What’s this game about?
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The Joker died and a power vacuum has appeared in his absence. The villains have decided to give it one last go and take down the Dark Knight. The Scarecrow concocts a plan to take over the city by threatening to release a toxin on the citizens. For some reason just this one time… everyone seems to believe that the Scarecrow means business and they all evacuate the city.
Batman’s various Rogues and henchman take up a position of power throughout empty streets of Gotham under the leadership of Scarecrow. Meanwhile the “Arkham Knight” decides this is the key time to prove himself a match for The Dark Knight and does so by attacking the people closest to him. As usual, it’s up to Batman to inflict justice using his gadgets and fists to bring peace back to Gotham or die trying.
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Is it similar to other games?
It’s like a bigger scale version of Arkham City with way more content, gadgets, and the Batmobile. So if you’ve played the series at all, you’ll feel right at home here.
What did you like about it?
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The Batmobile in the Open World – I didn’t think I’d like the Batmobile as much as I do, but hopping into that beast of a car and tearing through the streets of Gotham is tingly in my nether-regions. Flying after criminals in a high speed chase and tearing their car apart with missiles is ridiculously satisfying. I also like that you can eject at any time and tackle unsuspecting baddies in the streets.
Improved Combat system – Combat is faster and more tactical than ever. Arkham Origins simply mimicked Arkham City and added a skill tree that made Batman unstoppable. In Arkham Knight, Batman has extra skills he’ll have to employ to stave off his foes. Enemies will charge Batman forcing him to stop mashing on the attack buttons to flick a Batarang in their faces. Other enemies like the medic will revive enemies or create an electric charge on his friends so that Batman can’t touch them.
My favorite parts come in the form of the dual combat system. Batman and a friend will team up to bash the faces of henchmen in, while performing various team-up abilities. I’m just sad that this isn’t a full-fledged cooperative option and only happens in a few missions.
Vertical Elevation – I always talk about elevation in open-world games because it’s a big deal to me. If I can get up high and get that rumbling feeling in my stomach from the height in a game… you’ve done a great job. Batman Arkham Knight creates a sense of height that rivals that of games like Grand Theft Auto, but more aptly associates with a title like Dying Light. Batman’s new cape allows him to stay in the sky indefinitely, and the speedier lift-off of the grappling hook helps him stay that way.
As much as I love the Batmobile, the improved flight controls make it difficult not to embrace the sky.
Tons of Content – There is much more to do in Arkham Knight than any Batman game before it. Ignore the fact that there are 200+ riddler trophies. You can solve murders, chase after Two-Face and his goons, stop the Penquin, train Azrael, perform artificial-reality missions, and so much more. Arkham Knight is packed with varied and fun content for those that easily plow through side-content.
A beautiful Gotham – Gotham isn’t supposed to look this pretty, but man if this isn’t an absolutely gorgeous game. From the bright neon lit city with an open architecture designed for in-depth exploring of its nooks and crannies, to the hail of rain that relentlessly pounds against Batman’s rippling cape. This world of Gotham is bigger, brighter, and better than ever. Over a hundred enemy combatants litter the streets at any time, smoke wisps through the air from burning buildings, and character are more painstakingly detailed than ever. Batman Arkham City does not disappoint in the visuals department.
Oustanding Sound Design – Kevin Conroy or as he’s better known – The one true voice of Batman – delivers his lines with aggressive fervor. The game is filled to the brim with great voice talent. Such as Steve Blum, Johnathan Banks, Nolan North and many more. However, it’s John Noble’s vision of Scarecrow that takes the prize. His hauntingly calm voice sends a bone chilling message that the Scarecrow is no longer playing around. On top of that, the outstanding soundtrack remains intact with some new and familiar songs from the series.
What is your favorite part of the game?
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I love the way that the Batmobile actually drives to Batman as opposed to suddenly appearing. It’s a nice touch that many games fail to nail down properly in the open-world genre.
Did you dislike anything in particular?
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Batmobile puzzle segments – If I never have to see another one of those Riddler challenges that somehow utilize the Batmobile… I would be soooooo happy! There are so many missions where we have to remotely control the Batmobile, drive it to a position, switch to Batman and activate a switch, and then repeat the process a few more times. It’s the most tedious and overstated part of the game and personally not a great use of the Batmobile.
There were so many times where Batman is like “I need to get the Batmobile across this raised bridge,” and I’m just screaming “USE THE DAMN BATWING!”
The Batman Stare – They still haven’t fixed that vapid stare that Batman has. He looks like an action figure that came to life but doesn’t understand how emotions work.
The Arkham Knight – If you know anything about Batman mythos, you’ll know who’s behind the Arkham Knight’s cowl within the first couple of hours. The writing gives the ghost away quickly and often, it’s like they think we are stupid or something. Sadly, I’m more disappointed by Rocksteady’s claims that this was a brand new character. We believed them! The joke is all on us!
Locked at 30 fps on PC – This game is locked at thirty frames per second on PC, but when you run the benchmark the game runs at 60 fps. You actually have to go into the .ini files to run the actual game at 60 fps, and even then the frame-rate will put its hands up on its hips and dip, rise, and dip.
Framerate issues galore – I have a pretty powerful PC and Video card and this game stutters continuously. I tried turning off the more taxing things like smoke and paper, trimmed the shadows to normal, and this game still chugs like I’m playing it on a typewriter. I’m talking about chugging more than a frat house party during standard gameplay and cut scenes. This is a downright awful port to the PC on launch day.
New patch woes – A patch that’s supposed to fix a few problems, creates a really bad one of its own. It messes up the streaming of the textures in the game causing quite a few ugly low-resolution objects to show up in the city. It’s one of those “It’s going to get worse before it gets better” deals.
What’s the final say?
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I’ve already made a video ranting about the shoddy PC port so I won’t really get into all that. I will say that the shoddy work was definitely a pain in the ass to push through to get this review out. With that said, I can see behind the flaws and decipher a game that was designed with love by Rocksteady. If it didn’t have the obviously terrible frame-rate issues and occasional crashes, I would easily say go out and buy this game right now.
However at the time of release, I’d say wait for a sale after a couple of patches have hit. The moral of the story here is… don’t pre-order any games or buy games until after launch week.