy strumpets you), the rest of the demo played very nicely and definitely upped the anticipation for this game’s release next month. The game, originally scheduled to release alongside both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions on the 21st of October, has now been pushed back to a November release. No reason has been given so far as to why the PC version has been pushed back.
Below is the latest trailer for the game, featuring Batman’s arch-nemesis, The Joker.