Batman: Arkham City

Sequel to the 2009 hit Batman: Arkham Asylum, the story of Arkham City picks up over a year after the events of the previous game. With Arkham Asylum no longer admitting patients indefinitely, and Blackgate Prison blown wide open, Gotham City has no real way to house its violent criminals, and the threat of releasing them into the population has become real. Former Arkham warden Quincy Sharp, who presided over Arkham Asylum, somehow has managed to win the mayoral elections for the city, proving that voters can be pretty stupid when it comes to looking at general track records. He has devised a new solution to the crime wave that threatens Gotham: Arkham City.

Batman: Arkham City Starter Guide by Alexander Musa

Introduction

Sequel to the 2009 hit Batman: Arkham Asylum, the story of Arkham City picks up over a year after the events of the previous game. With Arkham Asylum no longer admitting patients indefinitely, and Blackgate Prison blown wide open, Gotham City has no real way to house its violent criminals, and the threat of releasing them into the population has become real. Former Arkham warden Quincy Sharp, who presided over Arkham Asylum, somehow has managed to win the mayoral elections for the city, proving that voters can be pretty stupid when it comes to looking at general track records. He has devised a new solution to the crime wave that threatens Gotham: Arkham City.

Taking a section of Gotham's slums and walling them off from the rest of the world, the newly dubbed Arkham City is watched over by TYGER, a guard force that is free to use any means necessary to keep criminals penned into the sprawling prison complex. In command of TYGER is Hugo Strange, a mysterious psychiatrist, whose true motives for inspiring the creation of Arkham City remain unclear.

In public, Bruce Wayne has been campaigning heavily against the concept of Arkham City, and he is not alone in his dissent. However, his speech-making in the political arena has caught some unwanted attention.

Fortunately, Gotham has the hero it deserves in the form of his alter-ego, The Batman, and on this one night, he will be in Arkham City when everything goes to pieces.

This mini-walkthrough will cover the early part of the story, from the trouble situation that Bruce Wayne finds himself within the Arkham City walls, until hours later, Batman has tracked down The Joker, only to find that the situation within the improvised prison is far worse than he imagined. Meanwhile, players with the Catwoman DLC will be forced to re-negotiate a tenuous alliance with one of Arkham City's super-criminals.

Batman: Arkham City is a significantly larger game that it's predecessor in just about every aspect. The story contains one of the largest rogue's gallery of trouble gathered into one spot, all with a bone to pick with the world's greatest detective. The Riddler, whom some players will remember outsmarting in the previous game by finding all of his statues and solving all of his riddles, has returned in a huge way, with over 400 (!!!) total secrets to discover strewn throughout the city as Batman, with another 40 statues that only Catwoman can access. Numerous sidequests will have Batman traveling the entire prison in desperate races against time to save lives from the psychopaths locked away in the city.

A secondary gameplay mode, Riddler's Revenge, also factors in heavily with future DLC, with Robin available early to players who purchased the game from certain retail outlets. In this mode, your skills at combat and stealth will be pushed to the limits with any available characters you have, with hundreds of point goals to strive for per character. Arkham City will keep most diligent players busy for weeks on end.

Gameplay

Navigation and Combat

The first thing you should know going into the game is simply how enormous Arkham City is in physical size and scope compared to Arkham Asylum. Prowling the streets as Batman (or Catwoman, if you have that DLC pack), you may find yourself overwhelmed at the sheer number of things there are to do, and because of the more open spaces outside of individual gang hideouts, and the vertical nature of the space you hunt within, you will find yourself planning the start of your battles more carefully, as your options become more second nature.

Batman and Catwoman are both exceedingly capable combatants, but even they can be overwhelmed if they grow careless. It is best if you look at battles with the enemy as timed puzzles, in a sense. Who you defeat, how you defeat them, the order you choose to do it in, and how you use the tools available to you will be the greatest determining factor of your success. You cannot simply mash the attack buttons and expect to survive, and this section will give you some survival tips on how to get through the longest night in one piece.

Movement and Observation

Batman and Catwoman are fast and agile, and augment this with their wide array of gadgets. Both have built in visors on their costumes that allow them to get a better picture of their situation before diving headlong into danger. If you do not have the Catwoman DLC, Arkham City begins with you in the role of Bruce Wayne, and you eventually done the proper attire of the Caped Crusader. This first portion of the game acts as an extended tutorial to introduce you to basic navigation concepts. Here are some hints for getting around town.

  1. Use the rooftops. This cannot be stressed enough. If you try to navigate Arkham City at the street level, getting around will take a long time. More importantly, the rooftops give you ample locations to observe the enemy from on high, and generally having the high ground lets you choose whom to pick off first.

  2. Do not be afraid to make seemingly impossible leaps. Both Batman and Catwoman have ways to extend their jumps, either through sprinting, Batman's ability to glide or use the Grapnel, or Catwoman's whip and her natural ability to stick to walls and leap up them quickly. If you're just short of reaching a rooftop, both characters can easily cling to the ledges or they can use their Grapnel or whip to save themselves from falling. Fairly early in the story, Batman can undergo a series of Augmented Reality training exercises that will award him the Grapnel Boost, which will increase the speed of how he gets around the city. Used properly, the Grapnel Boost can allow Batman can glide across almost the entire city without stopping on any rooftop.

