Batman: Arkham Knight Review

Batman: Arkham Knight is a 2015 action-adventure video game developed by Rocksteady Studios, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and released for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows.  Based on the DC Comics superhero Batman and the fourth main installment in the Batman: Arkham series, the story follows Batman as he confronts Scarecrow and the mysterious Arkham Knight, who has launched an attack on Gotham City.


Positives:

  • Great open world
  • Great characters
  • Awesome gameplay
  • Good story
  • Fantastic graphics
  • Great voice performances
  • Great score
  • Dual Play mechanic is awesome

Negatives:

  • Some lackluster boss battles
  • Over reliance on Batmobile
  • Can’t play as other characters
  • Some lackluster DLC

Campaign: Arkham Knight features of very extensive campaign with a compelling main story and various side stories. There are a lot of great characters some new as well as some returning but all have flushed out qualities. Of course we do have the main protagonist being Batman but adversaries come in the form of the Scarecrow and a new bad guy, the Arkham Knight. The campaign is challenging and fun and would definitely lead to a very extensive gameplay experience.

The story is actually pretty engaging with Batman being pushed to his limits both physically and mentally and experiencing this journey with him is exciting.  The ending does build up to a pretty epic moment with the reveal of the Dark Knight to the world but what happens afterwards does feel lackluster with no exposition. There are some moments where the story could’ve been more impactful but doesn’t quite hit the mark.  (4 out of 5)

Gameplay: The gameplay mechanics are immersive, featuring many elements from the previous Arkham games including the weapons and equipment, the awesome Free-Flow combat system, Detective Vision, Remote Hacking Device, leveling up, and Batman’s ability to transverse the world and take on enemies.  New features include the voice synthesizer (used to imitate other characters’ voices), Dual Play (players can switch control of batman to one of his allies while in Free-Flow combat), Fear Takedown (where Batman can subdue up to five enemies simultaneously as long as he remains undetected), Most Wanted Missions (to hunt down some of the deadliest of Batman’s foes), and the use of the Batmobile.

Loved the Batmobile gameplay, thought it was really fun and a great alternative to grappling and gliding.  However, the game does have an over reliance on it.  There are tons of battles with the Batmobile but it does feel like a lot of those battles should’ve been focused on the actual boss battles.  Battles such as Man-Bat, Arkham Knight, Firefly are cool but they are short and lack innovation.  Now using the Batmobile for racing was pretty cool especially with the variety of race tracks but the tank battles are way too common.  The Dual Play is a mechanic that is horribly underutilized but when employed makes the combat even better as Batman can tag team with other characters (Robin, Nightwing, Catwoman) to take out groups of enemies or even bosses.  The Killer Croc battle with Batman and Night Wing fighting together was freakin awesome.  These combat scenarios are ridiculously rare.  Also, this mechanic could’ve been a good point to introduce multiplayer.  And another point to piggy back off of the Dual Play is the fact that the main campaign can only be played as Batman.  In Arkham City players could play as Catwoman with her own missions and able to freely roam the city but this game feels a bit more limited especially considering the fact that Batman isn’t alone.  A big wasted opportunity.  (4 out of 5)

Graphics: Visually, Batman: Arkham Knight is the best-looking Arkham game in the series and does feature some very realistic cinematics. Many of the characters returning to the series have undergone more in-depth character designs and look really cool. Two of the best representations are Poison Ivy and Scarecrow.  The city is vast and very vibrant and just looks like a city in the grip of chaos. (5 out of 5)

Score: The score is actually done brilliantly. The voice performances definitely deserve praise, soundtrack just beautifully crafted, and sound effects are on point making the gameplay incredibly immersive. The sirens in the distance, gunfire, screaming, all lend a very authentic feeling and keep the world alive. (4 out of 5)

Replay Value: Like previous installments there are tons of side missions to embark on, puzzles to solve, and content to unlock.  A new feature introduced is the Batmobile with all of the racing challenges that can be pretty challenging.  Also, there are the Most Wanted Missions that have Batman hunting Gotham’s worst and the only problem is there is not enough of them.  Batman on the hunt does lend to the detective aspect of the character and going through various stages to find the villains adds a lot to the exploration as well as setting (some personal favorites are Firefly and Man-Bat).

Of course, there are the optional “Riddler Challenges” which provide up to 243 unique challenges.  For serious players these challenges will provide a plethora of additional gameplay time. And lastly, Arkham Knight is not an Arkham game without the stealth and combat missions which are still pretty fun. Gotham City is large and has a lot of exploration so players that enjoy setting will appreciate it. There are DLC packs with extra characters such as Harley Quinn, Red Hood, and Batgirl. Some of the DLC isn’t as good as it could’ve been.  Isn’t as long, story driven, or expansive to the main story. (5 out of 5)


The Verdict:  In the end, Batman: Arkham Knight has its share of problems but ultimately is a fantastic experience as well as a great conclusion to a great series.  Although some setbacks concern the lack of expansive DLC, playable characters, over reliance on the Batmobile, boss battles that could’ve been more epic, and points it the story that weren’t as powerful as they could’ve been, the game does feature tons of replayability, great gameplay mechanics, awesome voice performances, fantastic graphics, expansive open world, powerful score, and a pretty dope story.  Batman: Arkham Knight gets 5 out of 5.


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