The bigger an action/adventure game gets, the more difficult it is to present every environmental detail with perfect clarity and sharpness. It's also tough to keep the storyline constantly present.
But Rocksteady is aware of this, and they're shooting for the ideal with Batman: Arkham City . While the game's predecessor, Arkham Asylum , was located within the walls of that asylum, the action in the follow-up title will spill out into the streets. Hence, it's more open-ended. It's usually a bonus, but it can also cause the narrative to take a hit.
Then again, we're talking about a talented, dedicated team. When Digital Spy asked how difficult it is to keep the player engaged in a new, more open world, Rocksteady Marketing Manager Dax Ginn replied:
"Very, but we are up to challenge. We wanted to take the lessons that we learned from Arkham Asylum and write them large on the canvas of Gotham. We moved the action out into an open world structure, and it is genuinely an open world but I wouldn't say that it its sandbox as it doesn't have flippant physics puzzles and things. Our objective wasn't to make the biggest open world game, it was to make the most detailed open world game.
So when you are gliding across the skyline you have freedom of choice, but when you hit the streets the aesthetic is amazing. We wanted to get the sweet spot between action-adventure games that are big but not very detailed, they generally copy and paste buildings to fill out the world, and the games that are very small but very detailed. There has never really been an exploration of what happens in between those games, so we wanted to explore that ground and still really tell a tight story."
It's always a conundrum- the more freedom a game provides, the less the narrative grips us, simply because that freedom impedes on the inherent linearity of a storyline. But Rocksteady knows what they're doing and at the end of the day, Batman: Arkham City ought to be a clear-cut winner.
Related Game(s): Batman: Arkham City