Among a host of other improvements, Batman: Arkham City's director is most pleased with Rocksteady's efforts to replicate Batman's rooftop traversal of Gotham City,
"The biggest thing we’ve focused on is his navigation and his ability to get around Gotham City, making that as exciting and fun as possible," Sefton Hill told the US PS Blog.
"The game is much bigger, a larger expanse but also much more vertical."
Hill said players can use the momentum of a dive to keep the moving around a city farther than Arkham Asylum's glide would allow, and will be able to upgrade the grapple to allow for boosts.
"You can combine these two moves, the dive and grapple boost, to get around Gotham City without even touching the ground, if you get good enough," he enthused.
"What’s really nice is that you have to constantly be evaluating your surroundings like Batman would: where to dive, where to move as you weave through back alleyways and over the tops of buildings. It gives you the feel of being Batman in Gotham City. We wanted to live up to that promise."
On the gadget front, Arkham City will feature 12 tools in total, and those carried over from Arkham Asylum will all feature new abilities and upgrade to make them as interesting as the new additions.
"Our focus was to give the player as many options as possible," Hill said, commenting that the game's skill tree isn't focused on customisation because in-game choices of how to use skills are more important - including how to utilise the upgraded combat abilities.
"We didn’t want to overcomplicate the system. I think its strength is that it focuses on selecting the right move, not long combos or complicated sequences," Hill noted.
"You really feel like Batman when you play because it’s a very simple, very rewarding combat system. Now the number of options has been expanded massively. We’ve added a lot of things, like simultaneous counters so that Batman can fend off two, three enemies at once. We added projectile counters, too, so he can throw objects back at enemies
" Enemies can use combo attacks now, and you have to pull while countering multiple strikes. You can perform beatdowns, a series of really fast blows that can finish an enemy off without you having to use a takedown. You can even use your gadgets in combos: the Bat claw, the Explosive Gel, REC, even the Freeze Blast."
Arkham City launches on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 this week with a PC version to follow. US denizens see it tomorrow, Australians on Wednesday and Europeans by October 21.