Batman: Arkham Knight Review – Your Greatest Fear

Rocksteady's final game in their Arkham Trilogy.

Release Date: June 23, 2015
Available For: PS4, Xbox One, PC
ESRB Rating: M for Mature
MSRP: $59.99

Arkham Asylum was a breath of fresh air for the superhero video game genre. It introduced a sense of quality and core gameplay elements that even now developers are still trying to emulate. Finally the last game in Rocksteady’s Arkham trilogy is here. But does it live up to the high expectations of its fans? Lets find out.
Batman: Arkham Knight is an open world game set nine months after the events of Arkham City. Gotham City has had a chance to finally experience peace after the demise of the Joker and the closure of Arkham City. Though this peace is soon found out to be nothing more than a fallacy as the majority of Gotham’s super villains have banded together under Scarecrow in order to take out the Batman once and for all. In addition to returning villains such as penguin and two face there is a new player in Gotham called the Arkham Knight. This highly trained individual has a grudge against Batman and he has brought an entire army with him to ensure the Batman’s demise. I won’t go to deep into the plot as it is one of Batman: Arkham Knights strong points even though there are some predictable plot twists that I saw coming a mile away. It took me about 12 hours to complete the main story missions though there are also side missions and Riddler challenges that you can do. Not to mention new game plus where you can go through the game again and still have all your skills, gadgets, and collectibles from your previous game.
The game looks beautiful on the PlayStation 4 considering that it is a big open world which is open to the player from the beginning of the game. There is also no loading while traveling between areas besides when you die. Performance wise it ran solid and I didn’t really notice any performance hiccups during my time with the game. I’m glad that Rocksteady decided to only develop this game for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One because it shows. The voice acting is also pretty good as you get to hear Kevin Conroy’s Batman brought to life again and John Noble plays a menacing Scarecrow.
The combat of Batman: Arkham Knight is more of what people liked from the Arkham games. The much-loved freeflow combat system returns along with a new addition to Batman’s skills called fear takedowns. You need to charge it with a stealth takedown but once you do it allows you to take down up to five people in slow motion that makes you feel like you are the dark knight himself. Many of the gadgets from the previous Arkham games return, including batarangs, line launcher, the batclaw, and a new detective mode to help him solve some crimes. There are also new additions to Batman’s utility belt such as the disruptor rifle which can be used to disable or detonate enemy weapons and drones. Batman also has the ability to use gadgets when flying though I never once used them. There is also the addition of environmental takedowns which you can use to dispatch your foes in combat. There are new enemy types added to Arkham Knight such as brutes with mini guns, blades, shields, and medics which can revive downed enemies. Arkham Knight also introduces dual play, in which the player can now switch control between Batman or one of his allies while in combat. There are also a number of side missions that feature many of Batman’s Rogues. Riddler also makes a come back with levels that you need to complete/solve and his many riddles and trophies lying around Gotham City. I should also mention that through out the events of the game as you defeat enemies and super villains while doing missions you lock them up inside the GCPD’s cells. I thought that this was an awesome way to not only see your progress but to feel like you are Batman cleaning up Gotham.
Now the negatives. Batman is awesome. He fights crime and solves mysteries like no one ever could. He has an iron will and a personal code that he will not kill anyone. He may break your bones but he won’t kill you directly or indirectly. Now during all of my time reading, watching, or playing as the dark knight not once have I recalled the Batmobile being such a huge part of who Batman is. It is the same as anything else on his utility belt, it is nothing more than a tool to help him bring criminals to justice. So why is the Batmobile such a huge focus in this game? It seems like Rocksteady tried to cram it in to just about anything in this game. Generator needs power? Use the power winch on the Batmobile. Need to hold up an elevator so you can go down the shaft? Use the winch on the Batmobile. I mean there are even platforming sections where you have to use the Batmobile. I never once thought that I would be doing Batmobile platforming not to mention Batmobile tank combat. You have to use that Batmobile’s tank form a lot in this game. It seems like the majority of my time with the game wasn’t as batman doing freeflow combat or flying around the city, it was Batman fighting numerous drone tanks any chance he could. It seemed like that was one of the few ways the villains thought they could defeat Batman. It is repetitive, slow and dull. It isn’t like the freeflow combat where there are different enemies where you have to mix it up. I have no idea why anyone thought that this would be a good idea. It feels like they wanted to make a Batmobile game more than they did an actual batman game. I mean the few boss battles in this game has to do with the Batmobile or are QTE’s. It would have been nice if you could also use the Batwing to mix up the vehicle combat. Also some of the combat encounters feel not as dynamic as the previous game as I could get through the majority of fights just with the basic gadgets. Even the Harley Quinn pre-order DLC is short at about five to ten minutes. Another negative to the game would have to be the ending as it doesn’t feel satisfying at all not to mention the fact that you would have to complete the game fully in order to see the true ending. In my opinion don’t even bother with trying to complete the game one hundred percent just to see the true ending.
In conclusion, Arkham Knight is in some ways a let down. Though Rocksteady touted that this game would be the ultimate Batman experience it is brought down by the forced Batmobile sections, repetitive side missions, and predictable plot twists. I would say if you are already invested into this universe and story you should play this game but expect way too much Batmobile combat/platforming and an unsatisfying ending. This was a hard review to write because I expected more from Rocksteady after Arkham City. It’s too bad that they decided to focus on the Batmobile so heavily.

This was played on a PlayStation 4.

Good Things

  • Beautiful Open World
  • No Loading Between Areas
  • Freeflow Combat is Fun

Bad Things

  • Batmobile
  • Predictable Plot Twists
  • Unsatisfying Ending