  3. The Detective Mode/Thief Vision is one of your single greatest advantages you have in any situation, allowing you to suss out the location of Riddler's riddles, hidden statues, switches, and anything else you may need to interact with well before you actually get close to them. More importantly, this lets you spot threats through walls. This will allow you to effectively plan your approach to any situation, note locations to escape to, or side routes to flank the enemy with.

The best thing Detective Mode does is inform you of how your foes are armed. This one feature can help save you a lot of grief that comes with jumping face first into a guard armed with a shotgun.

  1. Move with purpose, move intelligently. Don't run around without a plan, don't move carelessly. As the enemies grow better armed and armored, your mistakes cost you dearly. Know where you're going and how you're going to get there. When you're still stalking the enemy and have yet to be spotted, remember that you are still in complete control of the situation. Keep it that way by using your environment to your advantage. Use the shadows, gargoyle busts, ledges, air ducts, floor gratings, anything that can get you around stealthily and quietly.

Being the Dark Knight

Before combat is actually initiated, unless your foes are actively hunting you down, they typically have no idea that the Batman is closer than they would like to think. Sometimes, they may be standing guard in rooms you need to have free access to, but as ready as they may think they are, rarely are they prepared well enough.

Batman has more than enough tools starting out to strike fear in the hearts of the wicked, and his arsenal grows throughout the story, but all of the gadgets in the world cannot replace the importance of striking without being seen. When inside a room full of armed men, you cannot run around making noise and trying to fight in the open, you'll just be cut down by gunfire. The Predator challenges in Riddler's Revenge stresses this, but you must use the environment to maximum effect, picking off one thug after another, and taking advantage of opportunities to silently knock out multiple targets at once.

  1. For as long as possible, remain out of sight, observing your victims as they patrol the area you need to get through. Knowing how many guards there are, and where they will travel is your biggest advantage.

  2. Note what they are armed and equipped with, and plan around eliminating the advantage it provides. Some guards may have body armor, making them tough nuts to crack. You might enter a room full of men with heartbeat trackers, and taking one down, even silently, will alert the others that something is amiss. More dangerously, some guards may be armed with thermal goggles that can track Batman and Catwoman even in the shadows or within a Smoke Bomb. You can eventually get an upgrade for Batman that circumvents this, but when it isn't available, you will need to use your environment to hide.

  3. Use any available tools to momentarily distract or stun a guard to allow you to finish them or move past them into a more advantageous position. For example, use Batarangs to set off fire extinguishers, or perhaps set some explosive gel down in a location and set it off to attract attention. Crashing through glass but escaping unseen also attracts attention. As long as you keep the guards jumping, you elevate their fear, and can make them more prone to mistakes, like shooting at eachother, or jumping at every single noise they hear, even those not even made by you!

  4. Commit to each action, but have a back up plan. Sometimes, guards are lucky and spot you before you can accomplish something. If the target is isolated, try to finish him off first before doing what you need to do to escape. Hesitation, particularly as the guards get better weapons, will just get you killed.

  5. Height is your friend, most of the time. Vantage points are scattered throughout most Predator rooms, and these can be used to pull you out of danger and sight. Guards can wise up to this on the higher difficulties and destroy these high posts to deny you this tactical advantage, so keep that from happening by not being spotted using them.

Combat

Once you've been spotted by Arkham City thugs they will converge upon you en masse. Early in the game, your foes will be poorly armed, if at all, giving you a chance to get a handle on the Freeflow combo system, the new multiple defensive counters, and the variety of special techniques and tools you're introduced. Generally, you should have no trouble at all defeating any single thug, but most of your encounters will have you outnumbered quite heavily. As it is with navigation, Batman and Catwoman start off well equipped for combat, and get more dangerous by the end of the game. The real trick is in how you use their abilities and tools to win every fight, no matter the odds.

You have four basic responses to any threat that closes in on you:

Striking: Basic Strikes can interrupt most attacks from unarmed thugs. Your first three Strikes will not do much damage, but they come quick, and once these land, you will notice a distinct change in how your character fights. It is possible to shift the initial Strikes at the start of a combo between multiple foes, but it generally is not efficient. After three Strikes, you enter Freeflow, and your chosen character can quickly move between targets and deliver single, powerful Strikes before moving to the next victim. In a sense, this is how you can help travel across a particular battle arena quickly, while continuously delivering high damage to all of the enemy while interrupting their attacks.

Counters: In the standard campaign mode, you will notice that enemies, just before they hit you, get an icon that appears just over their heads. This is your prompt to use a Counter. Basic Counter icons are blue, and indicating an attack (or series of attacks) you can easily stop cold. Much like Strikes, Counters get more brutal and decisive as the combo meter fills. These are important to maintaining the flow of the battle in your favor, but be careful not attempt a Counter when no attack is inbound, otherwise you will be vulnerable and could suffer damage anyway! Keep in mind that you cannot counter out of certain attacks easily. If you've leapt on top of a foe to deliver a knockout blow, one of his nearby friends can easily knock you off of their downed ally, as you are unable to counter until the knockout blow lands.

You can counter multiple incoming attacks, just remember to press Counter for each incoming attack, otherwise you will take damage.

Not everything can be countered exactly the same. Yellow icons indicate an opponent with a knife or other weapon that can't be stopped with a traditional Counter. Red icons over the head of an attacker mean you cannot Counter whatsoever!

