The fourth and final installment in the Batman: Arkham series, Arkham Knight, is an amazing game from start to finish. Series developer Rocksteady did an amazing job with their two previous entries, Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, so I went in expecting it to be the best thing I’ve ever played. It did a pretty damn good job of meeting my expectations.
One of the best things about the Arkham series is how cinematic and intense the stories are and on this front, the Arkham Knight is the best. A year has passed since the events of Arkham City and crime in Gotham has dropped to its lowest point. Then Scarecrow unleashes his fear gas and Batman goes to work. Much of the story is focused on Batman’s attempt to stop Scarecrow as well as dealing with the Arkham Knight and why he wants him dead. But there is so much more to it than that. As the game progresses, Batman deals with, not only the events going on in Gotham, but problems within his own mind that add so much more depth to the story.
The mystery of the Arkham Knight is the best thing about this game for a couple of reasons. For people who are versed in the Batman mythos, it’s nice to see the man behind the mask getting some exposure. Absent from the series, minus a few Easter eggs in previous games, and given the way he interacted with our hero, there were very few logical choices on who it could be and the reveal elicited a loud cheer from me (and from a few others I know). For those who don’t know as much, the pacing of the game and the build up to the reveal is satisfying and enlightening, showing off a character not many people know much about.
I don’t have many complaints with the story, to be honest. Though Batman’s primary goal in this story is to stop Scarecrow, it feels like Scarecrow is only there as a plot device and the story between Bruce and the Arkham Knight is where the focus is. The dealings with Scarecrow didn’t feel like they mattered as much in the grand scheme of things, especially when compared to Batman’s internal struggle and his battle with the titular villain.
Much of the core gameplay from the previous entries in the series remained the same in Arkham Knight, with several additions that made it feel fresh. Gotham City was beautifully done, and the world of Arkham Knight is vastly larger than that of previous entries, giving you the entire city to explore, either by gliding around (hopefully saying NANANANA as you do) or by driving around with the Batmobile.
Combat feels the same but there are quite a few things that change up the fights. Enemies are smarter and will start adapting and negating takedowns you overuse, forcing you to choose different ways to take them out. Several new enemy types for you to pay attention to how you’re attacking and new gadgets give you more of a variety in dealing with large groups. There are a few battles where you face enemies as more than just Batman, enlisting help of secondary protagonists like Robin. It was a lot of fun getting to play with someone other than Batman and after a few successful attacks, you get to employ double team takedowns and those are just a blast to watch.
Predator sequences are more difficult and more fun than before with new enemies that can pinpoint your location and drones that fly around, actively looking for you once you’ve been seen. Of course, some of your new gadgets are tailored for these sequences, allowing you to manipulate the environment and even the enemies you’re trying to take down. The most fun additions to the Predator sequences are Fear takedowns, allowing you to neutralize three targets in quick succession.
Being in control of the Batmobile was one of the new additions for the game and driving it around is pretty fun, though it can be frustrating at times. The controls themselves aren’t the problem but many times I had trouble making turns and constantly banged into walls or ended up landing in the water. There are more than a few sequences where you’re battling the Arkham Knights goons in the Batmobile and it can get pretty frustrating at times, trying to dodge enemy attacks while still trying to take enemies down.
I love this game and even with the few minor things that bothered me, I never felt bored and I didn’t run out of things to do in Gotham City, with hundreds of Riddler Trophies to collect, Drones to take out and more. And with the various DLC that’s been released and slated to come, I don’t believe I’ll be putting down Arkham Knight anytime soon.