Batman: Arkham Knight Review
I'm a big fan of the Arkham series, but like most modern games these days there has been a few delays with Batman: Arkham Knight, but now its finally here I think for the most part it’s been worth the wait! Note: I was playing on the console version (Xbox One).
Mind you this statement was really only coming to the tip of my tongue after a week or so of play. I can’t explain it but compared to recent titles such as The Witcher 3 and Lego Jurassic World I did not have the same desire to play Arkham Knight when I wasn't playing it sort of thing....
You know the feeling, when you play a game and enjoy it and then keep thinking about what to do next i.e. planning the next moves, just before you fall asleep. I did not get this with Batman: Arkham Knight.
Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed playing it and graphically the game is superb, with destructible environments thrown in (the Batmobile can plough through most objects). I also loved the way the light reflects off the pools of water after it’s been raining – so it’s the best looking Batman game to date!
There is even a movie style feel running through-out and coupled with an excellent musical score the production values are also top draw! Let's put it this way, thanks to the visual aspect and the ability to pose on top of buildings, the screen shot function of my Xbox One was worn out! This is how good the visuals are!
In terms of Storyline Batman: Arkham Knight continues from where Arkham City left off, so if you don’t want any spoilers skip ahead. The Joker is now dead of course and your first job is to cremate him (while Frank Sinatra music plays in the background). At first I thought the above was just a cut-scene, but you actually are in control of the switch!
However once this passes you get to play-out the first section of the game as a GCPD officer and it’s here that the main storyline kicks in. Basically to cut a long story short it involves the Scarecrow and your'e tasked with trying to stop him from releasing a deadly nerve gas. The Scarecrow has pretty much caused the city of Gotham to be evacuated; leaving just you and the many villains as company.
The story does take several twists during the game (with more of Gotham’s known villains making appearances) and I have to say there are shocks to, plus some amazing sequences thrown in that made my spine tingle at times!
The side quests also add some juncture points, so you are free to have a break from the main quest; yet the developers (to a certain degree) have attempted to add continuity with the main story, so the side quests are not as disparate as they could have been.
However I still felt the main story suffers at times from all the interruptions. This is because, for me, the side quests are pretty good and when you get distracted by them you lose the connection with the primary story. Of course you have a choice, but it’s far too easy to go off track and some ways you are forced into the side quests because it’s a faster way to get upgrades (more on this later).
This is why I do miss the original Arkham Asylum, where the action/storyline was focused (due to the confined space of the Asylum) and set firmly on the abilities of Batman himself!
A large city to explore – its lonely here!
I have to admit that while the large open-world city is still impressive - from a visual point of view - it also felt a little barren to me at first (due to the storyline). For example there were not that many thugs about, only small little pockets of groups. Of course the point is to explore and unlock new parts of the city by doing the main quests. However there was a lot of flying about aimlessly in the early days.
Mind you when you do find adversaries (who are causing trouble on the streets) playing the game is pretty much like slipping on a favourite pair of slippers; as most of the combat moves (plus equipment) are back by default.
Thus, you can string melee combos together with a series of button presses (later unlock new take-down moves) and these are mixed in with some old school gadget favourites, such as the quick grapple and batarang.
As a result I was laying some serious beat downs! However I can’ t believe I’m saying this, but the combat also felt a touch sluggish/repetitive at times - as the minor thugs were just cannon fodder getting in the way of matters. As a result I had no desire to even bother with them!
Of course this could be all part of the game, as your mind is somewhat messed up after the death of the joker. Or it could be down to the fact that you start off with a basic Batsuit and minimal defence/combat upgrades to begin with.
Note: Thankfully things do improve with the latter upgrades in place and when you meet some of the harder foes (including the super villain’s henchmen) you get more of a challenge.
While I won’t go on too much about this - as you will find out during the main game - there are sections that allow you to team up with some of your fellow comrades (Knightwing for example). This allows you to do some awesome tag team take downs when your combo meter builds up! It’s just a pity that these moments are few and far between.