Our cup runneth over with bats. When it’s written like that, it sounds awful–however, the last week’s torrent of new information for Batman: Arkham City has been immensely pleasing. Coming after the reveal of an iconic Bat-Villain and the news that the game will be playable in 3D, Rocksteady has revealed what we can expect from the game’s extracurricular Challenge Modes.
In Rocksteady’s first outing to the Batman universe, Batman: Arkham Asylum, there were two types of Challenge Maps that could be accessed outside the main campaign: Combat (which was exactly what it said on the tin) and Predator, which focused on the especially enjoyable stealth aspect of the game.
New information from Rocksteady Studios reveals that their massive sequel, Batman: Arkham City will feature three types of Challenge Maps–two of which are familiar and one which taps into the more open, sandbox style of Arkham City’s overworld. Players will be able to unlock challenges in Combat, Stealth, and Speed as they proceed through the main storyline. The last of these is new. Speed missions will challenge players to reach certain Arkham City landmarks, under certain conditions, and in an allotted time.
Just as with the first game’s challenges, Batman: Arkham City’s Challenge Modes award players with medals based on performance. High scores will be posted to global leader-boards. Also like Arkham Asylum–which allowed PlayStation 3 players to undertake missions as The Joker–these Challenges can be played as multiple characters. Batman, Catwoman, and Robin are all confirmed for unique Challenge Maps. Given the level of character saturation already present in Arkham City, I would not be surprised if even more playable characters will be revealed in the two months remaining until its release.
The original Challenge Maps were addictive, frustrating sideshow to the main delights of Batman: Arkham Asylum’s story mode. Given how much larger than its predecessor Batman: Arkham City is shaping up to be, it only makes sense that they would all but triple the size of the Challenge Modes. I’m always leery of timed “racing” missions in open-world games (I still have nightmares about whiffing jumps during races in InFamous and Prototype), but it’s a logical use of the expansive Arkham City terrain. Combined with a huge campaign and those endless Riddler puzzles, it’s looking like Rocksteady’s magnum opus is shaping up to be a completist’s ultimate dream game.
Are you already polishing your knuckles and shining your sneakers for a go at Arkham City’s challenge maps? Do you think these thumb-busting stages are best left on the sidelines? Grapple in and share your tales in the comments!
Batman: Arkham City will be released for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 18. It will be released for WiiU at a later, undisclosed date.