Select Page

Batman Arkham City Mac Review

If Arkham Asylum is a love letter to Batman fans then Arkham City is a sonnet. The game’s developer, Rocksteady Studios, improved upon the original in every way and gives you one of the most satisfying endings I have ever played in a video game. All those ramifications left me dumb found for hours afterwards.

Luckily for us, the Mac version was handled by Feral Interactive too, ensuring the transition to the Mac is as flawless as Arkham Asylum’s. Batman Arkham City on Mac is not only a solid-port but one of the best Mac games out there. Period.

 

Enter Batman: Arkham City for Mac

The game takes place six months after the events Arkham Asylum. Since the events at Arkham Asylum, Major Sharp has built a super prison. This super prison is meant to home Gotham’s biggest and baddest super criminals in one place, but behind the walls of Arkham City it is far from a prison. All the major criminals have taken territories all over the city in a bid to become the most powerful crime boss. The three most prominent bosses on the streets are Two Face, Penguin and Joker.

Behind every leader is a man pulling the strings, and in this case it’s Hugo Strange. Not a lot is known about this Hugo character, but he knows a lot about Batman and Bruce Wayne specifically. In fact, he knows the greatest riddle of them all, that Bruce Wayne is Batman. This forces Batman to act quickly and find out exactly what his grand plan (Protocol 10) for Gotham is and what it involves but not before being thrown in Arkham City by Strange and his elite Tyger guards.

Rocksteady has fine-tuned the combat making it more free-flowing, effectively making Batman more nimble whilst  adding more focus and facilitating the use of gadgets in combat. The improved gliding is brilliant. Dive bombing and then pulling to gain more altitude is a fantastic feature, as is the use of the grapple claw which can now be used to give you a speed boost in these gliding segments. For the most part, the gameplay stays true to Arkham Asylum’s roots, adopting the philosophy ‘don’t fix what isn’t broken’.

Each of the three factions Penguin, Two-Face and Joker play completely differently. Penguin’s men rely on technology and are better armed than either of the two other gangs. They rely heavily on Penguin’s influence to smuggle weapons and stay technologically more advanced than the other gangs.

Two-Face’s gang is more brawlers roaming the streets on foot like packs of dogs. Try to take on to many and you’ll find yourself overwhelmed. They are also more resourceful, picking up objects within the environment to attack you with such as bottles and bats.

Mac games Batman Arkham City

Finally, Jokers gang… Well, as you would expect they kind of just do what they want. They’re a mixed bunch to say the least. This can be attributed to being led by Harley Quinn due to the Jokers poor health. If you’re a Batman fan you know Harley is kind of an odd ball and doesn’t strike you as an authority figure. She is only after pleasing her Pudding at the expense of annoying him.

Due to the Joker’s health issues following the events of the first game, the Penguin is definitely the aggressor in the turf war taking over the city block by block.

The boss battles in this game are a total triumph after the miserable attempts in Arkham Asylum. They force you to think and react quickly. Special mention here goes to the Mr Freeze battle where you constantly have to change your tactics as Mr Freeze can’t be caught out twice with the same maneuver. These boss battles are all about timings. 

Mac games Batman Arkham City

At certain sections in the game you will be required to play as Catwoman, and she is sexy as hell (meow), strutting her stuff around the screen. She plays completely differently to the big bad Bat though. She is very agile and lightning quick with her attacks. She cannot take as much damage as Batman though but this can be upgraded should you chose to spend skill points on her. She has a lot less gadgets to use than Batman, but you never feel overwhelmed as Ms Kyle (Catwoman).

By the way, guess whose back? Yes, you guessed it The Riddler and he is back with a vengeance this time over 440 riddles for Batman and Catwoman.

Finally, there are plenty of side missions to embroil yourself in. You can’t go more than five minutes without someone else wanting your attention whilst gliding around the City. It can feel a little overwhelming but adds hours of fun.

 

Presentation

With most open world games you see a lack of detail within the environments but Arkham City suffers from none of that. It’s dark, gritty and in total disrepair. Not exactly what you’d call a summer vacation. Rocksteady have drawn heavily from the comics for inspiration here, and it shows. All around, there is a lot more detail here than in Arkham Asylum. Even the character models look more detailed, Two-Face particularly looks jaw-droppingly good.

