Batman Arkham City, PS3

After I thoroughly enjoyed "Batman: Arkham Asylum", I was really excited for the release of "Batman: Arkham City". Guess what... I wasn't disappointed.  "Batman: Arkham City" kept everything that was good from the first game, added some awesome new features, and it was enough to make the experience feel like a whole new game.

The major flaw on Arkham Asylum was the need to constantly use the X-ray vision to plan stealth attacks on thugs that were lurking around corners. That was mainly when they were in really small areas. It may not have been a "flaw" to everyone else, but to me, it was quite annoying. In "Arkham City" the environment allows for more movement, and the lighting is much better. It's actually pretty easy to see enemies without using the X-ray mode, while still keeping the atmosphere dark. Some bad guys carry guns, so there is some strategy involved. However, I don't feel like I'm playing hide and seek where I take out one single guy and then run and hide before my next attack. Also, it's cool to look into the sky and see a bat-signal indicating the direction you should be travelling.

There's such a large number of melee attacks you can unlock, it's kind of overwhelming. Luckily, you have an option to view a prompt at the bottom of the screen letting you know when your combo meter is high enough to use advanced attacks. If you vary your fighting style, you get more XP points that allow you to unlock new abilities. You can also use them to upgrade your armour.

In "Batman: Arkham City", there are tons of Riddler trophies to find. Some of these are only hidden from sight, but some of the others are obvious and require you to solve a puzzle to free them. Some of the riddles require that you use a special device that chains letters together to form words. There are some other challenges that require you to glide a certain distance, perform varied attacks, and even break Joker teeth. Each of these will award you with a Riddler trophy. Collecting all the trophies is kind of like a game all by itself. It's a good way to break up the action and to keep you from getting bored. I really enjoyed it and played it for hours on end. If you can't complete one of the challenges to win a Riddler trophy, you can always hold down the L2 button to mark it on your map. Many of the challenges actually require gadgets that you will find later in the game. The red trophies, however, can only be collected by Catwoman.

Catwoman's martial art attacks are really cool. You can use a whip as well as several other weapons. You can also make her scale a building by using repeated jumps. This is used in place of Batman's grappling hook. In this game, her character actually seems to be fully developed and she isn't used just for a promotional gimmick.

Getting around "Arkham City" is fairly easy by using Batman's gliding ability combined with his ability to grapple from midair. It's tons of fun, and is really useful.

Now, it's time to discuss the graphics. In all honesty, they are some of the best I've ever seen. In some of the sandbox games, a lot of the buildings look like a bad hollywood movie set. In other words, they look unrealistic and like they are painted on a wall. The city in this game really feels like you're visiting another world. The voice over in this is also very good, especially when Mark Hamill portrays the Joker.

As far as the AI partner, in this game it's better than the last. It's a nice change from the games where the guys go on alert for a split second and then return to walking on the same path just begging to be killed. This game is actually quite challenging. So, if you have trouble with certain fighting elements, you can always upgrade. One of my favorite additions is the ability to throw down a smoke pellet when you are under gunfire.

Overall, this game is fantastic. There aren't any bugs, and there isn't any slowdown despite how large the city is. Rocksteady definitely spent some time fixing the past issues and have expanded the gameplay in some really creative ways. I often get frustrated during some games and wonder if the developers cared if it was actually fun to play. I've spent so many hours playing Arkham City and know that some people really took pride in how well it was made. I highly recommend you pick up a copy for yourself. Thanks for reading!