Batman: Arkham Knight is shaping up to be quite the game. It’s just too bad the titular Arkham Knight himself is a naive punk that lands somewhere between Gears of War’s Cole Train and an angry kid.
The demo I played started with Commissioner Gordon meeting with Batman on a bridge to a chemical plant, which is promptly destroyed by the Arkham Knight and his armed helicopter. Batman walks to the end of the bridge where the Knight’s helicopter is hovering and stares his Gatling gun in the eye without so much as batting an eyelid. The Arkham Knight says that this is the end of Batman, but is stopped by a voice that tells him “he has nothing left to fear,” and orders him to pocket his revenge for now. Gameplay started here.
Overall, my favorite thing about the new Batman game is the Batmobile. You can perform Batmobile-assisted takedowns where an enemy is punched into the air and knocked unconscious by a riot suppressor (rubber bullet), cross obstacles like a tank when it enters combat mode (by holding the left trigger) and perform donuts. The Batmobile can also be called to your location, controlled remotely, be used to store enemies/allies in the back as needed, and it can even be used to eject Baman high into the air for surprise attacks or reconnaissance.
All of these abilities plus the new Batmobile Remote only further the Legend of Zelda-like puzzle-solving that is one of the Arkham series’ staples. Criminals shut down an elevator you needed to ride? Bust the wall open, grapple onto the pulley, and lift it yourself. You don’t need no stinkin’ buttons. Incidentally, the mission we were tasked with completing during E3 involved using the Batmobile’s entire arsenal to find and transport hostages to safety.
Bats’ new ride isn’t his only new gadget, though—I also used a modified boomerang called a Bat Scanner to search for hostages in the chemical plant. As you’d use the left stick to scan for noise, you’d pick up chatter from various enemies, including the Arkham Knight himself. Of course, when you go to find them, you’re bound to run into enemies, and there are more ways to take them down than ever.
There’s also a new option called “fear takedown,” which lets you chain instant knockouts when you’re in groups of enemies that are in close proximity. Hits are sharp—fast and hard-hitting—and Batman doesn’t pull his punches this time around. At times, you can even use the environment to your advantage, dropping light fixtures on criminals’ heads or throwing metal boxes at them from a distance.
When they revealed Batman: Arkham Knight, I wasn’t excited—Ishaan can attest to that. Seeing Arkham Knight in action, though, has piqued my interest. The stealth elements weren’t compromised by the combat-crazy Batmobile segments. That’s why I now feel Arkham Knight’s worth looking into, even if its new antagonist sounds like Robin’s dark inner-conscience.
Food For Thought:
1. I can’t decide what looks better—Batman, Metal Gear Solid V or The Witcher III. They each have incredible visuals and a unique approach to storytelling.
2. Oh, I completely forgot! The blimps with search lights that make an appearance in the iconic Batman: The Animated Series intro are seen floating over Gotham in the distance. Judging by my brief time with the demo, of all the Batman games to date, this one feels the closest to capturing the spirit of that show.