Batman: Arkham Knight
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Third Person Action Adventure
PS4, XBox One, PC (Sales Suspended)
June 23, 2015
₹3499 (PS4, XBox One)
₹1499 (PC - Sales Suspended)
Like every great franchise, Batman: Arkham comes to a closure. The series has given us near perfect manifestations of our favourite DC heroes and anti-heroes; the perfect twists in the tale (Black Mask revelation in Origins) and the heart wrenching climaxes (Talia Al Ghul’s goodbye). And they all come back, big or small in the closing chapter – Batman: Arkham Knight. Being the last in the series, the game was announced to tons of expectations from fans of the franchise and Batfans in general. Honestly, the game could’ve been way more impactful, considering it was to be the conclusion of the series. If you are new to the series, you won’t be disappointed, at all. But if you are a seasoned Arkham expert, you’d compare the scene featuring the out of wits Joker laughing his way to the Arkham Asylum, the whole aftermath of Hugo Strange’s death and the whispers about Protocol 10, to everything that is Arkham Knight, and you would be slightly put back. It surely doesn’t sound like the Game of the Year to me, but find out below, what I personally believe about Arkham Knight.
Arkham Knight has one of the darkest prologues in the whole franchise, shifting the usual Batman POV to a cop’s perspective, as he walks up to Crane and gets the first jump scare of brain-made Scarecrow demons, all in first person perspective. The Scarecrow introduction has a very Dark Seid/General Zod theme attached to it, with world apocalypse being the rim of the revolution, along with the typical Crane like fear intoxications. But before all of this, there is Joker, being burnt, from the incident at Arkham City, and he lives through the best parts of Arkham Knight.
Throughout the game, Bruce Wayne levels up as the world’s number one vigilante, experiencing the aftereffects of the same Titan formula that killed the Joker. The game does a fantastic job of connecting the Arkham parts to its predecessors and then triggering a well thought concoction of the Killing Joke and Death of the Family, to sum up the whole story. Arkham Knight, the name has been wrongly used, as even though the Knight shows up at certain parts of the game, he doesn’t necessarily own the show enough to earn the title. Good news though, The Joker, and *praise the gods* Mark Hamill, still rules the show! I booted this game for Batman, but played it till the end for him.
Even though I am holding myself from speaking too much, lest I may give away many spoilers, I would only request you to not rely on Arkham Knight plot twists. Because not only are they predictable, but also visible from at least half a yard away. And there was a total letdown of the Arkham Knight, who was built to be this big threat, ultimately perishing in my memory of long listed Arkham villains and anti-heroes. Rocksteady wanted a Flashpoint moment there, and somehow the whole buildup to the revelation, or the lack of superiority from the so-called main villain aided in a total misfire.
Surely the Batmobile was missing from the series, as specks of it were seen in Arkham Asylum that left me wondering, was it too hard to integrate a Batmobile into the franchise? Batman: Arkham Knight showed how the Batmobile can be the best gadget that you ever used in an Arkham game till date. The controls, in the beginning, were a little complex, leaving room for much error, especially in the Tank mode. Holding down the L2 button on your DS4 controller transforms the speedster Batmobile into a tough tank that could dislodge bots and drones controlling the fallen Gotham City. Locking on to one of the bulkier targets would grant you an instakill, and gush of rockets could be unleashed by successfully performing a combo streak, similar to what the Batman is expected to do with his bare hands, but now in a Tank. The Batmobile handles beautifully, especially in its Tank mode, allowing me to dodge rockets or unleash counter attacks with ease, especially in a high octane drone infested scenario, like the battle inside the graveyard.
So why is there a big fuss about the Batmobile if everything is near perfect? It is because the Batmobile has been forced to be used as your companion in a franchise that always allowed room for player freedom. There are puzzles that cannot be solved without the Batmobile or its overly used wrench gun system, there are events that are locked without the Batmobile introduction, and even the story wouldn’t move forward if you were not capable of beating down a wall without the vehicle. The repetitive nature of most of Arkham Knight’s missions integrates the Batmobile through its multi-utility feature, and forces a scene between Batman and his noble steed. The developers clearly underrated the value of this road beast and cast it in the shadows way too often, to actually make it less important. There is a section from the story wherein the Arkham Knight ruins your ride, and honestly, that particular moment made me leap in joy, as I was tired of opening vents with my billion-dollar car.
The city of Gotham has been inspired a lot from the previous game, Arkham: Origins’ blueprint of Arkham. The whole city is now fragmented into a collection of islands, which can be traversed via air or through the roadways. The introduction of the Batmobile has made all parts of Gotham connect to each other, and can be traversed with wide roads and shortcuts that can be opened with the tank’s guns. The Gotham City of Arkham Knight is the biggest city the franchise has delivered, and requires something special from the grappling abilities of Batman. And hence returns the boosted grapple feature from Arkham Origins that allows Batman to gain momentum before leaving his grapple and accelerate quite the distance in the air, followed by the dive bomb.
