By TheAcidSkull 17 Comments
After countless hours of playing,( I was savouring my time, since this is the very last Arkham game), I have finally completed Arkham Knight. I don't really care what anyone says, to me, the Arkham series will always be one of the best gaming trilogies (not counting Origins). Is the Arkham Knight perfect? Unfortunately no, it's far from it. What makes me sad,though, is that it's bogged down by what could have made this the most amazing Batman game to date. They tried, they really did, but you can definitely see the cracks where they kind of heisted too go all out. Having said that, however, overall the Arkham Knight is still a worthy addition and conclusion to the Batman:Arkham series.
Before moving onto the main topics, I'd like to make a few comments about Rocksteady's business tactics. I'm very pissed about how almost every single company is trying their very best to milk the game to the max. I've never been against DLC, in fact, I'm all for good new additions that would enrich the story and or gameplay, but even if the developers add something mind blowing and jaw-dropping, having the costumers pay 40$ for it is absolutely ridiculous. With that kind of money, the expansions should at least be as big as an actual game, otherwise the price should be cut down to 15$. Still, for what I've seen, aside from the extra costumes, nothing is really cut back from the main story, so whether you decide to buy the season pass or not won't restrict you from having a full experience . The Arkham Knight game is complete from start to finish, and you don't need any fancy additions.
Speaking of which, lets talk about the main campaign. Each Arkham game has been a psychological and physiological profile for Bruce Wayne/Batman. Arkham Asylum was contained but unexpected, so Batman had to rely on what he had for the time being. He also had to stick to the shadows, since he wasn't fully able to fight everyone head on. Arkham City expanded the playground, and this time around Batman had more toys to play with, regardless, due to the fact that he was thrown in a restricted yet broad area with other criminals of such variety, he still needed to play it smart. The Arkham Knight, on the other hand, does something completely unexpected. Most people miss this small little detail, but the reason Batman has to face his biggest challenge yet is because here, he is at his most powerful while simultaneously at his weakest. See in Arkham City and Asylum, Batman has his greatest weapon, which is his wit. He knows his villains well so he can come up with quick and detailed plans on the spot to defeat his enemies. In Arkham Knight, he's mentally unstable, and thus, his greatest asset has been damaged. His new suit, the batmobile, and gadgets give him all the power he may require, and you can actually feel this through the gameplay( I'll expand on this late on in the review), but because of one very important twist, Batman is at odds with himself.
This makes Bruce very vulnerable, and scarecrow explores this very well. This is another positive aspect of the main story. Sure, Batman's main antagonist is his dark side ( This is the only way I can say it without spoiling something major), but if you know Batman's character, even from the Arkham games, you'll know that it must take something drastic to awaken this evil within Bruce. Scarecrow acts as the instrument that brings Batman close to snapping. Crane may be more of a "behind the scenes" kind of villain, but you can't argue that his plan was pretty damn perfect for defeating Batman. Had it been anyone else in Batman's place, and they'd have gone completely off the rails.
The name of the game doesn't really do it justice, since the Arkham Knight, while important to the story, isn't the main driving force. Truth be told, I'm a bit torn on his identity, but in the end they've managed to win me over. If you've started playing the game, it's not hard to deduce who he is, and since the game is a documentation of Batman's mental state, who the Knight is does make a lot of sense and ties into the main theme of the story. That said, it's still an incredibly lazy to do things. I mean, I salute them for finding a way to tie everything so neatly together, but still, It would have been nice if I had actually been surprised by the reveal. You could also make the argument that not everyone reads the comics, so the reveal may have been astonishing to thous who do not know the character, and on that front, it does make a lot of sense. Long story short, the choice was lazy, but the execution was great.
I won't comment any further on the story, since I genuinely think that there are some twist and turns that should not be spoiled. Also, I'll skip my praises for the voicing acting, since by now you know that these games are quite renowned for the talent.
