The third Batman game from Rocksteady Studios has finally come out, Batman: Arkham Knight, and I am in love with it. Rocksteady says this is their last game about the Dark Knight, and if that is true it is a wonderful way to go. That is not to say the game is without its faults, it has some big ones, but the positives far outweigh the negatives. Between this game and The Witcher 3, we already have two game of the year contenders.
Arkham Knight takes place about a year after the events of Batman: Arkham City, and all the criminals of Gotham have teamed up to take the Batman down. The most obvious two being Scarecrow and the new mysterious, totally not the Red Hood, titular Arkham Knight. There is no holding back this time, the entire city is at stake, so Batman gets to use all his tools to save the city! If this is your first Arkham Batman game don’t worry, you will pick up the story quick.
The story can get a little goofy at times, and they keep trying to tell you that Arkham Knight is a totally new character even though they keep more than hinting who it is. So if you are thinking, “Hey is that just the Red Hood in Batman armor?” Yes, yes it is. If you are new to the Batman universe than that will mean nothing to you, but if you have at least some knowledge of Batman’s lore it will explain a lot of this story.
The combat continues to be awesome, free-flowing, brutal, and rhythmic. Like a dancing game that allows you to punch people in the face. The better you dance the less you get hit, and the more sculls you crack. It is great. All of Batman’s stealth attacks still work too, so if you are more of a stalker in the dark sort of person, you will not be disappointed either. You have a ton of gadgets to play around with to mix things up a bit as well.
In Batman: Arkham Knight like in previous games you get points as you go and do Batman stuff, and you can cash in these points for better gear. Don’t worry this time around it didn’t feel like Batman was helpless until he upgraded his gear. He is awesome, and he is just getting more awesome as he goes. While we are talking about gear, I guess we need to talk about the Batmobile. Since this seems to be the most divisive component to the game.
For the most part I think the Batmobile is great. Cruising around taking out bad guys, and going on epic chases throughout the city. All good. Heck the Riddler quests that everyone mocked before the game came out are really fun. They are silly and challenging in perfect Riddler fashion, but then there are the drones. Oh man the drone sequences are terrible, and they are always clustered together, so you have to kill like 100 drones to get to something else.
To kill drones you go in to “Battle Mode”, and then dodge around until your cannon reloads. Fire your cannon, and then dodge around until it reloads again. If you can do that awhile without getting hit you can do a special move. Sometimes the drones fire missiles at you so you have to use your machine gun to shoot them down because I guess Batman doesn’t know what a flare is. While the hand-to-hand combat is a fluid dream, the drone combat is a clunky mess. It would have been fine if it was something that you only did once in awhile, or was an optional mini-game, but when you are in the middle of a drone area the game kind of grinds to a halt.
Still if you push your way though the drones, the game gets amazing again, and all the dodging and reloading fades to the back of your mind. Batman: Arkham Knight is a massive achievement that is held back from being perfect by one madding play type in game with dozens for wonderful ones. I guess they can’t all be winners. It is worth it get past those drones because the rest of the game is magnificent.