Those who have played the entirety of the Arkham series will have no problem slipping back into the skin of Batman. Some might cry unoriginal, I say comfortable. Man does it feel good to be the Dark Knight again.
Following shortly after the events of Arkham City, Arkham Knight might have the most satisfying intro ever as we get to ignite the flame on Joker’s lifeless body, burning him to ash. That’s right, after 3 different games of being front and center in the villain department, on top of the comic and movie appearances, we finally get away from this overused, albeit phenomenal, character. No more Joker! No more Joker! [Continues chant for 10 more minutes]
Well, for the most part. Bum bum bum…
With an opening for a different villain to step up in Gotham, the Arkham Knight introduces himself with a focus on vengeance aimed at Batman. He’s constantly running around working on the promise that he will kill the other knight in town, but Scarecrow keeps a strong hold on the leash as he works towards another goal of making the bat suffer first. He wants to bring the fear, he wants to bring the pain, and he has a good chance of doing so as the threat of a wide dispersal of his fear toxin looms large over the city.
I’ve always been a fan of Scarecrow when it comes to the Arkham series because of how he changed up the way the game was played, but this time around the focus is more on how he can alter someone’s understanding of reality. Just get one whiff of his toxin and who knows what you will see, which comes into play soon enough after the start of the game. And thank goodness, too. I wish I could get into it, but it would be a spoiler; just know that it was a great choice that forms the most entertaining through-line of the game. Overall the storyline of the main campaign is not the most original; nothing is surprising, it is no question who the Arkham Knight is if you have any knowledge of Batman mythology or are capable of inferring obvious information, the ending after the ending is taken straight from one of the recent movies, and Batman is as charismatic as a post. Here’s just one example of how well Batman is written in this game (not exact quotes, but not far off):
Barbara: I hate lying to my dad. He still blames himself for what happened to me.
Batman: We’ll find Scarecrow.
What!? Way to just completely ignore someone who is clearly in need of some reassurance! Maybe he didn’t hear her? Maybe he is a robot? Thank goodness there were characters with personalities tagging along.
Oh well, who needs Batman to be more than fists and a utility belt when the combat is this good? Other than somehow still not being able to counter attacks during takedowns, the fighting is as strong as it has ever been as thug after thug falls at his feet. Or the feet of another member of the bat family as they lend a hand from time to time with Dual Team Takedowns. Robin and Nightwing aside, the biggest sidekick to pal around with is the tank. I was a little worried about it because I am regularly not a fan of action/adventure games throwing in vehicles, races, and what not, but I actually really enjoyed the tank. The combat was fun, aided by the smooth controls whether in fight or flight mode, and the chase sequences worked well within the story to make the inclusion of the Batmobile more than worth it. The one downside is that this turns the Riddler into the Obstacle Courser, but I’ll take the bad with the good here.
With Arkham Knight being the fourth game in the series there really isn’t too much to say about this game that hasn’t already been said before. I could have used more detective mode past the serial killer side quest since that is a main aspect of the character, but my biggest complaint will always be that the story isn’t the strongest. Even so, the game is fun enough that the main quest’s story doesn’t really matter. So if you’ve enjoyed taking down all of the villains of Gotham in previous games, you’ll be happy to know they haven’t learned their lesson yet. They’re super slow learners.