"Be The Batman" so say the tag line for Batman Arkham Knight, the third and last instalment in the Batman series from Rocksteady, who are arguably the father of the superhero game. How does this epic conclusion stack up to the high bar set by its predecessors? Will it swoop to new found heights, or slump under the weight of expectation? Let's find out!
If you are new to the franchise or even a returning cowl toting veteran the same thrill of the chase will meet you the first time you open up your cape and feel the wind and the city beneath you. The prelude to this opening of the caped crusaders wings is a sorry one. Gotham citizens have been plunged into a frenzied panic as the main antagonist of this game, Scarecrow, threatens to release his fear toxin on the city. The ensuing campaign of terror from Scarecrow will test Batmans mental and physical skills to the limit and beyond! From the start of the game you know that Scarecrow has a very exact plan of how to bring Batman to his knees, and the thrill filled ride that constitutes this journey will stay with me for years to come.
It is clear that Rocksteady have learn the fine work of their craft even more since that last Batman instalment; Arkham City. This time around the game is filled with a wider array of challenges to overcome, and an arsenal that has suitable increased in size to meet this new found danger. Where Arkham City was filled with roles that were barely larger than cameos from many familiar faces from the Criminal Row that makes up the Batman Cannon. In Arkham Knight this has been refined, to the campaign which features several familiar faces, but doesn't hit you over the head with the thought that all of Gothams villains are against you. Fear not though, for these villains still make an appearance, this time confined to side quests through out the massive hulking shape of the Gotham Skyline.
The Batmobile is the most notable contribution to the series making an appearance in Arkham Knight for the first time as a fully drivable vehicle. I always liked the idea of the Batmobile being drivable around the streets of Gotham, and I trusted Rocksteady to pull this new found transportation off with aplomb. One thing I was not expecting to see released under the hood of the suitably menacing exterior of the Batmobile, was what can quite effectively be called a tank. When I took to the streets to fight drone tanks I was still a little spectacle as to whether it would work. This feeling was sadly not blown out of my head the first time I completed a tank battle, however my opinion of the new addition to combat, has slowly evolved over the course of the game. In the end I loved every second I spent in the tank iteration of the Batmobile.
However one of the only things that I think Rocksteady has done wrong with this game are the stealth sections with the Batmobile. Fights taking place against much stronger tanks feel irritating to start with, and this feeling sadly is never shaken. These segments of the game, have you in the Batmobile having to sneak up behind these armoured tanks, aptly named Cobra Tanks, and waiting a few second for your weapons to lock onto the conveniently placed weak spot on the rear of the tank and exploiting this at the expense of the tanks integrity. To start with you are only faced with a small number of Cobra Tanks, one or two to start with, but rather than introducing a new mechanic to these fights, you are instead faced with a growing number of these enemies to best before you can carry on. It is at a discord with the whole game which feels immensely polished and thought though, however these fights feel like a very cheap way of wasting the players time. However it is a mild annoyance compared to the game at large, so I shall speak no more off it.
There are two main themes throughout the medium length campaign which has you taking up the mantle of the Dark Knight one last time. They are Scarecrow, who I mentioned earlier, and the titles name sake the Arkham Knight. Both of these formidable foes are the backbone of the story, and keep the pacing and intrigue at the perfect levels. From the start of the game the Arkham Knight clearly has a very strong vendetta against Batman, though the man under the mask never shows his face. I was totally enraptured by theories of who was under the mask, and though I obviously won't spoil the identity, rest assured I think the reveal is one of the best moments of the game. I say one of the best moments because the Arkham Knight is littered with these amazing, stand out moments that you will remember for years to come! There is a specific mission in the second half of the game, which really throws out the rule book for third person games, and is certainly a segment that I can't wait to play again in the New Game + option given to you after you have completed to game.
Dual Play, is another feature that is making a franchise entry with the Arkham Knight, letting you play either as Batman or three of his companions at specific points in the campaign and side quests. Simply by pressing R1 you take control of the other vigilante and continue to rack up your combo multiplayer. I was sceptical about this addition when it was first announced, thinking that it would get in the way of me progressing at my own pace. However I am very happy to say that it has been implemented perfectly. These occurrences are only on the rarest of occasions, with only two or three such segments appearing in the campaign. This co-operation is never implemented in predator sections, so you can be as slow and stealthy as you like in those encounters. When you rack up a high enough multiplier with either or both characters you can unleash a lethal take down on one unwitting adversary. I enjoy these titbits of co-operation far more than I thought I would, and even wish there were more encounters that utilised dual play, my ultimate goal would be for dual play to be usable during free roam in the main city. Sadly this option is not given to us, maybe for good reason, as traversal might be difficult whilst playing as another character!
Batman goes by many names through out the comics, games and films, and people calling him a detective are not lying. There are more elements to make you feel involved with the investigations than ever before. With truly memorable tasks that are both fun to work out, and rewarding once you have! I must also mention the second of two problems I have with the game. The first as mentioned above is to do with Cobra Tanks, but my second is the boss fights in this game, Rocksteady have never been able to concoct a good boss fight. I obviously won't detail any of these encounters, but let's just say that they live up to the expectation of Rocksteady boss fights. This is a shame because all other elements have been refined by the team over the last few years since Arkham City was released, so it would have been nice to see an improvement in the boss fights.
