Batman Arkham City: Joker’s Last Laugh

By Shamus
on Jan 9, 2012
Filed under:
Batman

Reader Taliesin was nice enough to get me a copy of Batman: Arkham City. If I’d played it before the new year, it would have made my list of memorable games of 2011. Like Arkham Asylum, this is a balanced, polished experience with tons of content. The difficulty modes run the spectrum from “I’ve just arrived from the Middle Ages and have never seen a computer before” to “OMG this game is so hard I’m bleeding in real life”. It’s got a wonderfully detailed world and buffet-style gameplay.

This game has a plot twist. It’s a good one. This is hard to pull off. I mean, any writer can just execute a sudden “it was a clone / evil twin / time-travel” twist at any point if they want to. That’s not hard, but it’s basically cheating and it’s not satisfying for the audience. A good twist is one where we don’t see it coming but we can plainly see it in retrospect. This means telegraphing your twist and using misdirection to hide these clues.

Playing through the game a second time, I could see they never cheated. Okay, I’m not a hardcore Batfan and maybe there are cues I’m missing, but from my casual familiarity with the lore, it was telegraphed fair and square. Nicely done. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a plot twist like this since Jade Empire or KOTOR. There’s no way around it. If you want to pull this off, you need to be a good writer with a subtle touch, even when dealing with subject matter as loud and frenetic as comic book superheroes. In fact, it might be harder, because comic book fans have seen these sort of twists done again and again over the years, and can usually see them coming before you even start dropping clues. It’s hard to pull off a good con without cheating, and moreso when the guy doing the con is…

Look, there’s no way to discuss it without spoiling it. From here on, we’re going to be spoiling the game in absolute terms. I don’t have space to outline the whole plot, so if you haven’t played then you might have trouble keeping up. Here we go:

LAST CHANCE. SPOILERS FROM HERE ON.

arkhamcity_gambit.jpg

I really liked Joker’s gambit: He had been poisoned by the Titan formula he took at the end of Arkham Asylum, and needed a cure. He couldn’t get it himself, so he hornswoggled Batman and put the poison into him, knowing that if anyone could find a cure, the Batman could.

Throughout the game and unbeknownst to the player, the Joker was running a scam where Clayface was pretending to be the Joker. Sometimes the Joker was the Joker. Sometimes Joker was really Clayface in Joker form. The game gave small clues that this was going on. I’m curious if I missed any, and how well they worked for people more familiar with the material. So let’s go over them:

Clue: When you arrive at the steel mill and Harley Quinn locks you out of the manager’s office, you can stick around and listen in on a bit of conversation. Harley says, “Oh Mister J! You’re all better. Oh wait. That’s not you, is it?” To which Joker replies, “Shh! Don’t ruin the surprise!” (Or however it went.)

How it was concealed: We don’t know what this exchange means at this point in the game. A few minutes later we run into the FIRST fake Joker gag, and if we remember this exchange it’s likely that we’ll say one explains the other and leave it at that.

arkhamcity_sick.jpg

Clue: The fake Joker gag. This was actually a bunch of clues. That’s Joker in the wheelchair, and Clayface that sneaks up on Batman. When Batman wakes up, Clayface is gone, and we’re talking to Joker. During the conversation Joker even says, “No one’s who you think they are”.

How it was concealed: This clue was actually a concealment for the real plot. Not knowing that Clayface is involved, the player is unlikely to expect that Joker is going to keep doing the “fake Joker gag”.

arkhamcity_fake.jpg

Clue: Two Jokers. Was spend a lot of hours on the main plot, but eventually we circle back and begin dealing with Joker again. We get the cure, put it in the safe, and then Joker swipes them and leaves two joker cards in the safe. One of them is an actual playing card, the other is a photocopy of one.

How it was concealed: Decks of playing cards always have two Jokers, so I didn’t find this image all that jarring. He just wanted something to write a note on, right? I’m sure this doesn’t mean anything.

Clue: The “Joker looking in a mirror” gag. We see Joker’s reflection in the mirror, and he’s sick. He adjusts his tie, and an observant player might notice that the “reflection” and the “real” Joker don’t quite line up the way they should. Close, but not quite. And then when Joker turns around, his face is clear! He’s not sick at all! Of course, this wasn’t a mirror, but a piece of glass. Clayface had his back to us, with Joker playing the reflection.

How it was concealed: In the previous section, the Joker mentioned the toxin giving you hallucinations. So, it’s easy for the player to assume the sick face / white face bit to be a bit of a mind-screw on the part of the sickness.

Clue: In the fight with Joker, well… we fight Joker. That’s not his style to stoop to fisticuffs, and it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine the lanky freak could take more than one or two punches from Batman. (Eh. Depending on what incarnation of Batman we’re talking about, I suppose. Maybe these guys brawl all the time in the comics, but I’ve never heard about it.) More importantly, if you happen to switch to detective vision during the fight, you’ll see the Joker doesn’t have a skeleton. The previous game showed us Clayface, and observant players may remember his lack of skeleton.

How it was concealed: It wasn’t. We might attribute the brawl to the need for a boss fight at this point, but the missing skeleton is the first real clue as to what was going on. Of course, you had to switch to detective mode to see it, which may or may not be likely, depending on your playstyle. I wonder how many people realized it was Clayface at this point?

Clue: In various parts, the Joker, supposedly cured, still seems to be coughing when he addresses his thugs over the PA system. This isn’t really concealed, although the player might conclude that – unlike all other comic-book ailments – this toxin might have an ongoing period of recovery?

Clue: When you return to the steel mill, Clayface is talking to the troops, explaining that he’s all better. Then he goes on this strange tangent about not wanting to explain everything and ruin the mystery, and he makes a sideways reference to (I think) the show Lost, and how that show was ruined when they tried to explain everything. (Perhaps this is debatable? I don’t know. Never watched the show myself. It might not be wise to argue over the plot points of a canceled show with an imaginary super-villain who is pretending to be a different super-villain. I don’t know. There might be better ways of spending you time.)

How it was concealed: This is only a clue inasmuch as we don’t yet see a need for any further explanation. The Joker was sick, now he’s better. This is only a clue if you’re already in on the joke.

arkhamcity_show.jpg

Clue: On our way to the theater, Clayface-Joker is taunting us, and – as with the previous bit – all of his jokes take the form of movie, theater, or television references. Clayface is Basil Karlo, an old-time actor. (I’m not an expert on Bat-lore, and I don’t know much about him beyond that.) It makes sense that he would fall back to what he knows when he has to ad-lib some dialog for the Joker. (I totally missed this one. Taliesin pointed it out to me.) This was a very small clue, just before the big reveal, so it didn’t need to be concealed.

So those are the ones I know about. Did you catch any that I missed? Did you figure it out before the big reveal?

arkhamcity_clayface.jpg

One final note:

My major objection at the end of the game was Clayface’s ability to increase his mass. We’re talking about a sapient putty-man that can sense, think, and communicate despite being a homogeneous lump of chameleon putty. He can make himself appear as any fleshy human wrapped in believable clothing, and somehow my only real problem with the character was the radical increase in his apparent mass. I could accept small changes in volume, allowing for him to modify his density – as long as his overall weight remained the same. This bit at the end where he grew to four meters tall and began smashing the place with wrecking-ball fists just didn’t work for me.

I wanted there to be a nearby source of mud or clay for him to soak up to explain the size increase. I realize it’s silly to worry about stuff like this in a world with so much mystical-magic and science-magic, but there it is. I suppose this explains why I can never get into comic books.

Anyway. Great game. I highly recommend it, and I also recommend getting it before you read any of the spoilers above.

Oops.

EDIT: Before you run out and buy the game, be warned that Games For Windows LIVE is still a festering heap of aggravation and injustice. Get the console versions if you can, but be very careful before putting down your money for the PC version. GFWL ate my saves at one point. (This is apparently a common occurrence.) Someone else reported that they could not get GFWL to use the DLC they purchased through Steam. GFWL is in all PC versions of the game, even those through Steam.

The developers deserve credit for making a great game, but GFWL is poison. Microsoft has had years to fix this mess and obviously don’t care to do so. Be warned that if you have problems, Steam can blame the publisher, the publisher will blame Microsoft, and Microsoft cares so little they can’t even be bothered to pass the buck.

It’s a sad thing, really. What a stupid waste.

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A Hundred!2020205Many comments. 165, if you're a stickler

From the Archives:

  1. Alex says:

    This is one of the few times where I’m not mad at having something spoiled. Because speaking as a guy who played Asylum but not City, that IS clever. (Not that Paul Dini was ever a slouch at writing Batman).

    It’s nice to see a plot twist in a video game that isn’t just the guy who barked the tutorial at you turning out to be TEH BAD GAI MWAHAHA

  2. Mark says:

    When you fight the Joker in the steel mill, if you turn on detective mode, you will notice that he has no skeleton, because he is Clayface. (Clayface appeared as a cameo in Arkham Asylum, and he had no skeleton then either.)

  3. X2Eliah says:

    Sounds neat.. I’ve so far only played the first one though, but assuming that all the clues had the same Asylum-level polish, then the writers & devs really worked to bring this story through even for bat-fans.

    Howeverrrrrrrr – on the game itself.. You said

    wide difficulty spectrum that goes from “I’ve just arrived from the Middle Ages and have never seen a computer before” to “OMG this game is so hard I’m bleeding in real life”

    Is that really the case? If it is, then that would really suck :[ I mean.. if the game is set at normal difficulty, it should generally be normal, if it is set at hard, it should on the whole be hard (sure, slight variations as to harder/easier are OK) – I don’t want to have, for example, eye-bleeding hard and braindead-easy in the same gameplay-session in a “normal” setting. Asylum already had some of this – in particular a few certain boss batles were pretty much brickwalls compared to normal gameplay – sounds like that nasty aspect has remained / been enforced.