Stun: This attack does little damage, but it sets up most regular opponents for a Beatdown, a high speed Strike combo that builds your meter, as well as guarantees serious damage on your unlucky target, if not an outright knockout. Chaining three Stuns together results in a Super Stun, which can incapacitate opponents for a good amount of time, giving you a brief reprieve. Landing a Stun will maintain your Combo meter, so use this to thin the odds out somewhat in your favor without risking your Combo being dropped.

Each character's Stun works differently. Batman's cape lashes out in an arc in front of him. Catwoman's Whip can be used to restrain and pull in a single opponent, or lash out at multiple foes. If you picked up Robin DLC from certain retailers, his staff whirls out in front of him, stunning foes in a small arc in front of him. All characters can chain their Stuns together.

Evade: Your Evade button is the same as your Run button. To evade an attack, double-tap the run button while pressing the direction you wish to travel. This is a fantastic way to avoid damage, maintain your combo while setting yourself up in a better position. You're not invincible while evading, you can be shot out of the animation, or punch out of it if your timing is off. Evasion is your best option to bypass the defenses of tougher opponents to help set them up for a takedown.

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When you build your Combo to 8x or greater, you can use a Special Move to instantly knock out one enemy. While performing a Special Move, your enemies give you a just enough time to finish the attack before resuming their assault. As the game progresses, you can unlock additional abilities Batman can use, such as Disarm and Destroy, which takes out the weapon a thug was using, or the ability to summon a swarm of bats to stun a group of foes. You cannot spam Special Moves, so when using them, make certain that you're not wasting it on a small fry.

Some basic combat hints are:

  1. Stay calm, stay focused. It is incredibly easy to have one mistake lead into a chain of mistakes that will result in death. Simply hitting attack again and again is not good enough, though the temptation rises after you drop a combo, either because you mistimed a strike, or you've been hit by the enemy. Always pay attention to whom you're fighting, watch for chances to counter, and failing that, look for chances to evade and maintain control of the situation.

  2. Use your special moves wisely. Special moves have brief start-up invincibility as you lunge towards your victim to put them out of the fight permanently, but they also make you temporarily vulnerable as you stop moving. Certain foes require special treatment to take out of the fight, a prominent and important example would be thugs who are armored, or are using shields.

  3. Check before pounding a downed foe! Probably one of the most common ways to drop a combo comes from attempting to leap atop a stunned thug to finish them, while surrounded by hostiles who then punch you in the back of the head. You cannot counter any attacks until the moment you've disabled the target, and even then it's a dicey and unnecessarily risky proposition in the middle of a big brawl.

  4. Know what tools to use and when to use them! Like special moves, this is one of the factors that can determine success or death in Arkham City. Your various tools can stun foes while maintaining combo, cause certain armed enemies to lash out at their comrades, and later on in the story can even help you disarm thugs armed with guns from afar!

  5. Counter, counter, counter. In the middle of a fight, as many as three enemies can attempt to strike you at the same time. Pressing the counter button once is not enough. For every enemy with a counter icon over their heads, that's how many times you need to press the counter button. That said, once you have initiated the counters, there's no harm in mashing the button rapidly to ensure your safety.

The problem later on in the game is that basic counters are not a catch all for every threat. Knife or stun prod wielding foes provide their own special concerns, and will force you to mix things up. Traditional counters are not possible here.

  1. Isolate, disarm, and defeat the most dangerous thugs first. It sounds like a no-brainer, but in the heat of the moment, it's easy to ignore armed thugs that slip their way in to the crowd surrounding you. Lead pipes, base ball bats, and even chairs can be problematic, but things get a bit more frantic when knives, stun prods, and even guns get in the mix. Whenever an armed enemy gets involved, make them a priority. When you later get the ability to use a special attack that destroys a weapon on the targeted thug, you can use this in the middle of a Freeflow combo to take out a melee weapon or firearm on a given enemy!

  2. When weapon crates are a factor, put yourself between them and the enemy. Guns are the great equalizer for the thugs, but they don't always start with them. Do what you can to prevent them from getting armed in this way. Eventual upgrades to the Explosive Gel can trigger blasts as the enemy gets close, Freeflow from thug to thug to keep them occupied, use Disarm and Destroy on those who are lucky enough to get their hands on a gun. Gun control can turn even the nastiest fights into something manageable.

Upgrades

It's important to perform well in combat, because it is how you gain experience points. At increasing amounts, enough experience points will 'level' you up, allowing you to select an upgrade from your PDA. You don't have access to all potential upgrades immediately, but they become unlocked over the course of the story.

Generally speaking, you want to improve the damage potential of Batman before you improve his resilience to damage. Even with better armor, you can still be gunned down or beat down with surprising speed, so your best defense is a good offense, mixed with evasion and the appropriate counters. Lowering the requirements to start using Special Moves is a good early upgrade, as well as the Critical Strikes upgrade, which boosts your combo meter rapidly when performed correctly. Upgrades like these carry over to other characters, which is a real help for accomplishing all of the various Riddler combat challenges outside of the main game.

Other upgrades improve the efficiency and ability of the various gadgets at your disposal. Among the most useful for Batman is the upgrade to the Batclaw that allows him to disarm foes from a distance. This can even be done in the middle of a Freeflow combo in place of using one of the various special moves at your disposal.

