I held off getting a current gen system until I was certain there would be enough games to keep me busy and entertained. With the release of The Witcher 3 and Batman, that time came. I finally decided to go for it. I put all of my chickens in one basket, and took them down to the local game store. Turns out they don’t take chickens, or baskets, so I had to bring my poultry back home and conjure up adequate currency. Once I ascertained the console (thanks, Amy) Batman: Arkham Knight proceeded to envelope the remainder of the month, along with some of the next.
As with the rest of the “Arkham” games, the graphics and acting are top notch. The writing could have been better in some aspects, but overall, pretty good, as well. What I didn’t like, storywise, seemed to work just fine for other people, so I’m probably just picky. However, I will not go into specifics, to avoid spoilers for those of you who haven’t played it.
What didn’t work for me is a very short list, comprised mainly of the combat, as it seemed a little chunkier than the previous games. It still worked fine, but it seemed to take a bit more to get a good flow. Perhaps it was the use of a new controller in my hands (although, the PS4 controller is the top of the market for me), but counters were troublesome throughout the duration of the game. I also had issues when encountering thugs with shock sticks in a large group. Regardless of when I pressed what button, I would usually just attack, instead of stunning or jumping over him. This broke up the majority of my combos, resetting my meter.
One thing I thought was just silly and unnecessary, was the way that all of the good guys (Robin, Alfred, Oracle, Fox and even Batman) haphazardly threw around classified information, i . e. secret identities. Throughout the game, Batman will communicate with his cohorts through a very large video screen projected from the arm of his suit. He and they all assume that no one is around to see this, but there were several instances where Alfred and Lucious called him, “Master Bruce” and “Mr. Wayne” in front of five or six thugs hanging out by a light poll on a random street. If any of them had been paying attention, it would have all been over.
My, “what did work for me” list is bit longer:
1) Gotham looks gorgeous. The shadows, the lights and the sounds all mesmerized me.
2) The Batmobile. Not only does it look good, it drives well, too. It handles like you would expect it to in Pursuit Mode, then maneuvers even better with incredible accuracy in Battle Mode. Gotham is rather sizable, and although Batman’s gliding abilities are still there, having the Batmobile to cruise in takes travel time down considerably.
3) From time to time, you will meet and team up with various characters. When you do, you can now swap between them, controlling the other character via a “dual takedown”. This takedown is activated by an on-screen prompt, and utilizes both heroes in one brutal assault. It flows nice, and works extremely well, generally taking out whatever thug you choose permanently.
4) The acting is, again, stellar. Never did I wish for a better performance from any of the actors.
5) The levelling up process (skill points earned are once again spent in different skill trees, enhancing combat, the suit, the Batmobile, etc.) does not require hours of grinding, and can be mastered fairly quickly by simply doing all quests available.
6) Lastly, the little things really caught my eye. When driving in mud, said mud collects on the Batmobile as you create tire tracks behind you. Batman’s suit progressively gets more tattered and beat up, the further the game goes. In GCPD, holding cells are set aside for different gangs. As you eliminate threats to Gotham by taking these thugs out, they will appear in the cells. Finally, the rain. This blew my mind, and continues to do so. The way it puddles on the street and runs down Batman’s cape and cowl is fantastic. Perhaps it is my noobness concerning my recent PS4 purchase, but I’ve raved about the rain enough that my friends are no longer taking my calls.
Rocksteady’s latest addition to the Arkham franchise, Batman: Arkham Knight is a great game for a Batman fan. It follows and ends the story nicely, and produces some great gameplay (chunky combat aside) and visuals along the way. The acting is wonderful, and the cast of characters is superb. Whether you have been waiting for a game to warrant the purchase of a new system, or you are simply looking for a new game to buy, I highly recommend this title.