    Oh, also.. GFWL? Did it hinder the game?

    • Dovius says:

      The difficulty is pretty much consistent this time around. I played it on normal and the boss battles were perfectly doable.
      Although that Joker brawl with several Titan-Henchmen and loads of knife thugs can suck my taint.

    • Jericho says:

      GFWL ate 2 of my save games so far.

    • Shamus says:

      Re: “Hard” – that’s what I was saying. Easy mode is easy, hard mode is… not going to be played by me.

      GFWL was an affliction. It deleted my saves at one point. The guy who got me the game? It deleted his #1 save, the one where he’d nearly 100% the entire game. It’s apparently a nightmare to buy the DLC through Steam and have GFWL recognize it. It’s horrible, and I’d suggest getting the console version for anyone who has that option.

      I really should add that to the article.

      • Simplex says:

        GFWL is the Plague, but on a beefy PC the game looks much much better than on consoles. Graphics whores may apply :)

        For non-believers: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-pc-tech-comparison-batman-arkham-city

        I have it on PC, luckily I never lost my saves, although it was very hard to get the game to run without the DVD in the drive. As a bonus to GfWL, the game also has SecuROM with 5 installation limits. Yay!

        • Eruanno says:

          I really do not understand the point of installation limits. If anyone would like to clarify what is the damn point of them without rambling completely off-topic and turning this poor thread into a non-related DRM-fighting match, please do.

          • Shamus says:

            The publisher doesn’t want me to share my CD key with 100 people and all of us play on the same license.

            Of course, Steam accomplishes this, and so does GFWL. The SecuRom is just needless hassle, but it’s there out of policy and habit.

            • Eruanno says:

              But… but… couldn’t I just register my CD key with Steam (or any similar service) and tadaah! I can’t share that CD key anyway, unless I give away my entire account (very unlikely)?

              This seems like a problem solved by introducing more annoying problems.

              • X2Eliah says:

                Well, GFWL technically is exactly that similar service. Just like you’d need to still use steam even if you bought, say, Deus Ex: HR on, idk, Gamersgate or something, you still need to use GFWL for Arkham City even if you buy it on steam.

                It’s this stupid redundancy ties that’s the issue (and the fact that *some* similar services are objectively crap).. I recall GTA4 was a particular S.O.B. – GFWL + Steam + Rockstar’s Social Club.. Dunno if there was securom in that equation as well or not. :(

                • Lame Brain says:

                  I just watched the comparision that Simplex linked.
                  You know what I hate? When you play a GFWL game on PC, all the prompts they give you are mapped to Xbox360 controls.

                  This was especially a problem in Lost Planet. I STILL can’t figure out how to use all the functions on some of the robot suits…

                • TSi says:

                  And the funny thing is that pirates can play it entirely (including all dlc’s) without worrying about gfwl, steam or securom … (and no save problems either).

                  • Tse says:

                    Well, if the saves are handled by GFWL, you use an offline profile to save your game with a pirated copy. If pirates have no problems just use an offline profile on your legitimate copy.

                • Winter says:

                  Well, GFWL technically is exactly that similar service….

                  Excepting how it doesn’t work, you mean?

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                The philosophy here is that “if either one of these alone can prevent you from sharing a game,then all of them together can prevent you 3 times better”.So basically its just pure concentrated stupidity.

              • Zak McKracken says:

                Gaaah…
                I haven’t really played a game in a long while, but all this DRM crap that has been establishing itself in the meantime is preventing me from looking forward to change that. This is so frustrating to read.

                Here’s a gaming site actually contributing to me _not_ playing (and buying!) computer games. Sad, sad times.

      • X2Eliah says:

        Aha, so that difficulty spectrum is across the difficulty modes, not inside any single diff. mode. Bit of a confusion there, ‘s all.

      • Joe Cool says:

        I have to tell my GFWL/Arkham City story because of the heinousness of the crime committed by Microsoft: at one point, I simply could not get Arkham City to recognize my saves or log in to GFWL correctly. When I started the game, it would show the “Logged into GFWL as Joe Cool” pop-down in the corner of the screen. But when I pressed start on my controller (I have two USB controllers for my PC), it would ask me to log in again. When I entered my log in credentials, it would say I was logged in, but then tell me I wasn’t logged in and my progress wouldn’t be saved. Nothing I could do could convince it to let me log in and access my save. This drove me to the brink of tearing out my hair, when I Googled it and came up with this forum post (http://goo.gl/8FNS2). The problem was I was pressing Start on the “second” controller–the one Windows arbitrarily assigned “second controller” status–so it would not recognize my GFWL log in. Once I realized this, I just needed to use the other controller.

        Why on EARTH which of the two controllers you use on a PC should in any way affect whether or not you can use your saves is beyond my poor brain’s reasonable comprehension.

        • Nick-B says:

          The reasoning I find behind it is they are trying to copy the console. On the console, you can have multiple people (and I assume multiplayer games on PC can do this too) play at once, each signed into their own online profile. The only way to make sure that one player’s progress (whether it’s achievements or just their profile game progress) is saved to the right profile is to basically attach it to the controller.

          So you logged in, as you said, to one controller, but hitting the menu button on the other controller that had no profile. You can’t log into a profile in use so…. There you go.

          • Tse says:

            This just sounds like lazy coding to me, copying code from XboxLive to GFWL.

          • Joe Cool says:

            And the documentation for this “feature” was… where? Certainly not in any of the Arkham City or GFWL FAQs.

            And Arkham City is a single-player game. It doesn’t make any sense to allow different profiles to sign in to it simultaneously.

    • Eruanno says:

      Eruanno’s rule to games using GFWL for their PC version: Get the console version. Nothing good has ever come out of GFWL.

    • Dys says:

      My personal bit of grief with GFWL was that I bought the game from an online retailer, rather than through Steam, because it was cheaper. I was unaware at the time that boxed retail GFWL games are not usable with Steam.

      Now, I know there are problems with Steam and I know there are people who do not like to use it, but personally I would play everything through Steam if I could. I ordered Skyrim at the same time, and when that arrived I just gave Steam the key and it ate it right up happy as anything. Arkham City? I had to buy it again, through Steam, rendering my initial attempt to save money not only a failure but a costly failure. I gave the original hard copy to a friend.

      It’s arguable whether any of the above can be fairly blamed on any one party, but fairly or not, I hold it against GFWL. Without that parasitic lump glommed onto the side, I expect there would have been no barrier to activation under Steam.

      • X2Eliah says:

        Myes, well, Skyrim is a steamworks game, that’s why it worked with that cd-key. To compare, people who bought the disc wanting nothing to do with any clients were *forced* to use steam.

        Just pointing out that there are downsides to all kinds of locking – just as annoyed you were with Arkham City, other people were with Skyrim. Food for thought.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I admire your honesty.If I had a retail copy not working,I wouldve downloaded the pirated version that very second.Im not paying twice for someone elses mistake.

        • Master Jedi says:

          Is pirating a game you already bought actually considered pirating? If it isn’t (and I don’t see why it would be)I would say that doing that would be a good way to bypass the whole GFWL deleting your saves issue.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            It is still illegal.So it all depends on the line when you are willing to break the law.

            • decius says:

              The legality of downloading the crack is debatable: On the one hand, substantial non-infringing use a la sony v. betamax.

              On the other hand, the person who wrote the crack presumably had to reverse-engineer the game in violation of the EULA.

              On the gripping hand, you would be downloading and running a binary file from a sketchy source.

              • Tse says:

                In my country downloading the whole game without paying is legal, it’s not even frowned upon. If you buy a game you’re seen as irresponsible and/or rich. Legality depends on location more than anything. EULAs mean nothing in ALL countries (an EULA is a contract that is forced upon you after you’ve paid for the product/service, it’s illegal everywhere). So, check your local laws and then decide what to do. I know I don’t break any laws. Morality is subjective, the law is not!
                P.S. Most big torrent sites have quality control, no viruses are left for more than an hour or two. Just download from a reputable source.

          • Dovius says:

            One could say that it’s less immoral than simply pirating outright, but it’s still illegal.

            • Loonyyy says:

              I’d go so far as to say it’s not at all immoral, as you’re simply getting what you paid for. Unfortunately, it’s still on the illegal side. Which would go to show: Legality has nothing to do with morality.

              • Jonn says:

                No, you paid for a game with GFWL. What you are downloading is a game without GFWL. That is really a rather critical difference. I’d have less of a problem if hackers actually released some sort of program that strips GFWL, DRM, or whatever have you, instead of the whole game. Emphasis “less of”.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  So if you paid for a game that includes someone from the company coming to punch you in the face,youd rather have the hackers come to you and kiss you,instead of giving you that same game without the punch in the face?

  4. Jericho says:

    There’s also a large Karlo poster right outside the theater (it’s even a riddle answer).

  5. Simplex says:

    Little nitpicking – I don’t think Lost was actually cancelled – it simply ended after 6 seasons (never watched it myself, neither)

    • Sumanai says:

      This is tricky, as in my mind I registered it as “ended” but I recall it being canceled with enough budget to make an ending. Biggest problem discussing this is I never watched or followed it, because I expected it to get canceled either too early or after they stretched the story too long.

      • Dys says:

        At some point someone made the decision not to make any more Lost.
        Beyond that, I think the question is largely semantic.

