“Here it is again – a new Batman ‘thing,’” many of us thought after hearing about Arkham Knight’s early development. The catch phrase didn’t help either: ‘Be The Batman’ is admittedly the corniest thing that I have ever heard (almost as corny as George Clooney who was, undoubtedly, the worst Batman ever).
Thankfully, that slug is the only snafu – the game, after having been pushed back for months, is set to be released on June 23 and lives up to the Batman legacy visually, in gameplay, and especially through the weaving of the tale of the inevitable triumph of Gotham’s Dark Prince.
The conclusive installment of the Batman series introduces the Arkham Knight, a sort of militaristic Batman alter-ego who has hordes of military-styled tanks and lunatics to carry out his bidding. After the death of Joker, who was killed in Arkham Asylum, Scarecrow enlists the aid of an Arkham Asylum escapee, The Arkham Knight, and gathers Batman’s remaining super-foes (Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Two-Face, Penguin, and Firefly) along with their mindless followers to (try to) kill Batman (again). He initially unleashes a gas that forces the city residents to evacuate and, ultimately, outnumbers Commissioner Gordon and the relatively few remaining policemen who feebly attempt to bring justice to the chaotic city.
Little do the criminals know that Bruce and Alfred have been burning the midnight oil in the lab: Arkham Knight is chock full of amplifications to Batman’s original arsenal and their friends Oracle (Gordon’s daughter), Robin, Nightwing, Azrael, Catwoman, and Lucius Fox appear simultaneously within the game to help Batman along the way.
The main highlight of this single-player installment of the series is the ‘dual gameplay’ feature. When fighting side-by-side with an ally, the player is able to switch the active character without interrupting the flow of carnage. Your super combos are able to layer up seamlessly through this ability, even carrying over between characters, and is finessed by your ability to use any object in the frame (baseball bats, etc.) to fight.
Switching gears, there is no way to mention this game without relaying the amazement that I incurred after viewing the city. The detail is impeccable. The map is five times the size of the prison in Arkham City and is divided into three distinct areas with safe areas that include Oracle’s hideout at the top of Gotham’s clock tower. The introduction of the batmobile as a usable entity heightens the ‘wow’ factor by allowing the user to drive through buildings, scale detailed walls, and eject Batman into aerial mode, providing a view that allows you to see the real intricacies of the meticulously designed buildings, streets, signs, and sky. This entire world of Gotham is loaded once you step foot on the map – eliminating loading time in between locations and providing testament as to why yet another Batman game isn’t just ‘another Batman game’ – it’s a step further into the wonders of game developers and just what they can really do when given a great idea.
Of course Bruce Wayne wouldn’t be Batman without his toys. The line launcher, grapnel gun, batarangs, countering system, and x-ray vision are still optional. Disable and detonate opponent weapons, booby trap objects, and track vehicles with the ‘disruptor’ rifle or use the ‘Fear Takedown’ to overpower three enemies at a time while undetected. When in the air, you can also use batarangs and line launchers, while gliding with an improved cape for a better in-flight experience.
Rockstar has provided DLC packs for Batman: Arkham Knight attached to the Pre-Order Bundle that include Harley Quinn, new maps, new storylines, and automatic upgrades to Batman and the Batmobile. To add more spice – the optional Season Pass adds more content every 6 months that include character skins, weapons, maps, missions, criminals, and batmobiles. If you’re looking for Collector’s Items, the batmobile and limited edition Batman statue come in separate limited edition pre-order packs that also include an array of comics, skins, and other Dark Knight goodies.
The game will be available to the public on June 23 for XBOX, PS4, and PC.