YOU WERE THE CHOSEN ONE! You were supposed to be the saving grace to Triple A Gaming! The one game that we could all point to as a way to prove that the industry wasn’t a pile of shit! This was your chance in the sun Batman: Arkham Knight AND YOU FUCKED IT UP! My god, I don’t think I have ever been this disappointed in a game in all of my life… And this includes Resident Evil 6! Oh my god, this was so sad to play.
I guess before we move on, I should preface this review with the fact that Batman: Arkham Knight is a good game. It is… Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that Batman: Arkham Knight is a shit game. What I am saying is that it is a disappointing game. This is a game that should have been competing with games like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, The Last of Us, Deus Ex, DOOM, Silent Hill 2, and even Batman: Arkham City for Greatest Game of All Time! This game should have easily scored a perfect 5/5 for me, a 4.5/5 if something wasn’t working on launch date. But no, instead we get a ‘pretty good game’ that doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessors.
The story of Batman: Arkham Knight is thus, it has been several years since the Arkham City incident, and all the criminals involved in the incident were released due to the inhumane behavior. Most people were expecting a crime surge, but instead, crime is at an all time low. The streets are safe, criminals are not kicking down the doors, and The Joker is dead. This all changes one Halloween when the Scarecrow returns to Gotham to unleash a new fear toxin on the city. This causes the people who are infected with it to go berserk and start to murder without remorse.
The city of Gotham is evacuated of all its citizens, thus giving the criminals of Gotham a free playground like before, and Batman a chance to test out his new toys. With the help of his slew of allies, Batman must take down the Scarecrow, and thwart is evil plans. However, things will not be easy when it is revealed that the Scarecrow as a vicious second in command, The Arkham Knight who is a ghost from Batman’s past.
From the free flow combat, to the cool gadgets, the colorful villains, and that strangely retro gothic 50’s future, Batman: Arkham Knight captures the essence of the Arkham Series in fairly spectacular fashion. After I started playing, I did no miss a beat as I was zipping through Gotham, beating up bad guys, and taking on the worst of the worst that Gotham City had to offer.
I will give it to Rocksteady, they knew what they were good at, and they did it well. Combat, like always, is phenomenal. They have added new fear multi-takedowns, as well as new gadgets to play with, and a flow to battle that is just phenomenal on all points.
I will have a lot to say about the Batmobile later, but as of right now, I will praise it for being a fun new addition to the game. I have a love hate relationship with the Batmobile, but overall it was fun to use, and even more fun to recklessly destroy everything in sight with that thing.
Overall, on a gameplay standpoint, Arkham Knight rocks and that old Arkham feel will quickly get you back in the mood of destroying baddies.
There is a Solid (albeit expected) Story Behind the Game
Even if the story line is expected and predictable around every corner… I do have to say it is at least well told. The Arkham series has always been known for giving us some amazing stories and remains, in my opinion, the best representation of Batman that we have ever seen. The cartoons have to play down the gritty sleaze for the kids, even The Animated Series suffered from this from time to time. The movies are overly sensationalized on both fronts, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, they just want to tell a different story than what the source material is willing to give them.
Batman: Arkham Knight is, not only a story about coming to grips with one’s self, but one of an ‘epic’ climax to a brilliant saga. Rocksteady knew that this was the end, at least in this continuity, so they did attempt to tie up every loose end that they could think of. It is told in a very gripping story that will keep you playing until the bitter end.
The Best Gameplay is in the Side Stories
The main villains suck in this game and we will touch on that later, but the real fun intrigue of this game comes from the mountains of side missions that you can do. Just like Arkham City, there are countless villains that you can take on in your own time. The list includes the returning Firefly, who is ready to burn down Gotham and kill all of the fire fighters in sight… Because, he sort of has a personal thing against them. You also take on the serial killer Professor Pyg. The Riddler is back and has kidnapped the alluring Catwoman, who has been put into a Saw Series like game that you have to play in order to free her. Harley Quinn shows up to get revenge for Joker. Hush makes a return and we even get an appearance from Man-Bat of all villains.
This game has mountains of side content and that is where the true challenge lies as well as villains that stay true to their villainous ways. My personal favorites was trying to catch Man-Bat as he glided through the city, rescue Catwoman, and even stop Hush from enacting his grand plan against the Wayne family. If you get Batman: Arkham Knight, play through all the side content, leave no stone unturned, you will not regret it.
