E3: A First Look at Batman: Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City has to be one of the most anticipated titles of the year, and the line for the hands on was hours long at E3 today. But we got something even cooler…a look at a new playable character. It's Catwoman! Maybe you've heard of her?

You've played the first game. You've seen the trailers, but up close and personal, this game looks outstanding. As the demo began, we see a super tiny Batman against the backdrop of the entire city. As we swooped in for a closer look, every inch was detailed to perfection with nods to the DC Universe everywhere. (This game has double the animation of Arkham Asylum.) A Flying Graysons: Canceled poster on the walls, the court house where you go face to face with Two-Face…and cats on the roof before the lady herself appears.

We got to see Batman take down his enemies with a grapple hook attack and some brand new moves, but the real news is Catwoman. It seems Hugo Strange has locked a bunch of precious possessions in a vault and people want these stolen items back. Catwoman requires the help of Poison Ivy to break open the sewers, but in exchange, she has to retrieve Ivy's orchid from the vault. To do this, Catwoman has to use a variety of moves. First, she jumps in to whip her way past the Tyger guards outside the building. With the new traversal system, jumps are boosted with targeted grappling. She's also got a bola which we saw her smack someone's face with. Once inside, she has to retrieve the key cards from four heavily armed guards. She is only mortal, as cool as she is, so she can't really attack them out right. She's fast and stealthy and gets to crawl on the ceiling grating to take down her enemies. She also has “silent take down,” which allows her to crack necks with her thighs or feet and get out before she's discovered. She can slip behind guards and pick their pockets with ease. She can also use Detective Mode to find stealable items. When this is on, what she covets will be highlighted in blue. Once inside the vault, we were told to be very careful who we trust in this game as we watched Catwoman smash Ivy's orchid and crush it under her feet.

Finally, we got to watch the Rocksteady developers use Batman to take down over thirty enemies in a row inside the prison. The large scale battles are just one of the upgrades to the game.

Batman: Arkham City will be released for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on October 18th, 2011, which can't get here soon enough.