Review: Batman Arkham Knight Rocksteady PS4/XBox One (and PC technically) PS4 reviewed

editorial image

So it seems that there has been a new Batman game a direct sequel to the Arkham City game, but also with constant references to Arkham Asylum, Origins and Blackgate Arkham Knight ties up the story of all five games in the trilogy and is the first one to feel like a deep part of a Batman world, in my opinion, instead of just a Batman storyline.

Following the events of Arkham City, specifically the aftermath of The Joker being killed off, Arkham Knight deals with Scarecrow and his new Militia leader the mysterious Arkham Knight who have pretty successfully taken over Gotham.

Many references to Batman comics including the Killing Joke and the Long Halloween graphic novels, as well as references to Superman and Lex Luthor, make this a very interesting DC gaming title.

I just finished playing Lego Batman 2 on the Vita recently and somehow both of the games capture the essence of Batman perfectly right from the campy Adam West show/ Early 60s comics up to the present day Batfleck and Frank Miller darkness, this is obviously leaning much more towards the shooting Barbara Gordon in the spine and leaving her to be found by her Dad kind’ve arc. Some have hailed this game as a masterpiece and I would agree to an extent. Though I would not say this game is a perfect game, or even a must play game, by the original definition of masterpiece, Rocksteady have outdone themselves and it is hard to see what else they could’ve done with it. (Aside from making the Arkham Knight’s identity really irritatingly predictable and disappointing)

Scarecrow has taken over the city, by completely destroying the minds of a collection of people in a diner and then waving it around in everyones faces, stating that it was just a fart in his sleep in relation to the world of diarrhoea he’s about to spray all over Gotham, which he does. This causes everyone from Gotham to suddenly sprint off in a frenzy so as not to get gassed by Scarecrow’s fear toxin, which for the uninitiated is a concoction by Psychiatrist Jonathan Crane, played by Cillian Murphy in every memory I have, that causes anyone who has come in contact with it to see the things they fear the most and suddenly be willing to kill someone for a gun so they can shoot themselves in the face out of sheer terror. Mix this is with appearances by Firefly, Two-Face. The Penguin, The Riddler and his 300 trophy challenge, Deadshot, various Robins, Nightwing, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Oracle, Man-Bat and a whole bag of others. The bat-mobile with the flick of a switch handles like a Mech, so it’s almost like controlling a person instead of a car making it very easy to negotiate tough corners and easy to aim at bad things when you want them shot at, suddenly release this button and you are back to speeding off at a remarkable rate, flinging Batman back into the sky and gliding your way around Gotham, making a very satisfying Batman game.

But is it a satisfying game? The Batmobile is quite difficult to handle at top speed which makes it almost impossibly difficult to do most of The Riddlers car based challenges. The map looks awesome from a distance, a truly next, by which I mean current, gen game, though most of the buildings are indistinguishable black blobs with green bits on them making it hard to really appreciate how beautifully designed they really are. The map is very small, compared to GTA V or Skyrim for example, but the amount of missions squeezed into the area makes for a dense and vibrant environment that makes very good use of the space they have. After a while the side quests become different versions of “Drive from here to over there and punch a guy” or “sometimes punch these guys and drive over there.” There are a couple of moments, when analysing a car crash for example, that make use of Batman’s technology in a way which makes the game seem really interesting and groundbreaking with creativity, but I can only remember a single event when this was used. I would’ve liked more attention brought to what makes Batman different in this respect whereas a lot of the game would have been indistinguishable from an Assassin’s Creed game if you’d given batman a hood instead of a cape and a horse instead of a thunderous Batmobile.

Ultimately the game makes for a tremendously entertaining time, and there are 3 points in the game that could be considered ‘The End’ be it, completing the main scarecrow mission, or ‘the next bit’ or the actual version of ‘the next bit’ that requires you to complete all the quests in the game. This makes the game a tidy, beautiful, sometimes repetitive, but ultimately great game that will last you quite a few afternoons, and that doesn’t even consider the New Game Plus option that appears. It is a must play for Bat-man fans but if you don’t pick it up now while the hype is in the air, you may never do it.