San Diego Comic Con. From the show floor, to the panels, to the press releases and the parties, gaming news is coming from all angles. And it was at a Comic Con Xbox 360 party where we were able to go hands on with a Riddler challenge level in the upcoming Batman: Arkham City.
With Arkham City already packing such a large game world for players to explore, along with challenge rooms, and more Bat-universe characters than you could shake a bat-shaker at, the inclusion of the Riddler challenges is just one more reason gamers should be excited for this game.
The playable demo during the Xbox 360 Comic Con event was largely the same demo playable at E3, and the same demo gamers have likely seen countless videos of already. Batman starts atop a building and goes off to save Catwoman from Two-Face. This time, instead of rushing off to save the day, however, we were allowed to explore the environment for some Riddler trophies. After we collected two trophies, Riddler spoke up and let us know the location of one of his challenges. We were told during our demo that the Riddler challenge was actually in the demo at E3 too, but that they didn’t think anyone playing the demo there accessed the challenge room. Interesting.
The Riddler had a doctor tied up and ready to die, unless Batman can save him in time. We were told this particular challenge was one of the later challenges in the game and provided at least a medium level of difficulty. I have to admit I did die twice during my playthrough, but I like to think that was only because of the added stress of playing the challenge at a party. Ha.
We have some video of part of the challenge captured from the event below. The video is just recorded off-screen and the audio is not great, but it still gives an idea of the challenge itself. Check it out here and for a more in-depth description of the challenge, keep reading.
The challenge started off basic enough. Batman entered a room with an electrified floor. To make a portion of the floor safe, Batman had to use The Cryptographic Sequencer, a device he had in Arkham Asylum. This time, however, to decode the frequency players must position both the right and left thumbsticks correctly and hold them there for a brief period. This felt a lot like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach but perhaps a little easier. Figuring out the position for one stick and slowly moving the other certainly required a little more skill than just moving one stick.
Once part of the floor was free of electricity, Batman had limited time to move across the floor while avoiding a large spinning row of blades. As the player you have to move across sections of the floor where the electricity is turned off for a brief period of time, avoid the spinning the blades, and then use your gadgets to turn off the electricity in new parts of the floor so you can advance. The electric-floor section of the challenge ends when the player successfully uses Batman’s Line Launcher to travel across the floor. From there, Batman uses his explosive gel to break wall and then uses to his remote-controlled Batarang to turn off an electric force field.
Once the force field is down, Batman got to use his Line Launcher again to swing out and save the hostage. But just using the Line Launcher once would have been too easy. Now Batman can launch another line while traveling on an existing line to change directions, etc. That skill was required to save the doctor. Here, Batman had to launch a line straight across and then shoot another line perpendicular and through a hole in the wall to swing out and grab the hostage from Riddler’s death trap, securing him and escaping the challenge level by breaking through a window.
This particular challenge showcased a lot of Batman’s gadgets, from starting things off with the Sequencer, to later using Batarangs to turn off the electricity, the Line Launcher to reach new platforms, Explosive Gel to open up an area where remote-controlled Batarangs were required, to then needing to use the Launcher again and this time changing direction mid-swing.
The challenge itself provided a nice change of pace from the things gamers would do as Batman in Arkham Asylum. There was certainly an added level of stress created by the electric floor’s timer, the threat of death from the spinning blades, and the little bit of mental exercise needed to figure out some minor environmental puzzles. These challenges could serve as a great addition to the Rocksteady Batman world and will likely give gamers just another reason to keep playing the game.
What do you think about the Riddler challenge levels? Are you excited about this new addition to the franchise? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Batman: Arkham City is set for release on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC October 18, 2011, in North America, and October 21, 2011, in Europe.