Considering the critical reception and praise that Batman: Arkham Asylum received upon its release, anyone who said that Batman: Arkham City would sell as well as Batman: Arkham Asylum would have been stating the obvious. In fact, amongst most of the gaming press the general consensus was that if Arkham City could do everything its predecessor did there would be no problem.
As it turns out, Arkham City bests Arkham Asylum in virtually every way possible. The game features an incredibly detailed open world populated by a veritable who's who of Batman's rogues gallery while also bringing back the melee combat and predator gameplay systems that made the original such a smashing success. In fact, our own Andrew Dyce showered high praise upon the title in Game Rant's Batman: Arkham City review.
The press, marketing, and the incredible gameplay experience that comprises Arkham City has translated into huge sales numbers for the title. How huge? Well it's been one week since the game released and Warner Bros. Interactive and DC Entertainment have issued a press release stating that Arkham City has sold 4.6 million copies in its first week on store shelves. By sales, they trickily mean "shipped" and while this therefore doesn't reflect the actual amount of consumer purchases, the figure is more than double the amount of units that Arkham Asylum shipped in the same amount of time. Indeed, the critical praise for the game has also been very high as it currently holds the record as the highest rated game of 2011 on Metacritic with the PS3 version netting a score of a 96, and the Xbox 360 version receiving a score of a 95.
Still, while the critical reception for Arkham City has been stellar and the sales figures have been excellent, the game's release was partially eclipsed by the controversy over the online pass required to play as Catwoman. The codes for the Catwoman DLC can be purchased from XBLA or PSN, but are also provided in new copies of the game. Our own Anthony Taormina wrote his thoughts on it in a Ranter Banter segment a couple days prior to the game's release. Gamers the world over were upset about this primarily because Catwoman was advertised as something that everyone would have access to regardless of whether Arkham City was bought used or new. As a result. most viewed this as a deliberate bait-and-switch by Warner Bros. and Rocksteady.
Had the Catwoman controversy been restricted to the Riddler's Revenge challenge room content, it's logical to conclude that it probably wouldn't have been too big of an issue, but the fact that elements of the main story campaign were tied to Catwoman's inclusion obviously presented a major point of contention with gamers wanting to get the full amount of narrative content. In fact, Catwoman's inclusion even alters the very beginning of the story campaign. Of course this whole controversy was further exacerbated when several cases of missing or defective codes sprang up shortly after launch day.
In the end though, it's nice to see Rocksteady's franchise doing well as the developer has already stated that the future of the series is tied to Arkham City's success. So despite some DLC woes, at this point it seems like a reasonable conclusion that if this game continues to sell as it has that we'll probably see Batman take flight again in another installment of the Arkham franchise.
Batman: Arkham City is available now for the Xbox 360 and PS3. The PC version will be released on November 15, 2011.
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