This weeks recommendation was never going to be anything else, unless the game sucked: but im pleased to say that Rocksteady’s latest Batman Game is a true gem of the next-gen consoles so far. It’s never been more fun being the Batman than in Arkham Knight.
If you’ve ever played either Arkham Asylum or Arkham City you should have a good idea of just how great Rocksteady’s Batman games have been with their intuitive free flow combat system that allows you to truly deal out justice, their great character design and boss battles along with the always impressive and engrossing Riddler trophy hunting quests- but this game beats all of them hands down to deliver the best Batman experience to date. If offers all of the regular gameplay you’d expect- fighting thugs, finding and solving Riddlers puzzles, side quests featuring other villains, hidden references to the DC universe and this time the Batmobile! Yes the Batmobile, and it is much better than you’d expect- in fact racing around in the Batmobile is down right cool.
The moment you load up the game you can understand from a graphical standpoint why its ‘next gen’ consoles only as the character models, the city scape and the environmental factors (mainly the rain) look amazing and are exactly the same in-game as they are in the cut-scenes and this is a real visual treat. The game also includes no load screens, which becomes very noticeable and is a real pleasure as I’ve become accustomed to long loads so having none at all is a blessing here and helps you stay fully engaged and involved. Gotham has had a much bigger map created this time too, Asylum was contained but large, Arkham City felt sprawling but limited while this time the city seems immense it its size and even using the fast Batmobile it seems like forever to travel the length of the map and all of Gothams neon light degrading glory which really helps add a sense of scale to the gliding and roof top traversing in the game.
The well-loved free flow combat returns, and this time you start the game with all the skills you ended Arkham City with and still have the ability to improve further. This includes all of the gadgets and the takedown and combo skills, which is nice as I didn’t feel Batman had regressed in the time we were apart. The addition of the batmobile also adds some new combat functions as if its nearby you can use a ‘Batmobile takedown’ that allows Batman to throw a thug into the air for the batmobile to target and take out with a stun round. Theres also the new Multi Fear takedown that allows you to quickly surprise a group of guards and take them all out in a matter of seconds- as long as their close enough together and you can focus on the next guard in enough time. This skill is brilliant to use and great to watch, as it makes sneaking up on a group even more important than before, and is a much-needed improvement to the Predator mode gameplay. As with all of the previous games the fighting feels fluid and is truly enjoyable, and the addition of some new skills really make you feel like the powerful Batman even if the numbers of thugs in each combat section has increased, and they’ve learnt new skills to trace and limit you movements such as bombing grates, motion mining gargoyles and sensing the heat from the Detective mode- all of these changes make the combat more fun and challenging than ever before.
The best of the villains from Batman are all here too- Minus any interaction with the Joker (he died in Arkham city but is here in flashbacks) and each of them carries their regular cool look from the series but has been evolved slightly. Ivy is the first you encounter and is as cool looking as ever while she still has the cocky swagger, Scarecrow is genuinely creepy as hell looking while the Riddler looks very much like a broken man after the previous two encounters with the Dark Knight. However the real big bad here is the Arkham Knight and he looks very much like Batman but in a much heavier armour and with a more military style to him that makes him look like a legitimate threat from the moment he arrives in the game.
Alongside seeing the best villains, there are separate story mission (outside the main game) that allow you to play as some of the best characters such as Harley Quinn, Red Hood and Batgirl- and each of these provides a unique story, character moves and weapons and takedowns that makes these short stories well worth your time and makes the combat for each character feel unique and interesting. Harley is easily the best of these so far as seeing her unleash the mallet and being in charge of this is really fun. And smashing everyone in your way is a real contrast to working through as the worlds greatest detective.
Add to this the exclusive PS4 Scarecrow Nightmare missions, which totally reshape the word and make it fiery and hellish looking while you try to complete the trials set for you before you go insane and succumb to the Scarecrow’s fear gas and this game has a huge host of gameplay modes to keep you busy and offer real playability. This is truly the top Batman experience out there and you need to be playing this now!!!