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Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City

The best superhero game. Ever.

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Escape from New... Gotham

It's the ideal vantage point to admire Rocksteady's sumptuous 'Dark Deco' Gotham, with skyscrapers rising through the wintry gloom and inmates clustered around bonfires on the squalid streets below, but it's also the perfect spot to familiarise yourself with the game's open-world structure.

Batman: Arkham City

Who's laughing now?

You can dive down and pick a fight with Arkham's inmates whenever you like, but if you want to start chipping away at the game's sizeable campaign, you'll have to take on the main missions, side missions and augmented reality training events.

As you'd expect, main missions are linear, but in true comic book fashion, they're also episodic in structure, with some only loosely connected to the story arc. It's a good fit for the premise. With Gotham's super-villans engaged in a turf war for control of Arkham City, main missions flit between sub-plots and scenarios with alacrity, all the time jostling you between an ensemble of Batman's most iconic enemies.

Batman: Arkham City

Agent of shield?

As in Arkham Asylum, the narrative and voice acting is top notch. It's standard superhero fare, of course, but it's imbued with the black humour and gritty realism that has defined Batman since Frank Miller's Year One continuity.

Despite a much lower billing this time around, Mark Hamill still manages a showstopping performance as the cheerfully deranged Joker, but he's run close by Nolan North's turn as Mr Cobblepot - aka The Penguin - who gets a welcome re-imagining as a vicious mockney crimelord.

Batman: Arkham City

Bird on a wire

Catwoman also manages to impress notwithstanding her clichéd low-cleavage, femme fatal depiction – this is a comic, after all. A playable character with her own parallel story arc, Catwoman's unique combat moves and her ability to walk on walls bring real variety to her sections. So much so, in fact, that you actually feel short-changed by her two hours' worth of gameplay.

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Next page: Dark night

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