      • TGN says:

        About halfway through Lost‘s run, the producers signed a contract with the network saying that it would run for six seasons and then end (right from the start of Season Five it was marketed as “The penultimate season”).

        The idea was that with a fixed endpoint they could pace themselves towards the finale and answer everything in time rather than suddenly being cancelled and having to rush everything into a few episodes, or being renewed for a seventh season after they had already wrapped everything up.

        Of course the question of whether they succeded in pacing themselves and tying up all major plot threads is up for grabs (they clearly didn’t).

  6. Eruanno says:

    Oh crap, now I feel like replaying Arkham City and find all of these little hints. Thanks, Shamus!

  7. Stephen says:

    My only real objection to it was that when the twist started, it seemed for a moment like it had been Talia who was behind the whole plot (hence why she stole the serum) in a bid to finally get Batman to take a life (Joker’s). Putting herself in a position where he had to rescue her, was sick, and had been screwed around with by Joker the whole game would have been just about the best possible scenario for getting him to finally cross that line.

    Then when it turns out that her involvement was tangential and weird, the rest of the reveals fell flat to me.

  8. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Doesn’t anyone see the clear flaw in Shamus’s argumentation?

    Clearly, someone from the middle-age wouldn’t know a thing about Batman to start with, so WHY WOULD HE PLAY ARKHAM CITY?!

    Check mate, sir.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Interesting point. Just how would Arkham City / Asylum stack up to a person who literally has no knowledge (not just ‘not into it’, but truly ‘no clue about’) of Batman / Bat-villains / Bat-universe…

      I mean – the core gameplay is not bad, but a lot of the stuff, I suspect, really hangs on the premise of what is a batman and what villains does it eat.

      • Nick says:

        Assuming they played Asylum as well, the in-game villian character bios are really helpful – speaking as someone who read some, but not a lot of Batman then some of the villians I hadn’t seen before were well explained and interesting

        • Dys says:

          I actually recall the Joker bio listing ‘surprisingly strong hand to hand opponent’ under his abilities. I have no idea if that’s a Clayface reference or not.

          • Jeff says:

            That was in Asylum too, and me checking on Google tells me that he actually can fight, often surprising people because he looks lanky and fragile.

            • Klay F. says:

              Thats the thing though, almost every Batman villain is a so-called “expert” hand-to-hand fighter, but they all get their asses kicked by the Bat, so its pretty meaningless.

          • Vect says:

            Joker is playable in the PS3 version of Arkham Asylum as free DLC where he has his own Stealth and combat challenges. He fights pretty similarly to Batman with more “wacky” moves (Grabbing onto a guy and pounding him on the head, electric buzzer, slaps). However, Batman is considered to be one of DC’s best martial artists (and a complete cheater whose only limitation is the no killing rule) so going hand-to-hand with him for most character is pretty hopeless.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-vOtqw61_A

      • Zeta Kai says:

        I would say that the two Arkham games would still hold up well, even for somebody wholly unfamiliar with Batman & his accumulated mythos. The combat engine is top-knotch, making it one of the most fluid & entertaining beat-’em-ups ever made. The writing is absolutely brilliant for the genre (which actually doesn’t say all that much, considering said genre), & I would say it was one of the best-written games of all time, up there with Planescape: Torment, Portal, & System Shock 2. And the gameplay is suitably varied to maintain one’s interest, taking you from fighting to stealth to puzzles to flying with ease & style.

        Yeah, even if you didn’t know thing #1 about Batman, it would still be a great game, IMO.

    • Dev Null says:

      I don’t know; the gameplay would still work, but I’ve got to think that Bats gets a pass on a lot of story / basic concept areas just because we all know he’s Bats. If I didn’t know at least _some_ of the background, I think I’d have to be asking:

      “Ok, so this guy is a badarse and he can fight, but why exactly does he fight in his underwear again?”

      And I’m not buying the “to scare the baddies” excuse either, because no one in the entire first game is scared of him (at least not until _after_ he takes out the three guys standing right next to them without being seen.)

      Also, I’d want to know why the master high-tech gadgeteer who is happy to break the law to catch criminals, and has seen the Joker escape like four dozen times killing hundreds every time, doesn’t just buy himself a handgun and put a bullet in J’s brain next time.

      There are no doubt reasons for these in the comics, but they don’t really come through in the first game. Because they don’t really need to be spelled out; you just say “because he’s Batman” and even ignorant folks like me get it.

    • Nick-B says:

      The amount of Batman lore I had before the Asylum and now City games was limited to the scraps of memory of the horrid Batman Forever movie, the latest two “reboot” movies (which I like), and awareness of the cheesiness of the TV series.

      I came into Asylum with the expectation of “another superhero game” level of (to put it mildly) shit, but tried it via Gamefly via a recommendation from a friend or two. Before I finished the game, I forced another to play it, and purchased a used copy (hey, I saved 40 bucks) to have it shipped for when I returned the rental.

      I 100% that game, searched every corner for trophies and symbols and tapes just for that one, last bit of Batman lore. I then looked up information on the comic series, looked into any animated series or movie running within the last 10 years involving Batman, then replayed the game on Hard.

      Long story short, I can guarantee that this is NOT a game purely for the batman fanatics out there. If you want a game that has collectibles worth collecting, combat inspired by the gods, and a hell of a backstory, you will have no better place to go than to get a hold of either or both of these Batman games. No, really. Get it.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I didnt know anything about batman before watching the first movie(the one with jack nicholson),and Ive liked it.You dont have to be a fan of the material to enjoy a good movie/game tied in with that material.So I wasnt exactly a batnoob when Ive started asylum(I did watch the movies,but didnt care about the comics,or the cartoon),but I still didnt know who plenty of the guys in the game were.Thats what the very helpful bios are for.

      So the only thing you need for these games to work for you is the ability to suspend your belief enough to accept the fact that a guy wearing a bullet proof armour can fly by just making his cape rigid.They are both very good games,with solid gameplay,interesting stories,nice visuals,great characters,…There is something for everyone in them.

    • John the Savage says:

      I think the bigger barrier would be the game’s lack of a Middle-English language option. But then I suppose our time-traveler would have encountered that one long before sitting down to play a video game.

  9. pkt-zer0 says:

    Haven’t read the spoilery parts, but I hope it’s better than KOTOR’s twist. I found the foreshadowing a bit too heavy handed there. By that I mean I saw the twist coming before the tutorial section of the game even ended.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its a nice twists,and it incorporates a few parts to throw you off the trail.Of course,you may see through these,especially if you are a batfan,but it still is a good bit of story telling.

  10. Mark says:

    Paul Dini is my hero. The dude invented Harley Quinn and gave Mr. Freeze his current (tragic) origin story.

  11. Kelly says:

    Changing his size and such is just something Clayface has always done, that’s not the game’s fault.

    • Sumanai says:

      Stuff in comics change all the time when writers need it, so that’s not much of an excuse for something that would be beneficial to the suspension of disbelief.

  12. Soylent Dave says:

    Other things that are also awesome about Arkham City:

    – The combat.

    The combat was good in Asylum; it’s even better in City. I really do think they’ve managed to find the sweet spot between ‘easy to control’ and ‘you get to do cool stuff’ without turning things into a quick time event.

    There’s no faffing around with awkward button combos or anything – you just get to kick ass as Batman.

    – The very end

    The final conversation Batman has with Joker is very well written, and touches on all the superhero and Batman tropes I’d want it to. I enjoyed the twist beforehand (which I didn’t see coming), but I enjoyed the last cut-scene even more.

    Definitely one of my favourite games of ever; my biggest criticism is that Catwoman isn’t as much fun to play as she should be (mostly because Batman has more toys).

    • acronix says:

      I think they tried to compensate her lack of toys by making her show more skin and cleverage. They failed miserably, of course.

    • Dys says:

      I can’t shake the feeling that the combat in City tried to add too many things and ended up becoming confused. The Asylum combat system was easily one of the best I’ve ever seen, but I think a lot of the things that were added in City are just clutter.

      Equally, perhaps it’s just too many possibilities for my poor brain to handle, but I believe there are situations arising in the combat challenges which have no good resolution. That is, I suspect it is possible to be attacked from multiple directions by multiple opponents using different weapons, and unable to effectively defend. I may be wrong.

      • N/A says:

        You are wrong. There’s a very slick priority system at work that means you will never be attacked by more enemies than you can handle. If a knife enemy attacks, nobody else will while you perform a Knife Takedown or dodge. If a shield enemy attacks, nobody else will while you dodge. Same for stun sticks. The only enemies that will attack in groups are unarmed thugs or thugs with pipes/bats, who can be defended against with a normal (multiple) counter.

        I’ll agree that City does add a LOT of widgets and tricks to the combat system. Almost certainly too many to use in a single fight (unless you’re dedicated to gaming the system in challenge maps, anyway), but you don’t HAVE to use them all. It’s perfectly valid to settle on a few moves and gadgets that you like, and ignore the rest. I’m inordinately fond of Beatdowns, for example, and tend not to use many gadgets- but the gadgets are still there to provide some variety if and when I want it. This is not a bad thing.

      • Soylent Dave says:

        Unless you break the annoying weapons as quickly as possible, you’re probably right (there may be another way around it, but I find riot shields really annoying – and it’s also really satisfying to watch Bats smash them into bits).

        Provided they’re out of the way, the electricity zappy gun takes care of anything else that would otherwise annoyingly mess up my combo, and his ‘summon bats’ stops you getting surrounded – although the other thing to bear in mind is that several of Batman’s power moves (his ‘you can only use these at x5’ ones) make him invincible for the duration, which comes in useful for avoiding big guys and guns.

