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    Arkham City

    To celebrate the release of the second straight awesome Batman game (really, what were the odds?), we here at 22 Pages and the Anchor Panel decided to do a little running diary of our experience playing the game together. Say 'Hi' Anth as you press 'Start' at the main menu and jump into the game.

    You never gave up on me, did you, Reynolds? Well, let's dig in to this shall we? Oh man I can't wait to tear shit up as -- CATWOMAN?
    Not quite what you were expecting? Come on, once those credits actually start to roll, and the dramatic music begins, we know Batman is coming and there is nothing quite like it.

    Well if someone would come in and let me out of this chair I can start taking care of business. Sitting cuffed here rocking back and forth, staring at my reflection it's difficult to identify with Bruce Wayne. Unless I'm donning cape and cowl this doesn't feel right. But I digress...
    Up and at 'em, Bruce! I must say, the intro of the game, with Hugo Strange looming and the Penguin first appearing as a dangerous prison ring leader (until Anth helpfully uppercuts him into oblivion), is really a great, harrowing sequence.

    That's what he gets when trying to cage the Bat! Here we go this is more like it - a whole city rotting before me, endless possibilities! So someone tell me: where do I go?
    Navigating Arkham City is no joke! You get the suit, you get the gadgets, but it's up to you to listen to the chatter of the city to figure out where to go (or just follow the green arrow on the top of the screen).

    Alright so let's get atop this building. Wait, no grappling hook? I guess they are trying to set up what an average man's limitations would be. Making me climb some ladders and shimmy around on ledges until I get my cool gear is a pretty cool way to demonstrate that.
    It is also a nice primer on how to use the controls to navigate the terrain before getting the full Batman arsenal. And clearly, you could use the help, having almost swan dived off your first roof top.

    Yeah, that was close. I nearly ended my short-lived foray as a red stain on Gotham's grimy streets. Lucky for me I get to soar through the air instead! Hmmm... who is gonna get the bat-boot from above? This group of jabronis, that's who! Time to mash buttons and time some reversals!
    Still the most satisfyingly bone crunching combat I've seen in a videogame. Alright, now get in the courthouse and save Catwoman from Two-Face!

    Is it just my sheltered exposure to the Bat-verse or does swearing take away from the game? It seems beneath these super villains to drop expletives. I expect a smarter script, not sure why...
    Um, half of Two-Face's noggin was burned off by acid. I imagine minding his Ps and Qs is not exactly high on Harvey's list of priorities. Just stay focused on your sleuthing here and figure out the next place to go.

    He lets the expletives fly! Ok, so we are now four for four with female characters in this franchise. Arkham Asylum had Quinn and Ivy, now Catwoman and Quinn redux. All of the above are hyper sexualized and barely covered. Common theme, Rey?
    I could launch into a discussion about these characters using their sexuality to seduce and destroy Batman, and how gender politics plays out in comic books and digital media. But instead, I will just add: sex tends to sell.

    F#$% this trigger!
    For those wondering, Anth just fired his 83rd random Batarang after fending off saucy Harley Quinn and her goons. The controls for the game are good but there is a lot to remember. Being Batman ain't all rooftop gliding and punch outs.

    Alright, so we freed the prisoners, now up to the clock tower to see what Joker's master plan is. This should be simple. Ah, didn't see this coming - tons of explosives and clocks! In Arkham City: when in doubt, assume a wall is breakable. Of course! *crash*
    So to sum up: a Catwoman and Two-Face confrontation, a showdown with Harley, and a televised appearance from the Joker. This game certainly doesn't ease you into anything.

    A delectable first course - that was tasty, your turn.
    To move it along, we jump into a different saved game (10% in). Joker is sick, so of course he poisons the whole city along with Batman (smooth move, Bruce). I'm off to find Mr. Freeze who is apparently holed up in a former police building.

    Reynolds! There are innocent civilians watching as you leave them to be mugged, beaten and who knows what else! These people have families! You have the power to stop the madness yet their cries for help fall upon deaf bat ears as you pursue these blasted bonus challenges!
    Innocent? They're living in a prison! And anyway, I'd rather improve my gliding skills with Advanced Reality side missions, find Riddler trophies and destroy Titan formula tanks with Bane. For a derelict prison city, there certainly are a lot of fun diversions here. Speaking of which...

    Editor's Note: Technically, those who need rescuing are political prisoners.

    Impressive you singled out the ONE guy in that mob of 20 goons that knew the Riddler's plans!
    I just had a feeling.

    Editor's Note: He was glowing green.

    I like the side missions that totally derail you from the main story. The plot doesn't have much immediate urgency to it, so you don't feel as though you neglect the campaign by choosing to save a few civvies. You are always cleaning up Arkham regardless of what mission you are taking part in. Well, unless you are repeatedly failing "AR" training - kudos!
    Back to the task at hand, trying to destroy transmission jammers so I can break into the museum where Penguin is keeping Mr. Freeze. Unfortunately, I am getting my ass handed to me by a rooftop full of goons with guns.

    If this was a jar of jelly, you'd be having your toast au naturel!
    Fine. Why don't you try it?

    Editor's Note: Anthony completes the task and destroys the transmission jammers.

    Sure. But I, um, loosened up the thugs a bit for you.

    Excuse me I never got killed! However, watching your failures and seeing what approach not to take is extremely valuable in these open world type games. I'd like to point out that the award for least Batman-like handling of a device is showcased in this mission. Punch through three screens? Don't we have a Bat de-jammer to stealthily confound our nemeses?
    There's no time!!! And fittingly, my housemate has just arrived to tell us to get lost so he can play.

    Editor's Note: He actually purchased the game.

    Thanks, bro! Until next month, same... well, you know the rest.