The lights are on
This hurts you a lot more than it hurts me, Batbrain.
You know, when I first played this game, and saw the demos, I was on board with everyone else. It looked great, it sounded great, and it seemed like we'd get a bonafide hit. Instead, what we got was a mess of questionable ideas but with enough gameplay and content that convinced most people (apparently) to overlook the gaping issues in Arkham City. As a result, I'm purely devoting this review to what is wrong with the game, since GI and many user reviews have spent plenty of time praising it like crazy.
First, the story is crap. Yes, it is crap. Pure grade, brown crap. The amount of misogynist undertones and oddly pro-guy on guy vibes seem to be making their best effort at making every female character in the story feel irrelevant. Frankly, sexism is an issue we deal with in a lot of games, but I thought Paul Dini wrote this. He's always been about empowering female characters while not making them be Mary Sue. Was he only allowed to write some side missions? I mean, come on, his work with Catwoman and Harley was far better than this stuff, and similarly, they had to rip from Batman Begins and bring in Ra's Al Ghul? We don't need to see Ghul's daughter's ass, we don't need for Harley to be made to seem like a manic-deperssive stooge with no personality, and we sure as hell don't need Catwoman wearing an already ridiculous get up even more stupidly than before.
Her voice actress deserves better than this -- this is the woman who voiced Brianna in KotOR 2 for crying out loud!
Gotham City Sirens somehow managed to get Gotham's leading ladies very provactive yet also empowered, so why this game couldn't is beyond me. And if you're wondering why I'm focusing on the female members of the cast, it's because there's not much to say about the other characters -- they are that bland. Penguin is the only exception, and in fact may be in his best incarnation ever. Nolan North soars as Penguin, and hope they bring him back in later entries with just as much bite and dark, bitter humor. Joker isn't even that interesting anymore, sounding my like Batman's ex-girlfriend than anything else.
Alright boys, get at him!
Next up on the list of issues -- there's such a thing as "too much" content. Yes, I know, in this day and age of DLC and cut content and short campaigns, it feels odd to say that, but it's true. The various gadgets, scenarios, riddles, and enemies eventually become so copied and pasted that it stops being surprising. It goes from feeling like a game to feeling like busy work -- and I say that as someone who's used New Game + in Dead Space easily 20 times across both entries. Who cares about using an area of effect ice bomb over using a single guy ice bomb that works exactly the same? Add to the fact that now the new "special" enemy types break up the flow of combat and stealth rather than adding challenge, and we've got a case of congestive gameplay failure.
But even if those two arguments stop you from getting the game, keep this in mind. The DLC adds practically nothing, except for some endless combat rooms, and a few piece of cut content and last minute ideas to lengthen out gameplay. For around 7-10 dollars, each piece of content, at best, offers only a few hours worth of new content. Compare that to the highly replayable and fantastic Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link, and it almost feels insulting.
You're running out of legs to stand on, Bats!
In summary, Arkham City is more or less coasting on the fumes of Arkham Asylum, a far more congruent and sensible game. Yes, some minor tweaks here or there improve City, but if they had patched them into Arkham Asylum, you'd have no reason to get City. The beginning is far better than this middle, and if the story and excessive content is any indication, the finale for Arkham may not be worth getting either. Stick to what works. If you want this game for the challenge rooms and can get it for about 20 or less, then maybe it's worth your while, as those are entertaining. But keep in mind that after about fifteen hours in, this game is going to stop having any new twists, and you're going to be left wondering what the point of it all was.
Tick tock, Batman. Your time is at an end.
WHAT? First off, arkham city blows asylum out of the water. 2nd, arkham city is amazing.