        But I’m not running around ‘Perfect Knight’ing all the maps or anything, so it’s not like any of that is infallible…

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        The only thing I found annoying was counters against bladed thugs.I did that once,but not ever afterwards.The beauty of the game,however,is that you have all those available options and you can choose the one that suit your playstile the most.So I ended up building huge combos,which slow down time after a bit,so you can just jump all around the room kicking major ass in the process.

  13. Hal says:

    I’m unlikely to play the game anytime soon, so I don’t mind the spoilers. That being said, I’m not sure I understand the Joker’s game here. How does having Clayface pretend to be Joker help the Joker get a cure out of Batman?

    And then what? Joker’s plans for getting Batman are usually more convoluted than “Have someone beat up Batman.” What was the end game for Joker?

    • Zeta Kai says:

      The Clayface thing was to help the Joker maintain control of his army of thugs until he got the cure. The Joker knew that while he was trapped in Arkham City with the other inmates, he would have to show signs of strength in order to survive. Harley was in adequate in this regard, as she is insufficiently intimidating, so he hired Clayface to act in his stead.

      The Joker’s game was basically to get the cure, live another day, & spread chaos & death to everyone that he could in the process. If his plans has worked, Batman would have succumbed to the toxin, he would be free to work his special brand of mayhem, & Arkham City would have become his own private fiefdom. Not bad for a terminally-ill nutjob.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      There was one more thing in his plan that Shamus didnt mention:
      Joker didnt only poison batman,because batman would have gladly died if it meant that joker would die as well(he said so himself).So joker supplied his blood to the hospitals around gotham as well,and poisoned a bunch of people too.

  14. Varewulf says:

    The biggest treat of the whole game for me ended up being Joker’s serenade over the end credits. That was the icing on the cake.

    • Zeta Kai says:

      Yes, that was as unexpected as it was delightful. Mark Hamill, you will be missed.

      • Zehavn says:

        Agreed. Creepy as hell to get message like that after the ending.

        Anyone else hear Harley’s song at the very end of the credits? I didn’t notice it until I went through on Game + mode (my second playthrough)

        …Spoiler: this song makes a lot more sense if you found the little box on the floor beside Harley’s old outfit in the Steel Mill.

        Z

  15. Mich says:

    A question: the main motivation for Batman to get the cure is that the Joker sent his poisonous blood in the emergency rooms of various hospitals. But in the end, after Batman cures himself, the cure is destroyed and the Joker dies. Then what about the victims in the hospital? That’s never brought up again!

    • ps238principal says:

      They’ll be in good company with all of Joker’s other victims of his various forms of laughing gas over the years.

      It’s also assumed, at least in comic books/movies, unless it’s plot-relevant, that once the bad guy is defeated, all plans of said bad guy fall apart. It’s a lot like killing the Emperor in “Jedi,” really.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Well seeing how jokers blood was enough to make everyone ill,its assumed that batmans cured blood would be enough to make a cure for everyone as well.

  16. Jon says:

    Maybe I’m missing something really obvious, but I really didn’t understand one major point of the story: when The Joker/Harley Quinn stole the cure from Batman in Freeze’s lab, why didn’t Joker just use the cure then?

    • LurkerAbove says:

      Talia and/or League of Assassin ninja women intercept Harley before she can give the cure to Joker. That’s why you find her tied up when you go back to the foundry (with the fun tape gag)

      • Nic says:

        Oooooooooooooh. Now it makes sense!

        This point bugged the hell out of me… I thought it was a massive plot hole. I guess I should have paid more attention during the cutscenes!

  17. Dev Null says:

    Lalalalalalala not looking. Because I just yesterday finished playing Arkham Asylum, and I’ve a ton of $5 Christmas sale items to work my way through before I go get Arkham City. But having just played the first, and read all the mostly-irrelevant-but-kinda-interesting villain bios that you unlock (but not actually being familiar with the lore otherwise), I’ve got to ask:

    Am I the only one who thinks that most of the really bad super-baddies in Batman’s world are primarily motivated by Batman himself? Trying to beat him, or trap him, or in at least one case become him? And always killing hundreds of innocents while working towards that goal? Wouldn’t the best thing Bruce could do to stop violent crime in Gotham be… retire?

    Don’t tell Mumbles; she’ll hunt me down.

    • Shamus says:

      Nice. This theme is brought up in Arkham City.

    • Zehavn says:

      Check out Frank Miller’s graphic novel, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
      You get to find out what happens after Batman retires and then has to come back…

      Z

      • DanMan says:

        Please don’t do this. Frank Miller is HORRIBLE at writing Batman. Just imagine every other “what happens when the superhero quits” plot ever invented. The villains, now that they don’t have a superhero to play with, get bored and start taking over the world and causing mass destruction.

        • Zehavn says:

          that’s not how I remember Dark Knight’s Return…kinda the opposite.

          • John says:

            Yeah, I agree Zehavn. I think perhaps DanMan is thinking of some other graphic novel.

            • tengokujin says:

              If Linkara is to be believed, anything Frank Miller wrote after “Sin City” suffers from massive misogyny, stilted dialogue, strange plot flow, and THE RAGE OF A BEA- (wait, that’s a different one? Ok). “Batman: Year One” was before “Sin City” and is considered a fine work. “Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again”… not so much.

              • Methermeneus says:

                True, however, “Batman: The Dark Knight [Returns]” predates “Sin City” and is pretty good. “The Dark Knight Strikes Again” is a sequel to that. However, many trades put the two together, which could lead to confusion… plus, “The Dark Knight Returns” does have a few plotholes and a fair amount of Mary-Sue-ing of Batman, as does anything Batman-related that Miller touches. (“Year One” and possibly “Year Two” are probably the best of Miller’s work in that regard.)

                Re: the original topic of this thread, the “Batman: The Animated Series” episode “Trial” (E066; S2E03) is also based on this premise: A new DA is convinced that Batman is, in fact, responsible for Gotham’s supervillains, and while attempting to run him down, they are captured by a bunch of supervillains who put Batman on trial for the same reason, forcing the DA to be Batman’s defense attorney. Of course, courtroom procedure is a little skewed, seeing as Joker is the judge, but at least Two-Face has prior experience as a prosecutor.

          • Winter says:

            Dark Knight Returns is sort of the one good thing that Frank Miller has been riding ever since. The man is clearly deranged. In fact, DKR is pretty crazy too. However, it’s just the right amount of crazy to work. More or less. Plus, although it’s not very exciting right now, the world/characterization was really very extreme and surprising when it was released, in a fresh way.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Yeah, the whole angle of batman being both the protector and the cause of a lot of problems in Gotham is one of the main focuses of the character, in comics, games and even those úbergritty modern Batmanmovies.

      I’d go so far as to say that this is, in fact, the focus theme of modern Batman: Is he any better than the villains he is toying with?

      • Well, is he any better is one question. But I think that one can be fairly convincingly answered. The subtler question that comes up is more like, is he like Prohibition in making worse the problem he tries to solve? There seems to be a theme of the criminals levelling up, becoming weirder, becoming dominated by the more psychotic elements, at least partly because he’s there and either they rise to the challenge or he’s better at suppressing the ordinary criminals so it leaves a vacuum or . . . stuff. I don’t think that would actually happen . . . a genuine Batman who was as cool as the comic book one probably would be fairly successful at suppressing higher-level crime, although I doubt he’d make a dent in street-level thuggery or low-level drug dealing or, obviously, domestic violence which actually makes up a surprising proportion of the most violent crime. But the point is IMO more a symbolic one about the more general question of whether things like Prohibition and doing crime prevention by means largely of heavy-handed violence when broader society remains corrupt and out of whack, as Gotham generally is. Do such tactics help, or do they ultimately if anything make it worse? The theme about supervillains responding to Batman’s presence feels to me like kind of a stand-in for that sort of issue.

        Frank Miller actually bucks this general trend in The Dark Knight Returns, trying to create a situation where the real need is not just for Batman himself, but for a whole tribe of ex-teen-delinquent vigilante enforcers. It’s a grand story, but I’m unconvinced at the social realism of this. The actual police come too close to being a bunch of ex-teen-delinquents taking the law into their own hands for my comfort–I really don’t think getting a bunch of fanatic genuine ex-gangers instead would be an improvement.

        And the general consensus among scholars is that actually, prohibition and harsher law enforcement broadly do make things worse. The major arguments for really harsh law enforcement such as capital punishment tend to be about the morality of retribution and the creation of social cohesion through harsh sanctioning of deviance, not about effectiveness as deterrent. Prohibition, f’rinstance, not only aided the rise of violent crime but also tended to make alcoholism worse rather than better; consumption of “soft” alcohol like beer declined, consumption of spirits like whiskey rose. There’s evidence that the “war on drugs” has had similar impacts on the potency of drugs while, again, making drug crime more profitable. So, the Joker et al. as Al Capone? There’s something compelling there. “The Untouchables” took down Al Capone, but they sure as heck didn’t stop rum-running gangsters.

        Of course that’s nothing against Batman. What choice does he have? He can’t change the world by himself, for all his millions (although when they overplay his wealth too much, I start to think it’s a bit silly that he puts gajillions of dollars into fighting street crime when he could probably, say, feed and house and create jobs for everyone in Haiti or something). Symptoms are all he can touch. His tragedy is that everything he does mucking with symptoms is futile against the disease. His triumph is that at least he’s better at taking down symptoms than anybody else, ever.

