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Game of the month, October 2011

Winner: Batman: Arkham City

How do you improve on the best superhero game of all time, and one of the greatest adaptations ever accomplished in any medium? How do you top a Game of the Year that, in 2009, won the overwhelming majority of votes from both our editors and our readers?

With Batman: Arkham City, the developers at Rocksteady have made the seemingly impossible look easy. They’ve crafted a story that is much longer and much more epic than in Arkham Asylum, but is somehow more tightly focused and personality driven at the same time – an instant classic deserving of mention in the same breath as Frank Miller’s comics and Christopher Nolan’s films. They’ve tripled the cast of characters, pulling together almost every major hero and villain in the Gotham universe, yet logically connecting and fully justifying the appearance of each one – when even Batman punching a shark in the face makes sense, you know you’re in capable, confident hands. They’ve built a staggering new setting that feels as open and expansive as Rockstar’s sandbox cities, while also as painstakingly intricate and creepily atmospheric as BioShock’s haunted house dystopia – a world you’ll happily fly and fight through for 20, 30, possibly 40 or more hours.

Arkham City isn’t just bigger than Arkham Asylum. Arkham City isn’t just better than Arkham Asylum. Arkham City is the true realization of what Arkham Asylum merely promised, as phenomenal an evolution as the likes of Uncharted 1 to Uncharted 2 and Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2. We thought we were playing a landmark game back in 2009, but that was only practice.

Runner-up: Dark Souls

Given the packed holiday release schedule at the moment, the fact that we’re still playing Dark Souls a month after release is the highest compliment we can pay. It really is that infectious, though – if you’ve got the old-school gaming fortitude to stomach being killed repeatedly and left to figure everything out on your own, you will be sucked in. Every eerie new area found and towering boss slain rewards on a primal level – blood was spilled to get here, the salty fires of rage stoked with your agony. You earned this, damn it.

Add to that a singular style, epic soundtrack and solid mechanics, and Dark Souls easily lives up to its predecessor’s lofty reputation. There wasn’t anything like Demon’s Souls back in 2009 and there isn’t anything like Dark Souls now – this is one of the most unique gaming experiences available.

Batman: Arkham City review
How do you improve on the best superhero game of all time? Like this





Dark Souls review
From Software's sequel to their 2009 dark horse masterpiece has arrived, does it live up to the hype?




Batman: Arkham City Riddler guide
Our walkthrough to every Arkham City challenge! Every riddle, every trophy, every camera, every balloon and more!

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39 comments

  • Xander45 - November 3, 2011 3:49 a.m.

    I've got to disagree with Arkham city being the clear winner. In my opinion it doesn't really improve that much from Arkham Asylum, feels as open and expansive as a Rockstar title? Give over, you can get from one corner of the map to the other in about 2 minutes if that! Combat is virtually identical, the abilities added are minimal and the actually story length (if you concentrate solely on it) isn't that much longer than Arkham Asylum! I couldn't get into the story as much as in Asylum either, i really like the whole introspective look into Batman's mind that was done in that. The scarecrow parts in particular being fantastic. On the positive side the Catwoman parts were well done and i found she was fun to play as, the side missions were very good (apart from the mad hatter's poor scarecrow impression) and some of the riddler trophies really made you think. I think i was just too sucked into the hype and expecting a huge world akin to GTA 4 when what i got was something about the size of the first island from GTA 3. Boss fights were still very simple even on the hardest setting and even getting the medals in Riddler's Revenge seemed a breeze this time. A good game no doubt, and the best comic book game series ever made but for me Dark Souls is the better actual game. In Dark Souls you are scared of what is coming round every corner, boss fights are a cinematic heart pounding experience. The world is really well made out with each area having it's own very distinct look and feel and the customisation and multiple ways of beating each area and it's enemies is something that Batman can't compete with. The multiplayer aspect of it as well makes you feel as though you've got somebody helping push you on through the seemingly impossible areas. You mention that Arkham City is atmospheric, well the fight with Sif in Dark Souls is more atmospheric than anything seen in Batman Arkham City. Dark Souls is a game i can see myself coming back to time and again whereas Arkham City is a place that was fun to visit once or twice but once all the villains have been put to rights the motivation to go back there wains. Batman is a fun little romp, Dark Souls is a challenge that only gets harder the more you play it. The sense of accomplishment when i finally beat some of the bosses was something that no other game has come close to replicating in a long time. I honestly don't know how you can say Batman is a far and away clear winner in this race, when i read the title i thought it was going to be the reverse. like you said yourself Dark Souls is unlike anything else out there, Batman is not.
  • rob619 - November 5, 2011 5:13 p.m.

