Wednesday 8 July 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight Review

Batman Arkham Knight Review
A worthy send off - 7.5 / 10
The Arkham series has come a long way since Rocksteady's first instalment - Arkham Asylum, back in 2009.

The series reached new heights with the sequel Arkham City in 2011. Gone were the restraints of the asylum, with the entire city being explorable. Gliding through the sky at night with Gotham's lights glistening in all directions was a joy to behold, and bringing justice to its streets felt as fun as it was brutal.

With Batman: Arkham Knight, Rocksteady builds on what remains so exceptional about Arkham City improving every aspect down to the last detail. The Joker's gone, as an unknown danger emerges to torment Batman and the city in which he strives to protect. With the impending threat of Scarecrow's deadly toxin, the Caped Crusader must put a stop to his evil schemes and reveal the Arkham Knight's identity.

Straight out of the comic books in its style and execution, Batman: Arkham Knight contains a forever twisting plot that's a delight to experience. Sure, there are similarities within the game's side missions to that of Arkham City, especially The Riddler challenges, however, never do these quests feel repetitive or tedious.

Hot Wheels!

The newest inclusion in Batman: Arkham Knight is the Batmobile. After watching previews of the game, I was curious as to how it would handle; I thought it looked a little floaty when navigating the streets as if it wasn't in sync with what's going on around it. Thankfully, driving the Batmobile feels fluid and it radiates its authority with every turn you take or enemy you blast away with its powerful cannon.

Batman Arkham Knight Batmobile

The Batmobile feels as if it's straight out of the Dark Knight film, which is to say, it resembles a high-tech tank that "comes in black". Summoned by a single button press, the Batmobile complements Batman's abilities with devastating effect and style. Jumping behind the wheel and burning down the narrow streets of Gotham is a joy to behold, especially when you launch yourself from the vehicle at breakneck speed and grapple the nearest building.

Unfortunately, the most prominent disappointment with Arkham Knight is how the game makes you use the Batmobile more than you need to. There are times when you'll need to use its unique features to progress past certain stages, and that's OK, but I lost count of how many times I had to take on wave after wave of drones to complete a mission.

In regards to upgrades, many are unlockable once you gain experience points by doing missions and kicking ass. Most of them are new inclusions to the Arkham series and supplement Batman's character exceptionally well. The Batmobile also has a set of unique upgrades that make it even more powerful. Consequently, these enhancements are imperative for you to progress past certain obstacles.


It would be fair to say that the Arkham franchise set a benchmark regarding its fighting system. If you consider that the brilliant Shadow of Mordor almost had the same combat style as the Arkham series, it's not only gamers who are appreciative of its easy to get to grips with style.

Batman Arkham Knight Gliding

Unsurprisingly, Rocksteady improves its excellent fighting system in Arkham Knight, and as such, you feel the Caped Crusader's awesome power unleash with devastating effect as you engage each target. Every strike remains tremendously harmful and brutal. While it's simple, it's undoubtedly not tame enough to mindlessly button mash your way through. If you're unfamiliar to the series, perhaps you will think the combat feels a little simple at first, though consistent with previous instalments, it turns slightly trickier as you reach the latter stages of the game.

For example, if you are the type that enjoys to grapple gargoyles and perform takedowns, you'll soon realise that the enemy AI learns your moves and quickly prevents you from being able to to do them. Luckily, Batman is familiar with various skills and techniques that he can utilise to take down enemies, and Rocksteady wants you to explore each one of them. Since you'll encounter all kinds of different adversaries, learning the Dark Knight's fighting repertoire is vital. Of course, stealth is Batman's primary ability, and if you carefully propose and think out each of your attacks, you'll find the majority of confrontations extremely rewarding.

Graphics / Audio

Fashionably dark and oozing with style, graphically, Batman: Arkham Knight is exceptional. The series always manages to produce sleek visuals that are a treat to the eye. The camera over the shoulder of the Dark Knight captures his authority and power superbly well. As a result, you feel like a complete badass as you glide through the streets of Gotham asserting justice throughout a city that's overcome by chaos and disruption.

Batman Arkham Knight
Generally speaking, many animations are the same as the previous entries in the Arkham series, with cutscenes still merging seamlessly into the gameplay. Using your gadgets, especially spraying a target with explosives, looks the same as Arkham City, and Asylum. Though that's not a bad thing, I initially thought the game would have a complete overhaul in regards to Batman's mannerisms.

The audio is crisp and flawless. The voice acting and musical score are once again fantastic. Notably, Kevin Conroy (Batman), produces another solid performance. Coupled with Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul) who also does an excellent job as James Gordon. One inclusion I am particularly fond of is how Batman: Arkham Knight utilises the Dualshock 4's internal speaker on PlayStation 4. Hearing speech or effects play through the controller are a commendable touch that helps enhance your immersion into the game.

Final Thoughts

The series certainly has come a long way since it graced our screens six years ago. Overall, Batman: Arkham Knight is a worthy climax to the trilogy and a game that's large enough to entertain you for over 20 hours or so. Whether or not this will be Rocksteady's last Arkham game remains unknown. Ultimately, we have seen a different portrayal of Batman numerous times in the past, and I expect we'll be able to take to the skies of Gotham City again in the future. Nevertheless, if this becomes the last we see of Batman, then it's a worthy send off.

Score - 7.5/10

Batman Arkham Knight Review
Game Details

Formats: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Genre: Action & Adventure
Rating: M
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Publisher: Warner Brothers

Reviewer: James Coles