        • Atarlost says:

          The thing with Batman is that he’s dealing with a readily identifiable population of violent criminals with a 100% recidivism rate who have demonstrated the ability and willingness to escape prison in the past.

          In a sense Batman isn’t to blame for this; the judges and juries are. And the legislators and voters if Gotham is in a no death penalty state.

          At some point, though, it doesn’t matter that sentencing isn’t his responsibility. When the courts have repeatedly demonstrated a complete disregard for the lives of the citizenry by sending people like the Joker to revolving door prisons it’s the moral duty of anyone in a position to put him down to do so. That point is probably after a given mass murderer’s second escape from prison. Maybe third if you’re a Quaker.

          And that’s why Batman analogies don’t work. Alcohol kills, sure, but no one bootlegger distributed enough alcohol to kill as many people as one Joker distributed Smilex. The distribution of alcohol is driven by low level greed and can be stopped only at the economic level. The distribution of Smilex is driven by one man’s bloodlust. An obviously top down problem like supervillain crime is the worst possible analogy for a bottom up problem like drug use.

          • Shamus says:

            I was thinking along similar lines today. In the past, I’ve faulted Batman for not killing, pointing to the extreme body counts that his foes rack up on a regular basis. But you’re right: At some point, the blame should fall to the people of Gotham. It’s totally possible that Batman isn’t against killing bad guys per se, he’s just against doing it HIMSELF. There aren’t any checks or balances on his power, so if he took to killing people it would make him police, judge, jury, and executioner.

            Batman is content to catch these guys who are too much for the police to handle, and after that it’s up to the legal system. If the people of Gotham ever get fed up with dying by the truckload, they’re always free to enact a harsher form of justice. If they don’t? Well, they can deal with the consequences.

            Batman could even reason that killing bad guys would prevent the people of Gotham from taking the necessary steps, and they would simply leave all the killing to him. That’s a horrible system, even if Batman was ageless and incorruptible.

            • Methermeneus says:

              This has been addressed to some extent in comics, especially since Batman started turning darker. (For quite a while the comics were not far off from the wacky hijinks of the 60s Adam West show; Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” & “Batman: The Dark Knight” and Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” are credited with turning the comics dark, along with the popularization of that image from “The Animated Series” and Tim Burton’s “Batman.”) Earlier, Batman had been known to kill on occasion, but the issue came up when the comics became more violent and Batman more brooding, controlling, and willing to make sacrifices (and force other heroes to do so as well) that there was very little separating him from villains except that he tended to limit his prey to those he felt deserved it. That’s a very fine line to walk, and a philosophy to which some of his rogues gallery (notably Catwoman and R’as ‘al Ghul) also claim to adhere.

              The in-universe answer to this (which required a little retconning, but not too too much) is that Batman knows how close he is to being a villain himself. He knows, and therefore, he has thought carefully about what limits he can and can’t set for himself. He cannot afford to pull punches in general because, unlike, say, Superman, Batman has no super powers of his own. If he pulls any punches, either he will die, or he will reduce his effectiveness against the villains the police are manifestly unable to stop. On the other hand, he must have some limits to act as a fence against the void to prevent it from looking back through him. Thus, he has developed one hard and fast rule, the line in the sand that he will never cross: While he accepts that he may not always be able to keep villains alive (and, indeed, often should not), he will not kill them himself. This requires insane amounts of willpower under some circumstances (in fact, I disagree that Batman has no superpowers because his willpower is often portrayed as inhuman), which led to a (in retrospect) humorous occasion on which Batman was offered a Green Lantern ring. You may have seen the demotivational poster created from the cover of that issue, which says, “OVERPOWERED: Because giving the g*******d Batman a superpower that is based on intelligence, willpower and imagination seemed like a good idea at the time.” Inside the comic, Batman refuses the ring.

              Then, too, there is the fact that Batman is demonstrably insane. Most heroes, even if they have some tragic motivator, are in the business to do good in general. A good example of a hero with a similar backstory (similar enough in this particular, anyway) is Spiderman: Peter Parker found himself able to help people. Then he didn’t help someone, and his uncle died as a result. This brought home to him that not helping people when you know someone could be hurt if you do not act can be construed as causing harm yourself, (as the cliché goes, “All that is required for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.”) and that was something he was a good enough person not to do. Batman, on the other hand, is still punishing criminals for his parents’ deaths. In his current (well, current until the 2011 reboot; I haven’t kept up with DC in that time) continuity, Bruce Wayne was broken when his parents died, and he never fully recovered. He became obsessed with criminals as a result, and that is why he became “the world’s greatest detective,” and that is what drives him to acts of willpower beyond what we would consider sane. Simply put, he can do that because he is not sane.

              As does occasionally happen (the trope that only one who believes he is sane is truly insane aside), Bruce Wayne is perfectly lucid. He knows that he is insane, and that is another reason he puts so much effort into maintaining the boundaries he has set for himself: He will not kill because he knows he is just as much of a psychopath as his villains, and this rule is the only way he can set himself apart from them.

              Again, this is all only an explanation for Batman as current popular culture sees him, largely affected by the Tim Burton movies, the comics between the mid ’80s and late ’00s, and “The Animated Series” (and a little bit “Batman Beyond,” which would need very little nudging to turn into “The Dark Knight Returns”). He has been a far more lighthearted and heroic hero in the past, and even in some of the media listed (especially “The Animated Series”), and even the comics have lightened a fair amount since the days of Alan Moore and Frank Miller, to the point where it’s becoming harder to argue that Batman’s code never to kill anyone is a good thing, but given the person he is in most media, he has very good reasons for keeping so stringently to that code.

            • Dev Null says:

              Batman could even reason that killing bad guys would prevent the people of Gotham from taking the necessary steps, and they would simply leave all the killing to him.

              I suppose thats a fair cop. Possibly he should turn his genius inventors brain , his billions of dollars, and his pet tech megacorp to the task of designing a prison the Joker can’t just stroll out of then. That way, if society decides to keep him imprisoned “for life” instead of killing him, there’s at least a chance he’ll still be there in a weeks time…

            • Wow, my post drew some really cool responses. Sweet!

            • Soylent Dave says:

              But even if Gotham did enact a death penalty (assuming they haven’t already), Joker wouldn’t get sentenced to death anyway.

              He’s criminally insane – and so very unfit to stand trial that he’d get put in an asylum. The same applies to a lot of Bat-criminals; only the most eye-for-any-eye justice system would actually be capable of sentencing them to death.

              The problem with Gotham is that they keep putting him in an easily-escapable asylum, not that they’re too-soft on crime.

    • Dys says:

      It’s ultimately more than even that. Batman was a response to the garden variety criminals who plagued Gotham. Many of his main opponents are responses to Batman himself. It’s a constant arms race, everything the Joker devises the Batman must supercede just to maintain the status quo.

      That’s a metaphor for everything from evolutionary advantage to technological innovation. I’d say it’s no surprise that Batman relies so heavily on technology, expressing the clear belief that there is no problem which cannot be solved by the appropriate gadget.

      • Dev Null says:

        That was how I read it too; he probably _is_ effective against the garden-variety muggers and whatnot. We just don’t see / play those interactions much, because, frankly, they’re one-sided and a bit dull. (Though I’m sure the person getting mugged doesn’t think so!)

        But if the price of having a couple of hundred fewer muggers in my city is having instead a dozen raving psychotic mass-murderers…

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      You can sort of draw the parallel between batmans story and curing diseases.If consider the criminals in gotham to be a disease,than batman is the cure.But,over the time,the disease mutates,and becomes more dangerous,and a new cure is required,a stronger one,because the disease became resistant to the previous one.So a new superhero is required to replace batman.And Im not sure how it works exactly(since I didnt read the comics),but I think introducing all those sidekicks of his in the comics is just that:Improvements to the cure to fight off the stronger disease.Which in turn would become even stronger,and youd need even stronger remedies,etc.Its a never ending cycle.

      • Sucal says:

        Not sure if that is quite the right analogy. It isn’t always a ‘stronger’ cure needed to deal with a resistant/immune strain of a disease. often its just enough for it to be a ‘different’ enough treatment/cure, so that the source of immunity doesn’t cross over. Stronger is often a bad idea, since it can kill many of the benefical things inhabiting the body..

        Sorry bout that, studying path.

  18. Vegedus says:

    While the plot twist itself was well executed, I can’t for the life of me figure out the reasoning behind it. It’s likely just me that wasn’t paying attention during one of the cutscenes or something, but I don’t why Joker would go to all the trouble.

    So, Harley stole the cure to the titan virus thing. Then, before she reached the joker, she was ambushed by Talia who took it back? And then the joker decided to masquerade that he was all better because… What exactly? How would this make Batman more likely to get the cure, convincing him he already had it?

  19. BeardedDork says:

    Here’s my question about the game, and why I didn’t buy it (yet).
    I loved the Arkham Asylum game-play, it felt very batman to me. But I got sick to death of all the “Beat up one or more Titan, or Titan-Like supervillains + boat load of minions” Boss Fights. By the Time I got to the Joker and attempted the fight maybe two times, I just watched the end of the game on You Tube and never looked back.
    Does Arkham City maintain a better feel throughout or is it just more of the same?

    • Zehavn says:

      The plethora of titans in the first game is the only complaint I have about it.
      Arkham City has about 5 titans throughout the whole game and gives you some new tricks to take them on differently.
      The gameplay is varied enough that you usually have many different ways to tackle most situations, and there are loads of new minion type enemies to fight.

      I highly recommend this game. It’s easily one of my favourites!

