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