Moreover, despite the fantastic plot, some of the side missions felt really really....dull. I mean, they weren't bad, but come on! This is the final Batman Arkham game, and you're given free reign to roam Gotham and beat the crap out of criminals. I was just disappointed that some of the missions felt like missed potentials. That of course doesn't include all of them. Some of them were very well done, my favourite being the one involving the numerous serial killings ( Much like the HUSH mission in Arkham City), which were genuinely well crafted and creepy. Most missions, as well as the main story, kept a vey dark and creepy aesthetic, something that I greatly appreciate. But honestly, some of them were huge letdowns. One particular mission was so hyped within the game that I was jumping out of my seat to complete it. However, the ending was so disappointing that I was literally speechless for about 5 minutes. Yeah, repetitive missions for a specific villain is all fine and dandy, but don't mislead your players. What's worse is that there were a few continuations of the subplots from the previous instalment, Arkham City, which were given short and lukewarm conclusions. You'll know what I mean when you play it.
My next point is something I've wanted to talk about for a very long time. In video games, the boss battles are usually my favourite parts. Now the Arkham games aren't known for the boss battles, but the previous games did have fairly well designed fights. Then Arkham Origins came along and kicked things up a notch by creating the best Bosses we've seen so far. I was hoping that Arkham Knight would take notes from this and make the final Batman game very interesting and diverse in the area. Sadly, they took a few steps back. With the addition of the Batmobile, hand to hand combat based boss battles were almost removed, which was a huge disappointment. That's not to say that the Boss battles were bad in any way, some of them were really well made, as a matter of fact. However, it was way overdone. At one point I was kind of getting tired of fighting drones. Batman has one of the most colourful villains in comic book history, so I just don't understand why the developers decided to take this route. There's so many ways you can go about one specific villain. Hell, I can think of 3 different ways you can fight killer Croc only.
Speaking of the Batmobile, I've heard it's one of the more divisive aspects of the game. Honestly though, I enjoyed it very much. In a very unique way, It's very well integrated with the gameplay and aesthetic. The combat mode has it's own way of "countering" enemy attacks, much like how batman blocks and turns the enemy attacks against them, and the pursuit mode works well with gliding and grappling since you can basically propel yourself. If you are fighting in the city, you can also use the Batmobile while you are fighting in the streets as Batman.
The hand to hand combat and stealth mode, or the gameplay in general is basically at its peak here. The game doesn't waste time holding your hand and the transition from City to Arkham Knight is seamless. Sure, the gameplay, stealth mode included, is a lot more aggressive than before,but to me, that makes a lot of sense, both from a story and gameplay perspective. From Asylum, batman had slowly been evolving, and by the time we reach Arkham knight batman is supposed to be a veteran. I don't mean that stealth is gone, quite the contrary, you have more unique and interesting ways you can fool and lure criminals to silently take them down. But should you chose a swifter route, it's entirely possible to take the militia down, provided you play your cards right. Remember, as powerful and tough you are, you're not invincible.
I'm glad that in the end, Rocksteady took some inspiration from Origins. They've added some interesting things to enrich the fighting. For starters, you can now use the environment to quickly take down tougher thugs. Trust me, it's very useful, especially given the fact that sometimes you face a lot of thugs at the same time. There's also a variety of enemies that put your skills to the use, such as Ninjas, Healers, Brutes and other combinations of the classes I've just listed. For thous who say that Batman's gameplay can be narrowed down to pressing Y ( or if on PS4 the "triangle button) repeatedly, they need to give this game a shot. By the end of it, defending yourself can be really really hard. I genuinely felt that I had to think of new and interesting ways to take these guys down. Plus, one small distraction and you can get killed.
There's also one very interesting addition, which turned out to be my favourite part of Arkham Knight, and it's the fact that you can team up with Batman's allies. The banter alone is fantastic, but the fact that you can take down and mop the floor with the goons you face as a team is not only very fun to watch from a cinematic standpoint, but it's also very fun to perform. In short, the gameplay is increasingly satisfying.
In conclusion, not sure what more I can say here. The visuals are fantastic, the main story is great and emotional, the gameplay is the best it's has ever been, and there are a lot of new additions to spice things up. It's very unfortunate that Arkham Knight is held back from becoming the best Batman game by the kind of mistakes that should not have been made; nevertheless, as I said in the beginning, it's definitely a worthy addition.