I finished the main story of Arkham City last night, in an effort to get it out of the way before Leeds Film Festival and Skyward Sword eat up my November. It is a great game there’s very little doubt about that but I can’t help but think that Arkham Asylum was a better game. The first game masterfully lead you by the hand to teach you how to be Batman and tell a story in a great environment. When you’re thrown in to Arkham City there is so much to see and do it’s easy to get lost. The main story is perhaps better than Asylum’s but because it’s so awesome being Batman I kept ignoring it and doing my own thing. A story with an urgency and ticking clock doesn’t really work if you keep wanting to break away to beat up thugs, collect trophies or just perch on a gargoyle because it looks and feels so cool.
I can’t help but wonder how different the game would be if you were forced to play the story first and then clean up the rest of the city. For a change the story is about the correct length and it would allow some better training and reminders if everyone was forced down the same path. One complaint I do have of the game is that you start with a lot of the gadgets and moves from the first game but you’re not really told how to use them like I think you were in the first game. I’m also really bad at playing the game so being able to turn on tutorials for all the moves would help a lot.
I grew to love Asylum after I’d finished the story and started collecting the Riddler trophies. Arkham City offers up so much more to do once the story is complete that I feel like I’m just beginning to play the game. Maybe I have it all wrong and the story was just the tutorial for the open city sandbox.
Essentially what it boils down to is that it’s a great game because Rocksteady have made it so great to play as Batman.