If you have the Catwoman DLC, you can also upgrade her catsuit and some of her combat abilities, and it's important to consider those upgrades because her story will be inserted into the primary campaign at certain intervals. Still, the most efficient upgrades will be Critical Strikes, Freeflow Focus, and Special Combo Boost, as they are shared between characters. You can eventually afford every upgrade if you perform well in combat, and investing in defense only allows you to survive your mistakes for a bit longer. Offensive upgrades allow you to put down your foes sooner, a more proactive approach to avoiding mistakes.

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All of these hints in these categories will serve you more or less throughout the entire game, though you will find you may need to improvise on the spot the farther you go. Remember to keep your mind open to the options presented to you by the game. It's one thing to read hints, but everyone plays the game differently. However you decide to approach Arkham City, practice will be the ultimate deciding factor.

The Mini-Walkthrough

Note: This walkthrough will clearly mark what sections are Catwoman DLC enabled. If you do not have that DLC, you can easily skip past those sections.

Early in the campaign, you will notice that Riddler Statues are clearly visible, and when you finally don the proper Batman attire, you can even reach them. There is no specific order to collect them in, but you may find in your early exploration that you cannot actually grab them all until you have certain pieces of equipment. In those cases, your best bet is to simply scan the statue with your Detective Vision, which will mark the statue on your map. That way, if collecting it early on seems to elude you, you can always come back to it later.

This walkthrough assumes this is a first playthrough on Normal difficulty. Fighting becomes harder on higher difficulties, and on New Game Plus, thugs will be significantly better armed earlier into the story, which can make life...troublesome.

With that said, let's begin.

CATWOMAN DLC: EPISODE 1

Before the proper start to one of the longer nights in Batman's career, deep within Arkham City, Catwoman is already on a special hunt of her own. Having broken into a house, she's looking for a safe that contains something valuable to her. Six thugs stand between her and the safe.

This being your first fight in the game if you have the DLC, you can find it somewhat disorienting if you have no prior experience with Arkham Asylum or Arkham City. Stay calm, and remember to Counter when the chances appear. None of the goons are particularly skilled or well armed, so sticking to basics will work nicely.

Once you've knocked them out, it's time to crack the safe and make off with your prize...only there's a complication. The first in a night full of them.

CATWOMAN DLC: EPISODE 1 END

We begin the main storyline of the game. Bruce Wayne, in the middle of his public campaign against the Arkham City facility, is assailed by a group of armed men, who quickly break up the crowd surrounding his speech, and take him into custody after a good rifle butt to the face.

As Wayne wakes up in a cell, Hugo Strange informs you that it is in your best interest to enjoy the ride from here on out, lest his secret becomes public knowledge.

You finally gain control of Bruce Wayne tied to a chair, and are prompted to help him struggle free. To manage this, move the analogue stick in time with his movements until the chair topples over. Things begin to happen pretty fast. A guard bursts into the room, and moves to restrain Bruce with a vicious kick. The game will prompt you on screen to counter this assault.

Unfortunately, this guy has friends close at hand, and you're quickly subdued and taken into a yard for processing. The guards have a little fun with Bruce, but Strange, who is overseeing the scuffle, counsels them a measure of restraint.

During processing, you eventually come across Jack Ryder, a reporter notorious for his aggressive interview style. He was unlucky enough to be covering Bruce Wayne's speech when the kidnapping occurred, and was taken into Arkham City as well. After a brief exchange of words, Bruce and Jack are released into the general prison population, which goes about as well as you can expect.

You're beset immediately by inmates, with Jack unable to even defend himself. This is your opportunity to practice counter strikes. You're attacked in fairly slow sequence. Counter the inmates until you're able to help Jack to his feet. You don't get a reprieve, as another set of thugs, led by The Penguin, accost Bruce and pull him aside for some special treatment.

After Penguin gloats about the vengeance he's about to deliver, Counter his punch. A new brawl begins. This fight acts something akin as a tutorial to the Freeflow combat system. Always watch out for Counter icons to appear, and be sure to punish them. You don't have access to everything in your arsenal yet, but what you do have is enough to mete out some justice. Bruce's melee will be restrained until you eventually break free from the cuffs. From there, put down the thugs decisively, and take a swing at Penguin for good measure.

Now you need to get to higher ground, and the next section will accomplish this, while serving as another tutorial for basic navigation. There's a dumpster you can take that will allow you to climb up to a ledge with a ladder. Climb this ladder. There's seemingly nowhere else to go, but you can run Bruce towards a gap that leads to some air ducts you can climb. Keep going higher. Eventually, Bruce contacts Alfred, requesting he deliver his gear to the top of the Ace Chemicals building, which is conveniently nearby.

Again, there's seemingly no way for Bruce to climb to that rooftop, but from where you stand during the phone call to Alfred, you can leap to a small ledge underneath the large E on the Ace building. Shimmy along until you are able to climb up, and then follow the twisting path up the sides of the building until eventually, you reach a ladder that gets you to the roof.

The Batwing delivers the pod containing all of the things Bruce needs. The Batman is now in Arkham City.

  • Getting To Catwoman

Right away, you're given an objective. Two Face has Catwoman hostage in a courthouse literally straight ahead from where Batman stands. You can glide to cover much territory on the way there, but check the rooftops as you do so. A Riddler Statue can be seen within a small cage in plain sight. To access it, there's a nearby switch you can stand on. Once you leave it, you have two second to get to the statue to retrieve it before the cage snaps shut. As far as Riddler Statues go, this is one of the easier ones to find. Good luck finding the other 399 secrets, 439 if you have the Catwoman DLC!

