Tag Archive: mr. freeze


“Wait’ll they get a load of me…”

Comic book fans are easily some of the most rabid fans out there. Maybe it’s because of the history, maybe it’s the appeal of the characters, maybe it’s because of a lack of social skills developed in their mom’s basement, but whatever the reason, whenever something features comic book characters, the fans tear it apart. Well, good luck finding fault with this one. And trust me, being a fan myself, I tried.

Batman: Arkham City is easily the greatest fan service a comic book game could ever possibly be. Fans who had concerns over how the story line tied together or whether too many villains might be featured, need not concern themselves anymore. The way the story flows and introduces you to Hugo Strange, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler, Catwoman, Mr. Freeze, Deadshot, Zsasz, and all the other villains in Arkham City, could only be described as water it flows so smooth. The game has such a natural plot progression that your biggest problem may be just finding the time to finish it because if you do even a portion of the side quests like where you team up with Bane or simply wish to hunt for a few Riddler trophies then you’re going to be looking at a 40-50 hour experience. That’s almost unheard of for an action/adventure game, but somehow Batman: Arkham City finds a way to keep surprising you to the point where you might just start sitting on the floor so that when you keep dropping your controller it won’t fall as far. The guys at Rocksteady should be applauded for this new Batman universe they have created while also making it still feel like Batman.

Really though the biggest reason why the game is so great comes down to the variety and execution in the game play. There are a plethora of problems for Batman to solve using all of his different gadgets and abilities and unlike in Arkham Asylum where some gadgets were favored more than others, every gadget will get a workout here. Whether expertly trying to pilot your remote-controlled batarang through air ducts too small for Batman to fit through to hit a switch on the other side of a locked gate, to using your grappling hook to pull together platforms to solve tricky Penguin puzzles, every gadget will be pushed to the limit, and not to spoil anything, but there are a lot more gadgets this time around.

The gadgets are also a huge part of combat now, which is another feature that has seen a facelift. Now, via some hot key combos, Batman can whip out his grappling hook, batarangs, and other goodies on the fly and throw them in the face of unsuspecting foes to pull off some really stunning combos like using the grappling hook to pull distant thugs in for a devastating clothesline. Also, aside from the standard punches and counters and these new gadget moves, Batman has new special moves that can take foes out of the fight instantly when his combo gets high enough, catch items thrown at him and throw them back with a well-timed counter, capitalize on the tremendous environment physics to put walls and railings more to his advantage, and even unlock special crowd control moves that can even up the odds on those 30 on 1 fights that you’ll occasionally run into. Basically, if we’ve seen Batman do it in a movie or comic book before, he can do it in the game and few things feel as good as quick grappling an enemy over a banister and hearing him scream for his mommy before being knocked out.

Another aspect of the first game that has been tweaked is the leveling up, RPG elements. You start the game off with a good amount of gadgets and moves, but like in the first game, the further you progress and more stuff you do, the more gadgets and combos you unlock as it goes with the story and then upgrade as you see fit. In the end, most people should have many, if not all of the upgrades, but it does give you some options in just how you would play as Batman in order to help craft a more personal experience.

Now, for many people, the only real negatives from the first game were the linearity and Detective Mode being used as a crutch. I’m happy to say that both problems have been solved. In order to counter people wanting to stay in Detective Mode, things away from where your focus should be have become more blurred, forcing players to only use it when examining a crime scene, following a blood trail, or when scoping out a room full of thugs. The bright neon lights of Gotham also wreak havoc with Detective Mode really making sure that when you’re outdoors, you take in Gotham in all it’s downtrodden glory. The linearity has also been fixed with the bevy of previously mentioned side missions and having several objectives open at once so that you can solve cases at your own leisure, go explore for Riddler trophies, or just do what I did for the first half-hour I played the game, glide around on my cape and just take in Gotham staples like the Monarch Theater, Ace Chemicals, and Park Row.

Now, one knock might be that there is no co-op multiplayer since if you squint really tightly you might see potential for it, but the character really isn’t built for that, especially in this story. You can already play as other characters to mix things up, which the Catwoman levels are just as fun as the main game and give you a whole new look to Arkham City for the short sections you play as her by the way. But, honestly, Batman is at his best when he is the center of attention and Robin, Nightwing, Oracle, and the rest of the Bat-family are just on the sides providing occasional support from the wings. And Batman and his rogues are the biggest reason why anyone plays this game. Would anyone really play a Nightwing game with him taking on Professor Pyg? The challenge maps return, of course, and trying to work your way up the leaderboards and build the best combo is still fun and choosing different characters there works, but Batman is a loner and so the main vein of this game, which is the campaign, is in all its glory with you just focusing in and playing as Batman.

When all is said and done, throw in the amazing voice acting from Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Maurice LaMarche, Tara Strong, and the rest of the cast, and without giving away the brilliantly written plot (thank you Paul Dini), all I can say is that this is the single greatest comic book game I’ve ever played. It plays so well that I can easily recommend this to anyone without even thinking about it.

SUMMARY: Batman: Arkham City is easily the greatest fan service a comic book game could ever possibly be.

  • THE GOOD: The most comprehensive comic book game I’ve ever played
  • THE BAD: So many “Oh my God!” moments you keep dropping your controller
  • THE UGLY: The seedy underbelly of Gotham all in one spot

SCORE: 10

Oh, it’ll be a hot one in the ol’ town tonight!

Riddle me this. How do you top one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time while appeasing one of the more rabid comic fan bases to have ever existed. Answer: Batman: Arkham City. At least that’s what the folks at Rocksteady are hoping, but from what I’ve seen in some hands-on demos, I don’t think they have much to worry about now that we’re less than a month away from launch.

