Batman: Arkham Knight
Good evening. This post should make the gamers happy. I'm writing about my experience with Batman: Arkham Knight. It's the final installment of the Arkham game series. However, it's the first Arkham game I played. Naturally, I have both positive and negative things to say about it. I think it's nearly impossible to have a perfect gaming experience. Just relax and enjoy the read.
I usually start with the good news. There are actually quite a few positive elements about Arkham Knight. First of all, Batman is awesome! How can you possibly hate Batman? I have seen many versions of Batman through the years. This one is a very serious, dark, and stoic model. He tends to be pessimistic and is constantly haunted by nightmares. I find him appropriate in a comic book setting that caters to adults. He's not really a kid friendly type of Batman. I doubt the whimsical and kid friendly version would be effective in this dark and gritty game.
Let's quickly review the plot. Some of the elements are very interesting. This game takes place after the Joker died. The Scarecrow wants to cover Gotham city in his signature neuro toxin. It would be an apocalyptic event. Hundreds of people would tear each other apart. So, Batman needs to save the city. That's the basic center of the plot. It's simple, but completely appropriate for a video game.
By the way, I love this version of the scarecrow. He's creepy and diabolical. The voice work by John Noble is very good. This is the freakiest looking Scarecrow I've ever seen. He's downright gruesome and hideous. I guess his face was mutilated in one of the previous games. The Scarecrow's current appearance is ghoulish and he doesn't wear a mask anymore. I would show you a picture of him, but it might give you nightmares. Awesome character for those who enjoy horror films. His role as a villain is also excellent. Gotham city is in huge trouble if Batman doesn't save the day.
The gameplay is amazing and unique. It's hard to explain. Arkham Knight doesn't use the traditional hand to hand combat system that we see in most games. You have to combine physical combat, gadgets, aerial assaults, sabotage, and stealth attacks. I wasn't very good at learning the combo system, but some people can learn tactics to wipe out large numbers of enemies at once. Inherently, the gameplay should be awkward, but it actually works very well. The player can level up some of Batman's attributes, like his weapons, suit, and the Batmobile. It helps the gameplay become easier along the way.
Gotham city is gorgeous and dystopian at the same time. Arkham Knight has an open world environment and I fell in love with that part. You can maneuver through Gotham on foot, on the rooftops, and driving with the Batmobile. You can glide from one location to another and Batman's grappling hook is a helpful tool to make long treks faster. Many of the large buildings are fun to scale and make good launch points for gliding. Gotham is stuffed with both enemies and allies, increasing the difficulty while you progress through the story. For those 0f us who enjoy dystopian fiction, Gotham is an awesome environment.
Arkham Knight takes a lot of characters and elements from the comic books. You'll see classic allies, including Robin, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, Oracle, Nightwing, and Lucius Fox. Everyone plays a very important role. Robin and Nightwing sometimes tag along with Batman, giving the player a co-op style of gameplay. It's a lot of fun. Likewise, you'll see Batman's classic villains. The Joker might be dead, but you'll still see him a lot. Other big characters include Poison Ivy, Two Face, the Penguin, Cat Woman, the Riddler, the Man-Bat, and several more. I love the artwork for the villains. They fit very well in the adult dystopian environment. I noticed one drawback concerning the characters. The game assumes you already know everyone. So, this game will be a little confusing for people who aren't familiar with the Batman franchise.
The game has a lot of fun and interesting side missions. They help you learn more about Gotham and its dystopian nature. If you take the time for side missions, it will make Batman level up much quicker. Some of the villains are only found in side missions. It's a good way to utilize the open world environment and explore various areas. Take advantage of the side missions because they're quite helpful and cool.
I'm going to bring up a topic that has both perks and downsides in my opinion. What about the Batmobile? On one level, it's absolutely terrific. It's a very powerful vehicle with a lot of abilities. The Batmobile can blast through walls, move in stealth mode, and even climb surfaces with a grappling hook. It makes a great tag team partner for Batman. In fact, some sections of the game will expect you to alternate Batman and the Batmobile. This version of the Batmobile is almost like an A.I. or robot. It seems to be very independent and can bail Batman out of trouble. I'm glad it's on our side. Now I'm going to transition into my less favorite parts. The Batmobile was my Achilles heel. In the more advanced levels, the player needs to have expert racing skills. I'm just not that type of player and it limited my progress. Some of the Batmobile levels are ridiculously hard. Many of the enemies are practically indestructible and can easily overwhelm the player. I found the difficulty lopsided between the Batman levels and the sections that only focus on the Batmobile. It ruined a great part of the gameplay.
One of the primary antagonists is the Arkham Knight. His fighting style, gadgets, and costume is very similar to Batman. I didn't like his character very much. He's whiny and has some type of grudge against Batman. The Arkham Knight plays a big part in the storyline and it actually hurts the game. For example, the Scarecrow's part of the plot is solid and a little bit scary. The Arkham Knight's part of the story is much weaker and predictable. I'm going to spill a huge spoiler, so look away if you don't want to read this section. He's actually Jason Todd, one of the former Robins. Batman thought Jason was tortured and murdered by the Joker some time before the main storyline. That wasn't the case. After months of demented torture, Jason grew to hate Batman for abandoning him. For those of us who know the comics, it's very clear that Arkham Knight is Jason Todd. It's the most logical choice and the same vendetta. He's just called the Red Hood in the comics instead. Okay, you can read the next paragraph without any spoilers.
The gameplay is great, but it's easy to forget about the controls. I had trouble remembering a lot of controls when several days were spent away from the game. How do I use the Batarang again? Simple things like that.
I also got lost a handful of times. Usually, everything is very straight forward and the game includes a beacon that helps you navigate through Gotham. However, I ran around in circles several times, trying to find doors, secret passages, and whatnot. The open world environment is great. Problems arise during the main gameplay in much tighter or enclosed areas. I literally got lost for an hour once.
Here's a bonus. I'm going out on a limb, but it seems like Arkham Knight has some steampunk influences. It has zeppelins, anachronisms, a dystopian industrial environment, and the cyberpunk element of high tech versus low life.
Who else played this game? Leave a comment and tell us about it. Keep watching because I'm going to have a lot of posts this year. I'm attending several events, interviewing candidates, checking out several movies, and participating in the Steampunk Hands Around the World project. We'll talk more about that project at a later time. My second novel will also be released in 2017. Yeah, a lot of stuff is happening and that's a good thing. Enjoy the rest of your week and we'll meet again soon.
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