The final installment of the Batman series by Rocksteady. Will this game be the one that the people of world need? Or the one that the world deserves? Batman Arkham knight has Kevin Conroy reprising his role as Batman from the first 2 games and some might remember him from the 1990’s Batman Animated series. The main villain scarecrow is voiced by powerhouse John Noble whom some might know as Walter Bishop from the multi award winning TV franchise Fringe. Mark Hamil returns to voice the Joker as well.
Ready to begin the longest night of Batman’s life yet? Following the acclaimed success of the first 3 games. The Batman games have proven to be generally well received and have nailed most aspects of what we’ve come to love about the Batman games. Rocksteady was faithful to keep the balance between the comic book aspects of the game, the lore, the grittiness, even the darkness. The challenge going into this game was always an uphill climb for Rocksteady. I guess the question on everybody’s mind was if they managed to continue this trend and if they could exceed the former games and its ambitions.
The plot and setting of this game follows the events right after Batman Arkham city. This happens one year after the death of the Joker. In the opening sequence, we have a narration talking about the absences of crime and its decline. Chaos however begins to unfold as we see scarecrow unveil himself as the main villain who is bent on releasing his fear toxin into Gotham and its people. Together with Jim Gordon and the GCPD, Batman would work together with faithful companions Barbara Gordon (Jim’s Daughter) Oracle, Alfred, and Lucius Fox to save the people of Gotham. Without any spoilers, Batman would go up against a myriad of enemies including, two-face, penguin and the new Arkham knight as the game title suggest. A new villain who seems to know just about everything to do with Batman and seems to have a personal vendetta against our dark crusader.
Players who are familiar with the style of the Batman games will ease comfortably into the control scheme of the game. Right off the bat, you have your one button combos which work fluidly with one button counters. They do expand along the way with new mechanics like fear take downs which require a charge from silent take downs. These new fear take downs are flashy and effective allowing Batman to take out multiple enemies at a go. One of the newest additions to the game is of course the Batmobile. It looks more like the militarized vehicle right out of the Christopher Nolan Movies. It looks absolutely brutal. How does it play?
Well, the Batmobile has quite a big part to play in this game. I won’t deny it. If you have always dreamt of scaling the rooftops of Gotham in this, you might be pleased. However, with a switch of a button, this vehicle can turn into instantly into a tank. This side of gameplay loads the Batmobile with a 60mm cannon, machine gun, pellets to knockout any walking personnel on the wrong side of the law. The platforming and puzzle solving segments of the game have included the Batmobile and they do not feel forced but actually smartly integrated into the game.
The tank portions do feel a little off as it doesn’t quite fit into the Batman lore of the game because Batman is not supposed to murder anyone. However, considering the beast this tank is made off, I’m not surprised if my demolition antics have accidentally taken out any casualties (permanently) in the game.
The driving controls take some getting used to because it’s perpetually raining in the game. As such, you need to factor in when to brake and traction for slippery conditions each time you hit the road.
The graphics in this game are downright spot on capturing Gotham. The quality and detail of that went into the character designs are definitely what we’ve come to expect in these games. Just take a look at Batman’s new and improved suit for this game. Here’s an up close and personal view of it. The designers clearly went for something a little more mechanized and metallic yet allowing flexibility in his movements.
The city was designed to be 5 times larger than Arkham city which is a tremendous feat considering that the previous game already felt vast and huge. As Batman, there’s plenty to be done as you choose to embark on the various side missions parallel to the main quest. The numerous side quests are fun albeit not compulsory. Batman traverses the city primarily with 2 modes. Either you take it to the sky or you drive. I found the former to be more fun with the ability to double tap to simply harness momentum to relaunch Batman into the skies. Diving would of course give Batman the velocity he needs to travel further. You could very much do both as a mechanic allows Batman to eject from his Batmobile right into the sky. The fluidity makes the player feel like you are in total control of Batman and his Batmobile.
The combat in the game now involves tag team combat. Some of the missions in game gives the player a chance to fight alongside Robin, Nightwing and Catwoman. Those sequences are downright amazing allowing a player to perform combo moves and switch over to the other character. Performing combos in split second decision making as you bear witness to the hundreds of different animation variations was truly an exhilarating experience to behold.
Predator mode makes a return as well allowing you to survey a sandbox environment where Batman uses environments to his advantage. This mode is noticeably tougher as enemy AI can be more punishing. Batman is not without his tools though which include drone hacking allowing you to turn foe against foe which adds to the balance of the game.
Something has to be mentioned for the amazing voice acting in game as well that adds a much needed dimension to the game. It gave the game the extra bit of character. It added the darkness to an already dark setting. It contributed to the tension. Paired with a musical score composed like a love letter to a series that was ending. The score composed by Nick Arundel who worked on the previous 2 games who mentioned that he wanted to improve the musical score further. The music in game brought out instances of desperation, heroism, sacrifice, love, friendship.
It is without question that this game has plenty to offer and bows out strongly. While it isn’t completely perfect. The team at Rocksteady have done a commendable job bringing out the essence of what we love about the Batman series to the video games. In many ways, it is sad that all good things come to an end. If you aren’t already playing Batman Arkham knight, it is high time to go out there and pick the game up for the PlayStation 4. For more reviews on video games, tech and all that good stuff, keep it here on POPCulture Online.
Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars
by Kenneth Choong
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