The final installment in Rocksteady’s “Arkham” series. The story steals the spotlight, diving deep inside of The Dark Knight’s mind for a cerebral and terrifying journey
A stunning version of Gotham loaded with tiny details and impressive environmental destruction. The character models are eerily realistic, and are captured beautifully through well-scripted cinematic moments
Some of the dialogue is hokey, but the all-star lineup of voice actors mostly delivers. Scarecrow, Arkham Knight, and a few other secret characters shine
Every gameplay mechanic is better refined and balanced, leading to the best playing Batman game yet. The Batmobile, unfortunately, is a part of far too many blasé tank encounters
Outside of a couple of irritations, this is one of the most enjoyable Batman stories I’ve experienced
Batman: Arkham Knight is a narrative juggernaut crammed to capacity with excellent heroes, villains, battles, drama, humor, fan service, and the mother of all plot twists (you won’t see this one coming, folks). Arkham Knight is easily the most engaging story in the series – a tale that caters just as much to people seeking a high-octane, rock em sock em superhero war as it does those cerebral storyphiles looking for a jaw-dropping narrative. Outside of one of Batman’s wonderful toys having a flat tire for a significant chunk of this experience, Arkham Knight is a welcome assault of comic-book bliss and stunning new-gen visuals.
Most of the videos and information shared prior to Arkham Knight’s launch are from its introductory moments and side content. Rocksteady Studios, WB Games, and everyone involved in the project kept the majority of the story under lock and key. Once the secret plot developments take root, just looking at the TV or hearing the game for a few seconds can ruin one of the coolest twists I’ve seen in a Batman story. It happens within the first hour or two of this adventure, and remains a constant for most of the experience. Through that wild development and others, we see Rocksteady at the height of its game for visual and aural storytelling, going to great lengths to find the best perspective for a shot, whether it’s from first-person, third, panned, or through the eyes of a different character.
Without giving away any spoilers (of which there is an exhaustive supply), this chapter picks up nine months after the events of Arkham City, showing how Gotham has healed itself after the death of one of Arkham Asylum’s perennial guests. Peace has returned to the city’s streets, allowing people to leave the safety of their homes to enjoy the nightlife and arts in boroughs that were once only for people with a death wish or sinister intentions.
That’s when Halloween night brings a grim reminder of the past. Scarecrow resurfaces, and he wants to destroy Gotham with a fear toxin. The citizens have until the next morning to leave. Of the 6.3 million people that call Gotham home, not many remain when Batman begins his hunt for Scarecrow. A mysterious character named Arkham Knight complicates matters and unleashes an army against the Caped Crusader. It’s a cheesy video game setup that is used to quickly establish an axis and – to a lesser extent – explain why the city’s streets are free of ordinary people.
Gotham is a beautifully realized playground for Batman, ranging from a borough filled with century-old architecture to another glowing with a bombardment of Times Square-like advertisements and light. He can glide overhead with ease thanks to an increase in speed and refinement in the controls. He can also take to the streets in his iconic Batmobile, a vehicle that controls remarkably well and is almost as fully featured as any lead character in a game. For roughly three quarters of the game, it’s the equivalent of Robin – a sidekick that does some cool stuff, but is mostly annoying. I love how it’s used for puzzle solving and specific environment navigation, but its combat applications disappoint for the majority of the game, and they are called upon often.
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