Be the Batman in Rocksteady’s latest, and presumably last chapter in their Arkham series. But does this Batman drive off into the sunset with a bang, or a stumble? Read on to find out.
Taking a game off, Rocksteady is following 20. Arkham Origins prequel by WB Montreal with a follow up to finish the story from Arkham Asylum and Arkham City.
*Warning Spoilers To Follow*
The Joker is dead, following the events of “City” but Gotham is anything but safe. Scarecrow is poised to begin his ultimate attack on the citizens and all of Gotham City has been evacuated, except the police and Batman and criminals who’ve decided to stick around for the looting. Scarecrow has also brought his friends. Nearly all of them!
Most of the major villains from the previous games return to make life difficult for The Dark Knight. Especially a mysterious newcomer called The Arkham Knight, who knows more about our hero then he’s comfortable with. But you won’t always be running solo. At times you team up with a number of Batman’s greatest allies, having the option to control them in combat and perform duel takedowns.
When is comes to gameplay, this newest entry is the smoothest of the bunch. Gone is the slightly off timing of Origins. This game feels like the natural progression from Arkham City. You’ll run, glide, dive grapple, and fight your way across three islands, the biggest version of Gotham yet. To help with this, Batman’s got wheels!
The Batmobile makes it debut and if you didn’t already know this from the promotional material, the game will make sure you know how big a deal it is. Because like it or hate it, many aspects of Arkham Knight hinge on your driving and battling abilities in Batman’s ride. While it is undoubtably fun, the amount of time the game asks you to spend fighting drone controlled tanks can take its toll.
All of the elements together make you feel like the Batman. A healthy and robust leveling system will unlock many old and new ways to punish criminals. And since this is an Arkham game, you can expect many predator missions, Riddler challenges, and training missions.
The look of the game is beautiful and dark. Taking place all at night, Gotham looks appropriately moody. Character models look nice on next gen systems, especially those characters with more uniques features. Batman once again, takes visible damage throughout the adventure that looks good and fits with the narrative. The voice acting is also in strong form, especially from the lead characters. Having Kevin Conroy as Batman is always a pleasure and Mark Hamill is always a quality voice actor.
Outside of the main storyline there is tons and tons to stay busy with. You can tackle side missions one piece at a time as they come available, or once the main story is complete, there is time afterward to do everything. In fact, the game opens back up after the main story concludes and the amount of side quests you have completed at this time directly affect the amount of details you get in the ending.
While the encouragement to continue to play the game to 100% is welcome, there is one drawback. In order to get the full ending you need to complete all of the Riddler trophies and Challenges as well. Coming in at just under 250, this can be quite the daunting task, and many people I know, including myself, stopped before ever getting close to completing them all.
Another issue is the handholding nature of the game. Batman is constantly talking to himself in a voice over narration style used in the comics. While this is generally fine, the problem comes from the fact that he’s always saying what to do or dropping hints on what gadget to use. For a game meant to feel like Batman, you’re never given the proper amount of time to figure out puzzles on your own. In this regard, the game can also be a little pushy about when to use certain gadgets, and only that gadget.
For Batman fans, the story and twist may be a little obvious, but the ability to really feel like you are Batman saving Gotham is reason enough to visit this final chapter. While the game can be a touch handholdy, and the Batmobile battle sections wear thin toward the end, this is easily the best entry in the Arkham series. If this is indeed Rocksteady’s final entry, then we couldn’t ask for a much better send off.