After I finished Arkham Asylum two years ago, I was left wanting more. I went in and played all the various stealth missions, I couldn't really string together a huge combo while fighting, so those challenges didn't appeal to me. Even after all that, the overall experience felt a bit short, but in a good way, not the 6 hour campaign sort of way. It really was like everyone said though, it is the best comic book game ever made.
So now we get the follow up, Arkham City. Now we get a small area of a city to beat up thugs and spoil the plans of Batman's arch enemies. So, its like Arkham Asylum, but bigger, and with more things to do. Sounds good to me! I load up the game, and I'm instantly taken back to the feel of AA, with the freeflow combat system, but this time, it seems like they made it a bit easier to build up a combo. Some tweaks to the controls, and a few more gadgets to play with.
Sadly, I felt the main story was quite short, maybe a bit shorter than the previous game. Fighting mechanic itself can be a bit reptitive, but since there's less encounters and a few new combos, it was not too bad for me, others may feel differently. There are a lot more distractions now. Side missions and such draw your attention away from the main story. I probably could've spent more time doing the side missions, I did get to finish the Zsasz mission mid-story, but was disapointed how it wasn't really a "boss" fight. I also spent a bit more time than I should in the Joker encounter right before the start of protocol 10 (was a bit frustrating at times). What made me rush through the story was the sense that I was against an ongoing timer. Between Dr. Strange's countdown to protocol 10, and rushing to find the cure to save Batman, the game never really gave the sense that you had time to stop and do the other things in the game. Perhaps having to give Mr Freeze some time to comeplete the cure, or you have a real clock in the game to go against would've helped, but thats just looking back at what could've been. For all I know, these things could've killed the flow of the story. But we'll never know.
At least once you complete the story, you'll get a chance to roam around and finish them off, although some side missions don't make much sense in the context of a completed game. That plus that mine defuser gadget would've came in quite handy at a few points of the story.
So is this better than Arkham Asylum? I think its close, but Arkham Asylum is a bit better, plus it gets bonus marks for setting the standard. I like that they added the Catwoman story, and wish there was a bit more of that, I really like her faster paced fighting, but she doesn't have nearly as many gadgets as Batman. Appearances by Robin were nice touches too, and I wish there were missions within the story that involved him, but we can only play as him in the challenge mode DLC thats coming out soon.
With a little over a week left till MW3, and Battlefield 3 taking up most of my time now, I'm off to trade this in. Maybe I'll buy it again when there's a game of the year edition, if time permits. But first, gotta try to finish some of the side missions before I let go.