|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Dev: Rocksteady Games|
|Pub: WB Games|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Angelo M. D'Argenio
Here is a question for you. Does Batman use guns? The answer to this question may be the one thing that decides whether or not you like Batman Arkham Knight, the newest and final Batman game in the Arkham series. At E3 2014, there was a huge display featuring the brand new batmobile which, Transformers style, folded out to show several grenade launchers and mini-guns. Heck, even the demo we saw featured a section where you were able to just unleash all hell with the batmobile’s artillery, exploding cars and taking chunks out of walls. Somehow, we are all just supposed to accept that nobody dies in those explosions.
This is perhaps Arkham Knight’s biggest downfall. The rest of the Arkham games really got the notion of “feeling like Batman.” You were an ultra-powerful, ultra high tech, always prepared super detective that could disable anyone, but never killed. The stealth and combat always melded together into a perfect blend that made you feel like you were the caped crusader. Arkham Knight on the other hand feels more like Grand Theft Batman, as you gleefully cause destruction on the streets of Gotham. This seriously kills the atmosphere of the game for me, and if it weren’t for the fact that the game gets the feeling of Gotham itself down so well, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look.
Open World was a buzzword at this year’s E3 and Batman Arkham Knight might be one of the most open world games shown at the convention. The video demo started with Batman at the top of a gigantic tower looking over Gotham. Then, jumping off his perch, he glided down into the city, and not one loading screen was had. This is the game’s biggest draw. The whole world of Gotham is simply open for you to explore. You don’t load when you get into a building, get into the batmobile, or even go underground. You simply descend upon Gotham and act as its shadowy protector. While the game may have not gotten Batman’s morals correct, it got the setting spot on.
To help him conquer this new open world, Batman will have plenty of new tricks up his sleeve. The chain grapple gun will be one of the most used items in gameplay. It allows you to immediately attach to the side of any building and pull yourself up to higher vantage points. It also lets you swing from rooftop to rooftop. This is especially impressive as buildings in Arkham Knight are so much bigger than they were in previous Batman titles. You’ll find yourself needing to grapple from building to building several times just to be able to get to the top of a skyscraper.
The aforementioned batmobile is also a useful traversal tool. You can summon it basically at any point and it acts as a high speed way to get through Gotham’s streets. You can control it remotely to attack enemies, or use it to solve puzzles. For example, the batmobile itself has a grapple tool that can let you clear rubble or pull down pipes or tow other vehicles. The batmobile also has an ejector seat, and triggering it while at a top speed will send Batman flying out at a high altitude. This allows him to immediately get above the city again, ready to swoop down on his prey.
By that we mean that the combat has been integrated into the traversal systems as well. Batman can attack right out of a glide and doing so basically immediately incapacitates enemies. When there aren’t a lot of enemies around Batman can easily sneak up on them and perform stealth takedowns, keeping himself hidden. However, when there is a huge group of enemies around, time slows down after every kill allowing you to take your time and choose the next enemy to focus on. This actually DOES feel very batman like, as you go from enemy to enemy, taking out the very next one that is going to attack you.
I have to say that Arkham Knight is a very impressive game. It is certainly the prettiest Batman game that we have seen and the new open world is stunning. It’s just a shame that the new batmobile seems so violent for a batman game. Yes, yes, we know that the minigun is supposedly firing “rubber bullets” but that’s just hard to believe. Hell, I’m fairly certain if I was point blank in front of a mini-gun I’d die! Batman just doesn’t strike me as the kind of person to ride around in a mobile tank is all. Every other part of the game felt like it should, but the sheer amount of times the batmobile is necessary make the game feel a bit overblown in the action department. It’s like Michael Bay’s batman, and that might be your thing, but for me, I’d like my Batmen to be a little more subtle.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: July 16, 2014