      Z

      • X2Eliah says:

        How many Poison Ivy’s / Mutated Ivy’s are there? Becuase that fight was beyond stupid :|

        • Zehavn says:

          Ivy only appears in person if you have the Catwoman DLC, and is more like her ‘normal’ self than from the last encounter in the asylum.

          Otherwise, all you see of her is a building overgrown with plants that Batman can’t approach and is incapable of reaching the entrance.

    • Dev Null says:

      I thought the boss fights in Arkham asylum were great examples of something Shamus has had a dig at in the past (possibly even in relation to that game – I can’t remember and don’t have a link handy.) Ergo: the game trains you up in a set of skills to play, and then the boss fights require an entirely different set of skills. The fact that you play this entire game from an over-the-shoulder moving camera and controls relative to you, _except_ for a bunch of boss fights where they magically swap you to a (mostly) fixed camera and absolute controls was really annoying. Especially when the boss fights contain large elements that are otherwise exactly the same as the normal gameplay – i.e. smacking down a bunch of goons. It takes me out of the game every time they do this; I find myself imagining Joker saying “Aha Batman! You may have bested my last lot of goons, but now try fighting these identical ones now that I’ve changed the controls to your brain! Muahahaha!”

      • Dys says:

        Boss fights are almost universally flawed. I think I tend to remember Asylum without including them in it.

      • BeardedDork says:

        Indeed, I really liked the Scarecrow bits except that they froze my camera in place and what should be trivially easy became a PITA just because I need to find the right combo of “s” and “d” to walk down this funny little angled bit of hallway.

        • MintSkittle says:

          My cousin bought the PC version of Arkham Asylum, and said the controls were horrible. I bought him a gamepad for Christmas, and his gaming has much improved.

    • N/A says:

      Arkham City definitely maintains a better feel to it. There are a total of two TITAN-boosted enemies that you actually fight, and several other mechanically interesting boss fights. For once, the developers picked up on the right complaints.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Boss fights are quite unique in the city.One includes a titan,and I think there is one or two more titans before that,and thats it.The rest of the bosses require quite different tactics to deal with,and all are appropriate.Some include sneaking,some including fighting,some include gadgets.

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      The boss fights are way way WAY better for the most part. By and large they are appropriate for the boss in question — there is no massively un-thematic Joker-Titan or Gohma-esque Poison Ivy fight. There were also fewer Titans, and defeating them was much simpler (basically, you cape-stun them a lot, then punch them). The Titans were much smaller and had asymmetrical limbs — I would have like a line about “the Titan from the asylum was diluted and its effects are weaker”.

      The main boss fights fell into a few categories;

      – Fight off a bunch of mooks and punch the villain whenever you get the chance (e.g. Joker, Mad Hatter).
      – Fight mooks for a bit while you wait for the villain to show weakness, then use a gadget to shoot them (e.g. Ra’s al Ghul, Clayface)
      – Run through a gauntlet and then more or less insta-win when you get to the villain (e.g. Penguin, Poison Ivy)

      By far the best boss fights were the ones where you actually got to take the opponent on in Predator mode. Mr. Freeze was the best fight in the game; he would stomp around the boss arena and sometimes send out heat-seeking drones, and he had a really powerful gun. He could only be defeated by using a stack of Predator moves on him. He’d also learn from his mistakes so you couldn’t use the same move twice.

      The Clayface fight was the weakest because it was a lot like the stupid Gohma-esque Poison Ivy fight in Asylum (nowhere near as bad though). Basically; dodge attacks, punch mooks, chuck a gadget at him when he stops.

  20. swimon1 says:

    There is one final one just before the reveal that ties in with the Riddler challenges which is how I figured it out. In the cutscene at the end we see joker before the end screen of an old movie called the terror. Now I don’t read comics at all (except for a bit of sandman and a lot of webcomics) so I wouldn’t have known what this meant if it wasn’t for a riddler challenge to take a photo of a poster for said movie. When you do that challenge it’s made very clear that clayface was a big actor in that movie so seeing the Joker before that screen made it kinda obvious to me. That said it’s seconds before the actual reveal so it’s not like I spotted this miles away, I was just as surprised by the reveal as anyone else.

    What I find weird about this game though is how well made that twist is in a game where the writing is so incredibly poor. Because that twist is great and the rest of the writing I found to be really terrible even by games standards. There are plenty of things that don’t seem to make any sense like how Dr Strange became the dictator of Gotham just by bribing the mayor, I’m sorry but it’s harder than that. Ra’s al Ghul’s motivation also makes no sense, then again not even the combined powers of Christopher Nolan and Ken Watanabe could make him make any sense. Crashing cities and civilisations is probably one of the best way to create criminals not exactly great at decreasing their numbers (poverty creates criminals after all, and I’m pretty sure lawless anarchy and civil unrest does too but a little less sure on that one). Also how did they get permission to build this super prison right on top of ruins of an old super advanced Gotham? Surely there have to be better places? like anywhere except on top of other ruins of unimaginable worth to history, pharmacology and robotics. There’s more stuff like why do you fight Mr Fries and I’m sure I’m missing stuff but really there’s a lot of stuff that made me kinda go “huh?”

    But things not making sense in a story isn’t really all that important if the story has interesting characters good dialogue and a solid structure right? I mean sure nonsense takes you out of the story but these are the things that draw you in in the first place. Well unfortunately this to is kinda crap.

    Now despite never reading any of the comics I’m still a big batman fan. All the movies not made by Schumacher were great, the old 60s series were a lot of fun too (I haven’t seen a lot, but I liked what I have seen) and the animated series was pretty fun too (the one called “the animated series”). So I know a lot of these characters can be a lot of fun and really well written. The problem with Arkham City is that we these characters aren’t really written well or poorly, they’re not written at all. The game kinda wallows in these characters and while it’s fun to see them in a game they’re not really introduced or fleshed out. We see two-face and we know the whole flip a coin and all that but nowhere in the game do we see anything deeper than that, why he is like that, what drives him? We get nothing, we don’t even ever see him in any other light than crazy bipolar. He flips a coin switching between his two personalities one being a mob boss and one being psychotic. Penguin collects stuff and wants to run Gotham we have no idea why, nothing really connects thematically with his collections and we never really see him in any other light either (he gets captured later but he still acts the same). It’s like this with every character. They’re really just references to the comics or the animated series or some movie, they’re not really written as characters. The only exceptions is the joker and Harley Quinn. It’s not like these are super well written but their motivation is sort of hinted at. The joker wants anarchy and chaos we don’t really understand why he wants these things but that’s kinda the point of the joker. He just finds it funny for some reason but being incomprehensible is also more of a stated point, we don’t understand him because no one can the rest we don’t understand because they were poorly written. Harley Quinn just loves the joker, also perhaps not great story telling since it doesn’t really go any deeper than that but her being trapped in an abusive relationship kinda worked as a motivation for me. The joker and Quinn also benefits from the fact that we see how they react to the situation changing, the joker never stops being a malicious prankster but the more desperate things get the less he laughs and the angrier he gets and the angrier he gets the less patience he has for Harley. Harley on the other hand gets increasingly scared both of the joker dying and of what the joker might do, her playful antagonism with batman also turns more sour and angrier blaming him for the joker’s poisoning, she’s not playing anymore. This is hardly amazing story telling, there is very little depth to these characters and we don’t spend a lot of time with them but at least they are established as characters which is more than I can say about any other character.

    Ok so sometimes it doesn’t make sense and it has boring non-characters but maybe the dialogue is well written? Well written clever dialogue can forgive a lot. Well I’m just going to link this rock paper shotgun analysis of the comment You’re going to bleed like a dead cat I feel it’s pretty representative of how most enemies talk, take the same quality level of writing make it sexual and have the most annoying voice actress ever say them and now you have catwoman’s dialogue.

    Maybe the story structure is good tho? Actually I think this is the biggest problem with the games writing. The problem is that it’s not one story but four loosely connected ones. There’s the joker trying to get you to get him his medicine (which should’ve been the focus IMO), there’s two-face and penguin fighting over the power vacuum left after the joker diminishing, there’s Dr Strange trying to kill all criminals for the league of assassins, there’s Ra’s trying to get batman to join the league of assassins and there’s catwoman trying to steal something. The way these stories connect is often a bit contrived. Like when to get the cure you need to get Mr Fries who is held by penguin so now you’re in the penguin/two-face story. Catwoman’s story is only really important for one scene where she rescues batman’s life. This disconnect between stories is further emphasised by all the extraneous side missions and that few of the storylines have any thematic connection. Victor Strange’s story is mostly about the fact that even criminals are humans too… I think. It’s a little unclear since the game has zero criminals in the game that are in any way repentant or has in any other way a shred of humanity but that scene where Strange uses the helicopters to bomb the jail is supposed to be tragic right? I’m going to say that’s what it’s about. The whole part with two-face and penguin is about organised crime, it doesn’t really say anything about it (which is fine not every game needs to be deus ex) but that’s what it’s about. The bit about catwoman is about the maddening rage that overwhelms you when she opens her mouth. Ok hyperbole but she is really annoying and I have no idea what that part of the game is about, maybe it’s about organised crime too since it’s mostly about two-face and penguin? Well, that’s not what the poison ivy bit is about so what the hell? The only real thematic connection I saw was between the joker’s part and Ra’s’ (that looks really weird) part which was both about batman not killing anyone even though it could be argued to be for the greater good (well most of the joker’s part was about being manipulated by a psychopath but I think it was kinda building towards batman not killing, that was what the ending was about too).

