I’m usually a few years behind the curve when it comes to big-budget games, because they have a tendency to launch at sixty bucks and my price point is usually about a third of that. In the case of Batman: Arkham Knight, I’d heard enough mixed reviews that I held out until it dropped down to ten before I decided to take the plunge.
(And then I still sat on it for like a year before starting it.)
Thanks to those mixed reviews, I knew that there were two things that tended to annoy people about this particular iteration of the Arkham series, and I was prepared to be slightly annoyed by both in turn. The first, and most common, complaint is that the super secret “true” ending is locked behind a mountain of pointless busywork, and the second is that you spend a lot of time participating in tank battles, which didn’t make a ton of sense to me at the time.
Both of these complaints are completely valid, and the whole tank battle thing makes a lot more sense now that I’ve actually played the game. The Arkham Knight incarnation of the Batmobile shifts between regular car mode and… well, to be honest, something that looks so much like a Tachikoma that I shall henceforth refer to it as the Batchikoma. While in Batchikoma mode, you spend an awful lot of time blowing up swarms of REMOTELY PILOTED AND COMPLETELY UNMANNED DRONES, because Batman of course would never blow up a vehicle with a dude inside. He’s very firm on the whole no-killing thing, after all, and also on the no-guns thing even though the Batchikoma is bristling with machine guns and cannon.
Come to think of it, the Batmobile in the 1989 movie had machine guns, I think. Maybe it’s just a case of guns you hold are bad but guns mounted on your car are super cool?
This is probably something that doesn’t bear close examination.
Anyway, the joy of every Arkham game (Asylum excluded, due to its smaller scope) comes from bat-roping and gliding around a dingy and decaying, but beautifully-detailed Gotham City, full of people that you can punch without moral qualms because they are Bad People, and Arkham Knight’s Gotham is a wonderful playground of punching. There’s a main plot, of course, revolving around Scarecrow and the titular Arkham Knight and their evil plan to do evil things, but there are subplots wherein many other Bat-villains show up to do villainous things necessitating their being punched into submission, and the DLC adds even more side stories. If you have a favorite Bat-villain (and if they haven’t died in a previous entry of the Arkham series), they probably make an appearance, or at least get a mention. Heck, even some of the dead ones show up again because Reasons.
Yes, I’m a big old nerd and loved hearing a couple of random thugs debating the differences between Cluemaster and The Riddler.
What I’m getting at is that this is a really comprehensive Bat-simulator and Bat-history review, and I got thoroughly hooked on it. Not QUITE to the point of getting the Super Secret Ending, mind you… but enough that I completed the main story (for ending A) and went back to clean up side stories for a few hours so I could get ending B legitimately rather than just YouTubing it.
My one quibble, to add to the complaints I’ve already addressed, is that Batman in this game is a colossal Bat-jerk. Like, I have to wonder whether the writers read All-Star Batman and Robin…
…and took it seriously, because Batman in Arkham Knight is the most Goddamn Batman version of the Goddamn Batman ever. You spend most of the game lying to allies or treating them like garbage, while rebuffing any offers of help. You’re even a dick to Alfred, man. Alfred.
I mean, sure, dead parents, dark vengeance, I AM THE NIGHT, blah blah blah, but sheesh turn down the grimdark a touch there, Bruce.
Anyway. Arkham Knight. Good times. Makes me kinda want to go back and give Asylum and City another go. Probably shouldn’t do that while I still have stuff on the backlog to play. Most of what I have left to play is JRPGs. This may hurt a little.