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Arkham City Day#7: The Race for the Cure

Day#7 is just solidifying my opinion of the game. On the plus side, the core fighting and predation are good. On the minus, the narrative continues to scrap along the bottom of stupidity, this time by introducing things that the player hasn’t been prepared for at all and expecting you to buy it or care. And the boss battle this time isn’t as horrible as the nadir of what Batman bosses have been, it’s still annoying formulaic compared to the heights the regular gameplay offers. Spoilers within.

I begin again in the tunnels, and wandering quickly gets me back to a predation scene in a subway terminus with another radio guy blocking something or other. I honestly cannot remember what these guys do, but I know I have to talk him down first. I creep up to the radio guy in a subway car and take him out silently in a very nice crawling stealth move. From there, it’s clean takedowns of the other five or so guys. I walk further down the tunnels and take out some shield guys in a fist fight. You have to do a special move to disarm the shield guys, which is annoying in a big fight but not a big deal. I keep going and kill a few more joker teeth; it’s really good to have those as a path to know where I’m heading. I navigate ducking and sliding through the tunnel to then enter a grating that leads underneath a big group of thugs waiting for guns to arrive. I jump out to takedown the leader and then beat the rest in a decently handled fistfight. When I finish the fight, I get a radio message that the Mayor has been arrested and brought to Arkham City. WTF? What kind of sense does that make? How did he get here? Why does Strange have that authority? Why for that matter is this the first time I’ve ever even HEARD about the mayor. Well, at least Oracle and Batman also talk about how weird it is.

My next mission is changed from getting back to Freeze with the cure to having to go save the mayor. I run around the world until I get to the objective marker. There are a bunch of thugs there, including a couple with guns, but I fist fight them all down. Once all the thugs are done, I hear the mayor talking to me,  but I’m at the spot I’m supposed to be and I can’t see him. I end up coming in and out of this area about fifteen times looking for my target and hearing Batman say that I shouldn’t leave. Oh, he was on the ground. That’s great — make him look exactly like a thug I just beat up. That’s clear feedback for you. I hit the button to pick him up, and we cut to a CS of Mayor Sharp hanging upside as Batman interrogates him. Sharp tells Batman that he let Strange take charge of Arkham City in exchange for campaign money to get votes. Wow, this might have been meaningful if the game had started with any logical sense of what Arkham City was. Batman lets the mayor go and wants to find out who Strange used to make the donations, but Oracle tells him he has to get cured first. The new mission is to go to where Freeze is and I do. A bunch of Joker’s men are trying to get into the frozen over building and I have to take them out. I die in the fistfight the first time because I’m sloppy and there are three different kinds of enemies (normal, big guys, and shields) in the battle. I die several times more; it’s a hard fist fight for me to be this sloppy in. I finally win when I use tactics intelligently to take out all the normal guys first, and I’ll give the game credit for a very interesting fight. As soon as I’m done, a payphone rings and I have to go get another Zsazs phone. This one is very far away and I get there with literally 1 second to spare. It’s a nice emergent moment. I play the tracking mini-game and get about halfway to catching him.

I go back, zap icy door open and go inside. This immediately cuts to a CS of Freeze. Freeze takes the blood I have and then centrifuges a cure. (I know, I know. Don’t ask — if you really wanted to pick on science in Batman, comic book narratives are not for you.) Freeze puts some of the cure in a safe, but then shatters the other vial in his hand. He tells Batman he wants Batman to retrieve his wife from the Joker first. When did the Joker get Freeze’s wife? When was that plot introduced? Forget it. Asking for consistency at this point is almost unfair to this dumb story. Anyway, it’s fight time. Oracle says that Freeze is too powerful to fight directly, but she gets the suit telemetry whatever that means which shows me in a small interface whether Freeze sees me or not. I have no idea what to do in this fight and die once, but then I realize  I have to hide and take him down with traps. When he falls for a trap, he’s vulnerable for a quick beatup before he attacks again. He then destroys that trap so you have to do a new type. I die once because I can’t remember the explosive commands. I die again because I can’t find anymore traps in the room. This fight is annoying. A lot of the traps are one-shot, so if you get them wrong they are wasted, and it’s a little silly to see Freeze just stumbled stupidly following my warm footsteps into really simple traps.  I’m calling it a night.

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