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Batman Arkham Knight: Setting a standard for Batman games

by on January 6, 2016
Details
 
Synopsis

Scarecrow has taken Gotham City hostage with a new fear gas, and has hired a mysterious militia leader called the Arkham Knight to take control of Gotham. Play as Batman and liberate Gotham!

# of Players

1

Positives

You get all of Gotham City as your sandbox! I never felt like this was too much or too little area to play in.

Amazing writing and direction, this game has so much personality.

Lots of hidden collectibles and items that go beyond just Riddler trophies.

Despite the overuse of the Batmobile, it does have many different uses, from time trials, to car chases, taking down flying enemies and fighting drones as a tank.

Negatives

The fighting and tank gameplay can get very repetitive and lacks depth.

While the game has a lot of quality content, I would say it's filled with a lot of shallow filler content that's added to make the game longer.

The game forces you to use the Batmobile way too much. Especially when it comes to the Riddler. There is no legitimate reason why I had to drive that car up a building.

In order to get the true ending of the game, you have to achieve everything, including everything the Riddler throws at you.

Editor Rating
 
Gameplay
A-

 
Graphics
A

 
Sound Effects and Music
B+

 
Story
B+

Writer's Score
A-


Bottom Line
 

There are a lot of games that can slap Batman on as a theme for nearly any game, but the Arkham series captured the feeling of being Batman almost perfectly.

Any Batman fan should play this game, even non batman fans should, this is an amazing game! It doesn't feel light on content but a lot of the content feels light.

 

I really should have gotten around to playing this game sooner than I did, because Batman Arkham Knight is outstanding, and quite possibly the best example of what a Batman game should be. Arkham Knight is the third entry in the Arkham series of games, not counting Arkham Origins which is both a prequel to the first game, and made by a different studio. I’m actually kind sad that this is supposedly the last game in the series because I really feel like the hit the nail on the head when it came to designing this game.

Surprisingly, Arkham Knight is the first and only game that actually lets you play in Gotham City and as a sandbox game it works really well! Once I got to upgrade the ability that lets me launch myself into the air, either by grappling hook or by ejecting out of the Batmobile, it felt so satisfying gliding through the air to my next destination, or even just gliding around looking for a side quest to do, which I’ll get to later.

Another first for the Arkham franchise, you can drive the Batmobile in this game! I actually have kinda mixed feelings about this, because on one hand it actually feels really nice to drive around the city and at times it can be faster to do so than trying to glide around. At the same time, they really try and shove the Batmobile down your throat in terms of making you use it throughout the game. Between the car chases, Riddler challenges and tank mode.

Did you know the Batmobile could turn into a tank? Me neither. There’s two gameplay sections that really make up the bulk of this game, tank mode, and hand to hand combat. Throughout the game you have to go up against drone controlled cars with guns and missiles attached to them, naturally since there are no enemies actually in danger, you can blow them up. This isn’t inherently bad gameplay, it’s challenging but not difficult, it’s the sheer quantity of enemies and times that the game makes you go up against this that makes this tiring.

Hand to hand combat isn’t nearly as bad because in a lot of cases you have a chance to take enemies out stealthily, sabotaging their weapons or knocking them out entirely. I loved the stealth aspects of the game, the more chances I got to take enemies out quietly the better. As new enemy types showed up, like ones that can revive fallen enemies or ones that disable my detective mode, I had to readjust how I went about taking out enemies. Even in cases where a fight was inevitable, I usually had the chance to disable certain enemy weapons. Of course if I had the chance to use my car to take out regular baddies, I would do that.

The biggest fault with the tank gameplay and the fighting gameplay is that as they became harder to do, it was mostly a result of just throwing in more and more enemies. As enemies advance, they don’t particularly get harder, they just mix up what they can do, like you’ll find enemies that can revive knocked out enemies and electrify living ones. This basically boils down to figuring out what gadget or combo to use on what enemy, and it gets to the point where there are heavy bruisers with shields, electricity, swords and pretty much everything but a gun.

The best part of this game HAS to be the writing and direction. The story revolves around Scarecrow using fear gas as a form of terrorism and a militia leader who goes by the name, The Arkham Knight. The way Batman constantly second guesses himself and his choices works brilliantly, how he worries that he’s losing himself. The constant fear of who the Arkham Knight is, what Scarecrow is planning, all while trying to maintain your sanity are all excellent plot devices. It’s hard to describe exactly how they direct the game so well without spoiling some pretty heavy story aspects but trust me when I say they do it brilliantly.

All the cutscenes in the game are amazing as well, even for side quests. I was really surprised to see how many times they animated scenes for just short side objectives. This really stands out most in the DLC, Season of Infamy, where you get 4 extra stories revolving around Killer Croc, Mad Hatter, Mr Freeze, and Ra’s Al Ghoul. The DLC is absolutely worth it by the way, Season of Infamy is a little short on content but the quality of the content is outstanding. Not to mention all the alternate Batman skins are awesome, I really didn’t mind paying a buck or 2 for alternate costumes because they’re extremely high quality skins.

Speaking of side quests, this game is FULL of them, and a lot of them have different and in depth mini games to go along with them. There are several smaller challenges like take out militia outposts, deactivate bombs, etc, and then there are ones based around specific villains, like stopping Two-Face from robbing banks, or tracking down a murderer who’s hanging corpses. My personal favorite was to capture ManBat from flying around, which involved listening for his screech and trying to find him that way. An aspect of the game that really appeals to the completionist in me is that the prison where you lock criminals up has a counter of how full it is, showing that there are 11 high security criminals and close to 100 generic enemies. So you always have some idea of how done you are.

That actually brings me to what I didn’t like about the side quests, it’s natural for sandbox games to have way points on a map of where the sidequest is. Arkham Knight takes a different approach, where you have to listen for Intel about whats going on and where, and then a marker will be placed for that mission. This can get kind of annoying if you’re trying to do a specific mission and you have no idea where to go for the next stage, especially near the end of the game.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to say that this game is devoid of content, because it’s not, this game took me a solid 30 hours to 99% complete it. And while I feel that there is so much quality content, I feel like that quality is all reserved for certain sections of the game. Most of the side quests don’t have much depth, like collecting a Riddler trophy, or taking out a Penguin warehouse. Whats worse, is that there’s actually a secret ending that can only be unlocked by finishing everything. That includes, all 243 Riddler challenges, which range from trophies, riddles, puzzles and races.

Arkham Knight is an amazing game that’s easily worth the money, especially on Ps4. I highly recommend it to Batman fans and even those who aren’t huge fans of Batman. I certainly don’t consider myself a Batman fan, but I loved this game and the characters in it. I’m also a sucker for Mark Hamill as the Joker.