    Writing it out I can kinda see what they were going for with Ra’s and the Joker tying in with Strange (I don’t think the rest was ever designed to connect) but they still felt disconnected to me since the joker’s part was a personal tale for batman and Strange’s was a much more universal story. I’m sure they can be bridged and feel cohesive, perhaps by being a little bit more overt about it, but they didn’t to me. They do share a problem though, why is never explained. Batman doesn’t kill the joker and he doesn’t kill Ra’s even though killing Ra’s could help him stop crime much more efficiently and not killing the joker means he will escape and cause mayhem (batman admits as much himself) but he doesn’t and that makes him a hero, whereas bombing the inmates makes Strange a villain (whether or not you or I agree with this is irrelevant right now and totally not what this blog is about so let’s not discuss this because I think a flame war is in it’s vicinity and no one wants that, if you disagree with my interpretation of this being what the game is about though I’d love to discuss that). The game never really addresses why this is though, it’s like if I stood up on my soapbox saying: “I think the egg should be eaten from the top” and then stepping down. Regardless of you agreeing or not it’s still a shitty argument because I didn’t explain why I think this. It’s ok for the organised crime part to not discuss things because it wasn’t really making a point (I do prefer games that is about stuff but I’m not going to shout “bad writing” every time it’s not) but I think the joker, Ra’s and Strange part was and if you’re making a point you have to actually say something.

    Sorry for the long post but I couldn’t think of a shorter way to say it. All this said tho while I disliked the writing I did like the game, running around doing side missions and collecting riddler trophies is a lot of fun. And the final twist is really good.

    • Dys says:

      ‘Batman doesn’t kill the joker… …and that makes him a hero, whereas bombing the inmates makes Strange a villain’

      Does it? I rather think that’s the whole point. That part of the game asks a question, rather than giving an answer.

      Strange didn’t rule Gotham, just the walled off section of it that they decided to call a prison. The warden of a prison or worse yet an asylum really does have dangerous levels of control over the lives of those in his charge. Incidentally I think it’s interesting to note that the Mayor who gave the go-ahead for this spectacular piece of city planning is Quincy Sharpe, erstwhile warden of Arkham Asylum.

      Batman has always been about the definitions of right and wrong, good and evil, he was ever a vigilante. Personally I’d suggest that he’s a passive agent. He reacts to prevent the actions of others where he disagrees with those actions, but he will not take action himself for fear of the consequence. I have no doubt the analysis of Batman goes on ad nauseam in the bowels of the internet.

      A lot of the motivations of each of the characters do exist in the extraneous information, the biographies, the interviews etc. They also exist more robustly in the background of the setting, outside the game itself. Batman and his supporting cast are familiar enough that omitting lengthy explorations of each individual isn’t unreasonable. It would not be wise to revisit the background of such established characters prior to every story in which they may be involved. You’d never get to the story. I don’t think any of them do anything in the game which seemed stupid or pointless or out of character, but my memory for such details is limited.

      • Shamus says:

        I was disappointed to find that the Political Prisoners were put in the prison by Strange. Without that, he’s much less an evil murderer and more of a dark hero. He was killing prisoners, yes, but they were mostly horrific murderers. Batman had played catch-and-release with these clowns for years and crime as at least as high as when he began. Strange’s plan could have done more to save innocent lives than Batman ever did.

        It would have been an interesting question to ponder, but the way Strange had obviously innocent people thrown into Arkham City undercuts this.

        • N/A says:

          Does it? Breaking eggs to make omelettes, the ends justify the means… That’s pretty standard fare for this kind of plot.

          Besides, keep in mind this is a guy who brainwashed the warden of Arkham Asylum into going crazy so Strange could have a pet politician in power to grant him the authority to set up Arkham City in the first place. It’s not difficult to argue that he was rotten from the start.

          • X2Eliah says:

            But the thing is, all over Westernized culture the “end justify the means” thing is used as a signposting of “Hey, THIS IS THE BAD GUY”.. The kind of thing that everyone expects to be sort-of-but-not-really-at-all explainable, and it is treated as ‘inhumane’ and ‘monstrous’. Ugg. I’d argue that basic Strange’s motivations on that trope is a failure of the plot, in a way, as it clearly puts the boot down and tells the player “he’s a bad man”, as the trope is always associated with baddies.

            So.. Yeah, for my part I’d say it does undercut any aspiration of Strange to be shown as a ‘dark knight’ (to borrow the phrase) or any kind of non-villain, and is thus missing out on a great chance at muddying up the waters of morality and, ugg.., booting the tropes out of the window. Alas.

            Come to think of it, (and I, ugg, don’t know if the game already does this or not), having Batman cast to the player as well as the world as not the best option / solution (Strange would have taken that role), and still having to play him whilst ebating if you really are doing the better thing – that could have been a cool aspect, perhaps even better that the seemingly focal Batman vs. Joker boot-off.

            P.S. I wonder if Shamus’s spamfilter will catch this comment or not. If not, it would be almost ironically amusing. Or amusingly ironic? Ugg. Idk.

            • Jeff says:

              Is it a Westernized thing? It’s most often attributed to Stalin, and I’m pretty sure regardless of location, the eggs do mind.

              • Sho says:

                I think he means that westerners think any character who believes the ends justify the means is definitely a bad guy in the story, probably a vaguely-sympathetic bad guy. Probably because it’s the one that strikes us as a compelling reason (I recall America had been doing horrible things to people’s rights, for the greater good or somesuch).

                • X2Eliah says:

                  Yeah, exactly. The view of this concept is the western-born thing, not the concept itself. :)

                  • Bubble181 says:

                    Not all of Western society thinks that way, though. I could easily derail this into a political flamewar now (A-bombs on Japan, anyone?), but let’s not.
                    Anyway , “the end justifies the means” is used by tragic good-guys-falling-to-evil-ways in a lot of American fiction and a lot of Western European vision as well. Look at central and Eastern Europe, which I’d say are still part of the Western world these days, and you see other things. Heck, ot stay in computer games: the Witcher is a hero (of sorts) and follows this logic.

        • Soylent Dave says:

          Actually, while the ‘political prisoners’ may be innocent, they’re also a significant threat to the prison:

          Some were involved in constructing the facility (and so could tear it down literally), the rest are influential figures (who could tear it down figuratively).

          It’s definitely more than a bit extreme, but from Strange’s “ends justifies the means” angle (which has been presumably been reinforced by RAG), it makes a twisted kind of sense – if Arkham City is going to succeed, then it has to survive; that’s worth killing a few ‘innocents’ (I also get the idea that Strange doesn’t consider the weak to be wholly innocent, anyway – if you get killed because you’re too weak to do anything about it, that’s for the greater good)

      • swimon1 says:

        Personally I don’t think they were asking a question, I don’t really see any hint of that. I mean sure Strange asks whether you’re actually helping or not and all that but Strange is never really portrayed as anything other than a bad guy. At least that’s what it looked like to me. Ultimately it’s somewhat irrelevant though, the problem I have is that they don’t really explore the subject. If they’re asking a question or telling their point of view doesn’t really matter because both are empty if you don’t first talk about it. Actually if you’re asking a question you need to tell both sides (or however many sides there are) so thorough analysis becomes even more important.

        I admit that calling Strange a dictator was perhaps hyperbole. On the other hand he threw Bruce Wayne one of Gotham’s biggest celebrities and Quincy Sharpe the mayor in prison without trial. At that point you might as well be a dictator because if anyone opposes you you can just throw them in jail.

        You are right about the bios tho. They do sort of establish the characters. Unfortunately in one of the worst ways possible. Show don’t tell is a maxim that is perhaps sometimes a little overstated but here it kinda fits. The biographies tell you who these people are but in such a dry list of facts way and then again it only really tells you the concept of the character. Bane is strong here are some examples of how strong he is. We don’t really get any understanding for how he acts around others or what he’s about. I didn’t see any interviews tho, I haven’t picked up all the riddler trophies (tho certainly a majority) so maybe I’ve missed them? I have some phone calls from Zsasz and the joker if that’s what you mean? I actually really missed the interviews from the last game because that’s where you got to know the inmates.

        Batman and his supporting cast are familiar enough that omitting lengthy explorations of each individual isn’t unreasonable… You’d never get to the story.

        I have two problems with this. First I didn’t ask for Shakespeare where we spend an entire game dedicated to what makes this character tick. I wouldn’t mind because I think you could do that with a lot of these characters but that wasn’t what I was asking for. What I wanted was for the characters to be established, to be given some personality beyond their character gimmick (flips coin, looks like penguin, freezes people) considering how much screen time these characters get I don’t think that is in any way unreasonable. To say that these characters have been established elsewhere doesn’t really work for me. Sure I’ve seen the joker before but I’ve never seen this interpretation of the joker. Is he like Cesar Romero? Jack Nicholson? Heath Ledger? Because they are very different from each other. Now the joker didn’t actually need to be introduced all that much because we knew him from the last game but he was the easiest to demonstrate my point with.

        Secondly I disagree with the idea that you can rush the characters to get to the story quicker. The characters are what makes a story real they are what makes the actions important. If we don’t have well made characters there really is no point to a story as fantastic (as opposed to realistic) as arkham city.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          “Show don’t tell is a maxim that is perhaps sometimes a little overstated but here it kinda fits”

          Well not really.This wasnt a game about the origin of batman,this was a game set in the middle of his story.You cannot expect for someone to show you the whole lore for this character that has existed for 50+ years now.And you dont really need to know all that in order to enjoy the interactions between the characters.Heck,before I played arkham asylum I didnt know a thing about bane,killer crock,harley quinn,szasz,etc.But despite that,Ive enjoyed the banter you had with quinn,the stalking in the sewers of crock,etc.Those bios provide just the bare bones you need to familiarize yourself with the characters,and honestly,you dont need more.

