Well, that didn't take long. Just yesterday, I wrote about what we at GamesRadar would most like to see in the sequel to our 2009 Game of the Year, Batman: Arkham Asylum. And this morning, thanks to the latest issue of Game Informer arriving in subscribers' mailboxes – then, of course, quickly making its way onto the internet – I can excitedly report that many of our wishes for Arkham City are coming true!
First is this scan of how Catwoman and Two-Face will appear in the game. What do you think?
Personally, I love that Catwoman has the exact same goggles and pointy ears we found in the original's museum case. I also approve of Two-Face's "evil" side, which is more dark and charred than wild and wacky (ahem, Batman Forever.)
Now for the details! Various forums have summarized and condensed the contents of the Game Informer article into one mind-blowing list of information overload. There's almost too much good stuff here to process in one sitting, but I'll try to guide you through…
A pretty tidy explanation for why the asylum is now within the limits of Gotham City, don't you think? The real mystery is Quincy Sharp's motivation. Those who finished the first game 100% will remember that the former Arkham Warden and current Gotham Mayor is not only corrupt, but also a delusional schizophrenic who believes that the only way to cure insanity is by killing it off.
Is this Sharp's idea of a Final Solution? No order, no regulation… he wants the new Arkham to descend into chaos and destruction. He's locking all the animals together in a single cage and waiting for them to tear each other apart. What's really intriguing, though, is the freedom for inmates to do whatever they please. Yesterday, I asked for settings and enemies in Arkham City that better match the uniquely bizarre styles of the super villains. This revelation practically guarantees that.
Wow, that is bad news for Batman. Hugo Strange was one of the 28 hidden characters in Arkham Asylum, and if you read his file during that game, you'll understand the complications. He's even crazier than Quincy Sharp, but with the added danger that – in most versions of the character's story – he's discovered Batman's secret identity and often attempts to sell the information to interested bidders. Perhaps that's what the villains in Arkham City are competing for, which forces our hero to pay a very necessary visit.
Sounds like Batman successfully apprehended Harvey Dent at the bank robbery mentioned during the epilogue of the original. The fact that Two-Face comes across as slightly vulnerable in these story details makes me confident that Arkham City will touch on his previously noble life and explore the duality of his relationship with Batman. Meanwhile, Catwoman is obviously confirmed as an ally rather than antagonist, bringing us one potential step closer to either Catwoman co-op or a second playable character.
Yes! Alfred Pennyworth, as requested in our wish list yesterday. His long history with Bruce Wayne, and his dryly sarcastic demeanor, should make for way more interesting – and way more humorous – dialogue than Oracle could ever provide. I know I can't wait to be addressed as "Sir" for an entire game.
The combat in Arkham Asylum was extremely well-executed, but did grow repetitive after awhile. Rocksteady seems to be mixing things up for the sequel, enabling players to customize their moves to a greater degree. And taunts? Brilliant – especially if two of them are a growling "I'm Batman!" and "Swear to me!"
I applaud Rocksteady for including Batman's brainier side in the first game, but the World's Greatest Detective often did most of the thinking for us. Don't tell us to follow a DNA trail… give us the necessary tools and wait for us to figure out cool CSI solutions like that on our own. The developers clearly agree, and are beefing up the puzzles for the sequel.
How do you top the character cameos in the first game, which included hidden mementos and extensive profiles for over two dozen of Gotham's heroes and villains? I would have suggested rewarding the player with digital comic issues featuring those characters… fully realized side stories, however, is clearly better. I feel a little spoiled, and the game is still over a year away from release.
Batman: Arkham City – what we want to see
9 ways to make the best superhero game of all time even better
Batman: Arkham City map revealed
How Arkham Asylum’s biggest secret stayed hidden for so long
The 28 hidden characters in Batman: Arkham Asylum
Want Easter eggs? In this madhouse, they're everywhere you look
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