Arkham City is back in the news lately with the announcement of the Armored Edition and the release of the Game of the Year Edition.
I'm a fan of re-releases when they make sense. In the case of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham City, the Game of the Year Edition does indeed make sense. It packs the original, AAA quality experience of Arkham City with all of the DLC that has come out in the meantime, plus the new Harley Quinn’s Revenge DLC. I don't think we'll see any further DLC either, although prospective buyers might want to delay their purchase of this Edition and wait to see how the Wii U version pans out later this year. At the very least it will surely have boxart that isn't so painful to look at.
That said, whether you wait for Armored or pick up the Game of the Year version, you are in for one of the most complete and quality releases this generation. In 2009, I very much enjoyed Arkham Asylum, the best Batman game to date and a stunningly impressive first-release for Rocksteady Studios. Fast forward to last year, and the release of Arkham City took gamers by storm. Not by surprise, necessarily, because the first Arkham was so great, but it was nonetheless another stepping stone in what has become an outstanding franchise. Expanding the playable area some five times and adding in more familiar characters like Catwoman, Robin, Mr. Freeze, and Hugo Strange greatly helped improve a game that many thought didn't really need a whole hell of a lot improving.
Personally, I'm still working my way through the streets of Arkham City, so I have yet to experience the full, original campaign. In talking with Nathan, and reading his review, we share a lot of the same thoughts. Obviously the game hasn't changed since its release, and it's evident it remains a AAA title through and through. It only helps that Batman, already an interesting enough character, is supported once again by a solid cast of villains and other Gotham veterans. Voice-acting is top notch, pulled (where applicable) from the Animated Series (which holds its own as one of the best cartoons ever). The instantly accessible and addictive fight system from Asylum returns, as do the other gameplay elements including detective work, stealth, gadgets, and scaring the bejesus out of the bad guys. In quality sequel fashion, Arkham City expands the breadth and depth of these elements.
But you already know all of that, probably better than I do, at this point. Everyone who has turned on an Xbox in the last year knows that Arkham City is an excellent game. The only question regarding the Game of the Year Edition is what it entails. The official list looks like this:
-Voucher code for a Downloadable copy of Batman: Year One
-All Previous DLC, which means the Catwoman Pack, the Nightwing Bundle Pack, Robin Bundle Pack, Challenge Map Pack, and Arkham City Skins Pack. From what I have read, the Catwoman pack includes four short story missions, twelve campaign missions, another forty Riddler collectibles, two new skins, and over twenty new Predator and Freeflow Challenges. The Nightwing pack has new gadgets, Challenges, and a different fighting style. I haven't played any of these in any detail yet though unfortunately.
-Harley Quinn’s Revenge - This is a new DLC pack adding new playable missions as Batman and Robin. The story here takes place after the events of Arkham City.
-All told, this version adds seven maps, three playable characters, and twelve skins in addition to the full original game.
Whether you missed Arkham City the first time around or have patiently waited for this release, the Game of the Year Edition is well worth the cost of admission, especially as it's going new on Amazon for less than $50. The only reason not to make the jump is if you were intrigued by the Armored Edition for the Wii U.