Batman Arkham Knight – Review

Jake Basford

The third Batman video game is out and dancing about, completing the trilogy started by Arkham Asylum in 2009, which coincided magnificently with the introduction of the Joker in the Batman film reboot, and representing the very best in the trilogy in only a third-set game sort of way.

Imagine the best parts of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City and you have Batman Arkham Knight.

And just for the record, in case you hadn’t realised, this game is being referred to as the third in a trilogy because Arkham Origins was a prequel and therefore not eligible for inclusion. Unfortunately – you can’t sit with us!

Arkham Asylum won hearts because it was well-timed and gloriously infected a well-defined gaming environment with an excellent plethora of things you could do, allowing advancement to unlock more goodies as the game progressed. Arkham City opened that sucker up to a much grander scale, enhancing on the sheer amount of stuff that you could do, but opening itself up to flaws with regards to missions and gameplay, leaving some left annoyed.

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However Arkham Knight takes the game engine of Arkham Asylum and the environment of Arkham City and infuses them both with the kind of oomph you can only get from the next gen consoles, producing the best part of this series yet to be displayed. Like Dark Knight Rises if you are a fan of the Batman then you are going to want to play this game.

Doesn't Harley look like her depiction in Suicide Squad?
Doesn’t Harley look like her depiction in Suicide Squad?

Plot-wise, since the Scarecrow has finally been let loose, becoming the main bad guy of the game aside from the eponymous Arkham Knight, a lot of fans of the big bad have been crying in relief as throughout the film and game franchise he has been seen as a bit of a joke, always being there as a sidekick for a bigger villain and never a bad guy in his own right.

In the films, he was always used as a tool by Joker or Bane, and in the games he was never taken seriously, always being relegated to sidebar games that were more reminiscent of Crash Bandicoot than of a next gen console. So to see him take the lead alongside a series of specially-created characters (come on – the DC Universe is huge but the plot of these games has taken the mythology surrounding Batman and the Joker in a totally new direction) in Arkham Knight is nothing short of amazing to play as a fan of the Bat.

Including Catwoman in the Enigma sub-quests (a welcome distracting return) is nothing short of hilarious and probably reflects Anne Hathaway’s amazing portrayal of Selina Kyle in Dark Knight Rises – again, this has long been called for and refreshingly delivered with polish and charm.

Gameplay in Arkham Knight has the same feel as both Arkham City and Arkham Asylum with the close-up dynamics operating simply, but the open-world features reacting with flair. The only issue is the driving, but then driving mechanics have never been my strong suit. Saying that, the introduction of the Batmobile in this context provides a whole new challenge and imposes a level of difficulty on Enigmas riddles that will frustrate even the most hardened gamer.

The look and sound of Arkham Knight is exactly what you would expect – dark and brooding, with realistic sounds and full use of the HD quality expected from the PS4 – and there is even special DLC (downloadable content) with the opportunity to play as Batgirl, while it is attack of the Robins in all shapes and forms, and you can even play as Harley Quinn in her own spin-off level. Even the press pack that was delivered was impressive, as it was delivered with pen with a USB device containing press content, a deck of playing cards, an installation guide and a copy of the game in a unique box.

I geekgasmed so hard I may have shut power off in Cardiff. Yes – I spelt #ArkhamKnight wrong out of excitement.

Frankly everything is impressive with Arkham Knight, and while there are reviewers out there criticising the Batmobile’s use – saying it is used too much and that it isn’t necessary for the overall plot – I tell em to shove off because they are just upset they got stuck on the bits where they had to use the car eject or grappling hook and couldn’t figure it out.

This is one of the best games you are going to find, geek or otherwise, on the market, and one that finally persuaded me to get a PS4, because it finally demonstrates the augmented possibility that the PS3 couldn’t deliver (and I will never own an Xbox One).

You can buy Batman Arkham Knight on PS4 from Amazon now

About Jake Basford

Essex-boy living in Cardiff, Jake is a writer, PR/Media officer, and Social Media consultant. Obsessed with video games, American culture and Buffy. Can usually be found at his laptop working.