By Dean Moses
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS
Rated: M for Mature
“This is how it happens. This is how the batman died.” These are the ominous words spoken by Commissioner Gordon as Batman: Arkahm Knight opens. These words set a bleak tone for what could be one of the darkest Batman games in history; however, is it the best Batman game or just another one of the Joker’s bad jokes?
A Broken City
The game begins with the cremation of the Joker, Batman’s most famous adversary after his death in the previous game Batman: Arkham City. But the lawlessness does not end just because the clown prince of crime is no longer around. Gotham City has a new threat thanks to a collaboration between all of Batman’s greatest foes, including the Scarecrow who releases a fear gas throughout the city. All of Gotham’s residents are evacuated because of this airborne toxin, leaving only Batman and the police department to deal with a city overrun with terror. With your help Batman must defeat the likes of Two-face, the Penguin, the Riddler and the mysterious Arkham Knight.
Controlling the Bat
If you have played any of the other Rocksteady Studios Batman games, you will find yourself in familiar territory. Batman will use any means necessary to bring down his enemies, except for killing them or using a firearm. You control him as he unleashes an assortment of devastating combos on those who are brave enough to go toe to toe with the caped crusader. You will use all of his signature gadgets, including batarangs, smoke pellets, explosive gel and a host of new tools as well.
Perhaps the most publicized addition to the game’s formula is the inclusion of the Batmobile. No longer does the hero have to get around by simply gliding with the use of his cape, now he can drive the super-fast and famous car. However, what is initially a fun experience, for some gamers, will soon turn from a blessing into a curse due to the fact the vehicle is forced onto players at almost every turn. Come across a puzzle? Use the Batmobile. Fighting a super villain? Use the Batmobile. Find yourself in front of a blocked passage? Blow it up with the Batmobile. Since this is the first game to implement the classic automobile, it appears that the developer has overused it instead of giving the player more freedom of when and where to use it.
A Beautiful Night
Batman’s latest adventure is set over the course of one night, which means the whole game takes place beneath a dark sky and amidst pouring rainfall. The first thing you will notice is how good the game looks—at moments it is simply jaw dropping. From dirt on Batman’s face to rain drops trickling down the back of his cape, as he soars through the sky, the level of detail the developers have put into this is clearly painstaking. The visuals are not Arkham Knight’s only impressive quality, the voice acting is also top notch. Longtime actors return, such as Kevin Conroy, Troy Baker and Nolan North, all of whom give outstanding performances.
Batman: Arkham Knight provides players with an incredibly engaging plot, great lines read by seasoned actors and well-defined, addictive gameplay. Although the long awaited Batmobile will undoubtedly prove to be a big let down for some players, this should in no way stop anyone from playing one of the year’s biggest and best video games. Once the story is all said and done, you will find plenty of side missions to play, many collectables to find and a plethora of downloadable content coming in future months. If you are a Batman fan this is one you will put on display in your Bat cave.