For the Fans and More
This is how the Batman dies.
That’s one of the opening lines of Arkham Knight . A line that resonates throughout the entire narrative. It’s something that many fans will balk at when they hear it. After all, this is Batman. However there are some interesting things you will discover while playing the game in which this theme is echoed time and again.
It would be easy to chalk this latest adventure up to it being a normal run of the mill Batman story. You’ve got Batman, the greatest detective in the world, and some clever dynamic plot against him or Gotham is afoot. He’s got new gadgets to help save the day, the dutiful (even if a little useless at times) Gotham City Police Department, and even a brand new villain to terrorize him for one long night. Anything you could pick up at the local comic shop really, but in all honesty, this is probably one of the best Batman stories I have ever experienced. Maybe it’s the fan service (which there is a ton of), the dynamic action, or just simply the fact that you get to be Batman in this grand tale. I’m not sure, but it all works.
Let me clarify the statement about being Batman a little, though. I am sure all of you reading are like, “But we’ve been Batman for at least three games in this universe now,” and that is definitely true. However, Rocksteady somehow has found a way to make that feel even truer than before. I will say this: it’s not the Batmobile that causes this feeling of being the Bat to be more accurate, though. The answer is even more simple than that. You feel like you are playing as Batman right from the beginning.
Expanding on that a little, in the previous titles, you had things you wanted to do as Batman. You wanted to have this or that gadget and in general you always had to wait until it was unlocked or upgraded or what have you. In this entry, however, it feels like Batman loaded his utility belt correctly before stepping out of the cave. It was really refreshing to have this sense of, “ok, cool, the developers have acknowledged that millions of people have played these games, so we don’t have to dumb it down and make them earn these cool gadgets.” Having them from the start seemed to help the flow of the game right away.
I have to talk about the new Batsuit for a moment, because this not only is delivered in a way reminiscent of the beginning of Arkham City , but it is probably the best modern Batsuit I have ever seen. Batman looks more intimidating, his movements seem more fluid, and the practicality of the materials used and how they were combined just seem legit. Plus, it looks badass.
Then there’s the Batmobile. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed my time with the Batmobile. I think it was a great addition to the universe. However, there are a couple of issues I have with it. First and foremost, it has to be the forced nature of the Batmobile. Driving around Gotham, chasing down bad guys, and blowing stuff up all seems really par for the course for the Batmobile and how it would be used in the game. Unfortunately, there were several instances in which I felt it was just not needed.
For example, in previous game Batman would use his Batclaw to pull pipes, thicker walls, and various other things his suit-amplified strength would allow him to do. Here in Arkham Knight, it seems these simple tasks are now a little more complex just to shoehorn in the Batmobile. I cannot comment on how many times I was irritated by Batman saying, “I need to get the Batmobile in here.”
Outside of this, though, I have to say I rather enjoyed the Batmobile. I always felt like I was in total control with whatever the enemy would try to throw my way. It was incredibly refreshing to be Batman and feel like I was Grand Theft Auto -ing the villains that happened to be in my way on the road. It was also a lot of fun basically treating the Batmobile like a giant RC car, because let’s face it, Bruce Wayne is ridiculously rich and that’s just something he would do. This is just one example of the fan service in the game.
I don’t want to give anything away about these moments, but I have to say, there are so many Easter Eggs in this game it’s ridiculous. There is one mission that unlocks fairly early on entitled “Heir to the Mantle”. You’ll think, “hey, I know what this is all about,” but the surprise that follows will make a few people rather happy. For as much of this type of fan service is in the game, there are some things older fans of the Batman mythos might be a little miffed about. Most of this stems from character interactions that just wouldn’t happen, or rather, shouldn’t happen. I know that’s showing a little bit of my nerddom, but for those instances, you will understand.
The visuals of Arkham Knight are simply stunning. We’ve seen a lot of great looking games, and Arkham Knight will fit in really nicely to that collection of games that look great and play great too. I especially like that the characters look a bit older than they did in previous entries. It’s not just in service to modern “gritty” Batman that they look this way, but to show the real-time progression of Rocksteady’s Arkham series. I appreciate that attention to detail as a Batman fan.
The voice acting, like always, is top notch. There are so many great things about the voice acting and the score that I can’t blab about because it would ruin a lot of great moments and surprises Rocksteady has in store for fans. I will say only one thing: good for them for keeping secrets.
Simply put, Batman: Arkham Knight is an awesome game for any fan of Batman, any fan of action games, and I would even say any fan that enjoys just good games. It is easily the best entry in the series and I am very curious to see what the future holds for Batman in the Arkham universe. Do yourself a favor and get this game as quickly as possible before someone spoils it for you on the internet. It’s what Batman would do.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.3 Graphics
4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
4.4 Play Value
4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best