“Be the Batman.” That’s the tagline that has had our mouths watering for months now as we impatiently waited for the final entry of Rocksteady’s epic Batman trilogy. Now that the game is finally here, we can put those words to the test. Is this the ultimate Batman experience?
Arkham Knight takes place a few months after the events of Arkham City. Gotham is under siege by Scarecrow and a new mysterious adversary known as the Arkham Knight, who has a beef with the Bat. Gotham has been evacuated except for police, and is occupied by the Arkham Knight’s own personal army. Now with a new suit and Batmobile for use, you have to take control of the Batman and rescue Gotham from the grip of Scarecrow and Arkham Knight.
There are many, many new additions to the game from previous titles, but the most significant one would be the Batmobile—and it is glorious. Ripping through the streets of Gotham is a blast and running thugs off the road is great fun. It also has a battle mode that turns it into an agile tank that allows you to strafe between enemy gunfire while laying down some of your own. Don’t worry—though the Batmobile sports an assortment of offensive capabilities, you will never find yourself killing any thugs as the game always has a convenient excuse to keep the “Batman doesn’t kill” theme going.
As much fun as it is to tear through the streets of Gotham, it’s still a blast to take to the sky. The grapnel and glide method of travel is still completely viable. It’s actually smoother and faster than before, making traversing the skies of Gotham a lot of fun. If at any time you feel the need to switch your mode of travel, the Batmobile is a button’s press away.
Combat is also as fluid as ever. The freeflow combat mechanic has been fine-tuned and makes cutting through a group of enemies a breeze if you know what you’re doing. However, I found myself a little frustrated by all the new additions to combat (mainly new attacks of enemies). I would often find myself overwhelmed as the game threw several different types of enemies at me at once—finding myself getting smacked around when I misjudged an attack.
While many find the Batmobile combat tedious, I found it to be great fun. Blasting (unmanned) tanks and drones while dodging their various attacks is awesome and dodging is made simple as the path of incoming enemy fire is highlighted to give you a chance to evade. I will admit that it’s rather repetitive, but I never got tired of blowing through the Arkham Knight’s forces.
With all of this in mind, I feel that my biggest problem with Arkham Knight is that it makes you so powerful that it needs to try to overwhelm you. Yes, you have a huge arsenal of moves at your disposal to take care of enemy forces, but there’s so much going on that I didn’t have much time to react besides the usual punching, countering, and jumping out of the way – let alone think of my gadget attacks. On the other hand, there are some things Batman can do—like picking up an object to fight with—that make things too easy. I feel like there’s a lack of balance in the combat that I had come to love in Arkham City.
Lastly, the story of the trilogy comes to an end. While the plot of Arkham Knight isn’t quite as great as that of Asylum or City, it still serves as a satisfying end to the beloved trilogy. Frankly, I found the side-missions to be much more entertaining and satisfying than the main story mission. However, in the end Arkham Knight is simply a blast to play. The trilogy may have reached a conclusion, but at least we finally got a chance to sit behind the wheel of the Batmobile and bring justice to the streets of Gotham. We get to be the Batman.