By: Sarah White
All summer I had been itching to play the latest and final installment in the Batman: Arkham series. I quickly became enamored with the series after the pleasant surprise of Arkham Asylum. It was one of the first games that featured a more linear plot-line as oppose to the open world games that I often played during the time. It was just creepy enough to intrigue me and I thought the fighting style was refreshing from the combat I had been used to either from various FPS’s or other games involving hand-to-hand combat. I thought Arkham City was a brilliant installment to the series, especially since it branched into a more open world type of game, which was right up the alley. There’s nothing cooler than flying around as Batman. Except, you think, maybe the Batmobile.
After the dud of Arkham Origins; which I simply could not get through more than 20 minutes of gameplay to its redundancy of Arkham City and various glitches I experienced; I was hoping Arkham Knight would correct the many mistakes of Origins and provide a good conclusion to the plot line. The game was surprising in more ways than one, and the best thing is – I can explain it while being spoiler free!
The most obvious addition to the series is the use of the Batmobile. It’s probably the most tedious thing in the game – I felt like it could have been integrated better with the plot and game-play than it was. The Batmobile’s main function is simple: blow up enemy tanks. Since it’s high tech, like all of Batman’s gear, the vehicle can move lateral, unlike anything else. However, the style of each tank fight is redundant and tedious and quite frankly, dull. The other thing is the controls are annoying. The Batmobile is initially hard to control and there are sequences in the game where you have to chase enemies around tight corners and you end up crashing into buildings – which is cool I’ll admit – and destroying whatever is left of Gotham City’s real estate. The new addition of the Batmobile is cool, but some portions of the game focus too much on forcing the user to use it, rather than having it as an alternate mode of transport and occasional spiffy new gun.
The second thing, which I noticed very quickly, is that the game returns to the series’ creepy origins that were established in the first game. The atmosphere surrounding Arkham Asylum was spooky because it was in an asylum and you often had to make trips to the morgue and lets be real, that place was freaky. However there are two main things which bring back the horror factor of the original game. One is plot related so I won’t discuss that, I’ll just say that this sets up more of the tone of the game, while the other element is more for keeping gamers on their toes.
An unexpected surprise this game brought in was jump scares. I hate horror movies because I hate jump scares. And there are a good few in this game. And then when you’re not expecting them – they don’t happen and you’re just stressed out because there’s a bunch of weird stuff happening and you know what’s going to happen next but you know its not going to be good. But seriously, one of the jump scares scared me so much that my body seized up and I had a serious cramp in my leg from it. Bad times.
One thing I did really enjoy was the fluidity of switching between characters – again I’ll try to be spoiler free. There is a side mission feature Catwoman – and later Nightwing and Robin – and you can actually switch between Batman and these characters mid-combat. There is actually a dual take down move that goes a beautiful job at transitioning from one character to the other and in fact, it’s seamless.
Some critics and fans were displeased with the plot as they expected more from it – I personally disagree. But despite this and the hindrance of the Batmobile, I thoroughly enjoyed this game and would recommend it to anyone who was a fan of the previous Batman games. Personally, I loved every moment of it and give it a 100.