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Friday, Oct. 21, 2011

Batman: Arkham City

9.9 out of 10

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There's no such thing as perfection. In fact, if Rocksteady's newest Batman game was just a little tighter, I would consider giving it a 10, the much-hallowed "perfect score," but I still maintain that there's no such thing as perfection.

But Batman: Arkham City is about as close as it gets. Maybe it's because there have been so, so many awful Batman videogames. I mean, seriously. Somewhere in the Nevada desert, there's probably an old crater full of the unsold copies of all the previous Batman games. No one could figure it out. How do you make a good game about the comic world's darkest, most intelligent—and human—superhero of all? A guy who dresses like a bat to scare the crap out of people before he beats them senseless?

It turns out, you just need to put some love in it. So when Batman: Arkham Asylum came out a few years ago, it was a moment to rejoice. Here, finally, was a great Batman game. This sequel is no different. It picks up right where the previous one left off: Arkham Asylum has become Arkham City, a vast expanse of urban renewal walled in and dedicated to housing a variety of criminals and not-so-criminals, including our very own Bruce Wayne.

Once you get your bat suit, things pick up rather quick. You'll meet a few new friends, take down a few nasty bad guys, and even get a little romantic with Catwoman. Then, just when you think you have the hang of things, the world opens up and—finally!—you get to explore the city with all the freedom in the world. Finally, you're Batman. You're really, really Batman. You get to decide where to go. You get to work on side quests. You get to explore.

This game is fun. It's dark. It's got great voice acting by familiar people. The combat works. The toys are fun to play with. The bad guys are a joy. The good guys are a joy. The music is good. The open world is amazing. The graphics are great.

It's everything you want.

I dinged the game one tenth of a point because chances are, you're probably going to get a little annoyed with Batman's jumping. You might not want to play the Riddler's games. You might not want to do some of the side quests for whatever reason. But really, try to stay focused on the larger picture:

You're Batman. And you don't suck.