The Batman Arkham franchise changed superhero games forever. With 2009’s Batman Arkham Asylum, the studio set new standards for superhero games at a time when the genre was mostly limited to movie tie-ins. However, it would elevate the genre again with Batman Arkham City.
This release came two years after the franchise changed the genre and propelled Rocksteady Studios to new heights. Batman Arkham City was released in 2011, and the game celebrates its 12th anniversary today.
Why it matters: This Batman title was considered a phenomenal sequel. Having nailed all elements, the game earned its reputation as the best superhero game to date.
Batman Arkham City took the franchise to an open-world format. While its predecessor presented a smaller and more focused world in the asylum and its outskirts, the sequel set players loose in a much larger city.
Core gameplay elements like combat, stealth, and traversal were all expanded upon, making Batman feel more powerful and satisfying to control. Rocksteady Studios also used the sequel to improve boss fights.
While Batman Arkham Asylum was fantastic in most areas, it received criticism for dull bosses. This was no longer an issue in Batman Arkham City, as it presented a few of the most iconic boss fights in superhero games.
The battle against Mr. Freeze, in particular, is fondly remembered to this day. This encounter forces players to think like a true detective, requiring the use of Batman’s expanded arsenal since Mr. Freeze learns and adapts throughout the boss fight.
Other encounters like Ra’s al Ghul continued this trend, presenting larger than life battles that lived up to the legacies of these iconic Batman foes. In terms of narrative, Batman Arkham City featured an expanded roster of characters.
Characters like Catwoman played a major role in the story, and other villains like Two-Face and Penguin were featured in the game. Joker also returned as one of the main antagonists, with another excellent performance from Mark Hamill stealing the spotlight.
A combination of these individual elements resulted in a superhero game that was not only a joy to play but felt like the definitive Batman game in 2011.
While many still prefer Batman Arkham Asylum for its atmosphere and Metroidvania-like approach, the more open nature of the 2011 release allowed for some incredible moments.
The game’s excellence can be judged by the fact that it is still the benchmark for modern superhero games over a decade later. Recently, a reviewer drew comparisons with Batman Arkham City to highlight Insomniac Games’ outstanding work on Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.
While the title is already available on nearly all modern platforms, it is set for another release later this year. With the entire trilogy arriving on the Nintendo Switch in December, Batman Arkham City will be available on more platforms than before.
Avinash is currently pursuing a Business degree in Australia. For more than three years, he has been working as a gaming journalist, utilizing his writing skills and love for gaming to report on the latest updates in the industry. Avinash loves to play action games like Devil May Cry and has also been mentioned on highly regarded websites, such as IGN, GamesRadar, GameRant, Dualshockers, CBR, and Gamespot.