Arkham Knight is a solid game. With an abundance of fan service to DC fans and an extremely high production value, Arkham Knight is an engaging story from start to finish. The newest and most notable addition to the series comes in the form of the Batmobile. While the Batmobile provides some unique additions to the game, it comes with its share of problem as well.
Let us start with what is new. The first time you drop from a building as your vehicle aligns with the trajectory of your descending hero, it will bring chills. You will never feel more bad ass than you do in that exact scenario. The Batmobile fundamentally changes both navigation and combat. Unfortunately, it changes it too much. While the occasional Batmobile pursuit can be enjoyable, the rudimentary vehicle combat system drastically halts the pacing and enjoyment that comes from the skirmishes. The most disappointing aspect of this system is the frequency in which it is used. It is almost as if developer Rocksteady wanted you to appreciate their new toy by shoving countless mandatory Batmobile scenarios into the campaign. It doesn’t help that the handling of the vehicle isn’t particularly well. This becomes particularly evident when the player is forced to engage a specific enemy type that requires stealth while in the Batmobile. However, it is worth noting that the few times the game requires you to chase down a fleeing enemy in the Batmobile, it feels incredible. Unfortunately, you will instead be facing waves of tanks for the majority of your time in Bruce Wayne’s tank of a vehicle.
Open-World Done Right:
The modern trend in open-world games is to overload the player with side activities and distractions from the main story. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, the majority of open-world games will aggregate the player’s map with this tasks. Ultimately, having all of these potentially tasks lying in queue on your map diminishes urgency of both the main plot and the tasks themselves. Additionally, these tasks seem like trivial roadblocks on the path to the endgame. However, this is not the case in Arkham Knight.
The varieties of side content is introduced to you in a pace that allows you to see the relevance in each task. The game also does a great job at keeping that content invisible unless the player actively decides to go down the rabbit hole of the Riddler Trophies. While the direct benefit of these tasks are prevalent, the game never forces the player to spend countless hours plunging into the countless tangents that can be found in Gotham.
“I've waited long enough! Batman dies...tonight!”
The strongest aspect of the Arkham Knight is its story. Fans of the DC Universe will appreciate the occasionally gimicky and campy villains. However, the Arkham Knight himself provides a breath of fresh air to the series. While the Knight’s identity remains a secret till the final chunk of the game, it is clear that his motives are personal and break from the traditional villain archetype. Without spoiling anything, the Knight’s desire to stop Batman transcends the typical “so crime is easier” perspective.
The other aspect that makes this game so special is the general scale of the plot. At all times, it feels like there is so much on the line. I felt personally compelled to ensure the safety of Gotham. While the standard failure screen is one of the villains getting in their last words on the dying Batman, occasionally, you will be shown exactly what you’re failure meant before having to restart. Typically, this is in the form of a scene in which a particular character dies. To conclude, the story is engaging and is enhanced by the tremendous voice acting which creates a fantastic experience.