Reviews

Batman: Arkham City Strategy Guide – Review

Batman may be the world’s greatest detective, but that doesn’t always mean that you are, so having a helping hand when it comes to not getting your arse kicked by the Joker is always nice. Brady Games have released a strategy guide to help guide you through your adventures as the Dark Knight himself, and like all Brady guides this is a solid purchase if you need some help with the game.

After a brief introduction describing the basic story of the game and what’s happened since the events of Arkham Asylum the guide starts thing off by running you through the basic gameplay mechanics, offering simple tips and tricks as well for each one. The game itself will of course take you through all of the games controls, making this section a tad superfluous, but if you can’t be bothered with waiting for each tutorial to pop-up during the game it’s worth reading through this to get an idea of changes from the previous game as well as picking up a few tricks. There’s also a page detailing how the games different difficulty settings actually affect the game, as well some details on the New Game+ mode.

Next up is a small section dedicated to Batman’s fighting skills. Here you’ll find plenty of advice on how to properly use the combat system, such as explaining that timing is everything within the combat system. There’s plenty of good advice to be found in this section regarding the noble art of punching people in the face, but it also includes a nicely detailed section on how to use gadgets in combat effectively. Finally the section also suggests which upgrades are best purchased to increase your fighting skills. The combat section  is easily the most enjoyable read of this entire guide and is very well written.

The next section is a few pages focusing on the best aspect of the Arkham series: predator mode. Again, it not only runs through the core concepts that make up this mode but also offers some great advice and tactics to try. Like the combat section this is a fantastic read, though, of course, veterans of Arkham Asylum will already be aware of the majority of tactics here, although it’s still worth reading so you’re prepared for some of the new tricks the game will employ to take you down.

If you’re new to the Batman universe then the guide also provides a solid run-down of the various characters that you’ll encounter during your adventures as the Caped Crusader. There’s simple statistical information such as weight and height, which while sort of interesting is hardly required to play the game, as well as a short but well written summary of who the character, their past and what their involvement in Arkham City is.

After that it’s on to the singleplayer guide which takes you through the main missions that make up the majority of the game, carefully taking you through each level, detailing the enemies you’ll encounter, tactics and tips to beat them, where to go next and more. As you progress through the game the guide will provides boxes on the page containing character information, where nearby Riddler trophies are located and plenty of other additional information. The guide is very thorough and never once led me astray during my playthrough of the game, always offering sound advice, tips and maps. It’s also careful not to spoil aspects of the story, so you can safely read through it and still enjoy what occurs on-screen. As an added bonus it also runs through the Catwoman missions as well, again offering a detail walkthrough and good advice.

After the singleplayer walkthrough is a section focusing on the various side-missions that you can take on during your time in Arkham City. This is a very useful section of the game, because while most of the missions are fairly easy to access in-game it possible to miss a couple of them, and if you’re looking to get the whole experience you certainly don’t want that. Each mission only gets a page or two with fairly limited detail, but that’s understandable as there’s not too much to say about them as they’re fairly simple missions to get through. However, this section does also include a more detailed look at the Riddler Hideout missions which proves invaluable as some people might finds themselves stumped by the Ridders rooms.

The next section focuses entirely on the Riddler, detailing the unlockable challenge rooms, where to find his trophies and how to solve his riddles. It kicks off with a look at the various challenge rooms that can be unlocked, offering a variety of information to help you out such as what moves score what points during combat challenges and the different modifiers you encounter. Most importantly, though, it offers plenty of helpful advice on the different combat and predator maps, once agaih offering plenty of solid advice and tactics to clear the rooms. After that the Riddler section continues with what is, quite arguably, the most valuable section of he guide; the locations of the various Riddler trophies and other collectibles within the game. This is a comprehensive guide on where to find them, with maps that allow you to pinpoint their location, though you’re still going to have to do a little bit of searching. There’s also small sections of text for each trophy explaining exactly how to get your mitts on them. Finally it also runs through the various physical challenges set by the Riddler, such as using three quick-fire gadgets in one fight, quickly allowing you to plow through them all to get that shiny one-hundred percent completion.

The wraps things up with a look at the games Achievements, including how to get some of them, as well as where to find some cameos during your rooftop adventures. Finally, there’s a sneak peek at a few pages of the awesome Arkham City comic.

The presentation of the guide doesn’t really do anything special as it uses the same clean, white visual style that the promo posters for Arkham City was known for. While this works well enough for the posters, it gives the guide a slightly bland look, but the actual layout is solid and easy to read. The writing style is also quite exceptional throughout, with only a few clunky moments to be found, though these are hardly an issue.

Overall I was very impressed with Brady’s latest guide, feeling that it offered a superb level of detail, a clean layout and plenty of good advice on various aspects of the game making this book a worthy purchase.

Note:From now on there will be no score awarded to guides, as, quite honestly, they’re a hard thing to assign a score to.

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