So, the Geek Husband What Rules got Batman: Arkham City for his birthday.
The gameplay is excellent, even for someone like me who has trouble controlling the camera. It’s a huge sandbox of a world, well imagined. It’s beautiful. There are tons of missions to undertake, major and side missions. As with Arkham Asylum there’ a ton of Joker teeth to destroy, and Riddler clues. The upgrades to your equipment and skills are genuinely helpful, and really cool, especially the grappling boost for gliding. A few of the side missions are irritating as hell, like trying find all the Riddler hostages or racing against time to save Zasz’s victims. Catwoman is fun to play, as well. And while it is a little irritating how Batman dismisses Catwoman’s capabilities, you also see that same dismissal directed at Robin. As far as Batman is concerned, no one is as awesome as Batman, and it totally comes out in the cut scenes: Batman isn’t sexist, he’s a jerk to everybody.
However, and here is the big however, Harley’s outfit sucks and doesn’t suit her in the least. The classic harlequin outfit is what Harley wears, and dressing her like a whore adds nothing. She’s not a big floozy, she loves Mr. J and Mr. J alone. At least she’s wearing more clothing than in the Arkham Asylum game. So, this outfit is an improvement. But there’s no reason for that outfit at all. Catwoman, yes, Catwoman wears slinky, tight stuff, the better to sneak in, and the better to disarm men she comes up against. Although when the room-mate’s 9 year old comes out and sees her on the screen and says, “Whoa, that’s a little low cut!” there might be an issue. Poison Ivy also dresses sexy, and that’s perfectly in character. But Harley doesn’t dress like that. So, yeah, Catwoman’s costume, a little low cut, but otherwise fine. Ivy’s costume, fine. Harley’s costume, double plus ungood. And I have to add, that it is incredibly obvious that none of the game designers responsible for her outfit have ever in a million years worn a corset. I have. Trust me, they don’t work like that.
The other issue is with the repeated use of the word “bitch” in the game. The majority of doctors in the game, who need rescuing, are women and are constantly being called bitches. In the Catwoman missions
the word bitch flies around constantly, and it’s more than a little depressing. I mean, maybe I should be grateful they aren’t saying “cunt.” I don’t know. Really, there’s a dozen different derogatory nicknames for Batman among the prisoners, but Catwoman gets bitch and that’s it? It’s just lazy, and more than a little alienating. Not to mention that the npcs throw around rape threats toward Catwoman like candy, but never toward Batman. And let’s face it, if you have a bunch of uber-macho psychos locked up in a walled city, and their arch-nemesis is locked in there with them, they’re gonna make those threats toward him. Granted, during the early scenes where you’re still Bruce Wayne, there are one or two comments directed toward you that could be considered rape threats, but nothing like what you get as Catwoman.
So, if you can ignore the word bitch being tossed around (I heard almost no other profanity in the game), and the rape threats during the Catwoman missions, the gameplay is awesome, the sandbox is huge, and there’s a variety of missions to fool around with. Although Zasz gets a bit frustrating, but you can ignore him buy just not answering phones for the most part. For the most part I do really like the game, I just wish we could have gone without the misogyny garnish on what was an otherwise really awesome package.
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