You have multiple routes of entry to take into the courthouse. You can enter via the ground floor front entrance, which will have a number of thugs waiting in front as guards. You can also enter via a roof entrance, easily accessed via gliding and use of the Grapnel.

There's no practical reason to avoid a fight here and now, though. Get down there and Batman the consciousness out of them! This melee is a bit more dangerous, as you have multiple thugs armed with lead pipes. Be sure to watch your back as you flow from target to target. If a thug is close enough for you to Counter, do it, but don't sacrifice your combo by mashing the button.

Once the front entrance is clear, you can enter the Solomon Wayne Courthouse. Once inside, switch to Detective Mode for some bad news: there are over forty people inside, two of whom are armed with guns. Charging in directly is not a good plan. Take the stairs up to the next floor, and a cutscene will play. Two Face declares that court is now in session, and you need to hurry to save Catwoman, currently hanging over a boiling vat of acid.

Climbing a ladder, you'll find yourself behind one of the armed goons on the balcony. Crouch and approach him from from behind, then use a Silent Takedown. Once he's out, you can use the rope that spans the room to get over the center of the crowd. pick out a victim, and drop down on top of him, panicking the whole courtroom, and starting another brawl.

This one is a bit more dangerous. Two-Face will take potshots at you with his pistol, and the game will prompt you to Evade during the melee. Don't lose focus on the fight at hand though! Punish the thugs until their all downed, and then Harvey will take a shot that seemingly kills Batman! It's part of the upcoming scene, though. Catwoman will break free, and after the short scuffle that ensues, Batman is revealed to be perfectly fine, with Two-Face now hanging over the acid.

A sniper, Joker himself, will almost kill Catwoman, and after rescuing her again, Batman turns his attention to locating where the shot came from. Use your Detective Vision to scan where the bullet entered the building (the nearby window), and where it eventually ended up (the floor directly in front of the window. The Vision will help you lock onto it). Batman will trace the bullet trajectory to the nearby church.

With a new objective to follow up on, you're essentially cut loose. You can head straight for the church tower where the shot came from, but do a little exploring first. If you climb up behind the booth Two Face was shooting you from, you can talk to him to listen to some ill conceived taunts on his behalf.

More interestingly, and in one of the cooler easter eggs and Achievements in the game, you can take the exit behind the booth and follow a stairway down to a holding cell with The Calendar Man. You can speak to him and he rambles on, but he also gives you a clue about returning to talk to him on certain days. The days he mentions are actual important holidays in the real world, so you can mess with your console's internal clock to fool the game into thinking it's one of those holidays. He has something special to say for each one. The actual calendar days to speak to him are marked by an in game calendar, next to his holding cell. Talk to him on those 12 days to unlock the Storyteller Achievement/Trophy.

Now, head outside of the courthouse once more, and make your way to the church. You will find that many of the thugs that fled your initial entrance are now in front of the courthouse, terrified and unsure if they should go back in to help them. You should view clusters of unarmed goons like this as experience points on legs, and also as good practice for your melee skills. Performing well in combat helps rake in the EXP, which means upgrades coming sooner.

With your ability to roam about Arkham City, you can also start some sidequests:

-A mysterious figure may sometimes appear on a rooftop on a building across the street from the Courthouse. Scan the symbol they leave behind. You'll find this man in different locations throughout the story.

-The Acts of Violence side quest can also begin early on. To the southwest of the courthouse, you have the opportunity to save Jack Ryder again to learn a bit more about Hugo Strange. There are other political prisoners who face a good beating and death throughout the whole city, and saving them all contributes to this questline.

-It's early on, and you don't know exactly why you need to find Riddler Statues other than it's a 'matter of life and death', but take The Riddler for his word. If you find a statue, unless you're pressed for time, it's a good idea to grab it. If you can't figure out how to do so, mark it with Detective Vision. It'll save you a lot of trouble later on.

-Southwest of the church, there is a small alley you can explore leading into the Restricted Area. A pair of chalk outlines of murder victims, with a bouquet of sunflowers and an ominous message from Hugo Strange lie in wait for you. Across from the message, a red rose lies on the ground next to the outlines. This is where Bruce Wayne watched his parents die. You can pay your respects to earn an Achievement/Trophy.

  • The Sniper's Perch

The Church is walled off from direct ground approach, easily bypassed from the air. Dispatch the thugs standing guard. Alfred will warn you that Harley Quinn is inside, and asks you to be cautious.

Harley Quinn is indeed inside the church, and cartwheels toward you in an attempt to strike you. Counter this for a good laugh, but this isn't the time for a good fight. Four armed goons have hostages. For now, you're forced to let Harley go.

This sequence acts as a tutorial to Predator Rooms, as well as an introduction to Smoke Bombs, Double Takedowns, Takedowns through wooden walls and glass, and Takedowns from above. Upon receiving the prompt, throw down a Smoke Bomb, then grapple up to the gargoyle statue directly above the main entrance.

Now, it's time to hunt. Activate Detective Vision when prompted. You can take out the four guards in any order. First, remain up high until the guards have dispersed. Two will be facing the main group of hostages on the opposite side of the room. The others will take the side confessionals, each holding a hostage at gunpoint. Batman will tell you how you can take them down as you approach each situation from above.

