Thursday, July 2, 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight: Game Review *SPOILERS*



IT ALL ENDS HERE
Console Played: PlayStation 4

Six years ago, I saved up money and purchased Batman: Arkham Asylum for the Xbox 360.  It was an amazing game that made the player feel like a true ninja badass, with a twisting story, epic boss fights and fantastic acting from all the characters.
Two years after that adventure, Arkham City was released to critical acclaim, with it upping the ante in almost every respect, making it darker and more amazing as the story went on.  In the end, it killed off one of the most important character in the Batman mythos, making most wonder, "HOW WILL THERE BE A SEQUEL?!"
Four years after the release of what is considered one of the greatest video games of all time, the story of Batman comes to a close in Batman: Arkham Knight.  After such a long history of successes, including Arkham Origins, can the Dark Knight pull out a good game one last time (HA!)?  Lets find out!

STORY

The story takes place about one year after the events of Arkham City and with the death of the Joker, the city has entered a state of peace.  Crime is declining, but that is because the criminals have been plotting and collaborating with the Master of Fear; The Scarecrow (Voiced by John Noble), who actually survived his encounter with Killer Croc.  He even hires a militia lead by the the titular Arkham Knight, a commander who is dressed to mock the Batman and almost hates the Bat almost as much as Scarecrow.  Halloween rolls around, and the Scarecrow initiates his master plan: Kill the Batman.  However, despite Scarecrow's new allies and forces, Batman (Voiced once again by Kevin Conroy) has been training and upgrading his arsenal, now fully ready for the war to come.

The story here is actually pretty good, albeit a pretty simple plot.  Arkham City's Plot lead from Two Face to Joker, then over to Penguin, then to the League of Assassins; It kept the story interesting by adding on these different layers and twists to the predicament of the walled city.  The point of this game however is simple: Stop Scarecrow and the Arkham Knight. Sure there is a few different plot points thrown in to extend the plot, such as corporations working with the criminals, and some assassins from Origins, but relatively the story just has one main goal. That's perfectly fine, because its still a pretty good story that combines some of the best storylines in the Bat-Mythos such as Knightfall and The Dark Knight Returns

Kevin Conroy can never do wrong as Batman, always providing that gritty tone to the caped crusader's voice without it sounding like a heavy smoker.  Mark Hamill returns as well as the Joker hallucinations and while I personally think he wasn't needed, it was good to hear that voice again.  The one character I really didn't care for was the titular Arkham Knight. At times he seemed like a tactical genius, with a voice that kept command, but near the end, he began to sound more and more like a whiny child. That being said, the saving character is the Scarecrow.  Oh my god!  I have never been more creeped out by the Scarecrow than I am in this game.  His look is amazing, and the voice acting is out of this world.  John Noble brings forth this creeping and menacing tone that just follows you everywhere you go.  If we have a chance for more Scarecrow in future games or animated features (hell even live action), John Noble is the man to call.

GAMEPLAY

Arkham Knight ups the ante in every way it can, but also keeping it familiar to those who have played the previous games.  The combat is the same (if it ain't broke, don't fix it), but also applies a few new mechanics for both you AND the enemies.
For Batman, along with the usual free flow combat, there is the fear takedowns and environmental takedowns, which surprisingly makes you feel more like Batman.  In the comics, we see the Bat sneak around and take down thugs around corners, but usually we see him leap from the shadows taking down one after another or smashing them into nearby objects.  In the game, it adds a nice new style of combat that pushes the player to think more creatively on how they fight.  The enemies make up for this by having their commanding officer, The Arkham Knight, pointing out how to fight the Bat.  This comes in the form of blowing up grates, putting mines on vantage points, having medics revive those knocked out, etc. Not only did these new tactics remind me of the Mr. Freeze fight in Arkham City, but also felt new with the addition of medics and riot shield wielding brutes.