I am actually going to call this one a minor con, even if Steam is ready to lynch the developers over at Rocksteady Studios for it. Bottom line, Batman: Arkham Knight was and up to this post, still is, completely unplayable on PC. Releasing a game in the state that Batman: Arkham Knight was in for the PC is just unacceptable. It can’t even function as a game and instead of delaying the PC release a couple of months, like any sensible person would do, you released it hopelessly broken, saying we will fix it in post.
The reason it isn’t a MAJOR con is due to the fact that the Arkham Series is a console first game and for the most part, it ran just fine on PS4 and XBox One. But to release the PC version in such a state deserve major point deductions, regardless.
Fuck that Leaderboard Bullshit!
Get this bullshit out of my single player games! This is a pet peeve of mine and it keeps infesting my single player games with its filth! Let me make this completely clear to people who enjoy these things and to developers around the world… WE DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE (NOR WANT TO HAVE) A DICK MEASURING CONTEST WITH OUR FRIENDS IN EVERY SINGLE FUCKING GAME! For those of you who like these leaderboards and competitive multiplayer things like that, cool. You enjoy them. I am not trying to take this away from you! BUT, I personally want to play single player games. I want to play single player games where I play single player and THAT IS IT! Batman: Arkham Knight is not competitive multiplayer, it is not a ‘prove who has the biggest dick in this AR challenge’, it is a single player first game! It is made to be a challenging game with a good story. If you want to add a multiplayer element, cool. Go ahead, but do not insert it into the SINGLE PLAYER game I am playing.
And for you people who are about to say ‘Well Tanner, just do not participate in them.’ You can go suck on a fucking railroad spike! You have multiplayer games, you have competitive multiplayer games. You are right now the majority when it comes to Triple A Gaming. You get to get online and wave around your set of numbers to all of your friends in just about every fucking game out there! I want my games! I want a single player game, that has a single player mode, and does not once try to rate my score on how well I did in a room full of bad guys. I don’t care about the number I get, I don’t care about the stars I am given, all I want to do is Batman a room in peace. Fuck off with this bullshit!
So yeah… There is no way around it, Rocksteady’s original villain is absolute shit. The Arkham Knight is an absolutely terrible villain and the reason behind it is quite simple. If you are going to create a villain that is supposed to know all of Batman’s tricks and maneuvers… YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW UP WITH IT! This guy is so stupid! He is no different from any other villain in the game. The only difference is he is pretentious and incorrectly thinks that he knows Batman on some psychological level. ALSO if you are about to tell me it is because he is young, brash, cocky, and has a link with him due to his past (which I won’t spoil for the readers) FUCK YOU! I get it, Batman is going to get the better of him! That is what this game is made for, Batman is going to win! BUT, at least show that you have some competence.
Even in his first appearance when you are trying to rescue the guys from the chemical plant, the Arkham Knight shows up with some guys and says ‘Don’t shoot the chest, the armor is strongest, aim for the joints.’ This scene is supposed to establish that this guy knows what he is talking about, but it doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to figure that out. I can buy that the goons don’t know this, they are goons, they are supposed to be dumb. But the Arkham Knight could have said, ‘shoot him in his unexposed mouth for a one shot kill’, that would have made sense or do not go into one on one combat with the guy, you will lose… Hell, even during that scene, The Arkham Knight COMPLETELY FORGETS about the Batmobile which easily thwarts them.
But the cherry on the fucking cake are those goddamn drones! The Arkham Knight has an army of unmanned tanks used to take on Batman while he is in the Batmobile. Alfred remarks that the drones are unmanned which means Batman can blow them up without fear of breaking that rock solid conscious of his. In the game, this is simply a way of saying blow up the tanks, and don’t worry about the casualties. In a story standpoint, it makes the Arkham Knight inept on an intellectual level. IF you man the tanks, Batman can’t blow them up! Hell, strap some people to the tank, strap goons to the tanks, and this way Batman has to sit and take your onslaught of tank, all the while trying to figure out how to take them down without harming anyone! You made it so easy to carve through your tanks with ease instead of making it harder on fucking Batman!
The Arkham Knight is so fucking stupid and one of the worst parts of this video game.
What made Batman: Arkham City such a great game was the fact that they took what they built up with Arkham Asylum and they enhanced the experience and they gave us a plethora of new things. There were a lot of similarities, but you still felt like you were getting so much more for what was being offered. Batman: Arkham Knight is a testament to a developing company that is too afraid to stray away from what worked in such a smashing success that they just create the same game and throw it at us.
Sure, there are a few things different in this game, like different take downs, that stupid fucking leaderboard, and the big new addition, The Batmobile (which we will get too shortly.) But the game is still the same from Arkham City. Very little has changed, except the graphics got better, and the map got bigger.