-For the pair watching the main group: Drop down behind them, creep up while crouched, and use a Double Takedown.

-For the man in the left confessionals: You can descent behind him quietly. Thin wooden paneling stand between you and him, but the Batman doesn't respect thin wood paneling. Approach the thug, and when prompted use the Takedown to reach through the wood.

-For the man in the right confessionals: He has pulled his hostage back underneath a wooden gantry, in the rear of this side room. You can glide down atop the gantry, and when prompted, take him down.

With the hostages secured, you can now continue to pursue the location of the sniper from earlier. Talk to the former hostages (Including Aaron Cash, who some may remember from Arkham Asylum) for some interesting info, then head back towards the entrance. It's sealed off and under police guard, but you can duck into a side passage that leads to the ruined stairs that would have taken you to the top of the tower. After you make your way up the first ledge, look around for a Riddler Statue clinging against the wall, and use the Batclaw to snatch it. Then continue grappling up to the top of the tower.

The sniper, it turns out, is just a rifle rigged to a remote controlled stand. Joker is nowhere to be found, except on the TV screens in the room. He taunts your failure to actually locate him, and informs you that you have stepped into a booby-trap and begins a countdown. You're prompted to crash through one of the windows to escape.

  • Closing in on the Clown Prince of Crime

Joker has not only failed to kill the Batman, but he's also taunted him through a method that allows him to track his transmission signal to the abandoned Steel Mill in Arkham City. The terrain leading to the mill is a complex in many places, with the open see stretching off into the east. There are plenty of thugs walking around looking to get knocked unconscious, so help them to a night's rest and boost your experience points up a bit.

The eastern districts of Arkham also provide the start of several side quests:

  • Your suit will occasionally pick up the ringing of a telephone. Use Detective Mode to isolate their location. If you pick it up before it stops ringing, you will be greeted by the voice of none other than Zsasz, starting the 'Cold Call Killer' questline. He has hostages, and has no compunction over killing them. He offers you a game with the chance of sparing their lives. He will call another phone, somewhere else in Arkham, and you must get there before he hangs up and makes his kills. From there, you must try and trace the phone signal, while Zsasz rambles about the events that made him what he is. This can't be wrapped up immediately, but getting started early never hurts.

  • The abandoned Krank Toy Factory in the southern part of the map serves as the temporary hideout of Bane, who somehow survived the events of Arkham Asylum, and is apparently in the city on a mission that should have little to do with his rivalry with Batman...except that it does. Containers full of TITAN are scattered throughout the city, and while Bane knows their location, he believes their destruction can be expedited with the help of Batman. The 'Fragile Alliance' is another questline you cannot finish right away, but getting started on it can lead to some good EXP. Just be aware that the hunt for all the canisters that can be reached at this point of the game will take you to some of the roughest neighborhoods in Arkham City. Expect your combat and stealth skills to be tested here.

  • You may also get notified of Augmented Reality Training that is available in this district. This is one of the more important sidequests in the game. Completing the AR Training will eventually give Batman the Grapnel Boost, an upgrade that allows him to grapple faster than usual to a target, at such speeds that you can be flung over the roof or ledge and into the air. In this way, you can glide for as long as you are able to find grapple targets to pull you back into flight! The training itself can be frustratingly hard, but it makes travel much quicker. It will also make the 'Cold Call Killer' questline much easier to manage overall.

  • In addition to the Riddler Statues, you can find Joker Balloons strewn about this part of the city. Popping them contributes to Riddler's Riddles, and also gives you some extra EXP.

  • You may or may not have noticed by now, but there are security cameras mounted throughout the city. A Batarang can destroy them, as well as provide more EXP.

Once you decide to make your way to the steel mill, head towards the roof of the building, and grapple up to the top of the tallest chimney, and dive in.

  • The Bat in a hot place

The mill, despite supposedly being abandoned, still has its smelters running at full steam. Batman will land atop a wire that spans the chimney, precariously over the molten metal. Look for a ledge you can glide to, then navigate forward until you reach a location that Batman claims will fry him if he tries to proceed. Use your Batclaw at that location, and look for a ring you can attach it to. Pulling on it with the Batclaw will open a water reservoir that will help cool the molten metal below, enough that it is safe for Batman to drop down to the next ledge.

You'll then need to hang from this ledge and shimmy until your reach another place you can climb up onto a damaged railing. Follow this railing (and admire just how dangerous this is as it collapses into the molten metal), then turn to the right and leap to another railing. Get your Explosive Gel ready, and move onward, using Detective Vision to locate the weakened wall section. Blast your way on out of that furnace, and get into some place a bit cooler!

You drop into another room, with hidden passages you can take, all the while Harley Quinn addresses her audience of goons. There's a sealed hatch similar to that of the water reservoir from the furnace nearby. Pry that open with your Batclaw, then use it again to pull another Riddler Statue to you. As you navigate the ducts, watch out for flame jets lining the tunnels, and time your moves to avoid being cooked. You will find that the only way to get to the goons is blocked off by steam, so look around for the controls, disable the steam vents, and proceed into another duct that will take you underneath the thugs. Use this opportunity to surprise them and knock one out right away. Harley locks the window leading to the Joker, and the fight's on!

