As Batman watches silently from a rooftop above, the camera pans out to reveal a massive city under siegie. The wicked run rampant here, but they've got a big problem: Batman.
Leaping from the rooftop, Batman pulls wide his cape and shows off its new gliding ability. The feature is highly reminiscent of the cape power-up in Super Mario World: Diving down, Batman gains momentum and can pull back to gain altitude, gliding further. It looks like the way to navigate the now much larger, more open environment.
Batman homes in on some ruffians to rough up and combat is initiated. Bats certainly hasn't lost his touch in the 18 months that have transpired since the first game. The thugs are harrassing (a bit of an understatement) reporter Jack Ryder -- pre-Creeper
transformation -- and, like the first game, the solution here is a symphony of punches and kicks. In one very cool maneuver, Batman grabs a thug from afar with his Batclaw, pulling him into the fray in a very "Get over here!" type of way. (Maybe some of that brutality in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe
rubbed off on the Bats, eh?) Overall, his attacks seem far more merciless in the sequel.
Eventually, Batman makes his way inside of a church and comes face-to-face with Harley Quinn and four thugs, armed with machine guns. She charges Batman, who easily tosses her aside but, guns drawn, the thugs line Ba
tman up in their sights and he deftly dodges danger through perfectly timed use of a smoke bomb. With his grappling hook, Batman leaps up into the rafters and surveys the situation. The thugs break off and start patrolling the area and Batman stalks them one-by-one, in brilliant predatory fashion.
Here the rep turns on the upgraded Detective Mode, which seems to have taken some cues from The Dark Knight
-- it's part sonar, part x-ray. Two of the thugs grab hostages as bargaining chips, but the other two are alone and easy pickings. One of the more violent takedowns shows Batman punching through a confessional wall and pulling a thug through, knocking him out cold with one blow.
The demo ends shortly thereafter, leaving me to ponder a contradictory desire: Arkham City
makes for a hopeless setting -- darker and less redeemable than the forgotten asylum -- yet invites me to keep exploring and stay in just a bit longer.