Review: Batman Arkham Knight Part 1

The final instalment in Rocksteady Studio’s Batman games culminates with “Arkham Knight”. When the first Batman game, “Arkham Asylum”, was released it reinvigorated the superhero video game genre. From its revolutionary combat system, the method in which the characters merge within the story, the fandom of Batman soared to new heights. “Arkham Knight” has much to accomplish as the first two games , “Arkham Asylum” and “Arkham City”, set the bar extremely high. “Arkham Knight” tries to set itself apart through the new playable Batmobile and an even larger world for you to free roam around and complete side missions that take up hours of gameplay.

One thing we could count on though, is the fantastic writing and voice actors that are involved in the Rocksteady games. If there was ever any criticism or knocks on the games in the past, it had nothing to do with the directions of the games and the voices that exuded from the screen.  Kevin Conroy headlines a stellar cast in this final Batman game that includes the likes of John Noble, Troy Baker, Jonathan Banks, and Nolan North.

Spoilers for the first portion of the game follows, so read ahead at your own risk!

Following the death of The Joker in “Arkham City”, everyone wondered who would be the new big bad to replace the villain’s shoes in the final game. What I love about Rocksteady is their enthusiasm in exploring all the characters of the Batman mythos. In comics and tv shows, villains like The Riddler, Killer Croc, Dr. Strange would play second fiddle but in the Arkham games the writers have built up those second tier villains into beings of power. This is evident in the use of Scarecrow for “Arkham Knight”, they have rebuilt him from a secondary character in previous games into a force of sheer terror. Even from the trailers where he was debuted as the main villain I immediately thought to myself “Damn he’s going to be so badass.” And for the most part it’s true in the early stages of the game. Scarecrow has upped the ante and is giving the Dark Knight a run for his money. Plus with a little help from his mysterious ally the Arkham Knight, it’s going to take the whole Bat-family to bring the pair down.

batman scarecrow

Speaking of the Bat-family, I’m so happy that the likes of Oracle, Nightwing, and Robin play an integral part of the story. In the past Nightwing and Robin were merely DLC characters used to complete challenges, but now they have significant roles in the story and I could not be more excited. With the combo takedowns you can execute with Batman and Robin/Nightwing to the improved “Fear Takedowns”, the combat system is a real treat so far.

Another big aspect of “Arkham Knight” is the addition of the Batmobile. When it was introduced the developers said it was going to play a significant role for fans but I don’t think we expected it to be this important. It seems like everything you are doing has to incorporate the Batmobile in some way. It can have its challenges and weaknesses. I’m somewhere in the middle on it. On the one hand I love the addition and driving around and performing takedowns with the Batmobile is a thrill. Alternatively at times I’ve felt its use hasn’t been warranted, and having to use it therefore can be overwhelming . Having to drive around in the Batmobile can sometimes mess with the tempo of the game and that’s no fun.

batmobile2

I have a hard time believing no one dies when you’re driving around and crash into some thugs with the Batmobile, have you seen the size of this car?, it could flatten a boulder! But I will cautiously ignore it for now, I mean what about Batman’s rule?!

The Verdict

“Arkham Knight” is a real treat at the moment and looks to be a worthy ending to a near perfect video game trilogy. The stealthy predator fights and brawl combat system is smoother than ever and throwing in Nightwing and Robin to help you take down bad guys is sure to keep you entertained for days on end. If you’re a fan of the Arkham games and you don’t already own “Arkham Knight ” I recommend you get your hands on a copy because this one has the potential to be the best yet.

4outof5