BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on July 6, 2015
On June 23rd, Batman came gliding into our lives once again. The caped crusader was to be facing his greatest challenge yet, with the fate of Gotham City itself hanging in the balance. But before the bat and I could leap into action, there were a few performance issues to overcome. There has already been enough criticism on the technical flaws of the Windows version of this latest installment of the Batman series, so I won't even go there. The only thing I'd like to say is that, after installing the game to an SSD and fiddling around with the settings, I was able to play the game in its entirety, without glitches or huge performance issues and the game still looked absolutely amazing! And no, I don't own the latest model in gaming pc, but rather a three year old desktop that still works like a charm... so there!
In Batman: Arkham Knight, I once again got to play as my favorite superhero of all time. Now, I don't know what it is that makes me like Batman better than all other superheroes that I know; maybe it's his dark demeanor, brooding stare, cool raspy voice or overall fear-inducing appearance. Either way, I have been a fan of the Batman character for a long time now. So you can imagine my excitement when I could finally start playing this latest installment in the Batman series. More so when I learned that this game was once again made by the creators of the first two Batman Arkham games: Rocksteady. So Arkham Origins, move over; it's time for the real successor to the title to make its bat-shaped mark on gaming history.
As we rejoin our masked hero, roughly a year has passed since his adventures in Arkham City. Now, it is Gotham herself that is under threat from a bunch of evil doers, most notably Scarecrow and the specially for this game created mystery character : The Gotham Knight. They threaten to destroy Gotham by completely engulfing it in Scarecrow's well-known fear toxin. As you may suspect, Batman won't stand for this, so he orders Gotham to be evacuated and jumps right into the fray to save his beloved city. Aided by his trusted friends Alfred, Lucius Fox and Oracle, he fights his way through a veritable army of henchmen and some of Gotham's most wanted, like: The Riddler, Two-face, Firefly and many more. Like in Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, Batman uses his Batclaw and cape to glide above the city and travel swiftly from one place to the next. But in Arkham Knight, this isn't his only means of transport. For the first time in the Arkham series, you get to drive the Batmobile. And not only do you get to cruise around in this steel and carbon fiber behemoth, you even get to battle an army of drones with it!
Gotham City herself looks absolutely stunning; its streets and buildings just breath atmosphere and character. The only ones populating its streets are the henchmen of the aforementioned crime bigwigs and the GCPD officers that are valiantly trying to help Batman in his quest for justice, by chasing stolen cars and trying to apprehend some of the crooks roaming the streets. Their presence is mostly narrative and really doesn't do anything for the games' story, but it illustrates and even enhances the overall feel of desolation that has seemed to have gripped all of Gotham.
Of course, there aren't only villains afoot. Batman receives help from or helps out a few familiar faces from the DC universe. Among others, Catwoman and Nightwing make an appearance and when they do, you get to team up with them and even switch from controlling Batman to controlling the second character in question. This makes for some of the coolest takedowns ever to be features in the entire Arkham series. And the announced DLC packages are sure to throw even more playable characters into the mix.
Next to an impressive range of his signature gadgets, Batman can also make use of a perfected version of his awesome free flowing fight system. In Arkham Knight, this system works better than ever and lets you take on large groups of enemies, without so much as breaking a sweat or getting your tights in a knot. The upgrade system seems to have been upgraded itself as well, because next to the standard Batsuit and weapon upgrades, there's also an upgrade tree for the Batmobile and Batmobile weapon upgrades, as well as fighting upgrades. Also, as far as side missions are concerned, Batman Arkham Knight has a lot to offer; destroy guard towers and enemy strongholds, save Firefighters who are being held hostage by groups of henchmen, investigate bodies put on display around the city and solve all the riddles Edward Nigma can come up with. And this list doesn't even encompass half of the missions you can choose from. Completing missions will earn you the sorely-needed XP you can spend on aforementioned upgrades.
As you glide high above the city or cruise through it, you'll also pick up random radio chatter from groups of henchmen. You can decide to ignore these messages, but don't dismiss them too easily; sometimes these radio transmissions will point you in the direction of a hostage or another case you are currently not working on. Sometimes it's just chatter from the men roaming the city. If this is the case, it's up to you to decide whether you'd like to silence the henchmen in question or if you choose to ignore them and keep on going towards your current objective. No matter what you decide to do, every action really makes you feel awesome; it makes you feel like a real superhero.
So all in all, Batman: Arkham Knight is a worthy successor to the Arkham series throne. It looks, sounds and plays absolutely awesome. Never before has a Batman game known such depths in regard to storytelling and player immersion. Upon time of writing, I've completed about 86% of the complete game and I'm still loving every second of Bat-action. And it isn't hard at all to imagine myself playing countless hours more with all the announced DLC coming our way as well as the 'new game+' feature. So whether you are a fan of Batman in general, or you just love a good action-adventure game, Batman: Arkham Knight is guaranteed to live up to your every expectation. So my advice would be to put on your Batsuit and utility belt and soar high above Gotham, subduing everybody who would harm her and her population. Open up a humongous can of whoop-ass on those who would do harm to your beloved city and be the night... be the bat!