After two impressive games (and one that’s just ok) the Batman Arkham franchise comes to a end with Arkham Knight. But after all the buzz and press, did the game end up being as good as we all hoped? Let’s talk about it.
Batman: Arkham Knight takes place the better part of a year after the events of Arkham City, with the Joker dead and the city’s crime rate down. The peace doesn’t last long as Scarecrow returns with a new fear toxin and plan to take over. Now with the city abandoned Scarecrow, along with his military General the Arkham Knight, plan to kill Batman and destroy all he and his allies have worked for. But while Batman is distracted many other villains are out on the streets looking rob and loot the homes and business of a deserted Gotham.
Gameplay wise, Arkham Knight builds from what the team last did on Arkham City. Most of the controls are similar with little tweaks added here and there to reflect the changes in mission selection, challenges and gadgets. While the little changes will take some getting use to, the inclusion of a mission wheel removes the need to search the games map for your next mission. Additionally, the gadget wheel gives the player a second to think over their next moves during some of the larger fight scenes.
The biggest change to Batman’s on foot gameplay come in the form of Fear takedowns. Once in a area, Batman has the ability to string several takedowns together if enemies are standing nearby. The game slows down as you lock onto your next target. Each of these moves gives player a huge amount of satisfaction as the enemies just stand and stare at the violence before them. The fear moves also allow you to take down some of the tougher enemies in larger groups.
However, the biggest change to the game is the inclusion of the Batmobile. While the game allows the player to do many of the classic Batman moves from the beginning, the inclusion of Batman’s prized car allows for more variety in how you move and tackle challenges. The car has two modes; drive and battle but while both have handle differently neither controls feel tight. While the Batmobile is easy to control most of the time, there are some parts where the lack of tight controls might cause you to fail. The worst example being the Riddler driving sequences.
A large portion of the game is spent in Battle Mode as the Dark Knight has to destroy the Arkham Knights unmanned tanks which are filling the streets of Gotham. These moments sound oddly placed in a Batman game but end up break up the game up from getting repetitive.
When you not in battle mode, the car looks intimidating as most of the cities criminal population will run at the very sight of the it. However, if they don’t the player can either run into them, which electrocutes the thugs or fire knockout rounds at them in battle mode. While these acts are supposed to be non lethal it certainly looks a lot like Batman is just mowing down criminals left right and centre.
Due to the Batmobile’s controls and tank battles, it’s easy to see why this game might not make everyone happy all the time. However, the real disappointment comes from the final moments of the games story. With all the hype revolving around the game some the stories arcs and even the identity of the Arkham Knight are fairly predictable. Despite the fact the Rocksteady Team called him a “new” character, the Arkham Knight ends up being someone most Batman fans could have easily guessed (This is a spoiler free review, we won’t go any farther than this. Look for a post on the overall story soon.). That being said, the overall writing is better this time, without the inclusion of Paul Dini who wrote the first two games and the side missions include one villain I didn’t expect to see come into the Arkham universe.
Overall, Batman: Arkham Knight is an excellent game that builds upon the wining formula of the Arkham games and adds enough to make it stand out from most games out this year. There are some issues here and there, like the floaty controls not mixing with the precise race missions and the plot feeling like a bit of a let down at times, but there a lot to love about this game and it should be a part of your collection.
Batman: Arkham Knight was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.