The entire gang is back. Developer Rocksteady studios returns to Gotham City, along with Batman scribe Paul Dini, and Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill in what he says will be his "last hurrah" as Joker. And the result is that Batman: Arkham City could very well become Joystiq's top game of 2011, something its predecessor was arguably robbed of in 2009.

Coincidentally, Arkham City sees a similar competitive match-up this year, facing new Assassin's Creed and Uncharted entries, whose sequels were the two titles that defeated the dark knight two years ago. At the moment, though, Arkham City is universally acclaimed as one of the best games of the year.
  • Giant Bomb (5/5): "Getting another chance to use Batman's considerable combat talents as you engage in one of the best fighting systems going today is a joy. The city looks terrific, like it's one step away from just bursting into flames as criminals crawl across every single surface doing... whatever it is that criminals do when they're locked in a city-shaped prison."
  • Game Informer (100/100): "The size of the game is daunting. I still have a ways to go to reach 100 percent, but I wouldn't be surprised if I have invested over 60 hours so far. Throw in the new game plus and a dizzying number of combat challenges for both Batman and his feline friend and this game could be one of the biggest and most enjoyable time sinks of the year."
  • IGN (95/100): "Batman: Arkham City isn't perfect, but listing the little things I didn't like gets in the way of all the stuff I adored. The voice acting, the challenges, the amazing opening, the unbelievable ending and the feeling of being the Dark Knight -- these are the things that standout looking back. I've beaten this thing twice and still want to call in sick and chase Riddler Trophies. "
  • Eurogamer (90/100): "If it's lacking something, it's surprise. Arkham City has nothing that beats the first game's brilliant unveilings and fourth-wall mind-tricks (although it has a go at an equivalent) and it can't trump the central, crucial realization that somebody had finally made a Batman game that was enriched by its license rather than subtly crippled by it. Instead, though, you get refinement: better bosses, slicker animation, and more to think about on a second-to-second basis."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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