These thugs aren't much different from ones you've fought outside, but they do tend to throw things at you, and there are enough things for them to throw around that this could be troublesome. Like with standard melee attacks, you can counter thrown objects (which is REALLY cool when you do it). The trick is to watch the thug who is about to throw for the Counter Icon to appear over their head, then wait for the throw itself to happen before actually pressing Counter. The timing can be tough, so if you're not confident about it, you can Freeflow combo into them before they make the toss and force them to drop their weapon.

  • After this fight, you may start to notice Harley statues at this point, if you haven't found others through your own exploration. You can destroy their heads with an upcoming gadget for experience points and to fulfill Riddler Secrets, so keep an eye out.

Once you've taken out the trash, look for a door you can use to leave the small arena behind, and proceed through it. You'll hear guards in an adjacent room, and a quick look with Detective Vision reveals that they are armed. The room where you observe this from has a conveyor belt, with controls you can Batarang to allow you access to the area beyond. From there, get your self the height advantage on the three men, and plot your takedowns. Silently take out the guard standing apart from the pair that are close to eachother, then Double Takedown the others.

The door they guarded is locked, but Batman can easily bust through the glass if you Evade through it. Remember this trick, because in Predator room, like the one coming up, you can use this to get to unsuspecting guards, or just to make a lot of noise to attract attention. Explore this area thoroughly, there are some statues you can and cannot reach at this point in the game, and it doesn't help to mark the ones you can't figure out.

Grapple out of this room, and use your Detective Vision to seek out a wall to blast through, and into the next room.

Predator Room: The Smelting Chamber

The doctor your friend back at the church informed you about is being held here, and every man in the room you need to get through is armed and dangerous. You will need to take out all of the other guards in the room before you break into the room where the doctor is being held by one final guard. This room can be challenging if you get reckless with your takedowns. A good early start, however, will be a pair of guards that converse with eachother frequently. They start on the walkway near an office on the opposite side of the room from where the hostage is located. Wait until they draw close, then drop in and perform a Double Takedown, and grapple out of there before the brief scuffle gets you spotted by other guards.

From here on, it's a matter of using what you have available. Try to strike isolated guards, and always try to escape to vantage points without being seen as quickly as possible. If you're trying to attract guards in order to flank them via another route, using an Inverted Takedown to string up a guard from one of the vantage points is a sure fire way to panic the entire room and draw the guards away from their patrol routes. It also makes them jumpy, and they will sometimes accidentally shoot eachother, or at noises they hear that aren't by you.

Smoke Bombs are another good option. If you manage to group some guards together, you can toss a bomb in the middle of the group, and then leap down onto one victim, Ground Pound him, takedown a second, and grapple away all before the smoke clears.

However you decide to take out the guards, the last one must be the one in the hostage room. Creep up to it, and when the thug gets close to the glass, you'll be prompted to take him out. Batman will reach THROUGH the glass and knock the nervous wreck into next week. The doctor is safe!

-

After learning some disturbing news about the Joker's condition, Batman fashions together the Remote Electrical Charge gun. The REC is a fantastic multipurpose gadget that allows you to open doors that require electricity, stun guards (and even get them to shoot their allies), and help find Riddler Secrets. It also pops the heads of the Harley statues clean off, which count towards your Riddler Secrets and your EXP total.

With the REC, you'll find that the door out of the room has been welded shut, but now that you have the REC, that's not an issue. There's a sealed door elsewhere in the area that you can blast with the REC. Aim for the generator panel above the door, and shoot the charge indicated on the HUD that will open the door to allow passage. Following this route will help you flank the goons that tried to seal you in. After you beat some EXP out of them, continue back to the arena where you ambushed Harley's audience.

You need to get into the office Harley fled to on the upper floor, but the way in looks locked tight. Fortunately, there's a convenient crane the REC can power. Use the different charges it can fire to propel the hook into the clown face surrounding the locked window until you've ripped a way inside. Grapple up there, and prepare to confront...a boot to the head. Harley sends down another wave of goons, accompanied by a one-armed monstrosity of a man armed with a large sledgehammer and a lot of hate for the Caped Crusader.

Boss Fight: Mr. Hammer

Mister Hammer is slow enough that he's hardly an issue to evade. The real problem is that should he get close enough to you while fighting other thugs, his hammer swings can knock you out of anything you're doing and cause a lot of damage.

Try to thin out the odds some. If you're quick with the REC, you can get Hammer to put some hurt on a few of his friends as he swings wildly from the electric charge. If you have the ability to summon a Bat Swarm, this can keep the other thugs stunned while you run around trying to end them. Explosive Gel is also a good way to knock out some lesser opponents, but it might be hard to set up without taking a couple licks in the process.

Generally, you want to take out the goons first, but Hammer will try to interfere, and will do so if you let him. Try to lure the goons away from him before pounding them. You cannot Counter hammer swings, but you can evade them, and this can put you in excellent position to score some hits on him, or to take down one of his cronies.

Once Hammer is alone, it becomes a simple exercise of pounding away at him, and evading over him before he pounds you. Batman will rapidly punch Hammer, but this can leave you vulnerable to swings. Anticipate and Evade over him early, and continue to pound away until Hammer is out cold.

-

With Hammer out of the picture, grapple into the office (with 100 percent less boot to the head this time) to confront Harley. After a sequence of events, Batman is knocked out cold, and if you have the Catwoman DLC, the action returns back to her.

