Why I Think Batman Arkham Asylum Is Better Than Arkham City

 

Note: [All opinions expressed herein are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of GamerXChange]

2011 was a great year for gamer’s no doubt about it, it was such a huge year in terms of quantity as well as quality, which is very rare to see both of those things in the same year. Seeing that it was such an epic year full of splendid sequels and some very good new IP’s, I can be forgiven for not having played through all of what is considered to be the top games for the year. I was bogged down with a huge back log of games and so I missed out on playing through one of the better games, which was Batman Arkham City. I went into playing this game with great expectations, after all Arkham Asylum was one of my all time favorite games and Arkham City looked like it was well on its way to beating it in terms of quality. Not to mention all of the Game Of The Year talk that included Arkham City last year, so imagine my surprise when I finished the game the other day and my first thought was that it wasn’t as good as the first game.

I want to point out that there might be some spoilers for the games, so take this as your warning before you keep reading on. I know a lot of you might be thinking I’m crazy for even suggesting that Arkham Asylum is the better game, but after completing Arkham City I’ve never been so sure of something in my life. Now before I start getting bottles and old fruit thrown at me, I’m not saying Arkham City is a bad game, in fact it’s quite good and I did enjoy it very much. What I am saying is that Arkham Asylum had the overall better game, I think the graphics probably favored Arkham City, but they weren’t really improved upon so much that it’s an overwhelming victory in that category.

The first thing that stuck out to me is the length of the games, Arkham Asylum took me roughly 22 hours to complete on normal mode and I would like to think I did everything pretty well throughout the game. By the end of the game I felt like I had been through an epic journey that was well above average in terms of story and game length. When I went through Arkham City, I completed that game in under 15 hours on normal mode, I finished the main story line in under 12 hours and then went back to finish some of the other challenges, which took a few more hours. If you didn’t get the game new or didn’t get the Catwoman add-on, than the game was even shorter on content and the story probably wouldn’t have even been as coherent as it ended up. Now there is also the challenge modes, which will bring the total time up if you are into playing through some of them, I played through about the same amount from each game, but it got rather boring after a while.

Aside from the game length differences, I think the story was weaker in Arkham City as well, I kind of got the feeling that the writers were struggling with who the stories main villain should be. At first you think its Hugo Strange, than I was thinking it was The Penguin and finally The Joker. The story was all over the place and I think the developers crammed too many enemies into a single game. It seemed like to me that they were shoving every major and even some minor Batman villains into the game for a shock and awe factor, but the characters themselves didn’t really do much to add to the story. I am if the opinion that some of the villains in the game would have been much better suited to play the main villain in a future Batman title. Since when did Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Ra’s al Ghul, Two-Face, Riddler, Bane and Solomon Grundy get relegated to supporting cast?

The Joker, who was by far the best part of Arkham Asylum ends up being the main villain again in Arkham City, he has his moments in Arkham City, but they weren’t nearly as prominent as in Arkham Asylum. He flat out disappears in a good portion of the game and although you get preoccupied with other tasks and Joker checks in with you over the phone or by voice mail, it just wasn’t the same as the first game.

There were parts about Arkham City that I preferred, like the variations of enemy character models, the vast areas you can explore in Arkham City and the overall setting was very well done. I just tend to think that Rocksteady was going for a scope with Arkham City that they couldn’t quite reach and what could have been one of the greatest games of all time, ended up being a solid game in a year where there were a lot of solid games released.

One of the great things I remembered about Arkham Asylum was the final boss fight with The Joker, I was hoping for an epic rematch in Arkham City, but sadly that never really is the case. Just when you think they’ve thrown enough Batman villains at you, your surprised at the end by another enemy that just so happens to pop up and ruin any real showdown between Batman and The Joker. Don’t get me wrong, I really did like the game, if I were going to score Arkham Asylum I’d give it a 9.5/10 and I’d probably score Arkham City a 9/10. Both are really good games, but I think its safe to say that the first Arkham game was better than the second,at least in my opinion.

If you don’t agree with me, please let us know why in the comment section below or in our community forums!

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4 Responses to “Why I Think Batman Arkham Asylum Is Better Than Arkham City”

  1. Well written! I feel the same way. AC was great, no doubt in terms of gameplay and look and feel. the gadgets we’re well implemented into the combat system, even though there’s a lot of them. The Gliding/Line Rope/Cape Boost Stuff was very well done. It’s great fun to fly around Gotham with Batman, much better than in AA. However the story is as you mentioned all over the place, there’s no definitive bad guy which makes the ending not as satisfying as in the first one. Also I think the Combat Parts are too easy. Thugs don’t get more aggressive when your combometer goes up, which makes it fairly easy to score highscores. combos of 100x and above are ‘no problem’ anymore…also with all the side missions, medals, story mode+, etc. you get a lot of game time for just one game, but I’m up to 75% percent completion and by now the game has gotten quite boring. Less would have been more. It’s a great game, but AA had better story, better combat and was all in all more compact and satisfying.

    Greets,

    selloa

  2. I just got arkham asylum and I love it..I havnt played arkham city yet..but as soon as I beat arkham asylum…ill move to arkham city

  3. Well, the article itself wasn’t so well-written, you could definitely use a refresher on punctuation and sentence structure. That aside, I completely agree with you. Like Skyrim, Arkham City tried to cram too much into one title, resulting in a game that relies too heavily on side quests and other content, and too little on the main storyline.

    There are some things I like better about AC, of course. Batman has some new moves that feel very natural, Detective Mode was tweaked and looks really sweet now, and it’s nice to see some of the villains that didn’t get any screen time in AA.

    Unfortunately, that last part is also part of the problem. There’s just too many villains in the game. And as cool as The Riddler or Two-Face may be, let’s face it: The Joker will always be the most interesting. Combine that with Mark Hamill’s excellent voice acting, and forget about it. In other words, “I got a fever, and the only prescription is more Joker.”

    Great game, don’t get me wrong. But Arkham Asylum was better.

  4. My only problem with Arkham Asylum was that after you beat the main story mode, there is no more inmates on Arkham Island to fight, where as in Arkham City, inmates are there even after beating Clayface. I like to pretend I’m in Gotham City, swooping down on bad guys on rooftops or in the street and beating the stuffing out of them. I couldn’t do that in Arkham Asylum, so for that reason, I like Arkham City better, especially since I have the Game of the Year edition where the Catwoman parts and the different Batsuits are already on there.

    I also think that the Detective Mode in Arkham City is easier on the eyes and looked so much better.

    I love both Arkham games, but I would give Arkham City a rating of 9.5 and Arkham Asylum a 9.

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