Arkham City Shows me in Heartless Detail Why I Could Never Be A Superhero

Arkham City has provided me an important outlet for all my super hero urges, while showing me what a terrible hero I'd make in real life. Thanks... (I think.)
I’ve always wanted to be a superhero
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Full disclosure: When I was 10 years old, I snuck a pair of red underpants into school one day, and put them on over my trousers at lunch. I ran around that lunchtime foiling “crimes” being committed by “criminals” (read: Other children in my year). I got beaten up really bad that day and thus ended my super-career; it was barely twenty minutes before I hung up the cape.

Not the best origin story

Not the best origin story, granted, and certainly it doesn’t hold a candle to Bruce Wayne’s, aka The Batman.

Thankfully though, we’ve been given the opportunity to live out the Batman experience without having to have our parents murdered, in the form of Batman: Arkham City. I’ve just finished playing it for twelve straight hours and I have to say, it’s probably a good thing I got kicked in at school that fateful day because I would have made a terrible superhero.

And when I say terrible, I mean 1997 Batman & Robin terrible. Yeah, that’s how bad I would have been

Arkham City taught me a valuable lesson

It’s not that I don’t like Arkham City, far from it. In fact it’s one of 2011’s finest games in my opinion. It’s just that after playing it, I realised how woefully under prepared I would be in any kind of situation that requires physical exertion against another human being.

Arkham City allows many, many ways of taking on foes from the standard use of fists and feet, all the way up to grenades that freeze people in place so you can beat them senseless. You can use the shadows to your advantage and attack your enemies with stealth.

Pictured above: Stealth.

You can swoop in from above, land on someone then back-flip off him to choke out his friend who can’t believe what he just seen, then knock out the first guy with a swift backhand to the face while he’s still trying to work out what just happened

Me? I’d probably just run in kicking and screaming, until eventually it would be the bad guys kicking and I’d just be screaming. It wouldn’t take long, I’ve never really been that good at getting hit which is why my career as a professional kick boxer never took off either. But that’s a story for another day.

(Or never.)

Anyway, back to Batman. The combat in the game has one of the easiest systems I’ve ever seen in a game and is based almost purely on rhythm (maybe that’s because the first game, Arkham Asylum, was going to be a rhythm-action game at one point of it’s development. Basically, if you can press “X” you can fight in Arkham City. But it still feels very fresh and rewarding. Especially when you break someone’s leg in half at the knee and hear the bones crack. You didn’t kill him, but damn he is not getting back up any time soon.

The counters are my personal favourite though, especially when you counter three guys at the same time. It’s awesome. It’s awesome, yet it also makes me incredibly sad at the same time, because I know that even with unlimited training, I could never do that. I could never do any of the amazing things you get to do in this game, up to and including flirting with Catwoman (I’m terrible when it comes to talking to girls. Again though, story for another day).


I used to get this exact reaction from girls all the time. Usually with a more disbelieving look on their face though. I’m used to it.

The myriad other awesome things I’d never, ever be able to do

I’d be totally useless at the detective work Batman does. Over 400 Riddler trophies to collect in the game would, in real life, would be the death of me. Not because I wouldn’t do it (and hostages would die forcing me to question how I could ever live with myself and ending it all, leaving a bittersweet note for my loved ones assuring them that it wasn’t their fault), but because I would obsess over it to the point where I wouldn’t eat, sleep or do anything else until I was done collecting them.

Not because of the hostages or anything like that, oh no. I’d do it because I’m kind of compulsive when it comes to collecting stuff.

When I was younger, my dad had to physically stop me from going to the shops to buy more Pogs, then he threatened to burn the rest of my collection if he ever saw me with more than I had. That’s how bad I am with collecting stuff. Or was, anyway, not so much now, after that incident.

Not sure what happened to my pogs. I wonder how much they would be worth now? I might Google a few of my more memorable ones later on to see if they do have any value.

Batman AND Pogs??? The collector in me is going insane at the thought….

Hey look, there’s another reason I’d be a sucky superhero; I tend to get distracted a lot and stray off topic. Sorry, I was talking about the Riddler challenge trophies.

They aren’t just there to collect, but just like in the first game, the more you collect, the more challenge mode levels you unlock, where you compete for high scores, fighting wave after wave of enemies in key locations from the main story. You get score multipliers depending on how many hits you can make in a row without your combo being broken (my highest is a pitiful 33) and it’s surprisingly addictive, often bringing you back for “just one more go” at cracking your previous best.

I decided to play through Arkham City just for the story, but to be honest, I found myself just looking for street thugs to beat up most of the time – it has quickly became one of my favourite new hobbies.

Batmanning people in the face is now one of my hobbies and I am so happy that I can type that.


I can’t Batman people in the face in real life though… I’d suck at that. So I guess for now, Arkham City will have to fill the void…  at least until Arkham Origins is released.

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Image of TDGDan
Budding writer. Used to write a while ago, wanting to get back into it