Batman: Arkham City Details

OXM has just released a TON of new information about the upcoming Batman: Arkham City. Arkham City Co has gotten their hands on the details and boy are they juicy. I shouldn't have to mention this but there are obviously spoilers in the news, so if you want to go into the game totally agog don't read more (although, in today's 24/7 news cycle I highly doubt you'll be able to avoid some sliver of information about the game).

First up, Arkham City itself is four to five times larger than Arkham Asylum, which is awesome, and the game takes place nearly a year and a half after the original. Whether or not the new size is just random alleys and streets or if each space will have a purpose like Batman: Arkham Asylum is another story (Crime Alley has been hinted as being included). The game starts with a briefing by Alfred, enlightening you, the gamer, about the Two-Face/Catwoman situation and how it's Two-Face's gang roaming the city (not Joker's anymore). There are also other random criminals roaming the streets (not connected with anyone) and some have been hinted at being affiliated with The Riddler and Professor Strange, who has been abducting Gotham's citizens. And there's a LOT more thugs this time around. Also, Jack Ryder is in Arkham City, closing in on a blockbuster story while working on an expose.

Your first encounter with Two-Face is early on in the game where you are greeted by a tied upside down Catwoman whose fate is determined by that fabled coin flip. She gets lucky this time but Batman doesn't. He's shot in the chest, giving Catwoman time to escape her chains and knock Two-Face into the acid she was about to be thrown into. I presume that the game will handle the origin of Two-Face but that's unconfirmed (no one can possibly survive and acid bath twice). Catwoman follows up the violence with the natural flirting with Batman, which is interrupted by a smiley face sniper dot on Catwoman's suit. A shot is fired and narrowly misses her.

With it being a smiley face sniper dot (not sure what scope you can get that has that), your first encounter with Detective Mode has you investigating the bullet hole and tracing its trajectory to a bell tower where you find The Joker, who is ill with a potentially fatal disease. Calendar Man is in the game his conversations will change based on the date and time on your console/PC. Victor Zsaz is also making an appearance, calling random phone booths and killing whoever answers the phone (needless to say, thugs are scared to answer).

Batman has gained some new toys and techniques as well. He's now able to plunge into a dive mid-glide to accelerate flight, something that I felt was missing from the first game. He's also more agile and boasts a new and improved launcher that allows you to stop wherever instead of having to take it all the way to the end (another welcome change). There are also a slew of new combat animations and co-op has been hinted at with Catwoman, who has moves similar to that of Batman.

Whew. That's definitely a LOT of information. The game is expected next fall and over the next year I would expect more and more details about the game to continue to trickle out.