|System: Xbox One, PS4*, PC|
|Dev: Warner Bros.|
|Pub: Rocksteady Studios|
|Release: June 23, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes|
by Matt Walker
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.