So what exactly have they done to make this game so much better than Arkham Asylum? Well, how about more villains, more heroes, a larger open-world, more gadgets, and the return of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as the Joker, and Paul Dini as the script writer? And that’s just scratching the surface.

What I first noticed with my hands-on demo though was that I surprisingly started playing as Catwoman. Many people feared this addition when the announcement was made that you would play as her, but after clearing a room full of thugs with her before cracking a safe, rest assured fellow Bat-fans that it feels good. She has a faster and lighter feel compared to how Batman moves while also falling into the same control scheme of mixing attacks with well-timed counters. It also fits in with the early plot of the game as the cat looks to help the bat in his war on Arkham City’s inmates before she is captured by Two-Face.

Once I donned the cape and cowl though, the whole game literally changed in terms of perspective and feel as I was moved to a Gotham rooftop and although some of the guys from Rocksteady were encouraging me to go do mission objectives, I had a spectacular time just gliding from rooftop to rooftop and using my bat-line to pull me up when I miscalculated the length of a gap. When they say this world is five times larger than the last, they meant it as Gotham felt almost intimidating in its size and scale. It was this fear of being consumed by the nooks and crannies of this massive digital megalopolis that I concurred with the prodding of our PR handlers and headed into a building.

It was here that much of the last game began to flood back to me as I perched high above a room filled with Two-Face thugs. As I listened to Big Bad Harv rant and rave, I began planning how I would take down the room full of foes. Once Two-Face had moved on, it was time to make my move and as I leapt from the perch and onto my first victim, I found that a couple of key additions had been added to the combat.

The first is the ability to use items and gadgets without breaking your combat flow at all. Throwing batarangs and detonating small packets of explosive gel to help dictate where I wanted my foes to go so I could get the largest combo possible all while countering, kicking, and punching others in my nearby vicinity made it look like Batman was moving almost like water through the group as every movement made perfect sense and optimized my combat experience like nothing I had ever seen.

The next addition to combat actually came on the side of the low-rank villains I was facing as their A.I. has improved greatly from the last game as they picked up pipes and chairs for weapons and trash can lids or broken car doors for shields. Enemies also would occasionally throw these weapons at you and now Batman could catch them in mid-air and use the item’s momentum to hurl it back to its original chucker or into the face of a different enemy in Batman’s vicinity. All in all, what was already probably the best action/adventure combat system in gaming looks like it took the next step forward and kicked it up a notch.

But I was far from finished as a sniper shot pierced a window and we got to play with Detective Mode once again as Batman begin tracing the trajectory and calculating just who could have fired the shot. We soon tracked down the location and was met by an unexpected fan-favorite, Harley Quinn. She warned Batman to stay out of the Joker’s way as he had big plans for Arkham City.

I was paying more attention to how Harley said things than what she said though. For those who are unaware, this is a rare time where Harley Quinn is being voiced by someone other than Arleen Sorkin. Luckily it is voice over veteran Tara Strong who Batman fans may know better as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl from Batman: The Animated Series or even maybe as Raven from Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans. It was definitely different though as Sorkin’s ditzy but dangerous was replaced by a slightly more serious and seductive tone by Strong. This could work as supposedly with the Joker nearly incapacitated from his high exposure to the Titan formula in the first game, Quinn has had to step up her game for the sake of her ailing puddin’, but hardcore fans might be taken aback at first. Still though, she is in the hands of the man who created her in Paul Dini so I have faith that the character will rise above it all in the end.

Speaking of the voice cast though, a superior job was done by all involved so far from what I heard in terms of many of the villains and heroes. Of course, Kevin Conroy, also of B:TAS fame returns to play the Dark Knight and Mark Hamill, in what he has stated as being his last time doing it, returns to play the Joker. On top of this, the hardest working man in video game voiceovers, Nolan North, shocked me when I found out he was playing the Penguin of all characters, but he did an alright job with it. Doing a bit of a cockney accent definitely helped as I don’t think his Nathan Drake voice would have worked here. The Penguin’s dark and twisted design this time around is also something that needs to be seen on a screen to be believed as his classic monocle has been replaced by a beer bottle that was jammed into his face and smoking cigars and cigarettes all those years has left him with an advanced voice box. Beautifully twisted and dark indeed.

I’ve also been really impressed with Maurice LaMarche as Mr. Freeze, best known as The Brain from Pinky and the Brain, Egon in The Real Ghostbusters, and, well, he’s basically had one role or another in every major cartoon of the past thirty years. Although only seeing him in trailers, I wanted to mention what an awesome touch I think Maurice is bringing to the character in the few lines I’ve heard and I thought it was a stroke of genius by the sound guys to make him sound so normal when he has his helmet open, and so mechanical when he closes it up.

With our demo all but done, so many questions were answered, but even more were popping into my head. How deep does the conspiracy go? What does Batman do to disprove to Hugo Strange that he and Bruce Wayne are one and the same? What unannounced villains will rear their head? How will the fights against the likes of Mr. Freeze and the Riddler go down? How will displaced villains like the Penguin from the Iceberg Lounge and Black Mask from Sionis Industries affect the landscape? Will we get to drive the Batmobile?! What will happen to the Joker in the long term?! I’m getting amped up just thinking about it! All I know for sure is that we here at EGM are going to be covering this game like a Kevlar glove with triangular fins so you had better stay tuned to our coverage here for more on this Game of the Year contender. Same Bat-EGMNow.com time, same Bat-EGMNow.com channel!

What are you all looking most forward to about Batman Arkham City? What other questions do you still have about the game? What has you most excited about the game’s release? What unannounced surprises do you think they have in store for us? Let us know with comments below!