Most people say that 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum is one of, if not the, best superhero game of all time.  And I feel the same way – really, the game is so damn fantastic, I can honestly say that it’s the only time I can think of in recent memory where the hype actually was deserved by the product.

Was it perfect?  Hell no – there were large faults in the game that took away from the overall experience.  But with the announcement of the sequel, Batman: Arkham City, due next Fall (yes…not until Fall 2011…dammit), I’m like a little kid with excitement.  I can’t wait to see some footage from the game, and find out more about the story.  What would I like to see in the sequel?  Find out after the jump!

Like I said, I loved Arkham Asylum (check out my positive review here)…but damn it had some significant flaws in it that bugged the hell out of me.  How can they fix those issues in the sequel?

  • A more integrated “Detective Mode.”  Anybody who’s played Arkham Asylum knows exactly what I’m talking about.  Because the “Detective Mode,” which is an infra-red type environment that allows you to see hidden objects, bad guys around corners, and best places to hide.  It’s pretty much mandatory to survive the game.  The problem is, though, that you end up playing the entire game using it.  So all the effort made to make the game beautiful and snazzy is entirely lost because everything is blue.  Why work so hard on the graphics if you’re not going to see any of it?  The sequel can resolve this by eliminating “Detective Mode” entirely, instead integrating it into Batman’s normal view.  A delicate mix that would allow you to see the graphics, but also allow you to see the hidden objects needed to perform the important tasks.
  • Better writing.  Sure, the original didn’t have a bad story per se, but it was hardly great.  It’s pretty basic – Joker takes over Arkham, lets the baddies loose, and Batman has to go all over the Asylum to stop them.  The only story beyond that was hidden in small easter eggs throughout the asylum, telling the story of the mysterious Ghost of Arkham, and the Riddler Trophies.  Moving the story out of the asylum (presumably) would allow for more epic storytelling, with a story beyond moving from one villain to the next.  Not only that, Mark Hamill, the voice of the Joker, hints that this is his swan song as the character.  Might the Joker actually die?  I find it hard to believe that DC or WB would allow that…but it sure would lend an importance to this game.  Not only that, with writing by Paul Dini (of Batman: The Animated Series), maybe we’ll get a much more intricate storyline.

After addressing the issues of the first game, what could make Arkham City the sequel we’ve all been waiting for?

  • New villains.  Sure, it would be great to get a rematch with Killer Croc, Bane, or Poison Ivy, but it sure would be great to see new villains.  It’s pretty much a guarantee we’ll see the Joker, but who could pop up in the sequel?  Really, I’d be okay seeing the Scarecrow again (some of his sequences in the original were fantastically creepy), and it looks like we’ll see Two Face and Catwoman.  I think Hush deserves his own game, but it would be great to see villains like Clayface, the Riddler, or even Man Bat.  Really, Batman has a ton of great villains, and the appearance of the Iceberg Lounge in the teaser trailer for the game could mean a potential Penguin appearance.  What I would like, though, is to not make all of them villains.  Riddler is on the side of the angels in comics – it’d be great if that carried over to the game.
  • More variety in environments.  The original did it’s best, but you spent the entire time on Arkham Island.  In the sequel, it would be nice to go all around Gotham City, but more in a story-based sense, not in an open world game.  Open world environments don’t really work in super hero games.  Yes Spider-Man, I’m looking at you.
  • Avoid vehicles.  Sure, every Batfan thinks they want to play in the Batmobile or Batwing…but I’d avoid them in the sequel.  I just don’t see a way to incorporate them effectively – other than Grand Theft Auto (let’s be honest, that’s not a driving game), how many games incorporate third-person action with vehicle action effectively?
  • Co-op.  It’s tricky…unless it’s done like Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, co-op story based gameplay won’t work.  But it would be damn great to play a great story-based game with a friend, and a legitimate reason to be there.

What about you guys?  Any wish list items for Arkham City?