Let’s start off with the new little toy that you are given, the Batmobile. I will admit, it is pretty cool. You get to use all these cool weapons and destroy private property in ways that these villains could only dream of accomplishing. But… Do you know what is a faster mode of transportation? FUCKING FLYING! I hate to break it to everyone, but when it comes to travel, the Batmobile is obsolete to Batman being able to glide around Gotham like a mother fucking bat! The only times that I found myself using the Batmobile was when the game forced me to use the Batmobile, as if it were saying. “HOW DARE YOU NOT BE HAPPY WITH THIS SHIT?! You will use it and like it!” I’m sorry, the Batmobile doesn’t appeal to me since I can simply get to location X faster by flight and not deal with any enemies or concern myself with casually destroying people’s homes and livelihoods in the name of JUSTICE!
Also a minor nitpick, why did they have to evacuate the city? I feel like it would have been more fun to have civilians in the streets, that way there are targets that you can’t hit or destroy. Nope, just write it off again that there are no innocent people, and anyone who is on your side is instantly trying to kill you.
But enough of that, let’s talk about the fact that The Joker still plays a prominent role in this game as a hallucination brought on by Scarecrow’s fear toxin AND a representation of the little bit of Joker that was locked up in Batman… What I am getting from this is the fact that the developers were so terrified by the concept of a game not featuring the Joker, that they forced this plot point in just so the Joker could be in there. I am sorry, I know people have a hard on for the guy. But I was looking forward to a game that didn’t have The Joker in it. I wanted him to be referenced and I liked the cremation scene that starts off the game. I even dug the moment when you find that Batman has been keeping people infected with The Joker’s blood hostage. But why do we have to have the Joker constantly showing the fuck up! Can’t we have something Batman related that doesn’t have Joker lined up front row and center? Was Rocksteady too terrified to create a game where the other villains got to villain and the Joker was nothing more than a legacy instead of some stupid hallucination to keep him in the game?! This irritates me, because it shows how cowardice the developers were to stray away from the comfort zone! Speaking of which…
What made the Scarecrow so great in Arkham Asylum was he was genuinely terrifying. He blended the lines of reality and terror, he was his own character, and one that I would love to see as the primary villain… But instead we got Hugo Strange as the primary villain again… I mean, sure, Scarecrow is the person in charge and Hugo Strange is deader than Judas Iscariot, but he is just playing the same character. Instead of before, where he is lurking behind every corner, he is this omnipresent bad guy who pops up on camera every now and again to give Batman some stupid little monologue that sounds philosophical, but really just comes across as a pretentious bad guy who never grew out of being a teenager.
Scarecrow isn’t scary in this game and that is because he isn’t being Scarecrow, he is being Hugo Strange. Hugo Strange doing the little monologues on cameras and tape recorders is scary because it fits with the demented psychoanalyst persona. Scarecrow is supposed to lurk and attack from the shadows. He shouldn’t be popping up on a screen to say ‘Oh yes Batman, I will finally beat you when my fear toxin spreads throughout the world MWHAHAHA!’ He is so campy and so stupid. Mixed in with The Arkham Knight, they are easily the two worst villains in the Arkham franchise.
ALL OF THIS boils down to the fact that Batman: Arkham Knight is too damn safe! They didn’t want to take risks or create something that could have been the greatest video game of all time, they played it safe and made the third best of a four video game series.
After this long written review, I am still going to give Batman: Arkham Knight a good review. This is so weird for me. I, personally, cannot recall reviewing a movie or a video game where I had so much negativity towards it, yet will still give it a positive review. Overall, the game is good. It has that Arkham Series feel to it, it is on par with the rest of the series on gameplay, and side content. Plus, overall they did get a lot of things right with the game, primarily in the side content, but still, right none the less.
HOWEVER! Do not take this positive rating as a sign. This game should have scored a 5/5 for me. It should have been near flawless. That was the level I was expecting from Rocksteady Studios. I was expecting this game to easily trounce all other competition and be the Best Game of 2015 and in contention with the Best Game of All Time. It doesn’t come close to this mark.
The Arkham Knight is an appalling villain, made even more terrible by his ineptitude, and horrifically misplaced feeling of self-worth. Scarecrow is not in character with himself, he is nothing more than a copy paste Hugo Strange, the game constantly proved that it was too terrified to step out of its comfort zone, and make something amazing. Couple this with the fact that it was unplayable for the PC version and you have the most disappointing piece of entertainment for 2015.
Final Score 3.5/5
I hope you enjoyed this review. If you did, please like, and subscribe for more from me. I am going to go wash the filth of disappointment out of my eyes. I’ll be back Sunday with a new review.