With the weekend come and gone I’ve finally had a good chance to sit down and really get into the latest installment in the Rocksteady Studios Batman video game series, Arkham Knight. This is the final game in the series and was just released on Tuesday June 23rd.
Arkham Knight directly follows the ongoing story set up by its predecessors and takes place 6 months after the events of Arkham City. It starts out by having the joker cremated following his death in Arkham City. After a period of little crime in Gotham, Scarecrow develops a plan to unite all of Gotham’s criminals and crime bosses for one final coordinated strike against Batman and all of Gotham City. With their finances pooled together they place their trust in a man who claims he is able to beat Batman allowing Scarecrow to follow through on his plan to bring the city into total fear and chaos. This man is called The Arkham Knight and will be your main adversary throughout the game. Fans familiar with the story and histories of Batman should have no problem identifying him upon their first encounter with the Arkham Knight but I will leave that to you to figure out.
Being a new game we got to experience some new Wayne Tech gadgets and some of them were pretty darn cool. At one point Batman acquires a device that can mimic a persons voice allowing you to give fake commands to the henchmen and set up some great take downs. With drones being a huge focus in the game your remote hacking device allows you to hack into drones and sometimes even hijack to do your bidding for you. Like the previous games you were also given points to spend on upgrades to armor, gadgets and combat moves, many of which are really fun to pull off.
One of my favorite parts of this new game is the addition of Batman’s sidekicks Nightwing and Robin. You actually get to play a few missions that include them; control them and even do combo take downs that involve both characters. There will also be DLC that allows you to play as Batgirl and the Red Hood. With this game being part of a series made by the same studio it preserves its gameplay that we all have grown to love over the years. I found this to be the most story driven of the Arkham games and definitely the best story of them all. However, Im not talking about the main story with the Arkham Knight but instead Batman’s personal story that directly spawns out of the events with The Joker in Arkham City Heres why…
Warning: Spoilers In This Paragraph.
In Arkham City The Joker injects Batman with his blood that is infected with the Titan Formula, the same infection that killed The Joker. The effects of the toxin cause people to go crazy and turn into what is basically the joker and with Batman being infected with Jokers blood he is constantly fighting the transformation. The Joker is present with Batman throughout Arkham Knight in his head but visible to us and constantly trying to get Batman to be more like him, taunt him with his looming transformation and just be The Joker.
They way they include him in the game is one of the most interesting ways I’ve seen any character incorporated into a game. With it all being in Batman’s head you get to learn a lot about things The Joker has done in the past and its done in a way that is interactive and really neat to be a part of. I don’t want to just give away all the plot so I will just tell you that if you were disappointed with The Jokers death then you can rest assured you’ll get your fill of him in this game.
The Arkham Knight game play is relatively the same as the previous games with the exception of one new feature, The Batmobile. When I learned about the ability to drive around Gotham in Batman’s iconic car I was really excited. I liked the idea of taking a game style that was on the verge of getting repetitive and adding something new to make it feel fresh and exciting again. Unfortunately, it really really sucked…
The idea of The Batmobile was great but the execution just simply wasn’t there. The car was extremely difficult to drive, had driving controls that go against your natural video game driving instincts, doesn’t have a proper or very well working break and most of the time I think its steering wheel is just for show. I can’t even remember how many time I have been in pursuit or on the run and had my joystick jammed so hard to the side I thought it was going to break off but instead the only thing I broke was the walls directly in front of my car. I dreaded the times I would have to drive the car and every chance I got I would choose to glide around the city just to avoid driving it as long as I could. It did however have a few redeeming qualities with its Battle-Mode version.
Essentially the car would transform into a highly maneuverable well armored mini-tank equipped with a 60mm cannon and a mini gun. When you transformed the car there were other tank drones you could fight against and the concept of the tank battles was really cool and brought a new feature to the games, until they ruined it by making it way to prominent. I play Batman games to be Batman, be the worlds greatest detective, beat up 30 thugs at once and deal with Gotham’s criminals, not spend my time in endless tank battles. Which actually brings me perfectly into my next point. The Riddler.
I was really looking forward to Riddler encounters because I love puzzles and mind games but this Riddler barely delivered. Instead, for some unfathomable reason Rocksteady decided it was best to maintains its exhausting focus on the Batmobile by bringing it into the the Riddler missions. Now I get that this game needs to be playable for people who aren’t puzzle wizards so they can’t make it too hard, but The Riddler’s main focus in the game has always been to prove to Batman that he has the superior mind. Nothing about driving a poor controlling car through a race track is a puzzle or a mind game of any kind.
The rest of the side story stuff was really good and pretty much exactly what you’d expect from an Arkham game. Things like destroy Penguin weapons cashes, stop Two Face from robbing banks etc. One of the things I really liked about this game was the missions select menu; it actually showed you how far away the mission and how much as a percentage you have completed of that characters side story.
Visually this was the best Batman game yet. With the power of the new generation of consoles, Gotham city was able to be the most active its been yet. The city if full of rich detail and really brings to life the Gotham feel a city with such rich culture deserves. The city is the biggest its been yet and provides plenty of places for batman to fight crime and find Riddler trophies.
In Summary: This is a really well made game, it brings all the great elements of previous Arkham games into one and includes some cool new features as well. I wasn’t too fond of the Batmobile controls and I found it to be too much of a focus in the game rather than a tool. I did however think the tank battles were pretty fun when I wasn’t annoyed at how often I was doing it and liked that I had the ability to drive around Gotham in a bad ass sounding car. Parts of the story were my favorite in the entire Arkham series and the rest of the plotline was very good. The addition of Batman’s allies was a nice touch to the game that really brought the story together in a way that the previous games didn’t. The city was large and offered plenty of content to keep you playing hours after the main story. Although I have to say Arkham City was my favorite game in the series I would still say this was a really good game and I fully recommend that any fans of the series should play it and people who are unfamiliar should go play the from the start because its one of my favorite video game franchises.
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