Another combat addition I really enjoyed was sections of the game where Batman would team up with either Robin, Nightwing or Catwoman to fight against the mob, militia or Riddler Bots. The fighting is seamless when going in between the two characters.  Playing as either character, only to throw it to the opposite character feels so satisfying when the combos begin to stack up points.  The issue with this is that it is just as I said: Sections.  It became so fun to play with, I wanted to see more of the combat like that!  I can see why it would be near impossible to have it throughout all the game, but a gamer can dream can't he?

With such praise to the gameplay, you'd think that there was nothing wrong....Unfortunately there is...and its a BIG issue as its one of the games selling points...The Batmobile.  Don't get me wrong, there are times of fun, specifically in the combat sections, but I found it more aggravating, not only when you go soaring off track due to the tight streets of Gotham, but also when almost every Riddler challenge was just a time based race!  Remember those awesome obstacle courses that would test the Dark Knight on a physical and mental level?  Tossed aside for some of the most aggravating racing you will do since Mario Kart's Rainbow Road.  You will fail, guaranteed through stupid hard to control mechanics, only to have the Riddler gloat claiming how much of a loser you are.  Now I'm not a big racing game fan myself, but when you can't turn fast enough, only to instantly lose, you know something is unbalanced.

ENDING/SPOILERS
if you haven't beaten the game yet, skip to the bottom for the final verdict

So it turns out that the Arkham Knight's identity...was what everybody thought it was. Yep, it was Jason Todd, and in all honesty...I didn't like it...at all. Ill give it credit for bringing Red Hood into the Arkham-verse, but there were so many better options for the Arkham Knight's identity. We built this person up to be an equal to Batman, but it ended up being an ex-Robin who never stands a chance. I still think Damien Wayne/Heretic would have been a better twist.
Now after Jason is taken down, Scarecrow holds Gordon and Robin hostage, and Batman is taken to Arkham Asylum, where Scarecrow reveals Batman's identity to the world. After Batman overcomes the fear toxin, he takes down Scarecrow, and tells Alfred to activate the Knightfall Protocol. When the player completes 12 of the 14 Most Wanted Side Missions, he returns to the Manor and it blows up with him and Alfred inside...That is how the Batman dies...and I feel that's more appropriate than him dying with the Joker in a cave, especially with all that this Batman has been through. If he's gonna end his war, it should be on his terms, as well as wipe away any chance of the rest of the family being targeted. It shows that he is ready to sacrifice anything, his life included, to save the ones he loves. Now there is more to the ending if you get all 14 side missions...but that's a story for the next Fanboy Theories.






FINAL VERDICT

What can I say about this game that hasn't been said before? Its amazing, a fantastic conclusion to one of the greatest video game trilogies of our time. It has a great story, cast, and gameplay through and through. My cons with the game are big, but not enough to ruin the experience for me. If you haven't gotten this game yet, go out and get it now...just not on PC.

8.5/10
Goodbye Old Friend

That's it for my review to Batman: Arkham Knight! What did you think of the game? Leave a comment and I'll see you all next time.

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7 comments:

  1. I will be playing the game next week some time and I can't wait. It does upset me that the combat is the same...I know what you're saying about it not being broken, but after three games, it's the one thing that keeps giving me that "been there, done that" feeling.

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    1. well as i said, in comparison to the past games, the arkham militia is smarter(TAKE DOWN THE ONES IN WHITE!), and the takedowns make it feel more freeflowing

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  2. The fight animations are a million times cooler, plus there are environment takedowns and dual takedowns that really mix things up. I liked the Batmobile a lot, but I think this game could have been perfect if 3/4ths of the Batmobile parts were optional--like you could take down drones either with the Batmobile, or by stuffing a Bat-banana in a tailpipe or something. Because while it is cool to take out a bunch of tanks once in a while, it's not nearly as fun as it is to wade into a bunch of bad guys and clobber them stupid!

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    1. see i was thinking the same thing for the batmobile by having it rinse and repeat, but then they added the cobra stealth parts and i loved that :D

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    2. I would like to go in all Axel Foley like!

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    3. I would like to go in all Axel Foley like!

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  3. Obviously, now and then you simply need to unwind and play an arcade style amusement, confound diversion, or technique diversion. You can locate those free diversions online effortlessly! Source

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