CATWOMAN DLC: EPISODE 2

Catwoman's first order of business is to get to her safehouse in Arkham City, where she has equipment needed to stand a better chance against Poison Ivy, who apparently may be holding a grudge against Catwoman at this time. Nothing can ever be easy, can it?

A few things. First, for all of her agility in melee, Catwoman is overall less adept at navigating the city. Where as Batman can glide over the streets, Catwoman needs to rely on her own natural jumping ability and her whip to get around. She can scale buildings quickly...but a missed jump can put you into a crowd of thugs who are not exactly happy to see you in the ways you'd want them to be.

Second, unless you've already spent EXP upgrading her armor, she's MUCH more vulnerable in combat than Batman. Should you start picking fights and exploring on your own in search of Riddler Statues, bear in mind that your margin for error with her is considerably thinner.

Third, there are Riddler Statues specific to Catwoman, 40 to be exact. Finding them all is a real challenge, to say the least. Your best bet is to use your time as Batman in the story to locate everything and mark it on the map. Those map markings carry over to Catwoman's chapters.

With that out of the way, get Catwoman to her safehouse! It will be marked on your map.

Once you get to the alley near the safehouse, switch on Catwoman's Thief Vision (Detective Mode) to spot any nearby inmates, and put them down the the delicious EXP. You'll also find a caged in walkway near the apartment that Catwoman can cling to the bottom of and ambush another set of guards from. With them out of the way, Thief Vision will reveal blue claw markings on the side of the building. They will lead to her safehouse. She emerges a short time later with some new toys.

  • Caltrops: These little deals can be used to slow down a rush of thugs before they get to you, making them perfect for ambushes. You can toss them before or during a fight, making them excellent crowd control, and Catwoman herself doesn't suffer any penalty standing in them.

  • Bolas: Slower than the Batarang, the Bolas still serve the function of momentarily taking an opponent out of the fight and maintaining a combo. Quickfired Bolas can restrain opponents in the middle of a melee, a good move if they are fleeing towards a box full of guns.

Poison Ivy's location will be marked on the map, and outside of any exploring you'd like to do, you have no real objectives outside of this. Still, it doesn't hurt to get in some fights as Catwoman, and you can bet that Arkham City will provide fights if you're looking. The extra EXP could go towards some armor upgrades that Catwoman sorely needs, assuming you manage to level up. It's recommended you boost her resilience to melee attacks for the final battle of the chapter, as firearms are not necessarily a major issue unless you step into the parts of town closer to the Museum.

Ivy's lair is in the north-eastern corner of the map, and difficult to miss as you close in, with all the plant life you can clearly see overtaking the building. There are guards on the rooftop of the building where the bridge leading to the lair begins, all armed with guns, but Catwoman can use her Whip while clinging to a ledge to set up Ledge Takedowns. If things go south and you get spotted during this first takedown, waste no time whatsoever and get on the roof, using your whip to stun the remaining guards, and flowing your melee strikes between both. You can keep both guards off balance and off their triggers this way.

If that doesn't work, you can take one guard out, then retreat, and try again from a more advantageous angle.

With the guards down, prepare to cross the caged bridge to Ivy's lair. You'll be prompted to go underneath the cage to bypass a locked gate, and once you pass, get back inside the cage, and push on through the front door to a very upset plant-lady-hybrid-thing. The moral here is that offering flowers to Poison Ivy is apparently NOT how you patch things up.

Boss Battle: Poison Ivy's Personal Guard Ivy knocks Catwoman down to the bottom of a series of platforms, summoning forth a small group of victims of her manipulative abilities. They are not any more resilient that normal thugs. The real threat comes after you defeat them. Noxious gas starts to fill the room, forcing you to get to higher ground quickly. Once you get to the next floor, another group of thugs attack, and once more, when they are knocked out, the gas will rise, forcing you to the next floor.

Once you get back to the floor Ivy is on, things get more hectic. The largest contingent of bodyguards awaits, but on top of that, Ivy had plants that act like artillery support for her soldiers, and you get little to no indication that she's firing at you. This can happen in the middle of your melee work against her troops, so stay on the move at all times. If you even suspect she's fired at you, Evade immediately. The fireballs, combined with attacks from her guards, can quickly drain your health.

Once you've taken out the last of her men, Ivy is still not interested in negotiation, and Catwoman finds herself in hot water once more as this second episode draws to a close, and the actions shifts back to Batman.

CATWOMAN DLC: EPISODE 2 END

Speaking of Bats, he wakes up in the custody of Harley Quinn and the Joker, and the situation is grim. The joke is most definitely on the Dark Knight, and now his mission in Arkham City has become a race against time. Unfortunately, this is where our mini-walkthrough ends.

Good luck with the rest of the game! No matter what it actually throws at you, the most important thing to remember in combat is to be aware of your options, your surroundings, and stay calm. It's what the real Batman would do.

4 comments for this Batman: Arkham City user guide

  • Comment by juggernaut42

    Wow this guide really helped me get started with the game. Great job!

    Oct. 22, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
  • Comment by pgiacomo

    Wow! Thanks Alexander

    Oct. 22, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
  • Comment by Covert_Pickle

    Nice starter guide, Alex. I may just pick up this game, afterall.

    Oct. 22, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
  • Comment by sphnx33b

    Now when I replay the beginning I will have a better heads up. Wish I had seen this before, just bumbled my way around before

    Oct. 22, 2013, 10:30 a.m.
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