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Teens will find the often insane combat an energetic release while adults will be mesmerized by the somber beauty of the often non-stop, onscreen brutality with only an occasional drop of blood seen.

Memorable moments: An opening confrontation between Catwoman, Two Face and Batman; whenever Joker laughs; first time I grabbed two criminals from behind and knocked their heads together; grappling to the edge of a building gargoyle, flipping over and perching on top; viewing a Batman with a glowing red sheen as he works his way through the smelting chamber of the Sionis Steel Mill; an encounter with Jaws; the bat signal in the cloudy sky hovering over the massive Wayne Enterprises building; seeing a bloodied cut on the thigh of the Batsuit; and using an Enigma machine to solve Riddler conundrums.

Pixel-popping scale: 9.7 out of 10. The overall design looks like the John Bolton-painted, comic-book, mini-series from 1995, Batman: Man-Bat come to life. It’s that gorgeous throughout.

Each villain is a model marvel. Be it the Joker’s rotting face from an unlucky encounter with a toxin, the smashed monocle on the Penguin to the absolute monstrous size of undead, Frankenstein-like behemoth Solomon Grundy, it will leave comic-book geeks with their jaws in a permanently dropped position.

Also, every foot of Arkham City is meticulously crafted (down to snow falling on bags of garbage and grungy amusement park balloons), standing out as a foreboding entity set against the bright backdrop of downtown Gotham.

Rocksteady’s team of developers devotion to the Batman mythos is obvious with minutia such as stuffed Joker’s Jackals, references to Sarah Essen Gordon (the Police Commissioner’s murdered wife) and an abundance of agitated bats appearing after every success.

Extras and unlockables: The package includes a code to unlock missions featuring the Princess of Plunder, Catwoman. She’s quite a sexy sight (with a design obviously culled from artist Jim Lee’s work) and her attacks include some slick acrobatics, use of a whip and other weapons such as bolas and caltrops. Don’t fear if you rent the game and can’t re-use the code to access her levels. Her exploits do not directly impact the main story.

Also, look for character dossiers in the WayneTech database (that include extended bios and fact nuggets such as character’s first appearances in comic books and even voicemail messages from the Joker) and find character trophies to look at 360-degree views of some awesome heroes and villains.

Finally, a set of challenge rooms involve combat (beat waves of enemies) and predator (sneakily take down a room full of armed foes) trials collecting points to win medals

Read all about it: Wisely, DC Comics’ offered a six-issue mini-series bridging the story between the last and latest game, aptly titled Batman: Arkham City. Buy the trade paperback ($22.99) to get the full series, the five, digital chapters, and appreciate a story by the Emmy and Eisner Award winning co-creator of Harley Quinn, Paul Dini.

Star power: The voice of Batman in many animated series and video games over the last 20 years, actor Kevin Conroy, is back to really bring the vocal growl to the Caped Crusader.

Better yet, actor Mark Hamill returns as the voice of the Joker, and serves up plenty of scenery-chewing moments as a player watches the decent of the already crazed Clown Prince of Crime further down the path of madness.

Now, top it all off with a story by comics and cartoon veteran Paul Dini for hours and hours of fun.

What’s it worth: With a history of playing a gantlet of superb video games over the past two decades, I am still blown away by Batman: Arkham City. Not only will this incredible interactive cinematic experience resonate for a long time with fans of the Dark Knight, but also gamers, movie-lovers and superhero worshippers enamored by the exploits of a pop-culture icon.