Game Review – Batman: Arkham Knight

So I got the Platinum for Batman: Arkham Knight, and this will be a review of my experience (spoilers: it was fun).

In one sentence, Arkham Knight is a very well-polished game, fun to play, and just challenging enough without being frustrating. Even if it wasn’t set within the Batman universe it’d be a great action game with minor puzzle segments, but being set in a popular and well-established world significantly boosts the overall narrative and atmosphere. Every element of this title is presented as being professional with some thought put into it, and it all comes together to be a pretty entertaining twenty-something hours (if you want the Platinum).

Graphics are gorgeous. Although I haven’t played the Arkham games on PS3 for a while, I’m pretty sure I would notice a difference. I always thought that the next big step graphically for video games was to get background and detail rendering to a crisp. Although it isn’t perfect, the skyline for Gotham’s surrounding area is quite realistic and a nice touch. The game looks very pretty, and I saw no frame rate issues minus the rare glitch during minor cutscenes.

I would consider Arkham Knight‘s gameplay to be split up in two parts: the main story for one half and everything else (side-quests) on the other. The main story is one action sequence after another, including Fear scenarios where you try to clear rooms without being detected. The story is interesting enough for you to want to see what happens next, and varied enough to never feel stale, putting you in unique situations that can be solved with Batman’s well-equipped arsenal. The side quests are optional events that are basically more helpings of what you got during the main story (Batmobile chases, Fear situations, drone battles, etc.), but I actually felt compelled to do them. Perhaps it’s because Batman’s character is so well-defined and the game does a good job propping him up as the hero of Gotham, but when you see a barricade set up in the city, or a gang of thugs beating up on a fireman, or a mine planted in the middle of the road, you can’t help but want to intervene just to clear away the scumbags. Some of the side quests involve Riddler, Two-Face, and Penguin, and if you know anything about the Batman universe, it is your obligation to step in and deal with them. Not putting them away would feel just wrong, and insulting to their characters, odd as it may sound. Luckily, since the game has such a solid foundation in its combat system and overall design, you’ll never feel like you’re doing a chore, which is also true of the AR challenges.

One minor thing that was annoying (probably happened once every three fights) is that Batman would sometimes jump to another enemy when I intended to strike another. This is particularly painful when you unintentionally hit a brute, a person with a shield, or an electrified goon, thereby disrupting your combo meter and inflicting damage on Batman. Not a big deal, and can be circumvented by just being less spammy in your button input.

Continuing with the combat system, it was very enjoyable watching Batman incapacitating various baddies. The brutal yet non-lethal way in which final blows are executed is immensely satisfying (especially the dual take-downs with Robin and Nightwing). However, I would say the fighting was somewhat easy, even in Knightmare mode. Once you get the flow of the battle system, it’s easy to know when to counter and how to escape certain attacks. The Brutality 101 trophy (15 different moves in one combo) took me about seven tries to get, and one way I found to make fights interesting was to try and get as high of a gadget and take-down variance that I could for each encounter. But on Knightmade mode I was basically ending each fight as quickly as possible with Special Combo Take-downs.

If you’re going for the Platinum, I would highly recommend IGN’s guide, as they have a detailed map and explanation for each Riddler trophy.

If you’re looking for a game to play on weekday nights, something you can get through with just thirty minutes to an hour per day, this game is a great way to relax and play as one of the most badass superheroes of all time. I’m not really into comics, so I won’t comment on how true it is to the entire Batman-verse, but to me it seems like they made an effort to acknowledge everything that the comic-world has built up. Good story, great gameplay, worth a purchase in my opinion, especially if you have the other games in this series already.

Thanks for reading.


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