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Batman Gets A New Ally In Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City is shaping up to be one of those games where we all know that it’s going to be good.  Even with the mantra of most sequels failing to live up to their predecessors (Devil May Cry 2, The Matrix Reloaded), there’s a hope that Batman: Arkham City will end up being the video game equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back, it’s a follow-up that nearly puts the original to shame.

With the experience developer Rocksteady created in Batman: Arkham Asylum, I think gamers aren’t afraid at Batman’s latest adventure being a stumble of sorts.  Despite going along a similar pattern of Batman being in the center of Gotham’s criminally insane, most of which Batman put there in the first place, Arkham City looks amazing so far. But even without seeing a good chunk of the game and the new additions to the villain roster, Rocksteady has done something that is somewhat unexpected: Catwoman is a playable character.

Now despite adding Batman’s occasional friend/lover and sometimes foe to the mix, Rocksteady hasn’t reneged on their promise of keeping Arkham City as a strict single-player adventure. As much as gamers may want it, the game doesn’t have an online mode nor is there any sort of co-op craziness going on. Instead, gamers will have the choice to assume the role of Selena Kyle as she kicks ass all while looking incredibly sexy in the process.  Rocksteady hasn’t revealed the key bulk of Catwoman’s missions in Arkham City, but this gameplay video courtesy of Gamespot shows her taking on some standard goons and pulling off some simply spectacular combat moves.

It’s clear right seeing Catwoman perform one attack that she isn’t merely Batman reskinned as a thief who likes cats and wears tight leather.  Aside from doing a bevy of kick based attacks (it looks like Catwoman does lots of yoga if she’s that limber and agile), Catwoman also has a few abilities to differentiate herself from Batman, the biggest of which is being able to climb on walls/ceilings and doing some rapid platforming similar Assassin’s Creed or Infamous.

Offering Catwoman as a playable character may be a bit distracting to those who just want to focus on Batman, but I’m totally in love with what has been shown so far.  Catwoman’s animations look really slick and I think playing as another character should offer some nice variety, if not completely add a new dimension to the game through replaying key scenarios or going through the challenge mode.  A few elements about Catwoman’s character or at least the direction Rocksteady has taken may seem a bit too outlandish (do we really need all those ass shots?) but I hardly think the overall quality of Arkham City will dip since we have a femme fatale to play as.

Beyond Catwoman Rocksteady has stayed mum on which characters will be joining Batman in either a playable or non-playable capacity. So who knows, maybe those playable Night Wing rumors will turn out to be true.