          Thats not to say that the interactions between characters in arkham city couldnt have been stronger.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Having played none of the games (but having read your entire comment) I’d have to say that perhaps this level of writing is actually appropriate for the game they were making. The problem is, if you over-write a video game story, then the player’s agency gets overwhelmed and it stops making any sense at all. At least with the cliched non-developed characters you can read into them the motivation for doing whatever stuff they actually do during game play.
      I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure about this. When you have a static story in an interactive environment, you have to make it as generic as possible to allow for player agency. Sure it’s a lame shallow story with lame shallow characters. But this is a game we’re talking about; It would be worse if it was an epic railroad.
      But, like I said, I haven’t played the games, and it’s just a theory.

      • swimon1 says:

        It’s an interesting idea I think we’ve all experienced overwritten games where the writing kinda gets in the way. There isn’t a lot of player agency in arkham city tho, not narrative player agency anyway. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing tho, I mean I prefer the alpha protocol way but games like no more heroes make a good case for the roller-coaster you don’t mind to ride.

        That said there is certainly a case to be made for quick immediately understandable characters that just get the ball rolling at once. Where I disagree tho is that these need to be underdeveloped and boring. What they need to be is archetypical, which comes natural to many batman characters. I don’t think this would need any more writing than is already in the game (you could probably do it with less) instead of having penguin be just some mob boss talking about how babies taste nice you could do a lot with him being ostracised for his appearance. Exploding over small perceived comments about his looks or make him really socially awkward perhaps making him violent as his only real means of controlling his men. Or the other way around making him really classy and polite (penguins are always wearing tuxedos after all) and having him snap at some point revealing his true animalistic side. Or if they really wanted to play the whole collector side then go that route. Make him obviously obsessed with collecting stuff, it could be his motivation for the whole turf war plot just collecting do dads. Have him lose some truly worthless thing and go completely mental over it.

        The problem with the penguin (the other character’s problems are analogous) as is is that he starts angry and vicious and never changes in any way. A character arc is perhaps asking a bit much but we need to see how he uses different approaches to deal with different problems and we need to understand the basic idea of his character. Instead we have him acting one way through the whole game not really reacting to any of the changes around him and we have no idea why he wants to control Gotham’s underworld or collect all the people he kidnaps or the weapons he collects. Is he just greedy? Obsessive compulsive? Is it some sort of revenge against a society that mistreated him? I have no idea.

        but having read your entire comment
        I can only apologise ^^

        • Paul Spooner says:

          So, basically you’re saying: “I felt disappointed because the villains generally appeared to be deep, but we never got to explore them or see them change. They had a single character ‘trick’ that they stuck to, and even that was never explained.”
          If so, I can totally agree with that. If someone puts the effort into strong characterization, you want to find the story behind it. Never offering explanations leaves the audience hanging, and steals the opportunity for real empathy.

          I can only apologise ^^

          It was actually kind of comical. I kept reading and thinking “This paragraph is probably the last.” By the end I was kind of sad it was over. I may have contracted Stockholm syndrome.

  21. SatansBestBuddy says:

    I never noticed that ClayfaceJoker was the one making all the TV show and movie jokes, that makes so much sense I can’t believe I didn’t pick up on it.

    Clayface has always been one of my favourite villains from the animated series, I don’t think any episode where he’s involved ever turned out to be anything less than excellent, so seeing him show up in the game, with a twist I simply didn’t see coming because the rest of the game never, ever even approaches that level of writing, and then the boss fight with him being seventeen kinds of awesome… favourite Batman villain ever, hands down no exceptions.

    If the rest of the game had the same level of care and detail put into it this would have been easily the game of the year, but as is… it’s still game of the year, hot damn this is an awesome game!

  22. Dys says:

    I think the main fault I find with Arkham City is that it is not Arkham Asylum. The first game is one of the most shining examples of how a game should be built and the second was never likely to live up to that high a standard.

    AC is a long way from being a bad game, but size is the only advantage it has over AA. I’m very uncertain about counting that as an advantage at all, in absolute terms.

  23. N/A says:

    Regarding the possible reference to Lost- yes, it definitely is. There’s a few others in there if you look, too. One of the snatches of chatter you can hear from the inmates are words to the effect of “so, did we ever learn what the island was?”

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I also loved jokers last speech in the game.It was so ironic.

  25. SoldierHawk says:

    Thank you thank you THANK YOU for the GFWL warning. I forgot about that with AA. AC was going to be my next big game purchase–not anymore. Much appreciated. Saved me a lot of grief.

  26. hardband says:

    Hell yeah, this plot twist was bloody amazing. I totally didn’t see it coming, but your right, all the clues are there, hidden in plain sight. I have to admit Arkham city and asylum have some of the best linear stories I’ve seen in a video games, even if the beginning of cities is a little unfocused.

  27. Irridium says:

    Companies still use Games For Windows Live?

    That’s like using Gamespy for a multiplayer component.

  28. Nic says:

    For those of you who already bought the game through Steam, the link below has some advice on backing up your save games in case GFWL decides to destroy them:

    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?p=28198104

    Some people in the thread report this method not working for them, but this is the most detailed report I’ve found for how Steam and Games for Windows manage your save data.

    Unfortunately, by the time I found that thread, I had already suffered 2 devastating wipes: one right after I beat the game, and another after I beat all the Riddler challenge maps. I think it’s a huge credit to the game (and my inability to learn from the past) that I am willing to start playing it from scratch a 3rd time.

  29. Rosewire says:

    Okay, I didn’t see this addressed in the comments, so I thought I’d respond to Shamus’ last point about Clayface growing into a mammoth mudman. This Clayface is clearly based off the one from the Batman cartoon, which was a merging of two different Clayfaces that existed in the comics (the first two I believe, out of something like five of them).

    Point being that Clayface’s natural form is the big mudman thing, so he’s not gaining mass, he’s just stopped hiding what he’s got. I imagine its sort of a full-body version of slumping your shoulders in an effort to look smaller. Mind you, he’s usually only about 8 feet tall in the cartoon, so if they did make him a full 4 meters, I suspect that’s a case of the game exaggerating for effect.

  30. Vect says:

    The joke about Lost is sorta a reference to the fact that Paul Dini, as well as being responsible for making Batman: The Animated Series awesome was a writer on that show. A bit of self-deprecation on his part.

  31. Stebbi says:

    Do you know what’s also bad about GFWL. After a certain point the updates for it are simply not available in many european countries meaning we can’t access any games that were released for it after that point.

  32. Winter says:

    Man, and here i was ready to shell out for the game. I have ethical objections to purchasing a game for console when it is available for PC–it’s silly, i admit. I also will not purchase a game with GFWL under any circumstances–this kept me away from the first one, too. So i can’t buy the console version because i want to buy the PC version, but i can’t buy the PC version because it has been poisoned with teh evilz.

    Unfortunate.

  33. davro says:

    I absolutely assumed the Joker’s comment was a LOST reference. It cracked me up, because I love that show and I felt the same way.

  34. Knicknack says:

    Clue: When you return to the steel mill, Clayface is talking to the troops, explaining that he’s all better. Then he goes on this strange tangent about not wanting to explain everything and ruin the mystery, and he makes a sideways reference to (I think) the show Lost, and how that show was ruined when they tried to explain everything.

    On a second playthrough I noticed a subtle and very cool clue in this sequence: during the first part of the speech the cameraman has a coughing fit, making the footage shake a bit.

    First time through I realised the nature of the deception at the exact time Batman did, as he was reviewing the clues in flashback. Brilliant gaming moment that sent chills up my spine.

  35. Jokerman says:

    Clayfaces hands seem bigger than Jokers…or i thought so when the fight with ClayJoker broke out – when i compared them after they really are bigger.

  36. […] it much. Why? Because I would mostly be re-iterating the same points that Shamus made in his very eloquent and comprehensive post on this very topic. I don’t think I could explain why the excellent foreshadowing of the main plot twist worked […]

  37. Ranneko says:

    There is one cheat I noticed. The Joker in the wheelchair shows up to your detective vision as dead. Which means that either it actually was a corpse in a chair (which the ending shows isn’t the case) or the Joker was able to hide his heartbeat somehow.

    Not that anyone is going to see this seeing as how I only just managed to finish the game today.

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      It’s possible that there were three jokers; the joker in the chair (some random dead guy), the clayface-joker (who gasses you), and the real joker (who talks to you once you wake up).

  38. Lachlan the Mad says:

    I did read this post before I played the game, so I’m not sure that I can be entirely honest about this, but the twist seemed kind of obvious to me. This is because of a couple of hints to the twist that you missed in the OP:

    – There was a point where you were watching the “healthy joker” (clayface) on a TV, and you could hear the real Joker coughing in the background.

    – At some point (I think just after the fight with clayface-joker), when the clayface-joker was talking to you, you could hear the real Joker laughing at the same time that the clayface-joker was talking.

    I attribute my spotting of these points to the fact that I play games with really good noise-cancelling headphones that I turn up very loud.

  39. Kalil says:

    It might be worth editing the post to reflect the removal of GFWL from Arkham City and Asylum.

    Makes the game worlds better, for obvious reasons.

One Trackback

  1. By Batman: Arkham City | Terminally Incoherent on Fri Feb 17, 2012 at 10:09 am

    […] it much. Why? Because I would mostly be re-iterating the same points that Shamus made in his very eloquent and comprehensive post on this very topic. I don’t think I could explain why the excellent foreshadowing of the main plot twist worked […]

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