Batman Arkham Knight is a game that I shall neither forget nor stop playing any time soon. It has raised the bar for both superhero games and third person games in general. I would be sad that this is the last Batman game bursting its way out of Rocksteadys doors(and I believe it is), but I'm okay with this. They have put to bed one of my favourite gaming series of all time, and simultaneously left me wanting what ever game to be released from Rocksteady.
Truly a game for the history books, combining all of my thoughts onto the game, I give you my final score!
Thank you very much for reading,
Batman Arkham Asylum caught everyone's attention by creating arguably the best hand to hand combat in any game before it, and made the most believable portrayal of Batman we had ever seen in a game. Arkham City built on this framework and created a massive open world, filled with things to do, places to visit, and villains to take down. Combine this with a new playable character, Catwoman, and a plot line that you will not forget, and you have a sequel that was even better than the original. Was Rocksteady able to make it a hat trick, and finish their world famous series off with a bang, or is it closer to a fizzle? Let's find out!
Arkham Knight starts off on a very sombre tone, with the whole of Gotham being evacuated following a threat of a terrorist strike from the famed villain, Scarecrow. All citizens leave the city, leaving only the low and high level villains to reek havoc on Gotham. Only the Batman and GCPD stand in their way, but Batman has a new tool of crime suppression at his disposal. The Batmobile has made its inaugural debut into the series, and it does so with a bang. With Batman being let loose in an even bigger section of Gotham than ever before, the Batmobile is an incredibly fun way of getting around Gotham. If you have been paying attention to this game, and specifically it's reviews, then you will know that most people don't particularly like the "Tank Mode" of the Batmobile. I am currently torn on the issue, part of me likes the principle of it, though there are a few things getting in the way of my enjoyment. Firstly I don't feel like a proper Batman when I'm effectively in a tank destroying other heavily armoured vehicles. I know the other tanks are remote controlled, but it still jars with me somewhat. The other thing is there is no aim assistance for the main weapon. I have found it rather hard to actually hit the enemy tanks as my cross hairs glide over them like there is nothing there, just a slight stick would be quite nice.
One of the things I love with the Batmobile are the puzzle sections using both the Batman and the Batmobile, I feel these puzzles make more use of a second party from Batman, and they are rather enjoyable! The other thing that the Batmobile does which so far, is one of my favourite things to do, and they are the Riddler tracks. I have only finished a few as of writing these impressions, but they are incredibly fun. With the Riddler putting obstacles in your path that will need both quick reflexes and good control of the car.
During the time I have currently spent with the game, I have progressed about 30% through the main campaign(which appears to be shorter than I would like). I have also picked up a fairly large number of side quests, all of which revolve around villains of Gotham! I mentioned the Riddler race tracks a moment ago, but there are also scores(over 200) actual Riddler Trophies to collect! These are both incredibly fun to collect, but also unlock extra content to play! Though I am yet to unlock many of these!
The graphics shown off in this game are stunning, with no cap on the render distance you can see the whole of Gotham, assuming you can get high enough to see it all! There are some amazing environmental affects occurring in the sky box of the game, with rain constantly pattering down on Batmans head, and also occasional lightning seen in the distance!
All in all this game is amazing, and one that I can't wait to complete to it's fullest! Don't forget that haven't touched much today on the actual story of the game, which has had both surprises that I am loving, but the whole thing has me encapsulated! The only thing that doesn't make me sad that this is the last Batman game from Rocksteady, is that they are creative geniuses and will doubtlessly produce amazing games in the future(hopefully still based on DC characters!)
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This is a game that will immerse you in the world; whether you are gliding round the bleak landscape of Arkham, or slowly formulating a plan for taking down the latest set of snipers, or if you are facing 20 enemies and feeling like a badass when you get through unscathed. All these things will have you in them, you will be the one doing these things, not you simply playing as a character who is doing all these things.
This is the sequel to the acclaimed and a personal favourite of mine, Batman Arkham Asylum a game which left pretty massive boots to fill for Arkham City, it is very safe to say that it has succeeded. This game will see you reprising your role as our dark knight; Batman, this time as the title suggests we are in the whole city as opposed to just the Arkham island. I am glad to say that it has pulled of this seamlessly. The whole game will see you trying to work out what Protocol 10 is, it is an unknown plot orchestrated by the warden of Arkham City, Hugo Strange. I can assure you right now if you play this game, you will be gripped from taking your first baby bat steps, to you fully fledged badass leaps.
That has really summed up Batman Arkham City; Badass, this is a game that will make you think, Did I just do that? That is a thought that will stay with you throughout your experience in Arkham City. I only have one real niggle with this game, and that is the campaign length, it will only take you 15 hours at a push. Now there is so much content in the map that you will be able to play the game much after seeing the title roles.
That brings me to the end of my review of this game, it is a true pleasure to play and you need to play it before the current gen of consoles takes its bow.
Time to move the scores:
Length: A pretty short campaign, but there is so much more content in the world. 7/10
Graphics: Stunning graphics, for faces and the world. 9/10
Sound: Brilliant lip syncing, and a lot of conversations you can eavesdrop on. 9/10
Multiplayer:N/A, just leader boards but I don't count them.
Story:A very good story, but can feel as though the game is just padding at certain point. 7/10
So that gives a total 8/10 a great game but with a few draw backs, still a must have for any gamer.
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Friends of The Games Critic:
My name is Ed, I write everything here, covering all kinds of games, but I only play them on the PS4!