Written by Brock Poulsen, brockst4r Sunday, 16 October 2011 05:00
Batman: Arkham City, the sequel to the excellent Arkham Asylum, releases October 18th. Here are some suggestions to pass these last agonizing days, and that will have you in crime-fighting mode in no time.
Play Batman: Arkham Asylum: Top of the list is the most obvious one: play its predecessor. Arkham Asylum is a stunning acccomplishment in gaming. If you still haven't tried it, now is the time to get familiar with the ultimate Batman experience. The combat is astounding in that it's fluid and brutal. The stealth is executed with the perfect balance of vulnerability and power. It's a reasonable assumption that you can expect more of the same high quality in Arkham City. And if you've already played it, go back and refresh your memory.
Watch a Movie: Christopher Nolan's Batman films are certainly an excellent reference for a more modern, less hokey or supernatural Batman. But I found if you look outside of the box slightly, you can find some interesting things. The Animated Series is no slouch in terms of good Batman stories. Batman: Under the Red Hood is also a good place for your Batman fix; I was very pleasantly surprised by this animated film's quality storytelling and visuals.
Do Your Reading: I don't consider myself any sort of a Batmanologist, or even remotely a comics expert. Virtually all of my comic book knowledge comes from video games, whether it's X-Men Legends, Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, or Batman: Arkham Asylum. I do, however, have a library card. I paid several visits to my local library, where there's a decent selection and a generous hold system, and found some interesting reading in terms of Batman research. The Long Halloween is a cool detective story, with good pacing and an entertaining line up of Batman's villains. Its use of color makes for some beautiful imagery, and the Joker's skeletal design is striking and drastic. It's also a good Harvey Dent pre-Two-Face (so One-Face, I guess?) story, casting him as the noble public defender and tragic figure that Arkham City, unfortunately, won't be able to depict, since Harvey is already Two-Face in Rocksteady's universe. The Killing Joke is one of the better-known Batman stories for good reason; it has some great twists and some truly frightening moments regarding the Joker. In that same vein, the interrogation scene from the recent Batman and Robin Must Die (with Dick Grayson donning the Batman costume and Damian Wayne as Robin) in particular struck me as a compelling Joker performance, and the book is worth a read. The most obvious comic for this list would be Arkham City, but I wasn't able to procure a copy, and I wanted to avoid any possible spoilers.
Start Saving Your Pennies: There is a decent amount of DLC that's already been announced, and while I do tend to question the concept of release-day DLC, I understand sometimes it's in the developer's best interest to offer exclusive DLC or codes with new copies. There are some nice goodies that will be available shortly after the game launches, namely Nightwing and Robin Challenge rooms. The Challenge rooms were probably my favorite thing about the first game, and I intend to spend a lot more time beating the bark off of goons in Arkham City's rooms.
So start getting ready to fight crime!