Batman: Arkham Knight Review
Batman: Arkham Knight offers the best Batman gaming experience to date. The variety of its gameplay, compelling story, and beautiful aesthetics make this game a truly next-gen experience.
The grand and gritty world of Gotham is as detailed as ever, packed with numerous side missions, alongside a compelling main story that features Scarecrow and a new villain, the Arkham Knight.
The story definitely plays off of some of the best Batman stories ever crafted, The Killing Joke and Batman: A Death in the Family, and it works to perfection. Batman: Arkham Knight takes familiar and beloved Batman stories and adds new takes and perspectives. I would go as far as to say that Arkham Knight offers the best Batman story that a console/PC game has ever hosted, due to its ability to tie together several story lines in a very neat way.
Once I picked up Arkham Knight I wasn't able to put it down. The story and gameplay, in my opinion, were that compelling.
Part of what makes me feel this way is the sheer amount of "stuff" that you can do. The side quests in which you go after Two-Face, Riddler, Penguin, and other Batman villains feel incredibly well-tailored to each villain and their tendencies. When fighting against these villains it felt like Rocksteady truly understood what made each individual antagonist interesting and deadly. This added a layer of immersion, providing an experience in which you can experience what it would be like to be Batman going up against these villains.
Though sometimes tedious and long, nothing feels better than working through all of the side quests and taking in one of Gotham's most wanted. Whether it is the Riddler's puzzles, or Two-Face's goons attempting to rob banks, the side quests did not really feel like side quests. They felt like integral parts of what makes Arkham Knight, as a whole, a phenomenal Batman experience.
However what makes the story work is the pristine gameplay, and the Batmobile is a part of that. Say what you will about the Batmobile and its near tank-like status, I found the Batmobile to be a welcomed addition to the Arkham game series. While the tank isn't exactly Batman's style, it never felt too out of place for me.
Most of the time in the Batmobile is either spent taking down enemy drone tanks, or traveling to your next mission. The former being a little boring at times, although every now and again it is refreshing to spend some time in the Batmobile as opposed to fighting with fists and gadgets. While the tank gameplay is not always exhilarating, driving around the city of Gotham in Batman's staple vehicle, is. Drifting into sharp turns on your way to stopping The Riddler or Scarecrow makes you truly feel like the Dark Knight.
The Batmobile also plays a big role in puzzle solving. The Batmobile can be remotely controlled by Batman, meaning if you need to use the Batmobile to help out (without you actually being in it) you can still get the job done. This also plays a big role when you need to grapple the Batmobile to winches, allowing you to hook on and either power up generators using the Batmobile's power, or grab onto something with the Batmobile's grapple in order to climb up or down a building/surface.
Arkham Knight takes the series' normal combat system of striking and countering and adds new layers, making it the cleanest and most fluid Batman game ever in terms of fighting. The various types of enemies, including medics who revive enemy fighters, large hulking fighters with massive weaponry, and enemies who wield electric weapons, all make you think about your combat strategy. How you take down an area or room is also influenced by enemies controlling drones or blocking out your Detective Vision. Sometimes you need to even hack watch turrets in order to swoop down and initiate battle
All of these factors make you think about how to initiate the fight. Should you use vents in the ground or higher platforms to slowly weed out the enemies with Silent Takedowns?
Or perhaps swooping in and using a simple Glide Kick or Multi Fear Takedown is the way to go.
One of the most memorable moments of the game to me is when I was notified that Two-Face was trying to rob the banks of Gotham. As I made it into to the first bank, I took high ground and scouted out the room. Upon seeing multiple levels within the bank and a myriad of enemies, I swooped down below into one of the underground grates. I then proceeded to slowly take out Two-Face's goons one by one, using Silent Takedowns. As their numbers dwindled, I could hear the final few enemies express their fear as they moved towards their fallen comrades. And when I snuck behind the final enemy and took him out, I looked around the building and realized that I took out a small army with ease. Just like the real Batman would have.
This was not the only moment in which Arkham Knight made me feel like a badass. You also get several opportunities to use Dual-Takedown moves with Nightwing, Catwoman, and other allies of Batman. These are well made scenes in which you and one of your allies team up to take down an enemy. I do wish that you would get more opportunities to play as these characters, however each character receives his or her own side story, which at least offers a sample of each character.
This variety in the combat system creates a true feeling of being Batman. Plus, seeing as how you can take down your enemies in so many ways (gadgets, attack from the air, attack from below etc.) the game never really gets stale when you are mixing things up.
Batman: Arkham Knight offers the most complete superhero video game experience ever in terms of story and combat systems. The fusion of pristine gameplay and compelling story left me wanting to continue playing. After playing Arkham Knight non-stop, the combat never felt stale and the Batmobile felt as powerful and fast as ever. This is the ultimate swan song for Rocksteady Studios, and the incredible work that they have done with the Arkham series.