One of the key bits about Arkham games is its predator missions. Giving you ultimate freedom to go crazy or stay low. Arkham Knight marries predator missions with time based challenges in an all new dedicated Two Face based Most Wanted Mission ‘Two Faced Bandit’. It is one of those side missions that ate up most of my time inside Gotham City. In this most wanted mission, your task is to stop the Two Face thugs from exhausting the total money left in the bank, while the clock runs against the score. A high score is not all about performing a streak of predator moves but also stopping the thugs well in time. The challenge missions made me mix up my tactics as I spent nearly some hours cleaning up the banks of Gotham, from the thugs of course. The other side quest that caught my attention was the Man Bat chase that had you scoping the cityscapes of Gotham in your vigilante mode, and ultimately soaring and pouncing on the silhouette of the Man Bat caught in your cat scan. The story had an interesting spin to it, unlike the Firefly challenges (that mixed up Batmobile based challenges) or the Deathstroke Tank Assault.
The main missions resemble the older Arkham games in design, sometimes bringing back the old gargoyles with newer threats – like the turrets and the location detector guy. It innovates at certain areas, playing with aerial and ground based challenges, now integrated with the Batmobile as one of your unique weapons. Some missions, like the cave chase, are one of those high octane Batman: Arkham moments within this game. However, I am dispelled by the lack of boss battles, as they somehow always show how Batman has adapted to the game progression, as you boot him up with each unique combat or armor ability. The Arkham Knight final fight is a wave of four predator missions and you really don’t fight the Scarecrow, so WTF Rocksteady? I am also enraged by the game’s reluctance to involve the iconic anti-heroes that has made the series such a hit, it’s a mere Robin-Nightwing-Oracle-Azrael lineage curve that Arkham Knight held on to, ultimately. At one point, I was beginning to wonder whether this game was actually about the end of the Caped Crusader and hence stressed on his successors, but apparently not! Even the potholed Arkham: Origins story had a hook to tie each bit of its content. The side quests feature too much of Batmobile, with an open world sandbox that almost looks short of dynamic content, unlike the massively challenging Arkham City. The story unlocks two kinds of endings based on how many missions you’ve completed, the Knightfall protocol ending featuring at the end of your 100% completion only. Bonus content, what a wasted Deathstroke side quest story!
What I loved from Arkham Knight is its short-lived, co-op combo abilities. Allowing you to experience how other vigilantes move within a mob battle, giving you ultimate reasons to experiment and find new ways to control the maddening crowd. And it all ends when you switch your character within the fight, and break the jawbone with a synchronized beat down. Apart from these, the upgraded gadgets brought some fun to the predator sandbox. My easy favourite? The voice changer. The equipment goes total mad by enacting the voice of the mob boss and giving orders wherever I tell it to, opening predator chances for me while I scope out the rest of the enemies from the advantage of my gargoyle.
Graphics and Sound:
The game runs perfectly well on both the consoles, while my PS4 rendered almost 30 frames per second with all the minute detailing of the city. It had the advantage of the new generation of games, with top notch detailing and weather texture. However, I missed the Christmas laden Arkham setting from Batman: Arkham Origins, as it was easily the most classic rendition of a typical Batman story. There were not many frame tear ups within my playthrough, although I can recollect some freezing problems during the Cloudburst missions.
The sound department and Nick Arundel inspired soundtrack is iconic with the franchise, and carries on the brilliant work even with this edition. The jarred ignition burst from the Batmobile renders exactly the same feel as the vehicle appears in popular media. The voice acting is insanely accurate and near perfection, with Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy both returning.
One for the Joker Fans:
If you are one of those who are hooked to the franchise simply because of the Joker, then rest assured, you are not going to miss him in this game. He plays an important role, and somewhere down the plan, the franchise retrofitted Joker to be the perfect mirror image of the hailed Crusader, just like in The Killing Joke. And the franchise end is beautifully narrated from the eyes from the Joker in the dying moments of the game, and you’ll know then – everything connects. I wouldn’t spoil anything further, but in case you really want to witness how the story ends, go for it because of Hamill and his personification of the Joker.
The game’s average on the whole, and is one of those one-night stand causes, as we call them here at iLL.
+ The Joker
+ Predator Missions
+ New Gadgets/Takedowns
+ One for the DC Fans
- No Epic Boss Battles
- Forgettable Arkham Knight
- Pale Open World
- Repetitive Missions