Having just finished another arduous school year, I managed to claw my way back home and find respite back with my video games. My most recent challenge? Batman: Arkham City. Let’s not focus on how late I am to the party.
So, after sinking a proper amount of my teeth into this batty buffet, I began to hone in on an important facet of the game. No, not the gameplay, not the graphics, not the replayability.
So here’s Jon’s Best and Worst Dressed List of Batman: Arkham City!
Worst Dressed Offender #4: Poison Ivy
Part of the problem with this visual disaster is the lack of clothing to critique. Seriously, she has a leaf thong and blouse that got shrunk in the wash a few too many times.
Many of Ivy’s incarnations, especially in the cartoon series like Batman: The Animated Series, give her a classic pin-up style one-piece outfit that’s both sexy, fashionable, and classy. It gives her a personal, specific style that it look like she chose.
There’s no style in that outfit other than nudity. That being said, I do like the blue lining on her shirt.
Best Dressed Model #4: Mr. Freeze
Honestly, this is probably just because my main Mr. Freeze point of reference is Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I really appreciate Dr. Fries’ battle armor.
When in doubt, video game designers should stick to a limited color palette. The ice blue complements the varying shades of grey excellently, and the small dashes of yellow and red accent the small details very well.
I also appreciate the expanded helmet and the more form-fitting suit. Unfortunately, that made him more mobile when fighting him in-game.
Worst Dressed Offender #3: The Riddler
If vagrant couture were a thing, the Riddler would sure be rocking it. Generally speaking, looking homeless does not make for the most intimidating of villains. Between the disheveled hair, the fingerless gloves, and the psychedelic purple glasses, Mr. Nigma really only strikes fear into the hearts of good taste.
Another problem that follows Riddler wherever he appears is his color competition with another, more notorious villain: the Joker. Both don themselves in a purple/green combination, but the Joker tackles it better and is far more well-known. Personally, I think the Riddler should drop the purple from his ensemble and make his new shtick neon green/black.
Best Dressed Model #3: Catwoman
You know that thing where girls say they have their “little black dress?” Well, I don’t know really know what significance that carries, but I’d imagine Catwoman’s “little black catsuit” is her version of that.
It’s pretty hard to ruin a simple, black catsuit. So congratulations designers of Batman: Arkham City, you didn’t ruin it! By keeping it simple and adding some bulk and padding to make it look durable, they create a look that’s visually appealing and practical.
The cat-ear headpiece oddly doesn’t look moronic, in fact, it looks quite nice. The red goggles add some color without detracting from the outfits overall look. I just wish she wasn’t unzipped down to her navel throughout the entirety of the game.
Worst Dressed Offender #2: Harley Quinn
So. Many. Avril Lavigne and My Chemical Romance jokes. Must. Resist.
For the most part, Gotham’s iconic heroes and villains have kept their equally iconic outfits. Somewhere along the road, the B:AC designers were like “holy cow, let’s change everything about Harley’s original outfit.”
Now she looks like she’s perpetually caught in that twilight of youth where you look back and say “what was I wearing?!”
My biggest compliments are that the pants aren’t terrible, and the corset isn’t the worst I’ve ever seen. It just pales in comparison to her original, simple, and functional out fit. How is Harley, a gymnast, supposed to perform acrobatics in that outfit? Also, Joker needs to teach her how to properly dye her hair.
Best Dressed Model #2: Azrael
To be honest, I had no idea who this guy was before I started playing this game. But now that I’ve met him, I can admit he looks cool.
Apparently he comes from this religious order of evil assassins, and you can see that through his outfit. The drastic contrast between the red and white, the cool birch tree pole, and the finely etched gauntlets and shoulderpads evoke this image of a zealous, twisted religious crusader.
Creepy, but with a historical and religious twist.
Worst Dressed Offender #1: Nightwing
To anyone who has seen Nightwing out of B:AC, you’ll know that this outfit is identical to the one he has had for years. It’s probably the most faithful adaptation I’ve seen complete with the finger stripes and finely mussed-up hair.
I make fun of this outfit, not because of poor designing, but because of how ridiculous this outfit looks once you take it out of a cartoon or comic. It does not translate well to “real life” (you know it’s sad when “real life” = video game).
Look at that mask. Beneath that hideously offensive domino mask is a bunch of unexpressed feelings. “Batman, why would you ever put me in this outfit? Excuse me as I take out my rage on these thugs.”
It’s not Nightwing’s fault. It’s not the designers fault. A full black body suit with a gaudy blue stripe just does not translate well.
Best Dressed Model #1: Robin
Batman is a jerk. The man cloaks himself entirely in black to blend into the darkest depths of Gotham, and makes all of his sidekicks look like they’ve just walked out of a coloring book. Nothing says “HEY MURDERERS, LOOK AT ME! I raided Ronald McDonald’s closet!” like some Robin outfits I’ve seen.
This outfit, unlike Nightwing’s, adjusts enough so it doesn’t look like a multi-colored disaster while still retaining a recognizable appearance. The cloak, the pants, the glove/gauntlets are all dark and can cover most of his body. The red armor looks unique, subdued, and sturdy. The belt’s yellow is excusable because if you’re close enough to see his waistline, you’re probably close enough to see him.
Robin here is all business. Unlike Nightwing, who looks like he either wants to disco or read sad poetry in the corner of the Batcave.