Mac games Batman Arkham City

The voice acting again is exquisite and really pushes the narrative and makes the story come alive. Mark Hamill’s Joker once again is the star of the show but Conroy as Batman and Nolan North as the Penguin, push him very close for star of the show. The rest of the voice acting is spot on too, no one puts in a bad performance here.

I love games like this where the voice acting is so good. It just draws you in and for me, it can be the difference between a good game and an epic game.

 

Performance

The port is excellent as you would expect from Feral with a few small exceptions. It does not offer a great range of graphical  options in the pre-load menu (before the game launches). However once the game is loaded you will find a Testing Suite to try the settings you manually input. It is certainly a very nice touch from Feral.

Mac games Batman Arkham City

Unfortunately, I did experience a few frame rate drops while playing,  specifically when entering and exiting buildings but this is a minor issue and doesn’t affect your overall experience. I have been assured that more powerful machines than mine will not have this issue and will be able to play the game at its maximum settings (I was playing at medium).

Minimum System Requirements:

  • OS: 10.7.4
  • CPU: 2.0 GHz
  • GPU: 256MB
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 16GB

My Mid 2011 iMac:

  • OS: 10.8.3
  • CPU: Intel i5 2.5GHz
  • GPU: AMD Radeon 6750M 512MB
  • RAM: 12GB

 

Verdict

The Good

  • Amazing  story and atmosphere
  • Makes you feel like Batman
  • Improved gameplay

The Bad

  •  Some characters feel unfocused and shallow 

Final Word

If you are eager to be immersed in the world of Gothan City then look no further. Arkham City does the source material justice once again. If however, you are not particularly a fan, you will still find a highly enjoyable game with a great story and game mechanics. You owe it to yourself to play this game. This game took me over the 35 hours to complete the first time. Once completed, you can unlock a new game mode which ups the ante,  making combat even more difficult. Then there’s the Harley Quinn DLC, where you get to play as Robin and on top of that you get challenge maps. So yes, there’s also plenty of bang for your buck here.

Batman Arkham City is a must buy for Mac Gamers. A few minor technical hitches can not take away from this experience. Rocksteady & Feral Interactive, you have done it again!

Download on the Mac App Store.

Note from Ric: This article comes from Resident Author Mark Gregory.

  • Even on my top of the line 27 inch iMac with BTO GTX680 there’s a bit of pausing here and there. But then again I play it at top settings at 1920×1080. Still runs pretty solid, with full 3D sound and I played it with my wireless 360 controller.

    • Thats interesting. I played on a 360 controller also. Wish my system could handle top settings I really need to invest in a more powerful machine.

      • carolo

        Guys now we can keep our Macs and just buy a GPU. A few companies are now selling THUNDERBOLT EXTERNAL GRAPHIC CARD CONNECTORS.

        • I would be very interested to know how to will end up working. From what I read, the drawbacks are nonetheless big:
          – You have to have an external monitor to use such a card
          – Connection speed is not big enough to drive the graphics card’s full capacity
          – Most products wouldn’t allow you to power a top of the line GFX card because the power supply is not strong enough

          Hope Thunderbolt 2 chances this, if anyone has used something like this, I would love to hear about it!

          • carolo

            Hey Ric, is it safe to ask you to look into it? I figure you are the guys who look for things that allow for better mac gaming. As per your previous comment, I found this

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juPlIFvovuA

            1) The reason you used to need an external monitor was because cables were not fast enough to read and also send back to the mac’s (internal) display.
            I think now there are external GPU readers that have an input and an output thunderbolt port

            2) Thunderbolt is fast enough, needless to mention thunderbolt 2 is even faster.

            3) The card reader comes with its own power supply

            Please ask all your geekiest resources to give you information on this. And if you can find and learn about Brands and company names that are doing this successfully please let us know.

        • Th3taJ

          That sounds amazing Caralo!

          I can’t seem to find these though -__-

        • Would love to know if anybody around here has ever tried that!

  • Kevin

    Beware to anyone using controllers other than the 360. Good luck modifying it in the pregame settings. Every control feels wrong. And this is key in lots of these unnecessary challenges. Asylum felt natural. This game feels like your own controls are against you. Quick switching is difficult (which is needed). Combos are impossible (your screen will show you keyboard keys which your controller can’t absorb).

