Batman: Arkham City (2011)

Starting 18 months after the events of Arkham Asylum, Gotham sees the rise of Arkham City, a sectioned off piece of Gotham, where all criminals are let loose to do whatever they want away from normal society. Bruce Wayne allows himself to be taken captive to see what is really going on inside the new prison system, and he has another crazy night of dealing with some of his worst enemies basically all at once.

Arkham City takes everything amazing about the first game and gives you way more mobility and freedom. Being able to run, grapple and fly around the city at will. Taking out thugs you overhear talking crap about you, or spending several hours hunting down more Riddler trophies add to the insane amount of content that this game has. The sheer volume of side quests can be almost crippling in deciding what to do. But since the game is so perfectly balanced you always have something new and exciting to see, even if it is a little sidetracking.

Rocksteady went above and beyond with this game. Given that it came out only two and a half years later and how much stuff is crammed into the game, it’s a gargantuan feat that they completely pulled off.

The graphics of the game get an overall upgrade, but I will say it is substantially less colorful. Like watching a movie where the filmstock was comprised of muted colors. Maybe it’s to allow the Riddler trophies to stand out more, maybe it was a choice for the narrative, as Arkham City does take place in the run down derelict area of Gotham. But going back to Arkham Asylum right after finishing Arkham City, it’s a stark contrast to how much more colorful Asylum is compared to City. Everyone’s facial animation is much bigger and grand. It feels like they are really emoting and you can see it, even the smallest smirk of the Riddler as he is giving you a backhanded compliment.

The PhysX system really does add even more to the game than it did in the last game. Whether it is cracking a whip in a bank vault causing hundreds of dollars to be flung around the room, or leaves floating around the ground as you smash a goon's head into the pavement. It just adds another layer to an already great game.

Batman really does feel powerful and flying around the city is just a cool experience that I can’t think of a more perfect game to follow up Arkham Asylum with. I can’t recommend this game enough to anyone who likes superheroes or Batman. It’s a must play.