    "I couldn't get into the story as much as in Asylum either, i really like the whole introspective look into Batman's mind that was done in that. The scarecrow parts in particular being fantastic" Totally agree with you on that!
  • austincharlesbond - November 2, 2011 3:21 p.m.

    the wait for the PC version is AGONIZING!! me bet for GOTY is either this, Portal 2 or Zelda
  • rob619 - November 2, 2011 7:01 a.m.

    Totally agree with this Gamesradar...this isnt just game of the month its GOTY! I dont care what first persons shooters come out, that is not gaming. This is how games should be played, intense atmosphere, massive open world, various side missions and clever ridder trophies. "Just admit it batman..I am smarter then you" loll classic
  • EBAX1 - November 1, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    November GOTM is going to be the hardest thing for you guys to pick. Between Uncharted, Skyrim, Saints Row, Assassins Creed, and the 400 others.
  • Sebastian16 - November 1, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    I DEMAND Batman: Bludhaven!
  • jackthemenace - November 1, 2011 9:10 a.m.

    Man, I REALLY want both of these, although i'd have to give the edge to Dark Souls. Always prefer Fantasy style RPGs. Unfortunately, with Skyrim just round the corner, these are going to have to wait... :/
  • Ridgley - November 1, 2011 8:10 a.m.

    F**k you Hollander Cooper
  • GR HollanderCooper - November 1, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    MUWHAHAHAHAHAHA
  • Yeager1122 - November 1, 2011 7:53 a.m.

    Absoltuley loving Batman havent finished it yet though have to in time for skyrim next months game of the month.
  • Poffle - November 1, 2011 7:29 a.m.

    Absolutely loving Batman right now but my game of the year is still Portal 2. I'm hoping Skyrim will pip it though, have high hopes for it.
  • Errrrbo - November 1, 2011 7:21 a.m.

    I've beaten Dark Souls, and I honestly don't get what the hype is all about. But hey, to each his own.
  • cj12297 - November 1, 2011 4:45 a.m.

    I completely agree with Batman. (I haven't played Dark Souls, so I don't know what it's like) Arkham City has kept me playing since it's come out up to no, and I'm still playing. I played about 4 straight days when it first came out and got to about 50-60%. So a game with length, fun and a good main storyline, of course it should be game of the month, probably even game of the year.
  • DeathbyFira - November 1, 2011 3:32 a.m.

    I have to agree i never played anything as great as bat man and its going to be really close for me between skyward sword and Skyrim i don't have a wii anymore so i will be playing skyrim but zelda inst a game its a experience everyone of us has had that one memory from are child hoods that we cant forget like the music or in my case me getting the master sword from link to the past and it was also my first zelda game i owned and the first i beat as a kid lol but both games are going to be epic can they top Batman who knows we will all have to find out lol
  • reaperman22 - November 1, 2011 3:25 a.m.

    yeah batman is my GOTY, i absolutely adored portal 2 and L.A Noire but batman just left my jaw on the ground from start to finish, uncharted, skyrim or assasins would need to pull a bloody miracle out of their collective asses to beat batman and having seen the uncharted reviews (which were impressive but not as impressive as they would need to be) and my previous experiences with games like syrim (awesome but buggy as all hell) ezio would want to have something bloody spectacular under his hood
  • minimaxi - November 1, 2011 1:47 a.m.

    winner: Dark Souls joke anyone? too old? :D
  • Fox_Mulder - November 4, 2011 4:07 p.m.

    Nope still fresh. There needs to be a new Winner: (insert game) joke though. I'm bringing this one back. Winning: Charlie Sheen
  • codystovall - October 31, 2011 9:50 p.m.

    I agree but once I beat batman I really wanted to go back an play dark souls....impossible as it is. But yeah Batman deserves game of year because I believe skyrim and skyward sword will fail.
  • codystovall - October 31, 2011 9:51 p.m.

    Even if they sell.

Showing 1-20 of 39 comments

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