    • Well that’s a drawback to using keyboard emulation in a game rather than native support for controls. Not only do you not get the benefit of analog movement but you also don’t get the proper onscreen prompts as well as no rumble (if your gamepad has rumble).

      Feral said they support dozens of types of gamepads though so you might want to get in contact with their support. They may be able to help you with that.

    • I would be interested to know how Arkham City runs on Windows machines. Given the graphics of this game, I would be surprised to see a mid range Windows machine runs this game on high settings with decent FPS. After all, the game is demanding (on high settings) on all platforms.

      • I’ve heard of people having performance troubles with it even in Windows especially those who where playing it within months of release. Especially with DX11 and PhysX stuff even with hardware acceleration.

        Personally I was getting great performance in 10.8.5. Better than in previous versions.

        • Same here, I was playing it on Mac on full settings and 720p and the game looked and played great. I am using a Mac Pro with a pretty good GFX card though so I can only imagine a Macbook Pro would struggle with this game.

          • Th3taJ

            On my 27-inch iMacs 2GB Nividia-Card, this game was soaring!

            The only thing that held me back was the the Magic Mouse.

            I’ve since gotten the iHome mouse and that works really well for this!

    • pawanspace

      Can I use 360 controller to play this game on Mac? What all is required to do that?

  • Christopher Tallant

    Update: Steam (http://store.steampowered.com/app/200260/) has this game and Arkham Asylum on sale for $7.50 and $5.00 respectively.. MUST BUY if you don’t have these on your drive yet.

    • Must buy indeed my friend, except Batman Arkham City for Mac is not Steam enabled! I’ve heard rumors stating that it will become Steam-enabled but no far, nop…..

      • Chris Tallant

        Really? This is on Steam and no longer uses the GFW or SecureRom client… I can’t see any other third-party nonsense going on…

        • Chris Tallant

          Anyone who had Bathman before… Bathman? Really, iPad? Anyway, anyone who had BATMAN in their library in Steam before automagically gets the updated GOTY edition with all the DLC for free… the GFW (Games for Windows) version is gone!

          • LOL I know, it’s not everyday that a game gives Mac users good news while giving Windows users bad news 😉

          • Chris Tallant

            LOL.. True, very true.. Although, I know a handful of people who refuse to buy games with secondary authentication such as GFW or UPlay added for various reasons.. This is good news for everyone!

          • Good rule of thumb 😉 Avoid crappy DRM at all costs!

          • There really wasn’t any bad news for Windows users though. They just removed GFWL from Batman Arkham City.. they didn’t remove the game. Feral had already done that for the Mac version… the Windows version is just catching up… so actually it’s good news for Windows users. No more GFWL for them too.

          • You’re right about that, what I meant as bad news is that given the changes they did on the Windows version, some people had to restart their single player campaign because their saves were erased…

  • Christopher Tallant

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/200260/

    Offer ends October 21st, Arkham City is $7.50, Arkham Asylum is $5..
    (My other post vanished; reposting.)

  • Th3taJ

    As much as I enjoyed this game, I much preferred playing it on console.

    This is rare for me to say, but the combat and movement system just felt a lot more fluid with joystick and triggers. It is for this reason that I have not yet played it all the way through and am currently waiting for Arkham Knight to be released on PS4.

    • BaeSicLee

      I am currently playing it on my mac with my ps4 controller, dualshock4. It plays beautifully, I have the controller driver directly from Feral Interactive, controls already mapped, plays exactly like the console version. I have both.

      • Haven’t tried the PS4 controller but I HATE playing adventure games on a keyboard. I use a wired Xbox 360 controller and it works like a charm!

      • Vin

        I was able to sync Ps4 controller but can;t figure who switch it from keyboard controls to my controller. I thought it’d be under option or setting but I can’t find it. Any help?

        • Same issue. Did you ever resolve this?

          • @disqus_nZ0AHhHOgZ:disqus , guys, If you find a solution, let us know! (I haven’t tried, as I don’t own a PS4 controller).

      • How? I’m using a PS4 DS on OSX Steam. Worked great for Arkham Asylum GOTY. Arkham City GOTY doesn’t recognize the controller at all.