Review: Batman: Arkham Knight

The Dark Knight returns again

July 20 2015

By Tyler Hall

4.5/5


Arkham Knight, the third in the Rocksteady Arkham trilogy, is one of the core titles defining the power of "current-gen" gaming. Arkham Knight, similar to the previous Arkham games, has already received rave reviews (currently sitting at 87 on Metacritic). Arkham Asylum and Arkham City are the other Rocksteady titles with Arkham Origins the sole Arkham title made by a different studio. To be clear upfront, I never played Origins (although now I am not sure why) and my time with City was pretty brief as well. I loved Asylum back when it came out in 2009, but that is also the year I graduated High School so take any of those opinions with a grain of salt.

From what I know of the franchise, Knight appears to be the definitive Batman game. This is the iteration where the studio perfected their craft and got to leave their creation on a high note. Arkham Knight is not perfect. But it is the most polished game I have played for a long time, and in todays day and age where technical failures are churned out on a regular basis it cannot go unsaid how fresh it feels to play such a well run game. Ironically enough, even the PC version of Knight has been in the news lately for its own technical limitations. The graphics are truly very impressive; I am 100% sure everyone had a positive thought about the rain effects on Batman's cape and lighting throughout the game. But the technical power that Arkham Knight is not what makes this game so stunning. The comic-book, animated aesthetic is absolute throughout the game and is as immersive as any good superhero comic.

The gameplay of Arkham Knight is the same as previous iterations, which is not a bad thing. The Arkham games have always done this combat genre best and it is still a fighting system that is very fun to play. However, the one mark against it is that I found the game to be almost too easy once I found out I could just button mash any group of soldiers I came across. The variation of enemy AI fought throughout the game left some to be desired as well. The best part about the gameplay is the traversing around the city (insert joke about journey not destination), either by tank or grapple the movement feels fluid; possibly making this game a contender for best open world transversal (currently behind Spider-man 2's web slinging perfection). I haven't mentioned any of the tank combat, which does indeed make up too much of the game, but overall I found it to be very enjoyable. The tank combat system is one of the most fun of its kind that I have ever played, and I would not say it feels nearly as out of place in Batman's universe as early reviewers mentioned.

For better or worse, Arkham Knight's story is also completely comic book in style and substance. It is a very dark iteration of some various classic Dark Knight stories that does not fail to make its own mark on the source materials. For that matter, I would say Arkham Knight had a pretty good, very fun Batman story. However, some of the pitfalls throughout the plot would make it hard to say this is a great story. At various points throughout the game all the characters, minus Batman and Joker, can start to feel a bit hollow and I can only do so many missions that involve saving my kidnapped friends. Sometimes you just need to get better friends Batman! Arkham Knight's titular character is pretty much just your average supervillian. Again, Kevin Conroy's Batman and Mark Hamill's Joker are once again perfection; the nostalgia from Batman The Animated Series is reason enough to play this game.