Batman: Arkham Knight Review
Batman: Arkham Knight Review
Arkham Knight is the culmination of Rocksteady’s Arkham series which began back in 2009 with Arkham Asylum. Arkham Knight places players in a fully realised Gotham for the first time with no boundaries or walled off areas. The game also introduces the Batmobile, part rocket part tank, this feature will either fill players with a sense of power or a sense of dread as these sections are repetitive and the car can be difficult to control. The plot sees Batman face of against a collection of rogues who have teamed together under Scarecrow to finally defeat Batman. Throughout the game players will face off against the likes of Two-Face, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Penguin, Riddler and the mysterious Arkham Knight, a new character created by Rocksteady whose identity is a focal point of the game’s story.
The highlight of the game is the story, which I would place as the best in the Arkham series, and it contains many wonderful twists and turns as well as nods to DC comics fans. In fact, the plot contains so many cool twists that Rocksteady has only show off a slice of the early game so to avoid any spoilers. Indeed, this story is best discovered with as little knowledge as possible making it that much more impactful. The synopsis is that Batman’s greatest foes have gathered together to finally defeat the Dark Knight with Scarecrow threatening to unleash his fear toxin on the city forcing most of the populace to flee and giving Batman another long night, this time at Halloween. There is also an emphasis on the relationship between Batman and his allies that gives much more depth to the character than we have seen in previous games. The story isn’t flawless with some beats a little predictable but overall, Rocksteady weren’t afraid to shake things up considerably this time around. Take note, there is more than one ending to the game, one of which appears after beating the story and collecting the majority of Gotham’s most wanted while the final scene is only available upon collecting all those Riddler trophies.
Arkham Knight tries to freshen up gameplay from previous entries with new elements such as the Batmobile and Dual Takedowns. Throughout the game, Batman will team up with the likes of Nightwing, Robin, Catwoman and Azrael allowing for seamless switching between two characters during combat. Unfortunately, these characters are unavailable to use in free-roam and most are a part of side missions. Although disappointing, Rocksteady has made it clear that this is Batman’s story, and its a personal and psychological journey for the caped crusader. The Batmobile seems to have divided fans down the middle, with myself enjoying the car chases and devastating drone attacks quite a bit. However, some have been frustrated with how much the main campaign forces you to use this new feature especially in ‘tank mode’ which involves dodging incoming fire and blasting drones. While these are fairly frequent, I personally did not mind as much as some other gamers but they can be frustrating at times. The controls can take some getting used to and become much more manageable through a change of control scheme in the menu. Rocksteady has clearly made an effort to integrate the Batmobile into the gameplay, for better or for worse, the vehicle is also used to solve puzzles which I found to be quite clever.
Of course, players can still traverse the city by gliding and grappling which is more fun than ever thanks to the biggest Gotham yet and a city that feels more vibrant and alive. The fact that most of Gotham’s residents have been evacuated, mainly so you can have the freedom of the city to yourself, is cast from your mind when flying through the air to takedown a street thug. The Riddler trophies have returned with hundreds to collect, and so far are all challenging but manageable with the exception of the Riddler races which I found a little tedious. The optional side content is fantastic with mysteries, military checkpoints and old-fashioned fights all available. Detective mode has also been beefed up, bringing new information for Batman to exploit such as a body scanner and several new gadgets for use in predator mode. Visually, the game looks gorgeous from the neon lights of Gotham to the seamless cut scenes all achieved without any loading or transitions between areas.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about Batman: Arkham Knight. The story is fantastic, exciting and imaginative, new gameplay additions add something new to the mix, and the game looks stunning. While the Batmobile may be problematic for some gamers, it does not detract from an incredible finale to the Arkham series.
Have you played Arkham Knight? What do you think of the game?
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